The pursuit of romantic partnerships may be one of life’s most trying and confusing challenges. When it works out, it’s also one of the most rewarding. Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious when we should stop our pursuit of a girl with whom we believe we feel such a connection.
Popular media is teaming with stories about men who fell in love at first sight, telling their friends, “I’m going to marry that girl.” Despite initial rejection, the protagonist refuses to take “no” for an answer and persists in his courtship until she’s finally worn down enough to give him a chance. Ultimately, they marry, start a family, and prove to have been soulmates all along.
In fact, that’s the exact story my grandmother told me about her and my late grandfather. And while it’s a wonderful heartwarming tale of romance, it’s also the kind of story that gets lots of modern young men in trouble.
Dating has undergone some drastic changes since the Greatest Generation got married – and Hollywood has always been responsible for setting unrealistic standards for the impressionable youth.
New Rules for Pursuing Love
Today, you can’t keep pursuing a girl after she’s already turned you down. There’s a chance that taking the old school approach will get you served a restraining order or canceled! Nevertheless, the entire process remains confusing.
That’s because guys are less likely to come right out with their intentions. Instead, guys and girls often start as friends and hope to receive a sign that their crush likes them before building the courage to make a move. It’s this approach that’s elevated the dreaded “friend zone” to such mythical heights in our culture.
This page is meant to help you identify the signs that it’s time to stop pursuing a girl that you like. But don’t think that just because you’ve ended a pursuit, you’ll never date your crush. Sometimes, pumping the breaks is a strategic move that results in the special little lady coming to you.
Sound like a plan? Keep reading…
1. Don’t Pursue Them in the First Place
If you’ve read my article titled Tips for Getting a Girl Who’s Out of Your League, you know I have a habit of semi-contradicting my entire premise in the very first section – but not really. I just don’t believe that in today’s dating environment you should ever have to feel like any woman is some big prize that must be pursued.
Chivalry is dead and they’re not sitting around waiting for suitors; girls are out playing the field and chasing who they want also. The process of establishing a romantic attraction should be cooperative.
So, chances are if you feel like you’re pursuing your crush, it’s because you became friends and are trying to gradually hint that you want to be more. Therefore, I suggest letting a woman know you’re attracted to her the first time you meet, assuming you’re in an appropriate setting – i.e., not school or work. (Courtship in those two environments may require a subtler, more patient approach.)
Never allow yourself to get stuck in “friend zone” limbo where you’re giving away the benefit of your friendship without receiving anything in return. You’re the prize. If she can’t see that right away, focus your efforts elsewhere and let her see what she’s missing out on. The same advice applies to girls you’ve taken on a few dates, but now seem to be pulling back. As soon as the mood shifts, bounce. She’ll do one of two things:
- It’ll hurt her ego, she’ll reevaluate her feelings, and come on strong to renew your interest. Plus, she’ll recognize your strict boundaries and that you don’t need to chase her, and respect and like you more.
- She’ll disappear without you keeping the lines of communication open, at which point, she was planning to drop you anyway, no matter what you did. At least this way, you save time and maintain your dignity.
2. Her Texts Are Curt and Formal
The enthusiasm a girl displays in text communications can tell you everything you need to know about her feelings for you. Have you noticed that whenever you text her, you get short responses that hit straight to the point and don’t leave much room for keeping the conversation going? There are no added details or return questions or really anything for you to work with.
Take that kind of behavior as a soft “no.” She’s not interested but isn’t comfortable coming right out and saying it – probably because you’ve yet to confess your true feelings. So, save yourselves the uncomfortable conversation and leave her short, empty text on “read.” Why torture yourself trying to coax a reply with actual substance out of her?
3. She Doesn’t Make Time for You
The most confusing situations occur when a girl you like responds to texts and acts like she’s interested but is never available to do more than talk. Whenever you try to make plans to hang out or go on a date, she’s busy or cancels at the last minute. There’s always an excuse that gets in the way.
Once or twice is understandable; schedule conflicts and last-minute changes of plans happen. However, if it’s a pattern, she’s just not that into you. You’re probably being strung along as a backup plan. You’re never the priority but kept on the hook in case things don’t work out with the guy she really likes. Or maybe she likes having you available when she has nothing better to do.
Don’t allow yourself to be strung along this way. You’re never going to become her top priority if you’re happy being the perpetual backup plan. Stop pursuing her and start the search for a girl who respects and appreciates you and your time.
Maybe she’ll miss you and realize what she’s lost; maybe not. If so, make her come back on your terms to avoid the pattern repeating itself. Set boundaries – you’re not someone who tolerates being canceled on at the last second. Your time is valuable.
4. You’ve Confessed Your Feelings and Nothing Changed
If you’ve confessed your feelings to your crush, I applaud you. You’ve already overcome the biggest hurdle. Now, the ball is in her court to reciprocate the sentiment or not. If nothing about your relationship changes, it could be for several reasons – none of which you’ll be thrilled about.
It’s possible she’s just too nice to come right out and reject you. For some girls, being confronted by a guy’s advances or feelings is extremely uncomfortable. She might like you as a person and enjoy your friendship and hopes to avoid hurting your feelings.
You’re going to have to be able to read the situation.
- What are the circumstances under which you confessed your feelings?
- Have you been friends for a long time?
- Did she just get out of a relationship?
- How did she respond when you told her initially?
If you try to follow up and gauge how she feels but she’s elusive and avoids rehashing the topic, it’s time to end your pursuit. It’s time to step away from the friendship (or whatever you have together) and let yourself heal. It’s never easy, but ripping the band-aid off all at once is better than suffering in silence and confusion waiting for a response that will never come.
5. You’re Putting in All the Effort
As I said earlier, the modern courtship process should be a two-way street. Gone are the days when women sat back waiting to be swooped up by an acceptable male suitor. Today, if a girl likes you, they’re just as likely to express interest first and ask you on a date. So, if it seems like you’re putting in all the effort and she’s just along for the ride, that’s a red flag.
If you feel like you’re the only one bringing anything to the table, it’s probably time to change your approach. That doesn’t mean you should stop pursuing her altogether, necessarily, but you need to make it clear that you will.
If you were being used, her overall indifference to your new attitude will give it away. The same applies if she pretends to be outraged at being called out but does nothing to remedy the situation. That’s just an attempt to reel you right back into the same situation – and she might even try to make you apologize for it!
The best-case scenario is she legitimately likes you and didn’t realize she wasn’t matching your effort. Playing hard to get can be very attractive; so is setting and enforcing boundaries regarding how you expect to be treated in a relationship. If she shares your same feelings, you’ll get another chance at being together, only on better terms.
6. She Keeps Looking at Her Phone at the Table
I’m all about men demanding to be treated with respect in the dating world. That’s why so many of my tips talk about setting boundaries and having enough backbone to keep them. Always be willing to walk away from the table if you and your valuable time aren’t respected.
One of the most glaring examples that a girl doesn’t value your presence is when she keeps using her phone while you’re on a date. When you’re sitting at the table sharing a meal, it’s extremely rude to repeatedly glance at your phone or respond to texts. There are exceptions, of course, and everyone can be forgiven for a quick check or two but I’m talking about multiple sustained periods of staring at her screen while you sit there twiddling your thumbs.
It’s probably my biggest dating pet peeve. I advise you to end your pursuit of developing anything more with the girl right there. If it’s particularly egregious, I invite you to steal the move I began using in 2015.
- Once the phone situation is beyond the point of no return, excuse yourself from the table and say you’re going to the restroom.
- Stop by the bar or grab your waiter as soon as you’re out of your date’s line of sight.
- Tell them you’d like to pay for the tab immediately, right there.
- Pay the bill (I’m not a complete savage) and leave without ever returning to your table.
- Hopefully, if she’s as enthralled with her phone as before, you’ll be in the car headed home before the first texts start coming.
Remember, a girl who truly likes you will be interested in getting to know you better. She’ll be present and engaged in the conversation. Plus, any girl worth your time should have basic table manners and know better than to behave so rudely.
7. When She Calls the Police / Files a Restraining Order
Look – I don’t know what kind of guys I’m talking to in this article. Hopefully, this step isn’t required. But just in case there are any socially maladjusted obsessive readers out there: please stop your pursuit of any girl who outright asks you to leave her alone.
That goes double for any guys who have had a restraining order filed against them, or the police called. Not once in the history of mankind has someone scared their crush to the point of legal action, then miraculously won them over later and started a relationship. It’s never going to happen. Creepiness is a universal turn-off. Save yourself the indignity of having to go to jail as a registered sex pest. It gets ugly in the pen for those guys.
You’re the Prize, Never Let Them Forget It
Remember, you should never feel like you must convince a girl to share in the feelings you have for her. You shouldn’t have to wear her down or prove that you’re good enough.
Sure, it may take a few dates for her to develop an attraction or see you as relationship material, but she’ll at least be interested enough to give you the time and attention to shoot your shot.
Never get stuck in a situation where you’re the only one trying. There should be no “chasing” involved. Learn to value yourself and your time and don’t let anyone treat you differently. Some of this advice might sound harsh, and it won’t be easy to cut off communication with a crush who’s not reciprocating your feelings, but in the long run, you’ll be better off.
Men who respect themselves and demand others do the same are attractive. Have some backbone and it won’t be long before the girls you like are pursuing you!