Harvard Business School graduate and matchmaker Rachel Greenwald recently completed a 10-year study where she talked to over 1,000 single men. This study revealed some often counter-intuitive reasons behind their dating habits, and most importantly, why they sometimes don’t call women back. JDate got a chance to sit down with Rachel and talk about her new book, WHY HE DIDN’T CALL YOU BACK: 1,000 Guys Reveal What They Really Thought About You After Your Date.
JDate: For this book, you conducted a 10-year research project with 1,000 single men to uncover the top ten reasons why they don’t call their dates back. What is the number one reason?The good news is that chivalry is not dead! A surprising 84% of men said they expect to pay for the meal, but they want to know their gesture is appreciated.
Rachel Greenwald: The number one most popular reason men don’t call back is “The Boss Lady.” This label applies when a man thinks a woman is terrific – smart, good-looking, and successful – but he decides he’d rather hire her than date her. Women often guess that men are intimidated by their great job or strong personality. But men sincerely said that’s not it. They get enough aggression at work all day – when they come home they want to be with someone softer, more nurturing. They do want someone intelligent with an interesting career, but they crave a warm demeanor.
JDate: Describe the “Exit Interview” technique you used to extract information from these 1,000 guys?
Rachel: I used a tactic I learned at Harvard Business School called “Exit Interviews” to reveal candid answers from men who had disappeared into a black hole. I called the former dates of my clients, I approached single men at Starbucks, I talked to guys at speed dating events, and I even spent six hours once in the food court at Newark Airport (during my flight delay) asking random men about their dating disconnects. During those 1,000 interviews across ten years, I never accepted glib answers like, “There was just no chemistry.” I asked “Why was there no chemistry?” I poked and prodded until I got specific details about all the little things women said and did on their dates. It turns out there are clear, consistent patterns about what turned men on, and what turned them off.
JDate: Out of your findings, which reason surprised you the most?
Rachel: One of the most surprising reasons men don’t call back is “The Never Ever Mistake.” This occurs when a woman makes an emphatic or absolute statement using words such as “I would never” or “I definitely will” or “I hate.” For example, one New York woman emphasized how much she loved living in New York by telling her date, “I’d never leave this city! My job, my family, my friends are all here!” Because he grew up on the west coast, he wasn’t sure he’d always want to stay in New York, especially after he had kids. He’d enjoyed their date together, but the next day he decided she was geographically inflexible and that she didn’t have long-term relationship potential. He took her “never ever” statement literally, even though one day she might have moved for compelling reasons, especially if they were married.
JDate: In your book you say women should never send a “thank you” email or text after a date. Why?
Rachel: Men told me that while they appreciate the post-date “Thank You Email,” it ultimately causes them to lose interest in a woman because men like the chase. They told me that when they receive your email (or text) the morning after a date, they do not think, “Oh, what good manners she has!” Rather, they think it means you like them. Turns out it’s more deflating than endearing because he wanted to contact you first and do the pursuing (assuming he liked you too). You should thank him graciously at the end of the date, but don’t steal his thunder the next day. And if you don’t hear from him at all? He’s just not that into you, of course. He’s a big boy and knows how to contact you if he wants to see you again. Your email isn’t subtle when sent under the pretext of a “thank you.”
JDate: You say in your book that women should do “the fake-purse grab” when the dinner check arrives. Can you explain?
Rachel: I conducted a national poll and asked men how they prefer women handle the awkward arrival of the dinner check on the first date. The good news is that chivalry is not dead! A surprising 84% of men said they expect to pay for the meal, but they want to know their gesture is appreciated. They don’t want to feel like the woman expects them to pay. For this reason, they prefer the “fake-purse grab” to the “blind eye.” I recommend that you reach for your purse and say sweetly, “May I contribute to this?” The vast majority of the time he will decline your offer, at which point you can thank him sincerely. If he allows you to split the bill, you probably won’t be hearing from him again (or if he does call back, it’s doubtful he’s interested in anything serious with you).
JDate: Why are there more failed first dates today than ever before?He’s a big boy and knows how to contact you if he wants to see you again. Your email isn’t subtle when sent under the pretext of a ‘thank you.’
Rachel: This is a recent and scary phenomenon. With the explosion of online dating, single men and women have the illusion of infinite options. They believe a more perfect match is just a mouse-click away. Today, people go on dates to “rule out” rather than “rule in” because they know they’ll be home in an hour, surfing the internet for someone “better.” Everyone is window shopping, but few are buying.
JDate: The case studies in your book offer hope and inspiration for the women looking for “Mr. Right.” What is the take-away for women as they read these true stories about your clients?
Rachel: My research gives women new information which empowers them to retain the men they actually want to date. By tweaking small comments and gestures they often make unknowingly, they’ll have more men pursuing them and calling back. Ultimately the woman will have the choice to accept or decline the next date, rather than waiting by the phone and wondering what happened. I truly believe it’s not that good guys aren’t out there, but rather that simple misperceptions – which can be easily fixed – are standing in Cupid’s way. Over 80% of my clients who have used this Exit Interview information (as shown in these case studies) have dramatically changed their dating results and found a wonderful guy within a few months.
JDate: The book is also a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the single man. What’s the number one thing men do like?
Rachel: The number one thing that indicated whether a woman had future-wife potential was actually rather…. um, bland! Men said they look for a woman who is a really “nice” person. Initially I assumed “nice” meant “boring,” but the anecdotes I heard turned out to be poignant. Guys remembered brief gestures or comments when a woman acted nice, kind, thoughtful, or considerate. One story that sticks out is when a guy was really impressed because his date cleaned up some sugar she spilled on the countertop at Starbucks. This small gesture really made an impact in him!
JDate: Thank you Rachel, I’m sure this advice and your book will be pretty eye-opening for our members.
Rachel: Thanks for the nice chat!