Should I call him?

Dear Elana, 

I am a 34-year-old woman who has been single for two years. Last week, I finally met a great guy, but he hasn’t returned my phone calls. I texted him after our date to tell him that I had a good time and didn’t get a response, and then I called him three days later to invite him to a friend’s party and haven’t heard anything yet. I’m feeling frustrated. What should I do? 

- My Phone’s on Vibrate For You

Dear Phone’s on Vibrate,

Despite the fact that you don’t hear your phone, I hear you, loud and clear. After two years of missed connections, you finally found a guy who might be a match, and you can already imagine your future children playing catch in the backyard. The problem is, he isn’t picking up what you’re putting down.

First – and I say this with care – stop contacting him. No calling, no texting. Find something else to do with your thumbs. If he wants to find you, he knows how to get in touch.

The fact that he didn’t respond to your text or call tells me that he is either not interested, or he’s pursuing someone else and hoping to keep you on the hook. Give him space. If he calls you, there’s a chance that you could develop a relationship, but if you keep running after him you could chase him away permanently.

Right now, you should be less concerned with his call, and more interested in how to establish power dynamics that build a lasting relationship.

Whether he comes to his senses and realizes that you are the milk to his cookies, or you decide to meet someone new, here’s how to avoid moping around in sweatpants while you wait for your iPhone to buzz.

I’m going to share a secret with you from behavioral psychology: guys aren’t “great” or not “great”. They are people, and they respond to reinforcements. If you teach a man that he can navel gaze while you call, and write, and swoon he’ll learn that he can maintain your affections without lifting a finger. This is not what you want.

You need to establish power dynamics in the beginning of a courtship that will be in place throughout the duration of your relationship.

If you are always the one calling, arranging dates, and texting him selfies, then you are showing more interest than he is. You’re giving away your power which makes you feel vulnerable, and ultimately makes you less attractive to him.

Consider the balance of power that you want in a relationship, and then act accordingly from your first interaction. If you want an equal partnership, then make him feel secure and loved, and hold him to the same expectations.

The key isn’t to stumble upon a man who is “great,” it’s to find a man who has good character and who likes you so much that he wants to match your level of affection and attraction. Put down that phone, and get out there.

Fake it until you become it

Watch Amy Cuddy's presentation on the power of body language to boost your dating success. Learn how to adopt a high power stance to project an image of confidence.

It’s no secret that confidence is sexy. Confident people radiate strength and power. They like themselves, and they are assured that you will like them too. They take risks, and they believe in their ability to win. You can spot a confident person from across the room because of their expansive posture and open stance.

The question is, how can you exude confidence when you feel insecure and unattractive? How can you stand tall, ask for dates, and flirt like a pro when you don’t believe that you have a chance? It turns out that body language has a lot to do with how others see us, and it also affects our self-perceptions. Standing in a posture of confidence can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even influence our chances for success.

This TED Talk by social psychologist Amy Cuddy entitled, “Your body language shapes who you are”, explains how to radiate confidence even when you don’t feel confident. As a child, Amy Cuddy was identified as gifted and placed in special classes for bright and talented students. In college, when she suffered severe brain damage from a car accident, she lost her identity as a person with a high IQ. Lying in the head injury unit of a hospital, she was told by her doctors that she had been withdrawn from her classes and that she needed to figure out a new life plan. She was devastated, but she didn’t give up. She worked, and she worked, and she got lucky, and as she challenged herself her brain began to heal. It took her four years longer than her peers to finish college, but she did it.

Next, she managed to gain acceptance at Princeton for graduate school. On her first week, she was asked to give a small twenty minute talk to a roomful of her peers. The lecture seemed so intimidating that she called her adviser and told her that she was dropping out. She said that there had been a mistake and that she didn’t belong. Her adviser told her that she was not allowed to quit and that she was going to give that speech even if she threw up, even if she felt so dizzy and uncomfortable that she had an out of body experience. She told Amy that she was going to keep giving speeches at venues all around the country until she became masterful.

Years later, after Amy had given hundreds of lectures, she was teaching a course at Harvard. One of the female students in her class came to talk to her privately. The girl said, “There’s been a mistake. I don’t belong here.” Now it was Amy’s turn. She realized that she no longer felt that way. That after all these years and all these lectures, she finally felt that she belonged. She told her student that she did belong. That she could fake it until she made it. She told her to come to class the next day and give the very best comment that she could imagine. The girl gave the best comment in class, and she kept faking it for months until she herself changed and became self-confident.

The message of this inspiring video is to not only fake it ’til you make it, but to fake it ’til you become it. When you feel terrified and anxious, you prevent yourself from taking risks. You neglect to ask for a date with the guy or girl you really like because you think they are out of your league, or you stop yourself from taking your relationship to the next level because you don’t believe that you deserve love. Faking it ’til you make it means pretending, through verbal and non-verbal behaviors, that you are worthy of the date, and that you do belong in the loving relationship. After you “fake” confidence for long enough, you won’t have to fake it anymore. One day you will look at yourself – and everything that you have accomplished – and realize that you have become the person you wanted to be.