As soon as a girl hits puberty, people start warning her of the dangers of lecherous men–if not her parents, then the media and various well-meaning mentors. The subjects of these warnings run the spectrum from garden-variety “bad boys” to creepy, relentless stalkers. Most likely, women will have some exposure to the former and hopefully little to no experience with the latter. Fortunately, by our 20s, we realize that most men do not fall into these categories and our choice to withhold our personal info is not always based on our personal safety alone. We start to compile a mental list of who we share our information with and who we don’t, and why. If a woman won’t share, one of the following is probably the reason:
1. She is just not interested. Maybe she met you in a bar and has been talking to you for just enough time to decide you are not someone she plans to go home with or date. She may enjoy your company, but a woman can quite easily chat with a man she is not interested in dating. If she does not want to take the conversation further than the vicinity of the barstool, she will probably start sending signals of her disinterest well before you initiate the request to exchange information.
2. She knows that one of her friends is interested in you already. Girlfriends will talk to each other about who they may be interested in, whether he is a longtime male friend with potential or someone they just met that night. If one girl expresses interest in you and you start talking to her friend, the friend may be pleasant and kind in return but will stop short of sharing her digits. She may even think you are attractive, but her loyalty to her girlfriend keeps her from taking the next step.
3. You met online. There seems to be a protocol for the natural progression in sharing information when you meet on dating sites. Initially, even though you both share what you hope to be authentic, current pictures of each other and exchange messages behind the façade of a witty screen name, actually crossing over to sharing real names and personal details makes women feel vulnerable. Of course, some exchanges are light and limited to one or two messages before fading away. But most of the time, one of you will want to take it offline, and then you either give her your number and hope she calls, or hope she gives you hers. But even if you have exchanged a number of messages sharing more and more personal stories about family, your exes and your relationship expectations, to a woman, offering her number to someone who is still technically a set of staged images and carefully-worded emails is an intimidating leap.
4. She is married and faithful. Sure, she may be out with all her girlfriends in a bar on the weekend. She may be flirting with every man she talks to or dancing with every guy who asks. A woman may be happily married, but that does not mean she does not like the attention. There are a lot of married women who just enjoy going out with friends. If a man talks to (or flirts with) them, they will be nice and carry on the conversation as long as it stays neutral. Since they are attached and not actively seeking someone to talk to, their confidence is compelling. These women aren’t needy or desperate, and it shows. However, since they are happily married, they likely want to remain that way and will keep their number to themselves.