The Expectations Men And Women Should Have When They Give Out Their Phone Number

When a girl gives a guy her number, she sets up expectations. If she doesn't talk to him, both lose.

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Many women give their numbers away in hopes that a guy calls her back, but there are also lots of women who give away numbers without making an effort to talk the guy. For women who definitely know how to talk to men but give away their contact information with no intention of calling, expect to have someone make an effort to reach you.



This happens too often. And one man who wrote in to seek advice shared his own experience:

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Dear Annie,

I called Kay the day after we met at a singles event. I left a friendly message, which included my number and said that I was looking forward to hearing from her. She never returned my call. I don't know if I should call again. Sometimes a woman is so busy that she can forget to call. Other times it means that she doesn't want to talk to me.

This isn't the first time that this has happened. Why would a woman give me her number unless she wants to get to know me better? It is not fair for a woman to inconvenience a man just because she doesn't have the courage to say she isn't interested.


I put myself on the line to ask for her number. She should be courteous enough to give me an honest answer. I, like most men who have anything on the ball, would prefer to move on and pursue someone else if a particular woman isn't interested. —Dave

Misunderstandings often arise around exchanging contact information. Men ask women for numbers. Some move forward and call promptly. Others don't.

Some women are thrilled when a particular man asks for their info. Others give out their number and later wish they hadn't. Some give men a phony number and others wait for the call that never comes.


Some women don't know how to graciously say no when a man asks for her number. Many have had the unpleasant, intimidating experience of being pressured to share contact information after declining to do so. So, a woman who fears a potential confrontation might give you her number to just to avoid unpleasantness.

Women tend to take more time than men to make up their minds about whether they want to follow up with someone. A woman may feel that she has to decide whether a man is good relationship material before moving forward. In that case, she might give out her number so that her indecision won't cost her the opportunity to move forward in the future.

While there are several reasons why a woman who is ambivalent or uninterested might give you her number, they are not good excuses for her not returning your call and letting you know that she's not available. Though she knows how to talk to men, she shouldn't have given her number out to begin with if she had no intention of returning your calls.

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But there is hope. Here are some ways men and women can better understand each other when it comes to the tricky question of how to handle sharing and following up on contact information:

For women:

  • Learn to politely decline a man's request for your number. You could say, "Thanks for asking, but I'm not available." Then, smile and walk away.
  • If you're not sure whether you want to get to know him better, share your email address or ask him for his card or contact info.
  • If a man doesn't honor how you wish to share your information, it's a red flag as it is likely to reflect the likelihood of him not being able to respect your needs in the future.
  • Remember that a man asks you for your number because he's interested in getting to know you better. That's all. You don't need to say yes to an offer of a date. You don't need to touch him, kiss him or sleep with him. You don't need to know if he's "the one." If you hear from him, take the opportunity to become better acquainted.
  • Getting-to-know-you phone calls are a lot easier if you keep them short: 15 to 20 minutes is long enough to have a friendly chat and potentially arrange a date.

For men:

  • If a woman responds to your request for a number by asking for your information without sharing hers, tell her that you'd love to hear from her, but that you'll understand whatever she decides to do.
  • Ask whether she prefers to be contacted by text, phone call or email. Many women get frustrated when their preferred method of communication isn't used, but are reluctant to tell a guy which is the best for her.
  • If she doesn't return your first call, leave a message saying that you'll contact her the next day if you haven't heard from her.
  • If she doesn't return your second call, leave a similar message saying that you'll get back to her later in the week.
  • If you don't get a response after a few days, call her for a third and final time. Let her know you won't be calling again in a clear and friendly way. For example: "Hi Kay, this is Dave again. I really enjoyed our conversation the other night, which is why I've been trying to reach you. But this is the last time that I'll call unless I hear from you. Otherwise, I'll assume that you're sending me the message that you're not interested in our getting to know each other. In either case, I hope you're having a great week."

Following up after you've met someone new can make even the most experienced dater feel unsure and vulnerable, but it's the only way to begin to discover if the person who intrigues you might be a good match. The best way to do so is to act in a kind, respectful and gently honest manner.


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