Over the past few years I have finally come to peace with this rule. That’s right, years. So, if you are struggling to stop yourself from giving him a quick call, you can stop beating yourself up about it. We live in an age where phones are no longer attached to the wall on some kind of telephone table in a closet in your hallway. Instead you… well, you’re probably reading this on your phone. Logically then, because phones are ubiquitous and because communicating with it will always be necessary in the relationship, this is by far the most tempting and easy rule to break. So, I am going to give you three whole reasons to let this be your favorite rule to follow.
Before we get into that though, I want to talk about why it is that you call him. While you are dating, as Sherrie & Ellen say, ‘there is no reason to call him.’ (p 40) None. But what about if I drop the container of eggs and break every last one and then have none for the supper I’m making him? Then can I call him to pick some up on his way over? No. First of all you don’t need to make him supper at this point, and even if you do, he’ll help you deal with it when he gets there. There is never a good reason to call him.
Furthermore, the real reason you want to call has nothing to do with practical things like eggs. It is because you don’t feel connected and you want to. You want to hear his voice so you know how he’s doing; whether he’s been thinking about you, whether he’s stressed, how his meeting went at work etc. And there’s more. Under the connection somewhere, you are so desperate, that you are actually willing to go to him and ask for attention; you are begging him for attention. And as if that isn’t enough, even deeper than that, you want his approval. You want him to hear your voice and tell you you are amazing and that he was thinking of you and that he can’t wait to see you, and that will make you feel better about yourself. It is the equivalent of a dog going to his master and resting his head on his lap to be petted. It doesn’t actually fill the need and it makes you feel even worse when you are turned away. Now, let’s talk about reason’s not to.
Reason I: To Avoid Feeling Rejected & Shitty About Yourself
Remember in Rule #4 how I mentioned that the feminine is prone to insecurity? Well, if you didn’t feel insecure after negotiating a half way point to meet, or counting out pennies to pay your half of the bill, you just might when you call him and he has to go right away, or doesn’t answer, then doesn’t return your call.
Let’s take a look at the insecurity thing. According to Dr. Louann Brizendine MD, author of The Female Brain women are born with the capability to make up stories about what others think and feel about them. She says that ‘[girls] do not experience the testosterone surge in utero that shrinks the centers for communication, observation, and processing of emotion […] their potential to develop skills in these areas are better at birth than boys’. In other words, ‘girls are born interested in emotional expression. They take meaning about themselves from a look, a touch, every reaction from the people they come into contact with. From these cues they discover whether they are worthy, lovable, or annoying.'(p 15) If what she’s saying is so, imagine the kind of stories you can create about yourself after 20 or 30 years of experience interpreting interactions?!
Likewise, if you call him, you are not only pursuing the masculine, but you are putting yourself at risk of making up horrible, horrible stories about yourself if the call doesn’t go the way you expect. If only to preserve your own sanity, let him make the move and save your conversation time for face to face dates.
Reason II: To Avoid a Lackluster Conversation
Have you ever watched a man talk on the phone? Besides the fact that most men hate talking on the phone and avoid doing it at all costs, men normally stop everything they are doing to talk on the phone. We can do anything while we talk on the phone – wash dishes, clean the house, fold laundry, reply to emails – but not men. So basically, when you call him, he is going to stop what he’s doing, and talk to you, and then when he hangs up, resume doing his thing. I think this is why men don’t like talking on the phone, because they are essentially held captive by the person they’re talking to!
The real reason you want to avoid interrupting him though, isn’t to spare him, but because he isn’t going to be fully present with you on the phone when he knows he has to go back to what he was doing. This ties back into looking for a connection, and avoiding those troublesome feelings of insecurity; if you are looking for a connection, you aren’t going to find it by calling him. The only time you are going to get that solid, fulfilling connection you are looking for is when he decides that he is going to focus all of his attention on you, either on the phone or in person.
Reason III: To Avoid Fucking up the Polarity
The masculine/feminine polarity depends on each of you staying in your own proverbial territory. You are not friends, you are not colleagues, you are intimate, romantic parters, and because of that, you play by a different set of rules! Your primary concern is that the polarity stays strong and every action, more or less is based on that (it isn’t quite this simple, but for now, let’s pretend it is).
So, the masculine territory. For starters, whether it’s right or wrong, there is a huge stigma around a dude’s phone ringing when he’s out with the boys. It belongs to the controlling girlfriend who wants to know how he is, where he is, what he’s doing, who he’s doing it with and when he’s going to come back. For us, it’s just normal communication, for a dude, it’s cutting off the circulation to his balls. Not only that, but when the phone rings, even if you are just asking him to pick up milk and hanging up right away, the boys are not going to let it slide.
Now, it’s not really about him, or his boys. Or about needing to know what’s going on. It’s about the polarity! The phone is masculine territory – making sure he can see you when he hopes to, checking to see how your day was, or how your exam went – this is his responsibility. If he doesn’t call you enough (as in, you really don’t feel connected to him ever and it is not just your insecurity coming up) then he isn’t the man for you. It’s similar to Rule #3 in that way you want to give him the space to show you that he is masculine enough for you, has the same values and desire as you do. He can tell you as often as he pleases how much you mean to him, and how badly he wants to be with you, but the proof is in the pudding! He needs to man his territory and take action.
Okay fine, but why shouldn’t I call him back?
When you call him back, you are going to run into the same problems as above. It is better to let him call you again. I know this is challenging, especially because we all have our phones on us at all times, so it is expected that you are going to answer. So, if communication is really necessary, text him your reply. Ellen & Sherrie get into this in their follow-up book, Not Your Mother’s Rules, if you’re struggling with cell phone and social media etiquette, it’s worth a gander.
That sounds so rude though!
Well, for a woman, it is. Let’s be honest, if you made your girlfriends call you all the time, they would eventually stop calling, and probably write you off. There are two reasons for this – one, you would be pushing your lady friends into the masculine position in the relationship all the time, and that’s not really fair. And two, it is common curtesy in a friendship to throw the ball back and forth, so to speak.
But for the kind of guy you are looking for – one who is focused, stable, secure and willing to work for you – this isn’t rude. He’s a man, and he’s used to taking action. If the action fails, he’s used to doing it again and getting it right. As a man, he isn’t really going to notice that you don’t call him. Because he’s not gifted with the keen skills of observation that a woman is born with, he won’t read into things in the same way a woman does. In fact, this kind of guy is going to be leery of women who are constantly calling him because he wants a creature unlike any other. He wants to date a woman who is stable in her femininity, has friends to rely on, and a life that she’s busy living.
The kind of guys who do more than flinch when he has to call you repetitively to get a date are insecure. They don’t feel good enough about themselves to try again when they’ve failed to get ahold of you. They are making up stories about you. In other words, they aren’t going to be masculine enough for you anyway.
So no, it’s not rude.
The Bottom Line
The reality of this rule hits hard. It all comes down to our need for male approval to make ourselves feel like we’re good enough. If you didn’t have this need, you wouldn’t have a reason to call. You would call your mom, or your sister, or your girlfriends instead. Remember that every time you reach out into the masculine territory, you are begging for something you aren’t giving yourself, or, if you have your self love more or less in order, you are having to beg for something that is normal to expect from your man, and it is a sign that your man isn’t holding up his end of the bargain, and you need to find someone who is willing and able.
Return to The Rules Deconstructed