site banner

In dating, do you ever follow up after not hearing back (i.e. ghosted)?

(I was going to wait till Wellness Wednesday to post this as a comment, but the thread's blurb says it's not meant to be a containment and that advice requests can be posted as threads so here we are)

In dating, if you're ghosted, do you a) always move on stoically, b) always give it one more shot, or c) go with a mix of the two depending on circumstances?

After first or second dates, if I text a woman to set up another date and she doesn't reply, I just leave it alone. I sometimes wonder if there is an infinitesimal probability that maybe somehow my text got lost in the pipes, but if she wanted to see me again, she could always text me even if she thought I never contacted her. Sometimes the ghosting can be perplexing, like she'd already messaged me first after the date saying how she had a great time, and then after I respond asking to meet again, I don't hear back. But that's just dating or life in general--many or most people are flaky and undependable. It reminds me of how when I was procuring enterprise software for work that many sales reps don't even reply to requests for a quote. Speaking of sales, I remember reading a negotiation book whereby if you're the one selling, an effective trick to jumpstart wavering/cold leads is to ask them "have you given up on this project". Manipulative, sure, but all is fair in sales, love, and war.

But I occasionally see/hear stories of how some guy was super persistent despite being turned down and would eventually go on to win over the girl. I'm not talking about Hallmark movies from 20 years ago, but wedding announcements in the New York Times from like two weeks ago. But if we do talk about Hallmark, women sure seem to love romance stories featuring love interests who almost always turn down the protagonist the first time around. Reddit loves upvoting stories of how a couple ended up married despite the girl initially swiping left because of some silly reason like she didn't like his hat, but then they somehow met and fell in love. Part of this is probably because Reddit is disproportionately young and single and so wants to believe in second chances, but part of it is we celebrate persistence culturally: in work interviews, a candidate whom the hiring manager is mostly indifferent to but goes above and beyond to change their mind probably gets the job. I've met girls who tell me that guys who don't pursue them more energetically despite not receiving encouraging signals show that they aren't serious, and so disqualify themselves. And a recent ex actually turned me down when I asked her out, but then we hung out as friends a couple of times and she ended up saying yes when I asked a second time.

Now, to be clear, for most of these non-follow-ups I've been subject to, I didn't really think any of them was "the one", or else I likely would have given it another shot. Still, I enjoyed their company and it would have been fun to go out again. And I'd certainly prefer to be the one who decides to "let her go" rather than having her make the decision for me.

So sometimes I look back and wonder if I should have followed up one more time. Maybe go with something simple like "Hey--I really enjoyed meeting you and would love to see you again, but understand if you don't feel the same spark. I wish you the best!". It sounds cheesy and a bit needy, but costs nothing, barring maybe making the girl feel a bit uncomfortable for not taking a super obvious hint. Different women also have different preferences, whereby some will surely respond to "follow ups" more positively than others. And I'm not convinced that ghosting is some kind of self-unselecting filter for women who lack maturity, since there are enough men who take rejections very poorly that it does seem safer to just not reply as a rule of thumb.

So what do you do? Do you have a system for deciding if and when to follow up after not hearing back?

8
Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Dating is not business. Either she is sexually attracted to you or not. If she ghosts you, it means that she is not attracted to you. Why do you want to "follow up" on someone that is not into you in the first place? Like those Hollywood movies brainwashed us, maybe you want to "win her back"? Is that not degrading to yourself?

Dating is actually very similar to sales. I've bever met a successful salesperson that couldn't get a date (many that couldn't sustain a relationship, but that's a different matter). This is because sales requires you to hone skills and behaviour patterns that specifically are useful in dating, not solely because of x inherent trait that makes a person good at both sales and dating.

Seduction is in part manipulative. Psychopaths are actually very good at it, way better than sales people are. OP is probably neither. He can certainly work on seduction skills (cheesy PUAs as well as acquiescing SNAGs provide plenty of ammunition here) to apply on future women but not the one that ghosted him.

In my experience if a girl doesn't get back to you, it is a better to invest your time and energy in the next girl.

If she liked you enough (to sustain a relationship) she would have gotten back to you. If there were bad circumstances, she would have eventually gotten back to you. If you didn't leave enough of an impression on her for her to do this, you're better off investing in a better match.

If ghosted, the most important thing is to not immediately take it personally and never make a big deal out of it or really mention it at all. There are all sorts of reasons why you haven't gotten the response you want. The truth is high quality women on the dating market are going to have a lot of people trying to get their attention, they're going to be going on multiple dates, and they're going to be talking to multiple people. Don't take it personally. Do not get wrapped up in the outcome of the messages or the dates. If you do, you will subconsciously project this and behave in a way which is off putting.

For me, I will pretend I don't realize I'm being ghosted and send a few messages spaced out by a week to a month or two explaining I'm doing something and invite them or imply an invite for them to come along if they like. For example, let's say you're in their part of the city: send a message saying you've done or are going to do something with friends nearby and say she should come along, meet up afterwards, it should be fun, etc. This makes it exceedingly easy for them since you already have a plan, it sounds fun, and it's not some big commitment. Do not engage in some conversation or dialogue with them not related to them physically meeting you soon.

After a few times spaced out over a month or two without response, I delete the number and move on.

women sure seem to love romance stories featuring love interests who almost always turn down the protagonist the first time around

ignore what women have to say about attracting them; they don't know

As an aside, do you really want to be involved with a person who wants or expects you to put in 10x the effort? I think my strategy is a good way to detach myself from taking something personally, spend a small amount of effort to filter people who have other reasons why they haven't responded to me, and still project the image of being exciting/fun and not dependent.

Other posters saying women are not going to be half-interested (or if they are, you don't want to be in that relationship) and I think that's largely correct, but you should give women multiple chances to get attracted to you if you are interested in them. It doesn't take much effort and in my experience it does work.

As always, quickly identify energy succubae. Do not engage in protracted dialogue on the phone or text. This is a numbers game. Give as many women as you can a chance to be attracted to you in situations where you look great. Don't take it personally.

Good luck out there!

For me, I will pretend I don't realize I'm being ghosted and send a few messages spaced out by a week to a month or two explaining I'm doing something and invite them or imply an invite for them to come along if they like. For example, let's say you're in their part of the city: send a message saying you've done or are going to do something with friends nearby and say she should come along, meet up afterwards, it should be fun, etc. This makes it exceedingly easy for them since you already have a plan, it sounds fun, and it's not some big commitment. Do not engage in some conversation or dialogue with them not related to them physically meeting you soon.

After a few times spaced out over a month or two without response, I delete the number and move on.

That is a very sensible strategy. I would only add that you want to simultaneously do this with multiple women on the roaster. It helps to avoid getting attached to a single one. No one is special. At least not until they have demonstrated consistency and fidelity.

Never.

Nah. If a woman isn't into it, it's her loss. Not yours!

Don't chase women. They love the attention and will knock you off the horse again and again just because they like to see you struggle. Don't play that game. It's abuse. YOU are the prize, men. Women need to chase you. If they don't, they blew it. Move on. Life is too short to play other people's bullshit games.

Out of curiosity, what percent of your comment is literal, genuine belief vs. flair that's par for the course for motivational speech?

I mean my question sincerely and it's not a dig. I think I generally appreciate the sentiments you express, but from a purely objective perspective it sounds slightly cartoonish. Like, if I liked a girl, her not reciprocating is a loss for me--all things equal, I prefer that she reciprocate, and let me make the decision whether it should become a relationship. Most girls I've gone out with aren't the type to want to knock men off the horse because they're sadistic. Et cetera--you get my point.

It is a loss, but like better to have a constructive mindset about moving onto the next one (especially if it's online dating and somebody ghosting after barely any time together) instead of torturing yourself over what could have been.

Without even getting into the whole 'The girl you're pining over who you got a couple hours of glimpse of on their best behavior probably has a host of human flaws that you didn't get to see'ness of it all.

I've been out of the dating market for a while now, but when I was still dating I'd give it a few attempts usually a week a part. Shit happens people have lives, go on vacations, etc... I'd try a "Hey I really enjoyed our time together at [place] would you be interested in joining me for [activity] this weekend" and if after the second or third of those I hadn't gotten a response one way or the other I'd delete the number and move on. Three texts/calls w/o a response generally being where I drew the line, between being "persistent" and desperate/stalkerish.

You should make a judgment based on your odds of coming off as a creep, and the chances of reputation damage you might incur as a result. That’s to say, be extra careful if you have common friends.

For better or worse, I have a lot of dating experience. Some thoughts in this space:

  • In online dating scenarios, many women are dating lots of people at once (sometimes even when they say/act like they are not). This explains a lot more ghosting than people realize. For an example: Even if you had an objectively very good & engaging date with somebody, you might be their 10th date that month. Were you the best date they had? If not, even if they actually liked you, it's possible you'll be ghosted, or at least not be given much focused, intentional attention as she carries on text conversations with multiple guys. (i.e. it will feel like she is just not that into you... because you aren't the Top Guy on her Recent Dates Radar.)
  • Further context on this point, do some research into just how slanted in favor of women online dating sites/apps are. On average, women are being bombarded with new matches constantly, while men get very little inbound activity. With almost no exceptions, every attractive woman I've discussed the topic with has told me they have (or even showed me) an overflowing selection (inbox/match list) of men.
  • One possible moral to this story: Don't take first dating too personally. If you let it get to your ego & emotions, it can destroy your ego & emotions. Have very low expectations on first dates. (This takes practice.) Treat it like a chance to get to know another person, and nothing more. If romantic feelings are to grow, they will do so organically, and not because you are putting effort into manifesting them.
  • I suppose it comes down to preference & values, but persuading a woman to go out with you via additional attempts to contact her seems sub-optimal. If you are looking for someone with whom you are authentically drawn to/compatible with, why put extraordinary effort into trying to "get them to like/pay attention to you?" What is gained?
  • As a caveat, I think it's important (it's effective, and it's good for your mental health as a dater) to be simple & clear about your interest in a woman at the end of a first date...if you have interest in that woman. Yes, playing hard to get can (and often does) work, but you always run the risk of someone you felt authentically drawn to/compatible with interpreting your game as genuine lack of interest. And as we discussed above, the online dating market is slanted heavily towards woman, so there will be other guys available to her if she thinks you're not interested.
  • Further on this point, again it comes down to preference & values, but running a 'playing hard to get' game on a woman seems suboptimal. If you are looking for someone with whom you are authentically drawn to/compatible with, why set up these hoops or create a culture of deception within the relationship?
  • As a caveat to this caveat, while playing hard to get is suboptimal (and may be a risky move for men in this dating market anyway), it is also a risk to be overly eager. It's unattractive for reasons that should be clear to the average user here, so I won't elaborate. It's best, in my experience, to just be simple & clear, smile, and say something like: "I had a great time & I'd sincerely like to see you again." If you communicate this clearly in person, it will help clear up any ambiguity in efforts to make a 2nd date. If, after you made it clear in person, she then doesn't respond when you ask for a second date later via text or phone call, move on.
  • And one other consideration (that I mean genuinely, but is on the PUA fringes): Being clear & simple about your interest (vs. playing hard to get) may actually be a more effective seduction tactic in our culture. Essentially, you are admitting vulnerability, which is a form of courage & evidence of maturity. It communicates authenticity, which is refreshing when experienced in the wild. You are saying, essentially, "I'm going to show you my cards here, because I don't want to 'play games' anyway. I'm dating to find someone I'm authentically drawn to/compatible with, and though I have limited data 'cuz we've only been out once, I like you & I think it's worth investigating this more."
  • One exercise that may be helpful is thinking back to when someone you'd gone out with clearly liked you, but you didn't have as strong a reciprocal romantic interest in them. What did it make you feel towards them when they were more persistent? Like texting you often and trying to get you to go out again? Did it increase whatever romantic interest you had? Or decrease it? In my experience, persistence decreases my interest in someone who I'm "on the fence" about.

Lots of interesting insights here. Thanks man.

Your bullet 1 is comforting, if mainly because it reconciles the seeming contradiction between me subjectively perceiving a good date for both parties and the objective reality of not hearing back. It could help explain that it's not that I'm really bad at telling if my date is enjoying herself, but rather she simply enjoyed some other guy's company more given the plethora of her options.

I broadly agree with you on the being direct part. Feels dirty to do the playing-too-hard-to-get card. Especially as you get older.

On your last bullet, I think I may lean a bit more toward increased romantic interest when my date shows strong reciprocated interest. Of course they've stopped well short of being obsessive/stalking. But it's nice to be with someone who seems to know what they like, and what they like happens to be you! But per your second bullet, the calculus tends to be different for women vs. men.

Also frankly a first date can be enjoyable whilst still providing an opportunity to notice a dealbreaker or two that precludes further developing the relationship. I've had some great chats and fun vibes with girls on first dates that did genuinely go pretty well, but also revealed red flags that meant I didn't reach out for a second date since I felt it'd be unproductive.

The reality of the gender dynamic is that prettymuch anything female-presenting will have an infinite inbox, and that there's other fish in the sea. Not only that but you're likely competing with people who are flatout lovebombing or otherwise putting up inauthentic signals which makes it even harder if you're trying to be moderated and honest.

One exercise that may be helpful is thinking back to when someone you'd gone out with clearly liked you, but you didn't have as strong a reciprocal romantic interest in them. What did it make you feel towards them when they were more persistent? Like texting you often and trying to get you to go out again? Did it increase whatever romantic interest you had? Or decrease it? In my experience, persistence decreases my interest in someone who I'm "on the fence" about.

Feel like it's a bit different as a guy, though.

Like how I feel about a person I'm completely disinterested in showing concerted enthusiasm when it's a no for a plethora of reasons is different to somebody who's on the bubble showing proactivity and enthusiasm. Then again there's a difference between 'girl is actively driving the conversation and seems interested' to 'girl is literally stalking'

Also the whole dynamic around objectives. I tend to assume a woman's more romantically-minded if she's chasing hard, as opposed to with men approaching women there's far more of an unspoken expectation of 'all overtures are to get into the panties'.

In dating, if you're ghosted, do you a) always move on stoically, b) always give it one more shot, or c) go with a mix of the two depending on circumstances?

Always a) without second thought. If she ghosts you, she's not worth your time. Either because she's the type of immature bitch who gets a kick out of emotional manipulation, or because she's just plain not interested.

Overwhelmingly likely, the latter. You have to remember that women feel attraction in a way fundamentally different from men. They are fickle, extremely selective, exponentially more hypergamous, and basically all-or-nothing. A woman can't be half-interested in somebody, she is either head over heels or wholly uninterested. If you get ghosted you are already in category two, and trying to flip her back into the other state at that point is fighting a losing uphill battle.

So what do you do? Do you have a system for deciding if and when to follow up after not hearing back?

Play the numbers game. If landing a relationship is one in thousand, you have to churn through a thousand mediocre semi-interested women before one will work out.

If you're even at a position where you have the free time and mental capacity to spare thought for somebody that ghosted you, I'd say you're not yet seeking out enough opportunities. I sometimes have days where I chat with 5-10 new people in a single day, something that takes a lot of time and effort. Effort I no longer have left over to worry about some girl who hasn't responded in 3 days.

I sometimes have days where I chat with 5-10 new people in a single day, something that takes a lot of time and effort.

Where are you doing this?

Language exchange platforms.

Incidentally, I have never gotten a single match ever on dating apps. Just shows you how rigged they are.

If this is what it takes now, it's so over it's not even funny.

Overwhelmingly likely, the latter. [...] A woman can't be half-interested in somebody, she is either head over heels or wholly uninterested.

Broadly agree. Thanks for verbalizing what I think I'd instinctively believed.

I wonder if dating is the sole exception to what I otherwise perceive to be a general appreciation for high-effortfulness in life. In virtually every other arena, whether commercial work, volunteering, community/church/politics/military, athletics, or the arts, being persistent, going above and beyond, not giving up, etc. is celebrated. Sure, there are exceptions of people being pigeonholed and crossing the line, but so long as they aren't weird and seem genuine and competent, we love go-getters. Yet that same approach seems to just not work in dating, and is often self-destructive as you put it. I imagine it somehow goes back to evolution.

It should come as little surprise that the methods are different when the outcomes are, too - consistently, capitalism rewards IQ, while IQ is a trait selected against by natural selection - in every generation.

Edit: Incidentally, the first time I've heard it verbalized that way was by a woman. I literally quote her: "A girl cannot be only half interested, in her head it is always either yes or no."

while IQ is a trait selected against by natural selection - in every generation.

In recent generations. In times past, being smart was paying off massively.

But is being "smart" the same as "IQ"? Anecdotally I'd say no.

Mostly. The 'smart' we're talking about here almost certainly did pay off, as it decreases the odds of staying poor, especially in places where being poor is actually hazardous to your health. Poor people had the lowest number of surviving children.

Overwhelmingly likely, the latter. You have to remember that women feel attraction in a way fundamentally different from men. They are fickle, extremely selective, exponentially more hypergamous, and basically all-or-nothing. A woman can't be half-interested in somebody, she is either head over heels or wholly uninterested. If you get ghosted you are already in category two, and trying to flip her back into the other state at that point is fighting a losing uphill battle.

Yeah. More time I spend dating, the more I've figured this out. I feel like guy attraction tends to be far more 'oh she's a 6/10, aside from staggering revelations you'll prettymuch stay in the same category in terms of how much effort-to-bang I'll tolerate' whilst girls wildly careen from pedestaling to just death upon hitting an 'ick', especially due to online dating massively increasing the scope of options.

Anybody who's done a decent amount of dating/chatting with women will have seen the hard pivot that occurs. Especially compared to men where the 'hard pivot' tends to be more related to 'obtained sex with X, no longer can be bothered chasing them with the same intensity' or 'realized Y's going to take way more resources than their attraction indicates'

Do agree on the funnel point, but there's always going to be a frustration when a particularly promising lead falls through

But I occasionally see/hear stories of how some guy was super persistent despite being turned down and would eventually go on to win over the girl. I'm not talking about Hallmark movies from 20 years ago, but wedding announcements in the New York Times from like two weeks ago.

MASSIVE survivorship bias there, as the millions of dudes who got stuck in the friendzone or ended up with a restraining order or just spent years screaming into the void don't get the same attention.

Not that it won't work, but you have to have a lot going for you in addition to persistence.


And yeah, if someone has seemingly ghosted you, Sending a couple followup messages, possibly through two separate mediums to resolve the "what if the text didn't make it through" anxiety, then let it lie.

Preserve your dignity and leave it up to them to respond.

With all that said, I've had the rare success where I'll fire off a random text to a girl I thought I hit it off with months or even a year+ later, and gotten a positive response. SOMETIMES life really does come crashing down on someone so hard that they lose track of almost everything else and if you reconnect later on they're more open to further interaction.

Also, if you're consistently getting ghosted by girls after dates, that strongly suggests you need to change your strategy since this is clearly an undesirable equilibrium for you, and being consistently defected against is nature's way of saying you're 'doing it wrong.'

It sounds cheesy and a bit needy, but costs nothing, barring maybe making the girl feel a bit uncomfortable for not taking a super obvious hint.

Yes, but it is also, thus, a cheap signal that means very little to someone who isn't already interested in you. It does nothing to set you apart and all it ends up doing is flooding her with affirming attention from all these guys she could in theory choose from.

With all that said, I've had the rare success where I'll fire off a random text to a girl I thought I hit it off with months or even a year+ later, and gotten a positive response. SOMETIMES life really does come crashing down on someone so hard that they lose track of almost everything else and if you reconnect later on they're more open to further interaction.

Interesting. Synthesizing the other comments, which broadly seem to be against any kind of follow-up, this delayed (and presumably selective) approach does sound like an improvement, assuming one follows up at all.

Yep.

If they blocked you then you're blocked. If they didn't, and you resurface later, they may be in a different frame of mind than they were when they ghosted you.

It's not a guaranteed tactic at all, but it doesn't come across as desperate if you aren't too cloying.

MASSIVE survivorship bias there, as the millions of dudes who got stuck in the friendzone or ended up with a restraining order or just spent years screaming into the void don't get the same attention.

I also think there's a huge difference between 'persistent through shared social environment' and 'persistent through DMs' since the latter is a lot easier to ignore and doesn't really incorporate other factors.

After one text asking for a follow up date? yeah, that's still definitely salvageable with a second text. Two ignored ones in a row? cut bait. To note this is for people who are otherwise strangers, like your ex if there is an established connection or you occupy similar social groups then the calculous changes.

It depends on your goals. If you're just looking for a short-term thing, then by all means reach out again - once. But if you're looking for a long-term or permanent relationship, that's a pretty big red flag to me. If someone is the type of person who will blow you off, it augurs poorly for any possible future together. For one, she clearly doesn't like you enough to respond. Also, the lack of common courtesy is not something I'd want in a potential mate.

As it says on the tin, I'm older and quite likely out of touch. For reference I met my wife on Match decades ago when writing skill was actually useful. Thank heavens for that!

For one, she clearly doesn't like you enough to respond. Also, the lack of common courtesy is not something I'd want in a potential mate.

Yeah good part of it in my mind. If somebody's going to be a longterm romantic match, anything but an enthusiastic yes should be treated as a no for the most part.

One text,

Two text,

No response,

Move on.

Yep, exactly. It's fine to try a second text, because we're only human, there is stress, work, a billion things to do in the day. Its not a good sign that you have to double-text, but it's fine.

Third one - no.

I don't know that I've ever had success messaging a woman who ghosted me, though sometimes I've gotten an explanation or an excuse out of it ("my boyfriend/father/husband saw the messages" being a classic, variable depending on age).

But on the other hand, I've often wished that girls I ghosted would reach out to me. Often I stopped replying for a petty or momentary reason, and a week or a month later I'm feeling silly about it and I want to see her again but I'm too embarrassed to reach out because I have no good explanation for the initial ghosting. After a week it's so awkward I don't know how to get past it, so I don't message even though I want to talk to them. When girls have messaged me after I ghosted them, they have a decent success rate.

But on another finger on that other hand, success above was another rendezvous and a few fun nights, not falling in love forever. So if you're looking for the latter, I have no evidence it will work out.

But another twist in the tale: I'm a romantic, the upside of finding a really good partner is so high that even a small chance you'll find that is worth a low percentage shot.

But on the other hand, I've often wished that girls I ghosted would reach out to me. Often I stopped replying for a petty or momentary reason, and a week or a month later I'm feeling silly about it and I want to see her again but I'm too embarrassed to reach out because I have no good explanation for the initial ghosting.

This sounds like a trivial problem to fix and absolutely not at all a reason to project such (IMO neurotic) expectations onto other people.

I'm a little unclear as to what you mean.

If you're saying I was being a total shitheel you're correct.

If you're saying that because i was being a shitheel that data should be rejected... Well I don't see a lot of counter narratives in here from other users about why they ghosted people, so I think my experience stands as the best example we have.

Why do you ghost people, when you have ghosted them?

If you're saying that because i was being a shitheel that data should be rejected...

My argument is that it is not a valid reason because the premise invalidates the conclusion. If you have to resort to assuming somebody is either incredibly immature or incredibly manipulative in order to justify why you should write to them, then I don't see a compelling basis for a relationship either way, thus sort of invalidating the conclusion.

On a tangent, I think applying this line of thinking to women would amount to dangerous wishful thinking more often than not. So merely entertaining it as a possibility is a sort of memetic hazard on its own.

Why do you ghost people, when you have ghosted them?

Because they are wholly uninteresting to talk to, unattractive, or I just otherwise don't think they're worth my time. It's the most clear "I'm not interested, but I'm also too busy to reject you" message you can send.

Because they are wholly uninteresting to talk to, unattractive, or I just otherwise don't think they're worth my time. It's the most clear "I'm not interested, but I'm also too busy to reject you" message you can send.

Ghosting also leaves juuust enough of a crack in the rejection that you can go back on it in future if necessary, too. Compared to actually rejecting somebody.

This is true, but rest assured, if I simply stop responding to somebody it's more likely than not that I've already forgotten about them.

After about 50 first dates this year, and a few what I'd consider to be 'soft ghosts' where social media was exchanged after date 1, maybe a message or two, but the conversation fizzled naturally/a second date wasn't formally asked for...

Then again I don't really know what the standard people have for 'ghosting' is. If we exchange 'It was lovely to meet you, have a good day!' texts after a date and then I just don't pursue from there I don't feel it's a ghost as I haven't really ignored an advance... but gut feeling is that the women may feel somehow slighted in some cases.

Weird, I don't even call it ghosting if you haven't made love, and I've almost never made love with anyone only once. To me ghosting has to involve a strong expectation of continued communication, which doesn't exist after one inconclusive date.

I'd personally consider it ghosting if, after meeting in person, somebody doesn't respond to an invitation/clear attempt to reach out and start a conversation.

I just think with Girl Logic sometimes there's a certain unspoken 'By responding to his polite after-date communication I've made it clear that he is permitted to continue chasing'

Yeah, ghosting is a way of saying "I might have a use for you later. Maybe not one you love, but ..."

Go for it, but only one more time. Ghosting is bad manners and you shouldn’t feel shamed for giving someone the benefit of the doubt.

Don’t bring it up though, just pretend like she never got the first message for plausible deniability.

I feel like a lot of those 'persistence' stories had to do with being in actual semi-frequent social contact, though. I know guys who've managed to get with girls after knowing them for literal years, but it's all stuff where a friend group provided the anchor. It wasn't just him randomly DMing her apropos of nothing for a decade straight.

Online Dating's different since the majority of the time, once somebody's opted out of your life, you've got a very small chance of running into them by happenstance or getting any real chance to change the previous impressions of yourself.

Compared to people who are in the same friend group/class/very immediate geographic circumstances where there's a greater natural pressure to fix any issues and give time to reassess.

I live in a medium-sized metro, and it's honestly consistently surprising to me how often the girls I match with/date really don't have much social overlap with my own circles. It's unusual at this point if there's a mutual friend on Facebook or whatever. Like I've had multiple dates where I've felt that 'eh that clunked a bit but additional exposure probably fixes it for one/both of us' but it's just far from a given in the current metagame.

Never. Especially these days. It will very likely be perceived as creepy behaviour by all the women who've rejected you. If you don't hear back just assume it wasn't meant to be and move on.

but wedding announcements in the New York Times from like two weeks ago

I would treat this like the lottery: with enough people playing it's bound to happen to someone, but it's not going to happen to you so you shouldn't waste your time.

I used to, and I sometimes still do if I'm feeling very bored/desperate. But out of probably around ~20 girls I've flirted with online on dating apps and other sources, if they ghost once, never once will they actually show up to a date, even if they still express interest and say "Yeah I'd like to go on a date sometime soon!".

I think it's worth a follow-up, some days after the initial time you reached out. People do get busy and forget to reply, it happens to me all the time (even sometimes with people I'm close to). So it's definitely worth a "hey, just checking again in case you missed it - want to hang out?" in my opinion.

Past that though? I wouldn't. Yeah, people say that they loved how their spouse was super persistent and went after them 20 times. But I would guess it's more common that someone would respond to that kind of persistence by thinking you're a creep, not by giving you a chance. Besides, if someone is playing hard to get I'm not interested - be straight with me, or don't deal with me at all.

I think followup is good, but "hey, just checking again in case you missed it - want to hang out?" is rather too on the nose. I'd just send the same kind of chitchat as usual and see if she picks the conversation back up. If so, great, ask her out soon or even immediately. If not, give up.

Fair point. I don't per se mind being on the nose (because I value straightforwardness pretty highly in a partner), but one may want to modify their statement from my suggestion.

Instagram stories usually provide a solid vehicle, since they kind of imitate the 'oh I spontaneously walked past you and we struck up a convo' thing you'd get in other social avenues.

Howso? I don't use Instagram or other social media newer than ~2010 Facebook really, so ELI-still-in-2010?

The social convention is essentially that a story is a short-lived Facebook status where you can reply to it via DM. There's a huge social machinery now built around that artifice but it's much easier to generate conversation off 'oh that looks nice, where'd you get it' than just straight up cold DMing people.

Interesting. So can you post public replies on a story, or just DM to its author? (Oh god, I'm old.)

It's all private replies to a story.