Is your own attitude cockblocking you?

Is your own attitude cockblocking you?

Three signs that your approach toward women might be killing your online dating mojo and making it hard for other guys to catch a break…

You’ll see it on just about any relationship advice forum with regular frequency. “What am I doing wrong? What is it people WANT out of online dating services?” I’m going to start with the caveat that this article was originally written in response to a heterosexual cis male that was upset about the cool reception he’d received from the women he was approaching via an online dating platform. For this reason, the article uses heteronormative pronouns and relationship structures ’cause that’s who was being addressed, and generally speaking, that structure is where the bulk of the generalizations come from.

But, in no way is this supposed to be read as a panacea to all your online dating woes. Like with most “advice” – take what works for you, and adapt or discard the rest.

So, let’s talk about a few common terms that are sometimes used by some men who have trouble in their online quests for women, and how they might approach the entire concept of dating differently for greater success:

Implications of the Friendzone

“I don’t want to get wrapped up in week-long conversations that don’t result in a date because that’s how you end up in the friendzone.”

The friendzone is a concept that carries with it a lot of really negative connotations. One, that dating is a ‘game’ and that the women are pawns meant to be moved toward the “goal line” not that nasty, nasty penalty box known as the “friendzone.” In this hockey-related analogy, the women are not the opposition – they are the puck. It implies the potential of guiding any woman toward that goal if you use the right strategy, and that one must avoid the friendzone at all costs.

This implies that having women as friends is a “loss” or a “punishment.”

It also implies that women are not individuals with autonomy and the ability to make choices for themselves as to who they’d like to date or not date for any reason or no reason at all.

When guys talk about the “friendzone” women hear “they don’t like me for me, they only like me for sex. My value is only found between my legs.”

When a potential suitor seems to be using a “strategy” to get our attention, many of us can not only sense it, but are also turned off by it.

On Being “Nice.”

“Why not be somewhat kinder?” This, from a gentleman who was upset that a woman he was speaking with had bluntly told him she was not feeling a connection and rejected his proposal to meet up in person. If you’ve never been a woman on a dating site, then count your blessings. It’s wretched business. “Nice” guys flood our inboxes with messages that look just like each other. “Hey.” “Hey.” “Hey there.” “What’s up?” “Hey beautiful,” and the oh-so-clever, “I read your profile. You seem really interesting. How’s this site treating you?”

We, as women, are socially conditioned to be “nice” all the time, but being “nice” all the time when you have an onslaught of unimaginative advances can be exhausting. But then, hey….someone messages us and he doesn’t use the cookie-cutter copy/paste message that he sent to everyone else! He doesn’t want brownie points for actually reading our profiles. He maybe even references something we wrote IN our profile and adds to the conversation with it! WOO!

Here’s the thing – just because we finally found someone who is able to hold basic human discourse does not automatically mean we’re going to be compatible. Over the course of the conversation something doesn’t quite click.

Now, I’m going to tell you what way too many women have experienced when trying to “politely” disengage from the conversation:

Option 1: The guy does not get it and reads our “politeness” as an invitation to continue the conversation.

Option 2: The guy becomes agitated and sometimes even abusive, turning on us with phrases like, “You’re not that hot anyway,” and “Man, what a waste of time this was,” and “Who’d want a fat pig like you?”

Option 3: The guy’s entire universe crumbles and we start getting stalker-like messages from them…not just on the dating site, but they find us on Facebook, our gmail, our twitter, and start calling our place of business to ask WHYYYYYYYYY??? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?

Here’s what doesn’t happen quite as frequently:

Option 4: They guy says nothing and moves on.

Option 5: The guy says “Ah, well. Thanks for your time and good luck finding what you’re looking for!”

I’d say that options 1 and 2 make up about 60% of the interactions we respond to. That’s just a wild guess. I’m a writer, not a scientist, but ask your lady friends. They’ll confirm. Thankfully, option 3 doesn’t happen quite as frequently, but it DOES happen. It happens enough that we’re weary of it.

Both options 4 and 5 would be ideal, but are, unfortunately, not the standard.

The reason why women are sometimes less “kind” is straight-up because of options 1, 2, and sometimes 3. Don’t be mad at the women. Be mad at the men who’ve created this conundrum. The truth is, you are not entitled to our kindness, our niceness, or our pleasantness. Sure, it’s lovely when people are nice and kind and pleasant, but you don’t get to dictate our behavior.

So, she tells you she’s not interested, but she didn’t say “Sorry.” Or she ghosted you. Or she kept delaying until you gave up your pursuit. What you have to do is figure out if what is upsetting you is *how* she delivered the news that she wasn’t into you, or if it’s just disappointment that she’s just not into you.

Somewhere in that answer is where your entitlement is hiding. Seek it out and let go of it, because (spoiler alert): Confidence makes an appearance to replace entitlement. It’s uncanny. It’s like, as soon as you’re not butthurt if someone decides they don’t like you, you’re able to focus your energy on the people who do like you.

And confidence is very attractive.

Playing the “Numbers” Game

Women tend to be pretty intuitive. Some more than others, and some not at all, but we’ve learned over time to read into things ’cause over time we’ve been presented with many words that were not backed up with action. When you are playing the “numbers game” by sending out identical messages to every reasonably attractive woman within a 20-mile radius, we can usually tell. At that point, we’re not a person to you – we’re just a picture on a screen with unqualified potential.

People in general like to feel special. Most people I know like to feel like they’re being courted as a whole person, and not just for parts of their personhood. I used to hate dating guys who would only date me because I’m Jewish. First of all, I’m mostly atheist – but whatever. The fact is – they didn’t see me and accept “Jewish” as part of the package. They saw “Jewish” and accepted me as part of the package. It’s the same with guys that say “I love women with curves” or foot fetishists who really just put up with the rest of you to get to your feet.

It’s too common. Unfortunately, the advent of dating sites didn’t help with this. You can filter on age, location, body type, religion, smoking and drinking habits, height, and any number of other characteristics that break us apart into fractions of people instead of whole people.

So it’s even MORE imperative when you do engage in a conversation online that you do so with the intent of seeing that person as a unique individual, and not a list of boxes that are checked off. I’m not saying people do this intentionally. I’m saying that we are conditioned to it and we can sometimes sense when that’s happening.

Our radar isn’t always correct. And, the fact is – we’ll sometimes back away and and come back to chat again, because we’re guessing our initial reaction.

But, if the person you’ve been pursuing decides that there is simply not enough compatibility between you, then just accept it. She might be wrong, but it’s her prerogative to be wrong about you. Thank her for her time and move on. (Or don’t. Just don’t accuse her of wasting yours.)

It could easily have gone the other way. You might have found that there was something “off” upon meeting her in person, and the next article could be written to her about how to let go of her own butt-hurtedness ’cause you didn’t call her after three days.

I’m not even remotely the first person to put these concepts into words. Search out videos or other blog posts about the “friendzone” and you’ll see a ton of people who say what I’ve paraphrased with far more detail. Look up blogs written by women about online dating and you’ll find thousands who talk about the frustration with the repetitive messages and angry reactions to rejection.

It’s out there….and you’re fighting against the culture those behaviors have created to forge a connection with someone who just needs *more* to go on before committing to a face-to-face meeting with a strange man with no references or mutual friends to vouch for him.

It’s scary. Have some empathy and adjust your approach so that you are doing less “strategy” and more “just being yourself.”

Authenticity is a way stronger strategy, anyway. Its effects last longer.

Phoebe Philips on TwitterPhoebe Philips on Wordpress
Phoebe Philips
Phoebe Philips, (known as "Phi" to her friends) is a freelance blogger who initially gained popularity on FetLife as @phi-is-me. She writes a combination of smut, comedy, introspective essays and short stories on everything from kink, sex, and relationships to polyamory from the monogamous perspective to personal growth and politics. In a past life, she wrote sex toy reviews for AVN Magazine and co-hosted a kink-related podcast. Phi's public blog at was recognized as one of the Top 100 Sex blogs of 2016 (clocking in at number 27) by, and her erotica has been featured on, a weekly online magazine for the kink community. In her free time she enjoys cooking, binge-watching Star Trek (all iterations), and lavishing attention on her two cats. She'll probably write a book someday. Visit Oh, That Phi for more information.

6 Comments on Is your own attitude cockblocking you?

Jack said : Guest Report Subscribe 10 months ago

Thank you for writing this. I have thought about, and even written about, the "friendzone" but did not realize that this brought out negative feelings. From my perspective I viewed it as a somewhat humerous way of saying, "yes, I made my best effort and I was not a fit, but maybe I still can have a nice friendship with this person." And it has worked that way for me, many times. And while the "friendzone" was clearly not my first choice, beyond the somewhat self depracating humor involved, I viewed it as a positive place to be. But now knowing that the mere phrase can imply gamesmanship and dehumanization I will refrain from utilizing it in the future.

Sassipuss said : Guest Report Subscribe 10 months ago

Great post! I must admit that I've been lucky in the dating game to not get men who choose options 1-3, but I know enough stories to know they exist in abundance. And I especially appreciate the reminder that no one is OWED niceness. Hope to see more of your clear logic here!

Subversive35 said : Guest Report Subscribe 10 months ago

Fantastic write as usual Phi. So pleased you got published and can't wait to read more from you here.

fran said : Guest Report Subscribe 10 months ago

Spot on!! Almost all of this is what I went through using online dating sites. I am at the upper end of the age range for people using the sites, and not conventionally pretty. I still got flooded with messages like that. And the exact same intensely hurtful responses when I didn't fall all over myself with joy that someone deigned to message me. I hope at least one person recognizes some bad habits and changes them.

Kemander said : Guest Report Subscribe 10 months ago

A very good article with an honest portrayal of what women have to deal with and how men can improve their approaches to women and make the dating scene so much more civilized. Thanks for your wisdom.

Discordia said : Guest Report Subscribe 10 months ago

This is fabulous! I love it. It's funny, because this topic (particularly the friendzone portion) actually came up yesterday with a friend I was talking to. I was gushing about a recent date I had and how amazing it had been. He got from Point A: random message on Fet to Point B: phenomenal kinky sex, with a brief, polite, and personal message. It was tailored to my profile, it demanded nothing of me, and opened the lines of communication. That's all it takes. Oh, and patience. Because getting from Point A to Point B took some time. And he never once acted like he was concerned about being friendzoned. He genuinely enjoyed everything that happened in between Take Phoebe's advice. I promise, it works.

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