Flaking: Never treat someone like a priority when they treat you like an option.

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Never treat someone like a priority when they treat you like an option.

I saw this phrase a few weeks ago, and it made me think…. I remember when I was young and new to picking up women in bars, I used to get flaked on quite a bit, and it was a big issue for me and a lot of the other guys I hung out with back then. Nowadays, I get flaked on very rarely, and I think it all comes down to an attitude shift – changing my attitude towards dates from treating them like priorities, to treating them like options.

Let me explain.

Cool people who have stuff going on in their lives don’t treat dates like priorities. Hot girls don’t pull out their blackberries and write “Tenmagnet, 8pm Thursday” into their calendars when I invite them out, and they don’t expect me to do so either. Even if you’re a really cool guy, and she really likes you, chances are any plans you make together are still options, not priorities. And that’s fine with me, because I don’t expect to be treated like a priority, and I don’t really WANT to be treated like one anyways.

So what is the difference between a priority and an option? A priority is when you mark a date off in your calendar, cancel your other plans, and start tidying your apartment just in case she comes back to your place. A priority is when you presume that the date is going to happen in a certain way, at a certain time, and you get fixated on that. Implicitly, when you treat a date like a priority, you’re presuming that the other person is treating it like a priority too. And most importantly, when you make something a priority, you get disappointed when the plans change or get canceled.

An option, on the other hand, is much more flexible. An option is simply the possibility of doing something, with real plans TBA. When you have an option open¬†with a woman, there’s no pressure, there are no real plans, there’s just an agreement that you like one another and will hang out as soon as your busy schedules work together. An option is when you have plans for Thursday, but you call her up on Wednsday and say “let’s grab a pint tonight”. Options are not real plans, they only become solid plans a few hours before the event, when you call up and say “Hey, it’s Chris. You still down for some Vietnamese food in the market?”. They are emotionally driven – we will meet up when it feels right, and we will do what we feel like doing at that time. Any plans are really only guidelines for what is going to be an emotionally driven activity.


The great thing about treating dates options is that they’re low-pressure, comfortable, and make you look like an easygoing, busy guy who doesn’t care too much about the interaction. By treating dates like options, you’re preventing the logistics of the situation from interfering with the emotions of the situation. As long as the emotions are good, as long as she’s attracted to me and wants to meet up with me, then you can be confident that the logistics will work out eventually.

The other thing about options is that they’re easy. Easy come, easy go, easy to reschedule. Because I never treated the option like it was a big deal, I don’t care if she reschedules or cancels. In fact, I usually have several options on any given night (either with girls or with friends or other activitis) so there are always backup plans. And of course, everyone I have an option with is treating it like an option too, so I’m not leaving people high and dry.

If you treat a date as a priority, or worse, try and make her treat your date like a priority, you’re going to damage the emotional momentum that is driving her to want to meet up with you. If you’ve treated the date as a priority, and it doesn’t work out, you’re going to be disappointed. And if you’re disappointed, chances are it’s going to come out in your voice or in something you say, and all of a sudden, the emotions of the interaction have changed. Maybe she’ll think you’re lame, or maybe she’ll just feel guilty for bailing on you, but either way, attraction and excitement has been replaced with something else. Your emotional momentum is lost, and it will be much harder to get her to meet up with you again.

If you try to make her treat your date like a priority, you’re probably going to come across like a tool. Some gurus advocate calling women out on their flakeyness. That’s a great idea if you don’t care about talking to her again. Likewise, trying to pressure or guilt a girl into going on a particular date with you is a great way to ruin attraction and ensure she doesn’t answer the phone when you call next. The fact is, unless you have tickets to a Bob Dylan concert or something, it’s really lame and needy to expect a woman to treat your casual date plans as a priority.

Treating dates like options can sometimes be a bit of a pain. Sometimes, you have to wait a week or more between getting a girl’s number and meeting up with her. You can’t plan really complicated dates, and you often need to have some decent phone game to keep the emotional momentum going in between meetups, but in the end, it’s a much more effective strategy. Eventually, as long as she’s attracted to you, she WILL meet up with you in the end. And the hard-to-get, busy girls are usually the most fun anyways.

See also my post on Six Reason Women Flake (and how to deal with it)

Finally, if you REALLY want to solve your flaking problems, my buddy Braddock wrote an amazing guide to phone and text game that you can find out more about here.

About Chris Shepherd

Chris Shepherd is a dating coach operating out of Montreal. He is a founder of Love Systems, the world's largest dating coaching company for men. He likes Led Zeppelin, greek philosophy and Hemingway, and hates bad dates, mediocrity and douchebags. He recommends the book Magic Bullets for men who want to improve their success with women.


  1. Money Post. A concept that often gets overlooked yet is ooh so important. Cheers!


  3. I agree with 10magnet somewhat, but eventually, if a person never does anything with you, then you aren’t really an option at all for them. It’s delusional to think you’re an option for someone if they’ve never owned up to a date.

  4. Um…good luck in finding a meaningful relationship.

  5. Oldfashioned says:

    I agree with not treating anyone as priority who treats you as an option, but this is all just a sign of horrible moral decay- no one keeping their word or doing what they say, or having any solid intentions of doing what they say. I can’t stand people like that. I’d rather have one friend in a million who says yes or no and means it, without the games, than a thousand flakey assholes who are not worth their word.

  6. not treating anyone as priority when they treat you as an option is one thing. I have a child and he is my priority, other than that, i’d do anything to date the guy if i like him. tired of games.

  7. Frankly, I wouldn’t date anyone who wasn’t interetested enough to make time for me, and I am surprised to read that you conisiider this a dating strategy. I wouldn’t even treat a friend like this, and would not for one minute consider wasting one minbute whom I respected so little. So, what I’m saing is that if you are tring to get disrespected, this is a great way to accomplish that goal.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This guy sounds like a real asshole.

  9. Whoa! Seriously wrong, If I’m dating you and you treat me like an option, I’ll just walk away and find another guys in no time. I’m hot, so I don’t care to date someone that treats me like an option… NEVER

    • themaskandrose says:

      No, you’d spin your wheels over it and wonder why he’s not throwing himself at you. You’d wait by the phone for him to call or text, then be super excited when he tries to schedule something else with you. Your feminine rhetoric doesn’t work on guys like us, my friend.

    • This guy treats his dates like a option to protect himself from getting upset and too emotional when girls flak out on him, which is way more common for a girl to do rather than a guy.

      This way he won’t need to confront her about letting him down and ruin their future dynamics togther with any negativity.

      When hot girls have attitudes like yourself, who can just find another guy by clicking your fingers, its stupid to ever invest anything more than an option in a girl you are just STARTING to try and date……get it?

  10. Tenmagnet says:

    I’m not advocating treating the women you date as options – just treat a CASUAL FIRST DATE as an option. I probably could have been more clear.

  11. I just got flaked on literally minutes before reading this and it’s pretty much what I needed to read. This is for your own mental health.

  12. Bad game plan man. I’ve had a few guys attempt to date me that way and it’s annoying.
    I’m a busy woman. Completing my masters degree/ work part-time/ have pets I need to care for/ usually have a birthday party or wedding to attend on any given weekend.

    If I’m interested in a guy and he’s interested in me…he’d better set a date and time, and live up to it. Otherwise, my day will be booked and he will be outta luck.

  13. I think there’s a lot that is left unaddressed. It is really implying that you shouldn’t be torn and become emotionally overwhelmed, over dating. If the both parties are mutually sync’d in schedule, emotionally, and attraction, then a party’s open request for a date will be taken “seriously”.

    It’s like a businessman who has the mindset of considering all options open; he promises not the moon. If you, as a prospective interest as a salesman, feel upset or can’t accept the fact of his social style, then the onus is on you. The businessman will keep moving. The same should be for guys in general.

    Women in the comments, whom claim to be busy, or seem bitter of this matter, seeing a flake essentially “wasting their time”. Then there a ton of catch-22 characters in movies, where the busy, high-flying women, where their attitude of entitlement backfires and they hit a crisis.

    The onus is put mostly entirely on the guy for the entire date (from planning, setting up, and executing)- we get it. However, if a girl simply flakey- the article is really implying to not take it to the heart. There are a lot of factors than can be at play for the girl, interaction, communication, and external circumstances.

    You hit up you yearly Vegas trip and have a prepared bankroll that follows; you don’t “bet it all on black”- despite the every, casino temptations- do you?

  14. Fuck that. It’s really simple, don’t flake out, just don’t do it unless some emergency comes up. The problem w/your advice is this is why everyone’s unhappy b/c you wanna assume there’s no pressure in dating, which is bs, there’s always pressure. Lemme be clear, of course she doesn’t owe you a kiss, makeout or sex. But if you make a date, plans, coffee, whatever w/someone, it’s not cool to flake out at all, and if you think I’m a dramaqueen for saying, f u! If she flakes out, fine be done w/her if you want b/c she probably isn’t worth your time, and vice versa, if you flake out on her, she has every right to feel and act accordingly. But your post seems to imply that there’s no need of any expectations, even ones of basic common courtesy, i.e. keep your appointments, I don’t fucking care if you’re donnatella versace or president obama or Selena Gomez, don’t make an appointment/date or whatever and then flake out w/o a good reason, and preferably, if you have any sense of ethics, reschedule w/the person at a mutually convenient time in the near future. If you don’t hit it off, then fine, end it there, but don’t be a pussy/dick by blowing people off like this. If this is how men or women play the game today, then change the fucking rules already, it’s cruel and doesn’t work for most people most of the time!

    • themaskandrose says:

      I agree. Flaking on scheduled plans shows a lack of respect and investment. I would never do that to a girl I actually wanted to see. If a girl flakes on me, I NEXT her immediately for a week, then try again. If she flakes twice (or doesn’t respond the day of the meet), she’s out of my life forever without a second thought.

  15. Marshwiggle says:

    You my friend, sound like a flake. If a guy asks me out I would hope that gave it enough thought or interest to secure a day/time as I have other things going on in my life. Calling me the night before ‘acting casual’ really is just a nuisance and does not show much respect. I

  16. At 46 I recently started dating again after a divorce. I’m getting a crash course on dating and it’s been a real eye opener. I’m realizing flaking is a common theme with women. I’m a single parent so I have to plan my free time. 1 Girl texted me at 3pm wanting to meet at 5pm. I did and the next day I texted her if she wanted to hang out.She was busy but said she did. She called later but she only had 2 hours before she had to be somewhere. I said we still could. She said no. 2 Days later she said I was pushy. On one hand I get the not take it seriously but people do have to plan things if they have to work and raise a teenager.

  17. Yeah, a lot of guys see meeting a girl as a big deal, and they spend 2 hours arranging everything, cleaning their apartment and canceling Thanksgiving.

    Oops, big mistake. YOU need to be more laissez-faire about the whole process than she is. Only then will, paradoxically, she even be that interested. It’s the same in sales. Be willing to give it up, and then people assign value to it.

    How to do that? I suggest actually not asking girls out on dates to begin with…Chat on the phone, develop a relationship, then just “hang out” when the time is right (and be ready to take it to the next level with a kiss).

    Just my 2 thoughts – have a good one Chris!


  1. […] wrote a good post about treating girls like options… and avoiding flakes over at his […]

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  3. […] run into these roadblocks. Read these articles, they might put things in perspective for you: http://www.tenmagnet.com/2008/12/19/…ike-an-option/ Stop Chasing Bad Leads: Delete Those […]

  4. […] it took me 22 years to learn that. Stop Chasing Bad Leads Delete Those Flakes – Jeremy Soul Never Treat Someone Like a Priority When They Treat you Like an Option GA_googleFillSlot("TAF_First_Post"); When I first started these lessons, it was to find a […]

  5. […] If you liked this post, check: Flaking: Never treat someone like a priority when they treat you like an option. […]

  6. […] Nonononono… Ok, first off, women SUCK at texting. They don't reply half the time. It means nothing. Personally, my rule of thumb is I try to reach a girl THREE TIMES in three days – if I get nothing on the third try, I go silent. Sending a single text message and going silent is really weak. Here's the deal – most women don't reply to your first text anyways, because cosmo told them to. It's stupid, but it's what they do. The other mistake you made is going straight for date two.. you need to banter a bit. Just sending girls invitations out of the blue has a low conversion rate. So you warm things up with something like this: "Would you believe I'm still working at 7pm? If only I had flunked out of college I could have had some easy job like a gas bar attendant. That would have been awesome". One thing I like doing is giving women a little "window" into my life, so they get a three dimensional image of me. Of course, I make sure the window makes me look good. I always text women when i'm doing interesting things, even if it's kind of irrelevant. "How many people do you think can fit on a rooftop party before the roof falls in? I'm a bit worried." "I'm learning to play Led Zeppelin on guitar and I just realized that Jimmy Page is clearly not human". This stuff builds attraction AND comfort, and sets up a little conversation you can have before you ask her when she's free. Also, if a girl doesn't reply to your invitation, MAKE OTHER PLANS. I wrote some more on this here: Flaking: Never treat someone like a priority when they treat you like an option. […]

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