3 Toxic Dating Habits Most Guys Think Are Normal

January 22nd, 2014 by Max Nachamkin 18 Comments

Toxic Gas Mask

This is a guest post by Max Nachamkin, the CEO of Inner Gladiator and Creator of Initiation: The Official Dating Course for Good Guys.

When I first started learning how to talk to women, I messed up. A lot.

I said the wrong things and I made a fool of myself. I over-analyzed every situation and it drove me nuts.

“What’s the best way to get her number?”

“How do I get her to like me?”

“Am I coming off as a creepy?”

And while I was going through this stage in my life, something else was going on too:

I was learning.

I started putting myself out there.

I tried everything I could while I discovered how to flirt, enjoy the presence of women, and make them feel amazing.

During all of it, I came to a big realization about dating:

The habits that I learned from what my friends told me and from watching others were absolutely destroying my dating life.

The typical response to dating is: go meet girls, get a lot of numbers, and then hopefully convince her that you’re good enough to go on a date.

This type of thinking is detrimental to your success.

Luckily, I’ve discovered the 3 most toxic dating habits that most guys think are normal and the solutions to fix them.

1.Treating Phone Numbers As The “Holy Grail”

The biggest toxic habit that I see with my clients and other guys working on their dating skills is that they’re over-invested in getting the girl’s phone number.

They treat it as the “Holy Grail”. They think it actually means something if they get a girl’s number.

But here’s the thing: girls usually give out their number to anyone who asks.

I used to get numbers everywhere I went. At parties, at friend’s places, at the club, at the library, at the bookstore, and at coffee shops.

Which in the light of most guys, they see this as badass and look at me thinking that that means I’m good with women.

But guess how many of these numbers turned into dates?

You guessed it — a very, very, small portion of them.

I even remember getting a text back from a girl who gave me her number, and just after one text, she said “Max, you seem like a nice guy. But I’m not interested in talking to you – delete my number and have a nice life.”


Why did this happen? Because numbers don’t mean anything.

Girls give out their numbers all the time, mainly because most of them don’t want to start conflict in the middle of their day by saying no.

For them, it’s much easier to give you their number and then ignore a text from you later.

So it didn’t tell me that she was actually attracted to me or that she wanted to go on a date with me.

But when I started focusing on developing a deep, flirty connection with the girls I met and stopped worrying about getting her phone number, everything changed.

I started having a lot of fun with women. We’d laugh together, flirt with each other, and dream about getting married and having 4 kids together…you know, normal things.

And when I took my focus off “getting her phone number”, I started to treat it differently.

I started asking myself “was the connection we had telling me that we’d be great going on a date together? Is this someone I want to see again?”

Guy and Girl Exchanging Numbers

This is how she should look during the number exchange.

And if it was, then exchanging phone numbers was the next obvious step. It was like she’d look at me saying “OK so obviously we have a vibe going on, ask for my number.”

From then on out, the vast majority of the numbers I got turned into dates.

So remember guys – it’s not about the number. It’s about the initial connection with her.

Focus on the deep connection with her first, and if it’s strong, then you’ll have no other choice but to get her number so you can see her again.

2. Locking Down The Date Immediately So She Won’t Flake

Now, after you find a girl that you have a deep connection with and who’ve you decided you want to go on a date with, comes the next step: setting up the date.

The most toxic thing I see at this stage for guys is that they schedule the date right away like an interview. This kills any attraction that you initially built.

“Hey, let’s go for drinks at 7:30pm at the Bitter Bar”

Texting this to set up a date is like asking girls to put you in their schedule as if it was a business meeting.

It’s like saying to her “Show up here. At this time. We’ll have a drink. And talk about boring questions that you’ll hate.”

Instead, schedule the date like you would with a friend – “slow drip” it.

And when you “slow drip” the date details, you will NEVER get flaked on.

Here’s an example of how this plays out through texting:

Me: “Hey it’s Maximus” (this is from the night before when we exchanged phone numbers)

The girl then sends me a picture of us together from the night before (remember from toxic habit #1: we had an amazing connection, so continuing the conversation was the obvious next move)

Me: “Dayumn put those away, everyone’s gonna get way too jealous of how hot we are”

Her: “Haha ill lock them away. There is a video too, apparently my friend was adamant about capturing the moment.”

Me: “Haha I bet that’s entertaining. How’s your day been so far”

Her: “Not gonna lie, my morning was a little rough but overall a great day. How about yourself?”

Me: “Mm gotta love them hangovers. Been having an awesome day…went into the mountains and spending time with the friends”

Me: “What’s the rest of ur weekend lookin like”

Her: “That sounds awesome!! hope their loving it out here. I’m going to a haunted house with some friends tonight and then going to foco tomorrow to hang with my parents too”

Me: “Right on! well I’d love to take you out next week and get to know you better…you seem like a pretty cool chick” (being forward and not waiting to long to tell her that I want to date her romantically)

Her: “I’d really really like that, from what I know I think we’d have a great time”

Me:“Henry agrees too” (send a picture of my roommates dog)

Me:“I’m headin out with some friends, but enjoy the night…I’ll text u lata alligata”

Her: “Aw so cute!! Thank you, you too have a blast!!”

Then, during the week, I’d text her and we’d exchange funny jokes, flirt, everything according to the basic texting rules.

Each day in the middle of the conversation, I’d allude further to the date.

So that initial text was on Sunday, so on Monday I’d text her.

Me: “So I’m thinkin drinks on Wednesday..and boy do I have a surprise for you”

Her: “ooo I love surprises.”

We’d chat, have another conversation, and then the following day on Tuesday:

Me: “what time do you get off work tomorrow?”

She’d tell me around 5, but that she needs to go home to get ready.

That’s cool with me 😉

After some more flirting with her, I’d end the conversation and pick it up the following day.


Me: “Get excited for tonight! Meet me at Bitter Bar at 7:30”

Notice how I don’t even mention the exact time or details until the same day.

And if a girl agrees to a date just hours before, there’s no way she’s going to flake.

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see with guys when they have a girl’s number but are having trouble turning it into the date.

So build the connection first in person, be persistent about moving things forward to a date, and slow-drip the information so that she agrees to the date on the day of.

Here’s a general outline, just for clarification.

First interaction (in person): Deep flirty connection

Second interaction (text): Be honest about your date intentions (see “planning your first date”)

Third interaction (text): Figure out what days work well for the both of you for the date

Fourth interaction (text): Figure out the general time you’ll meet

Fifth interaction (day of date text): All the specific details she needs to meet up with you

This process can happen over the course of just one day, or a couple weeks. What matters is that you stay patient, build the connection with her, be honest about your intentions to take her out, and slow-drip the details so that she agrees to the date time on the day of.

It works, every time.

3. Feeling The Need To Impress Her

Guy with Roses

Don’t be this guy on the first date.

After setting up the date and knowing that she’s not going to flake, a lot of guys get nervous. And they let this negatively affect their date.

“What’s gonna happen when she shows up?”

“Do I give her a hug or handshake?”

“What do I say?”

“What do I wear”

“Shit. Shit. Shit.”

The list goes on.

And I’m here to say that….

That’s perfectly normal.

But guess what else is normal?

The girl feeling JUST as nervous, if not more. She met this awesome guy (that’s you!), she had an amazing connection with you, and she agreed to go on a date with you.

Of course she’s going to be nervous.

It has to do with the magnetic theory of attraction, the core principle behind my dating course for good guys, Initiation.

And when you take that into consideration, you don’t have to worry about impressing her. Because she’s only thinking about impressing you.

So listen:

You don’t need to dress super-duper fancy when you usually don’t.

You don’t need to fill in the gaps in conversation with things start dying down.

You don’t need to worry if she likes you or not.

She’s on a date with you! Of course she likes you!

Just lead the interaction and focus on the connection with her. The anxiety and nervousness will disappear within the first couple minutes.

If you do just that, you’ll continue to have amazing dates over and over again.

These 3 toxic habits, once corrected, will change the way you date dramatically. You’ll ask for less numbers, but you’ll get more dates. WAY more dates.

And you’ll enjoy them.

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  1. Max Nachamkin on January 22, 2014

    Thanks for posting my article, Nick!

    If anyone has any questions about the article, I’m happy to answer them – just comment below.

  2. Noah on January 22, 2014

    Hey Max- great article! My only question is about #2. It’s definitely important to build up rapport with a girl before jumping into the date, otherwise you’ll come off as desperate. Like the whole thing about building attraction before asking the number, that’s HUGE! Numbers are essentially meaningless if you haven’t build up attraction beforehand, so it’s a good reminder. My only concern was about texting a bunch before the date. I personally try not to text her so much before the first date; I like to save some things for the date and build a little intrigue.

    Example: Text her the day after with some comment or question about the night you met her, showing your interest. Then after 3-5 texts say something like “anyway, you seem like a cool chick, let’s grab drinks sometime soon! What’s your schedule like this week?” and then go from there.

    I personally use texting as a tool for: setting up dates/logistics, and building rapport when I need to. I don’t like texting back and forth a whole lot personally because I try to convey to the girl that if we’re going to talk a bunch, it’s going to be in person.

    Anyway, based on your post, I’m guessing you live in Denver? I live there, so if I’m accurate in my guess we should go out and meet girls sometime!

    • Max Nachamkin on January 22, 2014

      Hey Noah,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I get what you’re saying about texting too much – and I agree.

      I don’t like to text too much either, especially since I’m out and about and paying attention to the people in front of me. No need to go overboard, unless you really like texting.

      I see it, like you said, as a tool to 1) meet up and 2) build comfortability & rapport before the first date. If you don’t want to text a lot, then don’t. The rules are only the rules you set for yourself – and as long as you’re getting the results you want, then you’re good!

      And close – I’m actually in Boulder. I don’t go out to the bars for the sole person to meet women anymore (like I did years ago) because I found that it’s a waste of my time. Great for overcoming fears, but not so great for finding meaningful connection. I just meet women anywhere and everywhere while I’m enjoying my life 😉

      Shoot me an e-mail though (contact form is on my site) and let me know if you’re ever in town. Always great to meet up with readers.



  3. Raj on January 23, 2014

    I like your post.It makes a lot of sense.I think my biggest problem is #1- treating numbers as a prize and I know the problem is that I dont have enough attraction.Can you give me some pointers to that? Basically how to make the attraction go through the roof in the 15-20 min interaction I have with her.

  4. Mark on January 23, 2014

    These are great tips and I totally agree these are mistakes. I have found appearing confident and relaxed around women makes ALL the difference. The bad news: I never found a way to “appear” confident and relaxed. The good news: I found out how to actually feel confident and relaxed.

    In the past when I met a woman, got her number, or broke the ice in any other way I tended to immediately focus on her. I stopped approaching other women because I was excited and curious how things would turn out with the first girl. Now when I see a new girl at the book store, or gas station and I’m flirting with her I enjoy the moment so much more. I can relax and be the best version of myself. And I don’t steer toward getting her number. If I don’t make a connection, I’ts no big deal. Why? because I almost always have a few girls that I could take out on dates any given night. That is because I learned to stop focusing on one girl at a time. I can just flirt without fear. I don’t seem confident. I am confident. Now that I don’t care so much if I make a connection, I actually end up making a connection more often. Making that connection gets the numbers and dates, and the dates I have go much better for the same reason.

    My point here is that being relaxed and confident tends to keep you from making these three mistakes without even thinking about it. Maybe other guys can act relaxed and confident, but I never could. I needed to change my approach.

    • Max Nachamkin on January 25, 2014


      Exactly! That confidence can’t be faked because it translates into the actions and mood that you take.

      Thanks for sharing this – it’s totally about having an outcome independent mindset and having fun. If guys are trying to force it, they’ll often push a girl away.



  5. Chris on February 1, 2014

    Good one on the getting the phone number bit – if you stop treating interaction with women as a conquest, and focus on building rapport and trust, things will work out better in the long run!

    • Max Nachamkin on February 5, 2014

      Yup, exactly!

  6. Goundy on February 3, 2014

    A little something I would add to number 3 is not insisting on paying for the date.
    Allot of guys pay for the date in an unconsious attempt to impress her but it doesn’t actually make any difference to her. A modern women in a first world society can pay for her own meal so when you offer to pay, it’s not a big deal.

    • Nick Notas on February 5, 2014

      Agreed. I often offer to pay because I genuinely want to show her I appreciate the effort she put into to look pretty and come out. But if a girl rebuffs and wants to chip in, I won’t keep insisting.

    • Mark on February 5, 2014

      I agree with not *insisting* on paying. But, did you ask her out? Did you pick the place? If you did, then it’s rude not to at least offer to pay. I don’t offer to pay, when the bill comes I just take it and pay it.

      The whole purpose of a date is to get to know the other person, build a connection, and let them get to know you. If you picked the restaurant or activity then what you picked says something about you. Paying the bill also says something about you. What if you go on a first date to a casual restaurant and let her pay for her own meal then you ask her out again and want to take her to a fancy restaurant? What is she going to think?

      Quality women have guys asking them out all the time. They spend a lot of time and effort on getting ready and taking care of themselves. I always see it as a complement when a woman lets me take her on a date. I see getting to know her as an investment in a pleasurable activity and possible relationship. I never see getting the check as trying to impress a girl. I certainly don’t think it comes close to being a toxic dating mistake.

      I agree with Nick. Besides, If a woman says anything about me paying, I ask her if she wouldn’t rather just get the check next time? Whatever her response, you’ll learn something.

      Besides, each paying for your own meal feels “separate.” Seems to me the whole reason to go on a date is to feel “together.”

      I also disagree that “it doesn’t actually make any difference to her.” I have quite a few very good looking female friends and I can tell you they regularly complain about their dates not paying. They don’t complain to the date. They just don’t see him again.

      • David on February 7, 2014

        A date is supposed to be an egalitarian win-win experience. She gets value from being there with you in the same way you get something out of being with her. If you or her feels that you need to compensate for the lack of value your offering on the date by paying for it, then that’s pointing to a wider problem.

        I know allot of attractive women who always get guys to pay for their meals. However we are both aware of their sinister motives. Free dinners…
        I’ve never payed for my date in my life but I’ve never been short on women or had my decision come back to bite me. I realized if I suddenly start paying, it’s not going to make a difference in the quality of the interaction or my ability to spin the magic with a girl. 🙂

        If there is a girl that rejects me because I didn’t pay, then it says allot about her character and I have no problem not seeing her again.

    • Max Nachamkin on February 5, 2014

      Chivalry isn’t dead – be a gentleman. I ALWAYS pay for the first date – it’s not even a question.

      It’s not about impressing her, it’s about being courteous. To each his own, but I recommend guys pick up the tab on the first date, even if it’s just a drink. Don’t even ask – just pay for it. Women, at least the ones I want to spend time with, appreciate that even know they know that we could easily split it.

      • Goundy on February 7, 2014

        Hmm I guess common coutesy is always good provided you are able.
        To people like myself -young and broke- not paying the whole bill is the way to not get finanically ruined while having a very active dating life.
        Luckily I know that paying doesn’t make a difference as to weather she will like you not.
        I guess each to their own.

  7. Will on February 6, 2014

    Good stuff, Max. I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with point 2. I agree to not schedule a “business meeting” right off the bat. But it’s important to set an approximate time and place before the actual day of the date. If you don’t, she won’t even know if the date’s still going down, so she might schedule other plans.

    • Max Nachamkin on February 18, 2014

      Hey Will,

      Of course – my intention isn’t to ‘keep it a secret’ – it’s to keep her excited and looking forward to the date. To do this, I usually give a general time and idea for a place the day before. But for the exact time and place, I do it the day of. By that time, we’ve already agreed on going on a date.

      This is just my personal preference and what works for me. If you’re seeing the results you want in your dating life, don’t change up how you’re going about it.

      Thanks for commenting.


  8. man on February 12, 2014

    Now there is an idea that makes a lot of sense!


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