Open Question: Does Persistence Pay Off?

courting-datingEveryone has their view on whether being persistent in dating works and whether one should even bother trying to get the attention and affections of a person who hasn’t reciprocated their interest. Many also have the opinion that being overly persistent can be an invasion of another person’s personal space and peace of mind. But does being persistent actually work or is it simply the last measure in a desperate situation?

My view on persistence is that it is highly dependent on the particular situation — sometimes it works wonderfully, other times it fails miserably. If the one being pursued had some initial interest or was unsure if they shared the interest that someone showed in them, persistence may pay off. By being persistent the pursuer shows that they are deeply interested and would take extra steps to make sure that something comes of it. On the other hand, if the one being pursued showed no initial interest and continued to show no interest, continuing to being persistent will only serve to annoy them and almost certainly fail.

What do you think — does persistence in courting and dating work? Has persistence worked for you or with you in previous relationships or your current relationship?

29 thoughts on “Open Question: Does Persistence Pay Off?

  1. I came across your blog today while doing some reading up on thoughts for a future post. I have been reading several of your posts and was pleasantly surprised at what you choose to write about and the views you take on topics. Your posts are so well informed and clearly stated. I am definitely following. 🙂

    In response to this topic, as a woman, after I have been rejected by showing interest in a guy I like…I make a point to back off. It sucks but when women stay persistent, it looks even more desperate than when men do it.The funny thing is though, after I back off, many men have came back. It could be after 2 weeks or 2 years, but it’s shocking how many of men who have rejected me at some point have later came back and reconsidered a chance at dating me. So if I show interest in a guy and for whatever reason nothing comes out of it, I stay calm and friendly and I let him be, with the thought of maybe he’ll return, but maybe he won’t and either way it’s ok. Life goes on and there’s more fish in the sea.

  2. Hello and welcome Ashley. Thank you for your kind words.

    I absolutely agree that it seems persistence works less for women than it does for men.

    Interesting anecdote about the men coming back though. I guess it depends on why they return to show interest: if it’s because they finally came to their “senses” (lol) then great. Bur if it’s just because they can’t find anyone better then bleh.

  3. Personally, persistancy never worked for me(persuing someone). I once liked a guy and he rejected me, many times and I started questing my self-eestem. I felt hurt, confused and damaged. So, for me —-NO. I only like a guy that likes me…and that works for me.

  4. Mkhululie,

    I feel your pain! I try not to think of rejection as a personal slight. You win some and you lose some. Of course this is much easier said than done. Much. But it may help if you focus on all the ways the person wasn’t right for you and the ways they were flawed. 😛

  5. Persist in a patient and good natured way, as opposed to a pushy and aggressive way.

  6. I think persistence can work best if it’s not relentless but sporadic. What I mean is you let somebody know you’re interested then you back off if they don’t return it, but you come back later. Maybe months later. I agree persistence kind of goes with pursuing so might work better for men but men can still easily come across as scary stalkers if they keep on relentlessly.

  7. Froggie,

    “Persist in a patient and good natured way, as opposed to a pushy and aggressive way.”

    I trust your advice — you know all about this. 🙂


    Hi Jennie,

    “I think persistence can work best if it’s not relentless but sporadic. What I mean is you let somebody know you’re interested then you back off if they don’t return it, but you come back later.”

    That’s a really great point. It may just work!

  8. You know, I’m older than you lot, but I understand why running after a guy, ie, persisting in pursing him, makes him run away. It’s simple: men like to chase. They’re bloody animals the lot!. They’re turned off (mostly) when women pursue them, ie, OBVIOUSLY. The deal is to be stealthy = use feminine wiles. STOP watching/reading all the shite about emancipation. Does. Not. Work. On. (Most). Men!. BASTA!.

    On the other hand persistence pays off in many other aspects of life, eg, job/career, raising your children, friendships. I take it as not willing to give up a formula that’s tried and true and has proven the best results.

  9. I once worked with this really gorgeous guy, tall, fit, handsome, spoke English really well as he went to the ICS here in Switzerland as a teenager = monied family as that’s an expensive International school mostly for expats whose companies pay their children tuition. Nonetheless, we became fast colleagues because he was crazy about one of my work colleagues (A beautiful Persian girl who grew up in Switzerland) who I am friends with. He tried and tried, but she never returned his interest. Don’t think the poor sod gave up hope though. Typical male!. Remember the chase. It inspires, pushes them, though he never changed his strategy. I know, right?. Like, invent something NEW for goodness sakes!!!. He eventually left our work place as he was studying, and I met up with him some time ago. He had a similar story to tell me of a beautiful black(African, but also grew up in Switzerland) girl who pursued him relentlessly, he slept with her, because HE’S A MAN BEING OFFERED FREE PUNANY!, but didn’t want more. I asked him why, he replied: “She comes across too desperate”. I answered: “But she’s beautiful from what you’re saying”. He answered: “Doesn’t matter, I can have her whenever I want. Too easy”.

    He’s gorgeous, still single and (I think) still pining after the Persian(elusive) beauty.

  10. Alee,
    Hahah, thanks a bundle :p


    I didn’t know you spoke Italian! Why not Swiss?

    Just kidding, I know Switzerland is multilingual.

  11. LOL Froggie. There’s SwissGerman(different dialects of Hochdeutsch), Italian, French and Rätoromanisch. I speak three of those somewhat good enough to get by and the last one goes right over my head….

  12. I think persistence in pursuing (when a guy is persistent in pursuing a woman) is highly romanticized. I like the choice of photo Alee choose here, and I guess it’s not coincidental. I bet we’ve all heard many romantic stories about grandparents or someone older who was so desperately in love with a girl who didn’t want him, so he persisted and persisted and persisted with romantic gestures and didn’t take no for an answer… And today they are happily married for more than 60 years.

    While I don’t doubt these stories are true, let’s take context into account. Back in those days, women simply didn’t have the same opportunities as men and they were urged to find the best husband. The best as in, able to provide, able to fight for what he wants, etc. Being persistent actually made the guy look better.

    Plus, in those days, a girl’s only value was her beauty (basically) so women were encouraged to value persistent men who like them so much they want to pursue them. They were encouraged to play hard to get and appear disinterested to see which guy is truly interested in them. Basically, a guy who didn’t want to chase and who’d respect your “no” wasn’t a guy worth marrying.

    For these reasons, pursuing a girl and being persistent despite her lack of interest were seen as a good thing and are highly romanticized as a sign of “true love” and interest into a girl (despite the fact most of these guys barely, if ever, spoke to those girls for more than on few occasions; their interest was mainly of the visual kind).

    In this day and age, I like to believe things have changed… but I won’t hold my hopes up. It seems the old fashioned (*cough* patriarchal *cough*) rules are still at play.

    Personally, if someone I didn’t really apply much attention to proved to be interested and persistent, well, I suppose it is flattering and would brush my ego. So I suppose it is something that could, in theory, make me pay more attention to him and take a double look. But only if persistence is moderate and respectful. And only in beginning. Because someone’s persistence can make me take another look/reconsider, but only for a moment. If you fail there, that’s it. Any further persistence is annoying, disrespectful and offensive.

    I am not sure how other women approach this issue but I kind of think that due to high romanticize of pursuing & persistence, men can not tell when to stop or where further efforts are not wanted & won’t bring anything good.

  13. foosrock,

    “I once worked with this really gorgeous guy…”

    Honestly, this guy sounds more than annoying. He’ll probably wish he did things differently in the future…


    “Hahah, thanks a bundle”

    My pleasure. 🙂

  14. Mira,

    “I think persistence in pursuing (when a guy is persistent in pursuing a woman) is highly romanticized.”


    “I like the choice of photo Alee choose here, and I guess it’s not coincidental.”

    I thought it was very fitting. 🙂

    “in those days, a girl’s only value was her beauty”

    Some things never change, eh?

    “I kind of think that due to high romanticize of pursuing & persistence, men can not tell when to stop or where further efforts are not wanted & won’t bring anything good.”

    I think some (most?) do know when their persistence is not wanted but it’s the last point — that it won’t bring anything good, that they’re unclear about. Or rather, that they think they can change. They can think they just need to be more persistent, for longer, and eventually they’ll win the woman over. It can be pretty irritating.

  15. Foosrock! The multitude of languages is one of the reasons why I always compare Europe to India. I think it is so interesting that not only are there many different languages in Europe, but these languages each have many different unique dialects. Some of these dialects are so different as to be almost their own unique languages. France has more than five unique languages!

  16. As my perspective, I say yes and no. When I was persistent, it didn’t work. It made me look like a complete fool in the end, and it changed how I viewed relationships. I built a huge wall around me due to that experience. On the other hand, it worked for my husband. He was VERY persistent with me, seeing that he had to be due to the huge emotional wall I built. My husband is a very patient man (except when it comes to dealing with his money), and I think that aided in being persistent with me.

  17. So I’d venture to say then that persistence (in romantic relationships) pays off for men, while it makes women seem desperate AND has the added negative that it chases (most) men away.
    How does this work though in other situations, like looking for a job, career, friendships?. Should women be persistent in such circumstances or will it end up having the opposite effect on what we’re pursuing?.

    @ Alee, agree. He is annoying, but aren’t most gorgeous people? 🙂

  18. Eliss,

    You two are a great example of how things can turn out with persistent women versus persistent women. Your husband managed to get you to date him, move halfway across the country, and marry him. But when you were as persistent you weren’t nearly as lucky and it made you more thick-skinned in dating. It’s really interesting to see how these things work out. It’s also interesting how many men wrote in, and still write in, to verbally club me over the head for the post on why men should case and not women.


    I’ve had more luck with being persistence in other areas of life, but I’d say as far as jobs and career go being overtly persistent can work against a woman.

    And nope, not all gorgeous people are annoying. 🙂

  19. I think persistence occasionally does work but mostly does not.

    Like, five percent of the time you can wear someone down into giving you a chance when they otherwise wouldn’t. Either the extra attention will seem flattering and will make the object of your persistence feel special, or the object will be too polite to keep refusing and will break down under pressure and go out with you (the used car salesman hard-sell technique).

    The rest of the time, you’re just making a pest of yourself.

    I also don’t think men look any less desperate than women do when they come back for extra helpings of rejection. It’s just that guys are encouraged to be aggressive and brush off the humiliation and not care how bad they are looking. In fact, guys are encouraged to be aggressive in all things, so why not apply that to dating? (Some carry this well into stalker territory.)

  20. Hi smartacus,

    “I also don’t think men look any less desperate than women do when they come back for extra helpings of rejection.”

    Wouldn’t they, since it’s seen as something that men do; it’s “normal”?

  21. I don’t think it’s normal, exactly. Slightly more common, but not really normal.

    I guess I should amend what I said: “I don’t think men look *much* less desperate.”

    You can’t tell me that most women aren’t going to ask why a guy didn’t buzz off when she told him to, unless she’s such a narcissist that she really believes she’s so appealing that no man is actually capable of accepting a rejection from her and must helplessly press on.

  22. smartacus,

    “You can’t tell me that most women aren’t going to ask why a guy didn’t buzz off when she told him to”

    I can tell you that…I mean, unless it’s on the level of stalking, most women won’t think it extremely odd if a guy keeps trying to talk to her or asks her out more than once.

  23. This is tricky because the degree persistence, it can be casual shown interest over time to almost stalky aggressive pursuit! Girls are different and like different things and then there is cultural gap, as its more ok with some cultures to be aggressive and some not! there will never be definite answers! I heard stories of girls at first hating the man they married some year later! If he is gentle and knows when to back off and when to return seems to work best!he cannot try the same thing over and over!he has to change and match the competition or overcome by looking and smelling better!being a good listener,having prospects and a planned future,be a gentleman but demand respect,show character and distance when necessary!

  24. As a man who has pursued a vast amount of women, I can say that persistence should be based on your ability to read women. If you’ve become quite good at it, then you should know almost instinctively when to pursue and when to back off. Women, unlike men, will 99.9% of the time let you know how they feel about you.

    The real problem is that with love, the end result is what determines the justification of the actions. For instance lets take a look at this scenario:

    I spot a random woman exiting a cafe at 2 pm on a Sunday. She is absolutely breathtaking, but by the time I make it over to the cafe, she’s disappeared. So enamored with her, I begin to show up every Sunday at 2 pm for the next 10 Sunday’s hoping to see her again. If upon finally seeing her, I ask her out and she says yes and we get married, everyone would look at that story as one of great romance. If however, she said no, everyone would look at that story as one where some creepy guy spotted a random girl and stalked her hangout for 10 weeks until she finally told him to get lost.

    …..And I just realized I didn’t really answer the original question. Damn. Yeah persistence pays off, but only if the girl is legitimately interested. Which she will let you know if she is.

  25. Some people are very poor at reading social cues. Often some people show disinterest by employing social cues. Such cues can be quite subtle and this can lead to confusion for socially inept people. Some people will get the message rather quickly and move on, while other will seem to be acting as a stalker as they just don’t understand that their advances are not wanted.

  26. I like a woman at work a lot. I got impatient and quite sad when I didn’t get a response from her on a dating website. By the time she responded I had already sent a rather upset response to her about how she hadn’t responded to me. She responded three times and then she blocked me. I work with the girl so I see her every day on the job. We are drivers so we don’t actually work “together”. Anyway, I have made a point to explain to her how I don’t handle anxiety with women or with relationships well. In fact I take paxil for anxiety and most of it is caused by rejection by people. I had a lot of anxiety related to my father and then with women. So I legitimately have problems with anxiety. Anyway, I have worked with this woman, or near this woman for about 5 years. After some conversations I started liking her but then I didn’t see her due to our job. I used to have a time to see her socially on this job but now I really don’t see her. Anyway, I’ve been a complete mess lately, especially because of the holidays. I’m alone and it doesn’t help when you feel like you are in love with someone and they have rejected you. And I don’t think it is the case that I just can’t get a girl, it’s mostly that I just don’t have feelings very often for a girl. So while I might seem needy the needs I have can’t be met by just any girl. But I guess it might all be different if I had some girl interested in me and I could be interested back in her. I’m not an attractive guy and I turn 52 on New Years Day. I’ve never married or even been in a mutual loving relationship. So I become despondent when I feel I can’t make this connection that feels so important to me. And I backed off and didn’t argue with her even one bit when she first “rejected” me. I got into a bad argument with her once years ago and it bothered me ever since. So knowing how bad an argument could be with her I was content to follow her lead, to back off, to respect her feelings and her actions in this case. And I know her a lot better now than I did when I initially let loose on her years ago. And I felt bad about that argument so I didn’t want to upset her more than she already was and I didn’t want to make things worse. I can’t make the girl care about me so why fight with her? Why make things awful. So I am hoping that down the line she might feel differently about me. And if she doesn’t I hope to find someone else that I can care about and connect with.

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