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Many single guys today (and I’m speaking from massive amounts of experience here) are all about making last-minute plans with women. They’ll frame it as “spontaneous,” but I’m here to tell you that nine times out of ten, spontaneous is just a fancy word for lazy. So, next time he springs a plan on you with only a few hours of advance notice, I’m making a case to stop and consider your options.

Now, I know there are a lot of rules, both written and unwritten, dictating how men and women “should” behave in relationships. Men should make the first move. Women should be mysterious. And while these rules that slowly evolved over the centuries may contain a grain of wisdom, what you should really be is . . . yourself (cheesy as that may sound).

Yet, being yourself doesn’t mean you should be an open book from day one or that you should make yourself available whenever the guy you like decides to grace you with a date.

I get it, sometimes you really don’t have plans that evening—and receiving an unexpected text from your crush wanting to hang feels so good. But perhaps next time you should say you’re busy. That doesn’t mean playing hard to get. If you’re actually interested in him, definitely still show some interest—please! But be clear. Tell him that you’d be happy to hang out with him if he plans a few days in advance because you’ve got things going on.

If this sounds like advice culled from that bygone era of “should” behavior—well, maybe it is. But, there are some very modern reasons for denying yourself (and him) these spontaneous hangs in the early stages of the relationship.

01. It’s the right time to put yourself first.

At the beginning of a relationship, your new guy shouldn’t be your whole world. Presumably, you’ve been doing just fine so far without him—managing a busy job, lots of friends and family, and tons of travel and adventures. You’ve created a life for yourself. Until a guy has made some effort and proven himself worthy of being included in your life (and you in his), your plans should always come first. A woman with a full life is absolutely enticing. The right guy will want to be a part of it because it looks so freakin’ fantastic.

02. It’s a healthy reminder that your time is valuable.

Traditionally, narcissistic and self-centered guys are the biggest perpetrators of the last-minute invite. They don’t consider you or your schedule; they seek only to get what they want. But in the age of instant everything, they’re not the only ones. If you want any man to understand that your time is just as valuable as his, you simply cannot make yourself available at his beck and call. By making yourself unavailable to get together at the drop of a hat, you’re showing (not telling) that he has to make an effort in order to see you. And if he’s not interested in putting in that initial effort? You’ve probably dodged a bullet.

03. You get to help set the pace in the relationship.

Delayed gratification sounds like a game, but boundaries are crucial for building a sustainable relationship in which you will be happy. Fires that burn too hot at first tend to flame out quickly, right? Playing a role in setting the pace of how often and when you see your guy will establish some healthy boundaries (not to mention that adrenaline-pumping anticipation) that you’ll both benefit from.

04. He’ll learn that he has to plan ahead if he wants to see you.

“What you put up with, you end up with. You can only expect what you accept from someone.” I read that quote recently—and while I can’t find the exact attribution, I can’t get it out of my head. If you make yourself available at his whim from the start, what reason does your guy have to make any plans in advance?

Being asked out at the last minute can make you feel like you’re low on the priority list, which hurts. For the relationship to work, you’ll need to feel valuable—and even if he’s a good guy, he may still need reminding of this. A man who knows that you’re not available at the last minute knows that earning a place in your schedule is something to be proud of, and he’ll often put in extra effort because he realizes you’re worth it. Moreover, if you’re doing all these things and he’s still not planning in advance—don’t worry. It may only be a sign that he’s not willing to put someone else above himself yet, and let’s be real: You don’t have time for that.