I have been giving a fellow blogger a bit of dating advice (don’t laugh) recently. As she gets text messages from various men she reaches out to ask my opinion on the best next course of action.
Advice can be useless if it’s only grounded in what you would do. It has to be appropriate for the other person. All too often, we are incapable of putting ourselves in the proverbial shoes of another. It’s all about empathy and trying to understand thoughts and behavior from another’s point of view.
But I digress.
In giving solicited advice, I realized I’ve learned a few things about men. I am generally not one to write advice posts – but I did think it a good idea for me to write this down, so I don’t forget either. I still find myself wondering what will spell the end of my relationship with Tony. Will he ever open up? Will he desire to spread his dating wings? Will there be something one of us learns about the other that makes things untenable?
But I digress again.
Here are a few things I’ve learned:
1) The answer to any question which is the equivalent of “do you like me” will always be “yes”.
I often want reassurance, and I don’t think it’s unique. There are various ways we can get it – both words and actions. One thing I learned is that people are loathe to create conflict of any kind.
So if you think texting a man and saying “would you like to try to see me again” will get anything other than a “sure”, you are mistaken. One in a hundred, maybe, will be honest.
Open-ended questions are way better – but much less conductive to text messaging.
But then we act as if getting a positive response is, well, a positive sign. We read too much into it. And then expect that of course he will reach out again. And when he doesn’t?
2) Pushing hard for what you want rarely achieves it.
I have come to believe if a man wants something, he will seek it out. The thing to remember is it probably won’t be on your timeline.
I used to fool myself that I needed to push for a decision, an outcome, or remind someone that we are supposed to get together. It’s just not true. I suppose there are a few men who genuinely would forget to get dressed in the morning if someone didn’t remind them, but I suspect it’s not that many.
I don’t believe in game playing and being scarce to increase a man’s interest in me. I can’t stand that behavior. BUT I do think you stay in touch and not push an agenda or harp on when you are going to get together next. If he wants to, he will ask.
It’s scary to back off the questions and reminders and attempt to get reassurance. But you know what happens if you do?
3) Give someone a bit of time and their actions will tell you how they really feel.
Again, this isn’t about the classic advice given to women about deliberately being “unavailable” or “elusive”. But not pushing constantly will let actions speak clearly.
It’s scary, but it’s WAY better to know how someone actually feels about you.
I have found, without exception, ceasing to be the one that always reignites a conversation will inevitably tell me if they are interested. I could link to so many examples here. Dan is a good example. While he would eventually respond to a text, when I stopped instigating he simply stopped communicating. I’d have to look in my posts to see when I last heard from him. It’s been a while. I doubt I will ever hear from him again (and my car still hasn’t been fixed).
But when I pushed? We would meet. Obviously there was some base level of attraction or interest in a good fuck. But ultimately, it was pretty minimal.
In contrast, there are others who continue to communicate with me – Jason for example. Now, we have established something beyond fuck buddies, but it’s important to know that he proactively thinks of me. He’s worth my time even though our communications are infrequent these days.
4) If someone says they will see you and then doesn’t follow through, don’t wait for them.
When you give them a line as in #1 above, and they say “sure let’s get together”, and then don’t follow through, go ahead and make your own plans. If they do follow and at the last minute ask what you are doing that night, saying “oh I figured you weren’t serious since you never followed through before – maybe next time” will increase your value in their eyes.
Now I know I said I didn’t like games, but this is different in my mind (feel free to challenge). If someone wants to make plans with me they will, more than a night in advance. Too often I held a night free in the often vain hope someone would follow through. NIM was a repeat offender.
My new approach became in the absence of concrete plans, to make my own. I gotta say, tied to the point above, I rarely had the opportunity to say “sorry too late”. They just weren’t that into me.
But it was liberating, making the choice myself. Realizing I have the power to do my own thing, not waiting around for some dude. Ultimately having my own plans felt WAY better, because although still a rejection when you realize they aren’t that into you, you are busy doing something (or someone) else.
5) Some men just like sexting and the promise of meeting, and have no plans to actually meet you, no matter how much they talk about it.
I don’t really get this as I’ve never had an opportunity to talk at length with someone who admits to this behavior.
I do know a few blog men who engage with multiple women for hot chats and pictures. In those cases, there is little actual opportunity for them to meet the women. I did have some theories on what they (and the women) got from those interactions, and it partially inspired my users post so you can read about my snarky theories there.
But I my issue is really about the expectations a man sets with a woman. If a guy says he wants to meet someone, and discusses what it would be like, and even goes so far as to tentatively make plans, then of course she is going to believe it’s going to happen.
But when they have no intention to meet? That’s what I’m really perplexed about. If it’s hot to sext with someone, then talk to someone, why the heck wouldn’t you want to meet that someone?
Before I wised up to it, I was on the receiving end of this several times. One thing that helped me realise this was the time I spent on the lavalife “intimate” section, which was where I started online and where I met Jason and NIM. There were men there who wanted to sext – using that sites instant messaging feature – and they would be on the opposite side of the world. I realized its all they wanted. So I suppose the same would apply to guys who live 10 minutes away.
As always, I’m interested in what you think. Do these resonate with you?