I am the least coy person in the history of coyness. I hate that rule-following, game-playing nonsense. If I like you, you will know it. I might hang back until you demonstrate an interest, but once you do, I’ll gladly be the one to propose a specific, non-theoretical plan to hang out with you. It’s not that I’m obsessive or willing to rearrange my life to make those plans—it’s just that I do what I want. My love life is the one place I am almost entirely ruled by my Id, and I can’t be bothered to think about how I might come across by communicating with you as I would any other human being.
When it comes to getting first dates, it’s a huge boon. Being pursued is wonderful, but once I got over the idea of the rom com-caliber beginning, my monologue transformed from, “He acts like he likes me, but when is he going to do something about it?” to, “Yeah, we’re going out this week.” Potentials became actuals, and concrete dates replaced ambiguous movie nights and cryptic text messages. Dating isn’t dead—you just have to be willing to ask for it. I occasionally feel silly and unromantic being the one to say, “Great, we like each other, now let’s make a plan.” But for every guy who’s been startled by my unorthodox girl behavior, I’ve had one tell me, “Hey, I’m really glad you got me out tonight, because I’m happy to be spending time with you right now.”
Forwardness has a flip side, though—once you establish yourself as the pursuer, it can be difficult to tell when a doomed courtship has reapportioned you from default plan-maker to clingy stalker. I’d like to think I’m generally adept at picking up on social cues, but there’s something about the delicate nature of relationships that complicates the signals coming from both ends. Unless you’re a complete sadist, it can be as hard to reject someone as it is to be rejected, particularly if you have to see that person on a regular basis. So what do you do when someone refuses to reject you? When tenacity is met with “Yeah, definitely, sometime soon!” wrapped in “I’m just really busy right now,” under a fine drizzle of “WHY AREN’T YOU GETTING THIS PLEASE STOP.”
There comes a point when sanity demands that we consider ourselves rejected until proven desired. When you feel like the potential for something special lies in your hands, committing to that mindset feels unwise—even dangerous. We forget that choosing to read silence as rejection doesn’t necessarily make it so. If the excuses are legitimate and the interest in there, that will likely make itself clear before long. Taking a step back – in essence, rejecting yourself – is about believing that you deserve someone who likes you enough to make the effort. Someone as willing to put himself out there as you are. It’s not about games. It’s about values. Asking, What do I want? And is it you?
As humans, we’re addicted to the chase. We find the idea of a tortured romance as intoxicating as a beautiful one. Letting go is easier said than done, particularly if that person continues to give off signals they might be interested, and I’ve been on both sides enough times to know that sometimes there’s more to the story than, “He’s just not that into you.” Listen, shit happens. People get busy. But if you want to spend time with someone, you find a way to make it work. And if you would make time for someone, but that person is not making time for you, that is a statement of value in its own right—no matter how into you they act when you’re together. Remember that you have a choice to make here, too.
Have you ever made the choice to reject yourself? How did you know when to draw the line?