This morning I got an email from a friend I’ve made on this blog. He’s single and lives in Bangalore and periodically writes to me about his OKC travails. This one was about a girl he was talking to who shut him down when he expressed his political leanings. He sent me their conversation and it was a really long one, and I could see very early on that she wasn’t really interested and he should walk. That’s when it hit me. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this project, it’s when to walk away. This applies mostly to online dating of course, but I think it translates quite well to in person.
The hardest thing to do when you’re interested in someone is accept that they’re just not that into you. Yes, like the movie. But once you start, it’s super liberating. You’re saving your time and theirs. Honest! When you’re sitting there trying so hard to keep this person engaged you don’t have the bandwidth to notice people who are into you.
The first sign is when a person isn’t interested in you and your life. This is where that whole asking questions thing I’m harping on about comes in. When it comes to dating online, especially for a girl, you’re wary. You don’t want to give out too much information too soon. I know I don’t. You try and keep conversation to things that are personal but not identifiable.What do you do? How do you like to unwind? Mountains or beaches? What’s the last book you read? (Yes, I’m giving away my game here. Hee.) But, after maximum five rounds like this I’ve decided if I want to go any further, at which point I say okay, this is my name, this is where I work etc. and switch to gmail. But when I don’t? It means I’m not really thinking of you as an option but I’m bored or I am enjoying the validation of your interest. I’m pretty sure this is the same when a guy does it too, so if I’m engaging with a guy who isn’t giving me proper answers, or who’s dodging my questions, I will ask him why he’s dodging. Then he’ll dodge that one too. Then I say ok, thanks, bye. Good luck. And walk away.
So if someone is asking a lot of questions, which you’re answering openly and in a conversational manner (I like beaches but god I love the mountains much more. I love cold weather and ugh humidity. Plus I don’t get the Goa scene. Or drink beer. Or eat seafood. You see?), and isn’t responding to yours unless you push, or you’re having to repeat questions a lot, or you’re asking questions and they aren’t at all, then walk. Because they’re just not that into you. Online or offline.
The second sign is when someone doesn’t have time for you. You’ve gotten to the date stage, gone out once, maybe twice, and then suddenly there’s no time for you. Now I’m the last person in the world to fuss about someone being busy–I’ve been insanely busy these past months. But, for example, whenever #6 called, I’d take it. Whenever #8 texted, I’d reply. And when I was crazy busy and had to keep cancelling on #17, I checked in, like a text every few days. So if someone is so busy they can’t actually meet, and your schedules mean you can’t actually talk on the phone, you can always in this day and age, text. Or email. You can always send up a flare saying hey! I’m here! I haven’t forgotten about you! The main point is, though, that you will only do it if you’re into someone, and if someone isn’t doing it (I’m talking about over say two weeks here, not two days), then walk.
The third sign is when they want everything their way. No, I want to go for a drive. I want to tell you about my day. I want to hang out with my friends. I want you to spend more time with me. This is not something that really pops up too early, though if it does, don’t walk, run. Heh. It comes back to the same basic principle as #1, it’s a give and take, a sharing, an attempt to be equal, to be partners in the game. This means that sometimes your bad day takes precedence, and sometimes mine does. Sometimes I put up with something in your life and sometimes you put up with something in mine. If everything is their way, then walk.
The fourth sign is hiding you from people in their life. There was a whole SATC episode about this I think, where Carrie is Mr Big’s dirty secret. As a fat girl believe me I know what it’s like to be a dirty secret! Ain’t nobody going to be jealous of the guy who’s dating me, not at first sight, not as a rule. (That’s a whole other post!) Of course, some people are all let’s stay in our bubble. Which is great, but the point is, when you’re into someone you want them to integrate. At some point you’re going to talk about them to your friends. You’re going to run into someone you know when out. You’re going to go over to their place. It’s when you never go out, or when the phone rings and they go to the other room and mutter, nothing just doing nothing by myself that you need to worry. Or rather, walk.
A related sign is when they aren’t interested in the people in your life. Okay your house is a mess, but they could come over once? I know with my ex I told him, clean sheets, tea, milk, bread and eggs in the house. And then I went over a lot. Even though it was a *shudder* boy house. There was this Colombian guy I dated in New York. Told me I was the most amazing girl in the world, swore he would learn English so he could go to India and ask my father for my hand in marriage. But never, ever asked me back to his place. Granted this was probably because he was embarrassed by it (I was very posh and he did work in construction), but he never even said come to my neighbourhood. So I knew he wasn’t serious. Which is a good thing because I wasn’t serious either ahem.
The fifth sign is how they react to a problem. When someone I’m dating is upset with me (actually when anyone I care about is upset with me) my first reaction is how can I fix it. Granted this might not work every time; it might not be my fault as it were, etc. But still, my first reaction is to try and figure out how to make it better. If someone’s first reaction is defensive, then you might have a situation. Like with #6, he’d call me randomly from cockpits and whatnot and while it was fun it was difficult to talk and I really wanted to talk because of course I never saw him. So I texted to ask why he always contacted me when he was about to vanish and he shot back: You don’t hear me complaining that you have a job and need to work and earn your daily bread. There was a sign if there ever was one! Of course you gotta be careful about how you articulate the problem, and of course sometimes someone’s having a bad day and so on. But there’s a reaction that goes: It’s not my fault; I couldn’t help it; you do this, this and that and I don’t like it. That my friends is a walk-inducing reaction.
Of course, if you want to be the one who ‘saves’ said person you’re dating, and make them a better person, then don’t walk. Stay and suffer my friend. Been there, done that, have the psychological scars =D