It was requested that I write an article about an on-going issue that I responded to that pertains to flirting and engaging a person in conversation that would lead into a relationship.
Essentially, the initial communication stage.
For this article, I am using a case study that involves the female perspective of a college student engaged in an on-going conversation with a male college student. What you will find throughout their conversation is that these two people are very afraid of exposing themselves emotionally, and that it stunts their ability to form a healthy relationship of any kind.
What this should highlight for all readers is that in order to engage another person in a relationship, no matter if you start communication, or if you are gauging the person from their statements for the sake of compatibility, you have to commit to overcoming your shyness, until you see the action all the way through.
That is, if you have an interest in the person, and you want to attempt dating, you have to move past those feelings of fear until you ask the question. And even then, once you have gone that far, you have to accept the fact that you cannot remain shy, at least to the extent you once were.
“This guy flirted with me, mostly using non-verbal cues.” Our female subject begins re-telling the story.
“He was always smiling, looking at me from across the room. They were clearly ‘first crush’ type signs. This went on for a month.”
Right away, she identifies his action and body language as flirting. Since I wasn’t there, I will assume it was, but the fact that she can immediately see and interpret these signs means she has the capacity to understand even more subtle signs. Later on, we will see how that plays out.
“He would take the same route as I did to get to and from classes, and whenever I would turn to look back on the stairs, or down the hallways, he would always have this beaming smile on his face. I knew for sure he wanted to talk to me.”
Again, she knows where he wants to take this.
“But whenever I would look at him, I would get so nervous and scared. I would turn to see him, and quickly look away.”
Her statement indicates her mutual interest, but what did her reaction on its own communicate?
As a male, when a girl we have an interest in consistently shows signs of disinterest, we presume she is giving us her final answer. We will attempt our actions several times, to ensure a game is not being played, but from the first time a girl rejects us, we believe that will be the answer every time.
I cannot provide this specific male’s response to this particular moment, but I can give a statement of a male in the same situation in another part of the world.
“I made eye contact, just like my friends told me to, and I was on my way to approach her. She looked back at me, and it looked like she turned her nose up at me, and then walked in the opposite direction. I was devastated. I guess I’m not an attractive guy.”
While women are taught that men are not sensitive, it’s really quite the opposite. Men live a strong element of what I refer to as “Self-Hate.” Its part doubt, part insecurity, part lack of confidence, and it can destroy us in a second. It causes us to constantly re-think our actions, and especially how we interact with women. Just look at what the guy said in his quote. A girl walking away from his general area equated to him not being attractive. Sensitive does begin to give justice to how fragile men can be about women.
There are plenty of situations where we somehow lose that feeling, and are able to act carefree. These are moments where we pull pranks, say something ridiculous, and generally act like the happy, confident person we can be.
But when we get serious about communication with females, this ugly beast can slay our best efforts until what happens is nothing. The worst however is when we are able to work up the confidence to approach to girl, and then she still rejects us. This leads to a re-evaluation of how we approach women to the point that the genuine, nice person we tried to be can be completely lost.
Getting back to our female’s story:
“After a week, I decided to ask him his name. He told me, and I felt scared again, so I walked off and didn’t talk to him again that day.”
Now, one might conclude at this point that there is some social awkwardness occurring between the two people in this study, but what is happening is that these two people are really scared to expose anything about themselves, and their intentions, even though it’s plain to see what is going on.
“The next day I saw him, and he pretended as if he didn’t notice me. I called out his name, and that smile appeared on his face again. But I was scared again, and as he was smiling at me, I turned and walked away.”
Now while the guy is not taking the initiative in this scenario, the girl slowly has. And this particular event shows that she is now initiating communication, and at this particular moment she should have definitely started a conversation rather than walk away. This moment is definitely etched in the young man’s brain as a failure.
Let’s hear from another gentleman about his reaction to a similar event.
“She saw me in the gym, where we first met. She knew that I had a regular time to work out; I don’t know if that’s why she showed up at this particular time. She said my name from across the room, and I responded, and she said she wanted to talk to me after I was done. I said I would. I kept working out, and then about twenty minutes later, I saw her walking out of the hallway locker room, fully dressed on her way out the door. She didn’t even make eye contact with me. Now she won’t talk to me. Where did I go wrong?”
If nothing else, this is very confusing signals being sent. Communication between two people relies upon being able to read the messages being sent. And that is developed through initial conversation that is direct, honest and non-confusing.
If in the initial stages a person sways from any of those criteria, the person they are talking to will lose interest and move on. This is universal to couples, friendships, business partners, and so on. Consider all the time spent together until that bond is agreed upon to be part of an elongated first impression.
More from our female:
“Later in the week, I walked to one of his classes; I knew it was before the class got started. I didn’t realize he was standing in a group of guys outside of the classroom door. He must have seen me the whole time, because as soon as I looked, I saw he was looking at me with his smile. I feel so scared when he looks at me. I feel this nervousness, and this time was no different. I quickly walked away.”
Any person in this situation would begin to get frustrated with this situation. It’s clear this girl has something on her mind, and she’s coming forward with it. Remember, the initial stage is about establishing normal communication between two people, and when a person is acting like they want to engage in communication, but then avoids it, it begins to establish communication outside of the previously stated criteria. This only leads to problems.
“I saw him later in the day, and I said hi to him, but he was really upset and didn’t look into my face. He only nodded his head with this stern look on his face. I was puzzled, and didn’t know what went wrong.”
As pointed out, any person would begin to get frustrated with this situation, and it’s clear that this young man is no different. While I disagree with him for not being more assertive in the beginning, I can see that this female has picked up on his signals, subtle as they are, and has shown that she knows how to respond, but essentially teases him by reaching the moment, and then fleeting away. I can almost hear his aggravation.
Let’s hear from another guy on this:
“I just got tired of trying to talk to her. It was pointless, and she was doing everything to show how much she wasn’t interested. I mean, who brings up their ex as their first subject of conversation? Not anyone who would take you seriously, that’s for sure. So after that night, I just figured I wasn’t what she was looking for, and decided to move on. The next day, I saw her on campus, and she said hello as I was walking by, and I just kept walking. I didn’t even look at her. When I got out of my next class, my roommate sent me a text asking me why I blew her off, and I told him. Then he tells me she was totally into me. How the heck am I suppose to get that from someone who kept ignoring me, and then when I finally got her to talk to me, she brings up her ex-boyfriend?”
I think what both of these situations indicate, is that men are not interested in playing the “hard-to-get” game. There may be some that are, but surely most are not. Especially in today’s business, or even college culture, no one has time to play a game of “tag” as I refer to it. People now more than ever are starving for stimulating relationships that are anchored on honesty and directness. Part of it maybe that many of us saw our parents play these types of games, only for it to lead to divorce. Maybe we don’t get the point of these games, but what we need to focus on is that men are not interested in engaging in these games. And although women may want to, it’s not going to lead to successful relationships if the majority of men are going to play them.
Let’s fast forward a bit in the story of our female. At this point they have had several more interactions, where the guy has continued his suggestive body language, and in turn she has been scared and nervous, and escaped the situation.
“After break, he wasn’t talking to me. At this point we had each other’s phone numbers and even texted on occasion. So just before classes were going to start again, I texted him, asking that he open up and express himself to me. He replied saying we should met up when classes start again. We agreed on a day, time and place.”
“When I showed up, he was huddled with a group of guys. I had to call his name. He came close to me, but wouldn’t look into my eyes. He was smiling and blushing. I then asked him if he took my text seriously, and he said he obviously did take it seriously. But he wouldn’t say anything. I started feeling scared again, and unsure of what I got myself into, so I blurted out, Happy April Fool’s Day! I told him I totally fooled him, and he started smiling, and was still not looking at me.”
“About two weeks later I apologized for what I did. He said it was ok, that guys have a characteristic that allows them to forget things easily.”
It’s called forgiveness and for most things we are more liberal with than women are. What if a guy did this to a girl? I doubt that girl would ever forgive him. And that’s because women tend to hold relationship issues higher than other kinds of issues. It’s not to say men do not either, but we tend to let things kinds of jokes go.
However, in this case I don’t believe the guy believes what he just said. I think in this instance he is very upset and is avoiding discussing it.
At this point, I would say the girl has lost any chance with this guy. At the same time I don’t think this guy did the right thing. I believe both of them should have skipped the nonsense, and put aside their feelings on rejection and said what they had to say.
Many young people described situations where they are finding they are playing some sort of game to start a relationship. But what we see is that people are not interested in playing games.
One final chapter from our female:
“The other day I texted him saying, ‘If you have an interest, just show it.’ He replied with ‘What interest? I am not interested in BF and GF stuff. Plzz forgive me, I don’t want to get involved in this stuff.”
His reply shows that he was once interested (that last sentence), but his first statement indicates he’s not interested.
So the conclusion is he was once interested, but is no longer.
It’s unfortunate it player out this way, but what has happened is that these two people were very non-committal about what it was they wanted. It’s obvious what they wanted, and there were some things they did right, however the key moments were never taken seriously by either person, be it they were afraid of rejection, or nervous.
Even in their return from break, the moment of confronting each other’s feelings was completely mishandled.
The lesson here is that no matter what, when you are initiating conversation with a person, and are ‘testing’ each other’s compatibility, you have to remain direct, honest and non-confusing in your efforts.
Game playing will only lead to missed opportunities.
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