“I’m not into him. But how I’m supposed to say that? I don’t want to hurt his feelings. He is a nice person.”
“She is so hot-and-cold, I don’t understand what she wants. It drives me nuts.”
“He says he likes my initiatives but never proposes anything first. I feel I need to chase him every time. “
© people who shared with me some of their experiences
The new era brought us many exciting things: sex on the first date became acceptable, but talk with the person we are date for six months if they want to have a family with us in the future is kind of scary.
We don’t want to seem invasive or needy. We value our privacy as well. But it seems that after we opened up physical borders, spiritual connections became superficial. Or how to explain that many people today stay in the Schrödinger’s relationships when they have and have not someone in their lives simultaneously?
Empathy, the extraordinary ability of humans to understand and share the feelings of another, is now often used as an aggressive tool to drill through people’s heads. At work, we are basically executing on the principle that “NO” does not exist. It’s just temporary, and we need to try harder and find ways to make a prospect say “YES.”
In dating, such an approach can’t be called effective. Sometimes “no” means “no,” there is no enough chemistry to make it a “yes,” and tricks will not help. It’s silly to offer to a person who loves olives a raisin, and when they refuse the dried fruit, put it in saltwater and offer again, hoping that now they’ll like it.
Signs of attraction
The good news is that human nature hasn’t been changing for centuries; otherwise, a legion of marketers would stay out of work. Men and women show the same signs when they are attracted to the other person. They are:
1) Staying Present — don’t disappear for days or weeks, actively text, stay in touch, express interest in how the partner is doing.
2) Being Active — they invite somewhere, agree on proposals, happy to make plans together.
3) Getting Closer — they want to go deeper emotionally, spend more time together, learn and understand the partner more.
4) Going Physical — they want to touch and be touched.
5) Making Effort — they always find the time for the other person, ready to help, find a thoughtful gift.
6) Claiming The Spot — not hide the partner, include them into theirs life, and willing to know if the feelings are reciprocated.
The irony is when happens the opposite of the described above, we may come up with all kinds of excuses that seems super legit in our crazy times. It is much easier put bananas in the ears and pretend all is ok than to admit, “I’m not her/his type; she/he is not into me.”
Nobody wants to feel rejected as an expired yogurt. Plus, what if some of those excuses are true?
If more people would be able to accept the fact they are not a hundred-dollar banknote and can’t be liked by everyone, we’d have so many more happy humans who won’t be stuck for months or years in unclear relationships.
Please pay attention to the actions; they speak louder than words.
Photo by GR Stocks on Unsplash
People are not irrational, as it might seem. If they are acting weird, there are reasons for that we don’t know.
For example, my friend Justin has a friend with whom they spent a night once. Now she continuously tries to find a fun activity for them to do together. She likes him, but he is not into her and doesn’t want to hurt her feelings with a straightforward rejection. Unfortunately for him, they have a lot of interests in common. That’s why even if he never propose anything to her, hoping that she’ll get tired and forget about him, sometimes he can’t say no without feeling like a jerk, so they go climbing a mountain (literally) together.
That’s why seeing red flags is actually a good thing — this is how we know if we should invest more time in that person. There is the second, equally important part — to accept those red flags.
It’s a great skill to learn how to take the facts as they are instead of lie to ourselves, convince that all is good and come up with excuses for people’s behavior. Intuitively we always know it’s not good when people do this:
Red Flag 1) They Disappear.
Excuses: Work, sick, moving, traveling, has no internet connection…
In the beginning, it’s ok to remain at a certain distance. Most people try to be understanding if another person disappears. We have lives and can’t change everything at 180 degrees in one day.
But if you kissed or had sex, you a little bit more than just two strangers. Staying in touch is a good sign. Vanish for days and then appear as nothing happened seems like somebody feeding a small fish instead of having an empty dish next Friday.
Red Flag 2) They Never Propose Anything.
Excuses: shy, tired, afraid to show initiative, have no hobbies, don’t know where to invite…
Having a healthy amount of initiative is good. Also, in any relationship, it’s all about reciprocity. If we feel that we need to drug someone on a date with us all the time, it’s killing the romantic vibe and may grow the insecurity. If one person often needs to jump through the hoops to prove to the partner, they can have a good time, that’s a red flag. The keywords are “often” and “all the time.”
Red Flag 3) They Are Not Looking For a Mutual Emotional Connection.
Excuses: cold character, don’t like to talk about emotions, traumatized by previous experience, need time, don’t believe in love…
In the perfect world, the number and quality of dates should grow with time. The longer we stay with someone we like, the more we want to know things about them, and the same is from their side. Through the words, we open up to each other, creating a special connection and trust. When somebody we like is not interested in discovering who we are inside, our values, joys, sorrows, when they stay emotionally distant and not sharing much about themselves, that’s a red flag.
Red Flag 4) They Avoid Physical Closeness.
Excuses: too tired, too hot, too sleepy, not temperamental, not get used to cuddling, had a mother who never hugged…
Touch is a source of pleasure for many humans. It could be holding hands, hugs, gentle back-scratching, kisses, etc. But also sex. When the other person usually prefers to watch a movie or sleep instead of lovemaking, that’s not fun.
Red Flag 5) They Don’t Make an Effort.
Excuses: busy, infantile, narcissist, low emotional intellect, I never ask, I don’t need that…
“- Let’s meet tonight. – Ok, only if it does not rain.” — joke from Instagram
Making an effort can come in many different forms: fly to another city (oh, those long-distance relationships), drive to a doctor, watch the dog, prepare dinner, make a gift with a special meaning. Doing something that will make the other person’s life a little bit better is pleasant, especially if we care. If not, even a simple thing, such as meeting in a bar after work, becomes a burden.
Red Flag 6) They Remind a Visitor
Excuse: not ready to commit, commitment problems, all is clear without words, who needs to verbalize it, it’s the twenty-first century…
Visitors come and go. They don’t care about the place they stayed or the person they spend a night with. They don’t ask how the other person feels about them and don’t want to commit. They prefer to keep everything in secret from family and Facebook.
Such cases are clear as mud, and frankly speaking, the longer person stays in it, the dirtier it feels. Get out of it!
The third important part after seeing and accepting red flags is not to get upset and move on. Just think of it: traumas, experiences, instincts, environment — all these factors leave marks on human preferences in personal life. Often people can’t tell why they are attracted to a specific type or a particular person. Or why they are not.
Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash
Similar should pick similar, at least to match on the basic levels, such as faith, cleaning habits, life values. If you are super busy, you need a busy partner who has no time to text non-stop. If you are temperamental, you need a person who can please you every day. And so on. We need to take people as they are, not demand to be different. Who asks a parrot to stop behaving as a parrot and become a shark?
Don’t forget two things:
1. A person who is not a good match today in 5 years could be the perfect partner for you. Who knows.
2. If not, very probably that person respects you in a way you can remain friends.
Share more empathy and kindness for other people. We all can be confused.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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