I want to try to keep away from emotionally charged things this month (see February Goals for why)-but I also want to dig in to some of the bigger issues I have with the ideas of modern dating. And I also don’t want for parts of this blog to just become rants about ‘how men these days just don’t act the way we think they should and it’s all on them’. (Hint: It’s not just on them.) So I want to start with the biggest thing that I realize about myself when it comes to attempts at relationships: I am COMPLETELY oblivious to what any man that has ever been interested in me has tried to do to make me understand that they are interested.
At least, in the moment I am. In an after action report- I can pinpoint several things that were done that should have been welcome signs of interest. People can say that actions speak louder than words, except when you’re interested in someone who needs words so that they can be absolutely 100% sure that all your actions actually added up to something.
I am that girl. I am the girl that really needs to someone to just spell it out for me. Usually once it is spelled out there will be a reaction of ‘oh yeah, I like this person too-why didn’t someone say something earlier?’ or ‘oh-sorry- thanks but no thanks’. And to any man that may stumble across this blog and go ‘you seriously won’t be that nice to say thanks but no thanks’- I am sorry for the rejections that you have been through that lead you to believe that this is the Standard Operating Procedure for all women who are not particularly interested in a man. As someone who has live their own share of rejection- I know what I would have wanted in those situations and what I did not get from 99% of them.
Here’s the real meat of what I want to talk about- WHY I am just so oblivious. I have no scientific proof that others will agree- but just maybe there are a few women out here that will go ‘yep-that reason applies to me’. So in no particular order- here are some of the main reasons I think I am so oblivious to this aspect of what is going on around me.
1.) I do not speak man.
I feel like there is some sort of code that men speak in when they like a woman that I am just not able to crack. Like seriously- what does ‘hanging out’ even mean? What does talking about random plans ALL THE TIME mean? Does it even mean anything? My solution to all of this is that all men should just ask when they are interested, so that women can know that when they are randomly talking about things at other times- that they are not interested. I also know this is not a perfect world. But one can dream.
2.) I do not see what others see in me.
I’m sorry- was that compliment something I was supposed to understand to mean that you like me? I just don’t look at myself as someone that men would be interested in. (Which is entirely different bag of worms that I will not get in to here). I hear from other people that I am pretty. I hear from other people that they really like the person I am. But I have yet to have some guy prove that they actually believe that about me-at least in the romantic sense. While I truly believe in my worth- I also have a hard time figuring out exactly what is in with regard to relationships. Frankly- I just have a hard time understanding why a guy would even be interested with my track record.
3.) I have read the ‘signs’ wrong far too many times to be confident in what I am seeing.
9 times out of 10- I trust my gut. About 1 time out of 10- my gut has actually been right on a guy having some sort of interest in me. Maybe I am tuning in to the wrong ‘signs’. Maybe I tune in to interest that is more of a cursory sort, not a real ‘I want to get to know you as a romantic partner’ sort. Maybe the ‘signs’ are just so plain that they can be seen in 90% of the people I interact with because they have this thing called MANNERS. Either way- I have come to be weary of my gut when it comes to someone being interested in me as more than just a co-worker or friend.
4.) I am socially awkward with romantic relationships.
Hi- my name is Bailey- and you can ask me to navigate a tricky political situation at work and I can manage to find just the right diplomatic tone to not set everyone off and still be able to talk to those people afterward. But if you ask me what I am supposed to do to ‘signal’ that I am romantically interested in someone and I go complete ‘deer in the headlights’. I just don’t know. It’s not that I am not interested. It is just that I have no flipping idea what I should do to make it obvious to someone that I like them like them. You know, short of saying it. (And before anyone says it- I am a firm believer in traditional gender roles in this aspect of relationships.)
5.) I completely miss when someone is trying to ‘feel me out’.
Oh-are you trying to be friendly? Or are you trying to feel out if I am interested in you? Frankly- I cannot tell the difference. Maybe there is no difference. Maybe there is some sort of huge different that my mind just cannot wrap itself around. (Seriously- someone enlighten me here if there is like a 100% accurate red flag for interest that isn’t a verbal ‘wanna go out’). But I will say this- I can tell 99% of the time when a man is dating someone. Why? Because at some point in the ‘random chit chat’ part of any conversation with a woman THEY SAY IT. It’s still a 100% friendly conversation-but everyone is now on the same page that it is ONLY a friendly conversation. I don’t share back I’m single- but I’m sure if the shoe were on the other foot- I’d be saying that I had a boyfriend to any guy that I was just getting to know so that lanes would be well defined. Can we just start a thing where conversations start and it is acceptable to go ‘not just trying to be friendly here’? Then again-that directly conflicts with my next point.
6.) I have been scared off by overly aggressive men in the past.
Do you know those guys that just come on way too strong? Like a woman has known them for 3 days and they are all up in their business and know things about them that just do not make sense for them to know. Maybe they routinely run in to women like me who are oblivious. Or maybe they just think this is the way to impress girls. Either way- those ‘way too strong’ men have put a sound fear in to me about showing even the slightest obvious interest in someone.
7.) I assume men have friendly intent not romantic intent.
This kinda jives with #2 and #5. I seriously do not even think of the romantic options that could come out of a conversation. I just think of the professional or friendly options that could come out of it. And when I have allowed myself to think of romantic options- it never ends with ‘wanna get dinner sometime’?
8.) My gut and my brain often do not agree on what a man’s intentions are.
This is somewhat duplicative of #3, but not exactly in my book. My gut may be able to discern some level of interest-but my brain and my gut get into an all-out brawl when it comes to if a man is actually going to show interest. So many times when my gut goes ‘ugh-yeah-he should’. I get nada. When my brain goes ‘nope- he’s not going to’- it is usually right. I’ve just never had a situation line up where my brain goes ‘yeah-he’s going to’ when I’ve truly deciphered everything that I possibly can from a situation.
9.) I do not openly scope out most of the men I interact with from a romantic perspective.
I may have an interest in someone-but I, generally, do not openly scope them out in front of them. Maybe it is just me- but I like to figure things out from a distance, you know, where I actually have the emotional bubble between me and them to make sure I know what I am feeling. And after saying that- I can see how this may be a problem. But the thing is- I do not really have any solution that makes sense.
10.) My timing in realizing someone is interested is not super quick.
I’m doing my last minute ‘hey have a good weekend’ script when some guy asks me about my plans for the weekend. (Again-is this just a friendly thing or an interest thing.) Let’s just assume it is an interest thing. I’ll rattle off whatever it is I have planned, listen to whatever it is they have to say about their own weekend-but I certainly do not ever think to go ‘oh that sounds interesting’ or ‘that’s something I’d like to try sometime’. And by the time my brain rolls around to ‘maybe I should say something like that’ the moment to say it has completely passed and it would be super awkward to go back and try to say it to see if they were trying to gauge something they though ‘we’ should do or if they were just saying it to share as well. It’s not even that I mean to shoot down an attempt- I just legitimately do not recognize 99% of what people would call common attempts at showing interest. And I guess that by the time I do realize it- it is too late.
If you relate to any of the above- all I can say is do not give up hope. We were put here on Earth-just the way we are for a reason. It may not be easy to figure it out- but there is absolutely a reason.
I wish I had steps to pull me out of being so oblivious, but I also think that there is a reason I am this way. There is a reason that God made me to be this way and he has some sort of purpose for this in the long run. Whether He means for me to stay single or not- that is up to him. I just know that any ways that I think on working on the above things have always come up blank. So I’m looking to Him for some guidance. I’m looking to Him to basically go ‘hey- Bailey- this one’s for you’. And while I will help myself in every way I can- I also trust that He has it all worked out.