I was listening to the radio last week, and Mr. Deejay was talking about how his friend recently got hurt — because a girl he liked rejected him. He went on to say how difficult dating is for guys, because girls are mean.
He followed with, “Girls, if you’re not interested, you shouldn’t even be friends with the guy.”
It prompted all sorts of thoughts in my head, the loudest of which was: “Guys, you’ve gotta stop being so entitled. She doesn’t owe you anything.”
If you’ve ever felt unfairly treated, or confused by women in dating, this one is for you.
“But I did so much for her. She should at least give me a chance…”
Hollywood, sappy Korean dramas, and even Disney teach us that love is difficult. That the hero doesn’t stand a chance, but still tries against all odds for that one special girl. And eventually wins her heart through some incredibly romantic gesture.
Your well-meaning friends don’t help either, when they say things like: “Try harder; be persistent. Girls like persistence.”
The problem here is not romance, trying, or persistence. The problem here is the belief that guys need to do something for girls to like them. And its even more sinister cousin: that girls are something to be earned. So goes the belief: “I’ll do A, B and C for her, and (despite my fifty flaws and the hundred practical reasons it would never work) Sarah will like me.”
But the real world doesn’t work that way. Despite what a hundred dodgy advertisements will tell you — there’s no guaranteed way to make a girl love you. It’s not “do A, then B, and she will love you.”
Girls aren’t a computer game, where you can key in the cheat code, win, and do whatever you want.
They’re complicated humans with complex feelings. Just like you and me. And we would all do better at relationships, if we started treating them that way.
“But She’s Sending Me Mixed Signals”
Of course there are girls who purposely lead guys on, try to get free stuff from them and then act all innocent. If you’ve been manipulated before, I’m sorry bro… I feel you.
But by and large the population isn’t out to swindle you. Girls don’t wake up every day thinking how to screw you over. Most women are just as confused as you are in the whole dating process.
But they’re ten times more afraid of being hurt, and a hundred times more afraid of being seen as a slut.
A lot of times, women hurt men not because they’re bitches. They hurt you because they aren’t sure what to do; aren’t brave enough to speak the truth and risk losing you; or paradoxically — because they really don’t want to hurt you.
And then you end up hurting yourself.
“So How Will I Know if She Likes Me?”
Yup, relationships are tough. Assuming that everyone is sincere, there’s still a huge communication gap: how do you know if she likes you? Why can’t she just be direct?
Let me take you back to the radio show. More than one person commented that “women lose either way.” If they act nice, guys say they’re leading them on. If they show they’re not interested, guys say they’re stuck-up bitches.
In this male-dominated world, do you realize how tough it is to be a woman?
So it’s really up to you my friend — to be a master of communication. Let me make this clear, so you stop behaving like an infatuated schoolboy:
- Her being polite to you doesn’t mean she’s interested
- Her replying your message doesn’t mean she’s interested
- Her being friendly to you doesn’t mean she’s interested
She’s interested if you hold her hand and she doesn’t take it away. If you make your intentions clear and she doesn’t reject you.
You need to be brave enough to show your intentions. And strong enough to walk away when she’s not interested. Even if she is, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to get married, have three kids and live happily ever after.
All it means is she’s giving you a chance.
Don’t screw up.
The World Doesn’t Owe You Anything
I know I’ve bashed you a lot today. But it’s really not your fault.
When you were young, the biggest lie they told you was “work hard, and you will succeed.”
Yes, it was a lie with the best intentions. Hopefully it made you realize how important how hard work is.
But it also made you start thinking in terms of cause and effect: If I do A, I’ll get B. If I work hard, I’ll be rich. If I bring Sarah to dinner, she will like me. It made you have unrealistic expectations.
So let me be the bad guy and tell you that your expectations (not Sarah) will break your heart; that actually, life can seem hideously unfair. And that you can work your ass off — but might still be broke and lonely.
* * * * * * * *
I tell you, not because I want you to be disappointed, sad or depressed. I don’t want you to give up either.
But the reality is life is hard. Dating is hard.
Yet, our parents made it happen; they made you happen. With no dating apps, YouTube tutorials or relationship articles to help them. Which is why I’m confident we’ll eventually find our way. I think I know how we can start.
Maybe if we look beyond our selfish wants, and try to empathize with women (plus give them some leeway, because you know… hormones), we’d not only save ourselves a lot of frustration, but also become better men. The type that women actually like. Because women like men who are good, not men who do things to look good.
And maybe the first step comes from not always expecting returns, but doing things out of sincerity, generosity and kindness.
Isn’t that what love really is?
Pic at Unsplash.