Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tough Love

People love to make excuses, especially when it might hurt someone's feelings not to. On the other hand, I've seen altogether too many of my female friends lately getting themselves hurt because they chased after a guy who gave them an excuse without reading between the lines to understand what he really meant.

We're simple creatures. A guy's desires are not that tough to figure out, and we're extremely motivated by sex/lust/attraction/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. If a guy is into you, he will climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest ocean, and move heaven and earth to spend time with you and possibly get into your pants.

We're also pretty damn flattered when a girl seems to be interested, even if we don't feel the same way. Here's where the excuses come in. Most guys I know don't like to hurt a girl's feelings, especially if they know she likes them, so we think of we think of a way to tell you that doesn't come out as "you're unattractive," "I thought you were cool but you turned me off with something you did," or "dear god no."

If you've ever heard the following phrases and taken them at face value, chances are what he was really saying was one of those potentially hurtful sentences above:

"You know, work's really busy right now and I don't have a lot of time, but it'll calm down in a few weeks." No way. I don't care how busy work gets. Unless I'm out of town, I will definitely find time to hang out/hook up with a girl I think is attractive.

"You're a great friend, and I really don't want to mess up the friendship." I've definitely said this before. Several times. And every time, what I've really meant is "I'm just not attracted to you, but I don't want to hurt your feelings." If I was, I would totally risk the friendship, and I've done that before a few times, too. In fact, my best relationships have come from close friendships, so if you're an attractive friend, that already gives you a headstart. Sorry.

"You're too old/young/far away for me." Ok, this one can sometimes be legit, but it depends on how extreme the difference is. Keep that "highest mountain, deepest ocean, heaven and earth" thing in mind, and you'll be able to tell what he means.

"I don't date girls without college degrees." Again, digging for excuses here. A college degree really has no impact on how intelligent or well-read you seem.

"I don't think we have very much in common." This really doesn't matter too much to guys, unless your goals and/or outlooks on life are very different. Example: He's a conservative christian who's waiting for marriage and you're a hooker, or vice versa.

So if you hear any of these, or something similar, read between the lines. This guy is not worth any more of your time or energy. When he says "I think we'd be better off as friends," what he means is "when I imagine you naked and underneath (or on top of) me, it's not a pleasant thought." Obsessing over or pursuing him will only result in you getting hurt. Especially if he decides not to pass on a sure thing, sleeps with you, and then bails. There's only exception to this rule that I know of: sometimes he'll disqualify you to save face if he thinks you're not feeling it for him, but if that's what's going on, you're not going to pursue it anyway, so you don't need to hear this.

Don't waste time on things that just won't happen. And even though I've written this about guys for women, it works in reverse, too.


Carrie M said...

huh. so you're saying that anytime a girl or guy is turned down by the opposite sex, it is SOLELY based on physical attraction? b/c that's what it's sound like to me...i ask b/c enquiring minds want to know and b/c i have a post dealing with some of this in the works.

LMNt said...

Carrie M -- No, not at all. I'm saying it's always based on attraction, but attraction's not necessarily always physical. There are a lot of non-physical turnoffs, but they usually have to do with attitudes and how you handle yourself instead little things like this. Guys are extremely physically motivated, though.

Carrie M said...

hmmm...i think this is a thinly veiled 'he's just not that into you' post. which is fine, b/c people need to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. my only 'issue' with it is that this post seems very appearance-centric. like when you say:

"so if you're an attractive friend, that already gives you a headstart. Sorry."

i totally get that attraction can mean attitude, etc. also that men are physically motivated, but it just seems really interesting that if the person's appearance isn't up to snuff, then they're DQed. i know that's not QUITE what you're saying here, i do.

i'm also not trying to pick on you, it's just this coincides with some thoughts i've been having lately and putting to PC. if this isn't making sense, then feel free to take it to email and i'll stop sucking up space on your comments. LOL

LMNt said...

Well, to be honest, if someone's appearance isn't something I could ever be attracted to, they are DQ'ed. I don't need to date a supermodel, and I think my personal appearance standards are pretty average, but I can't date someone I don't find at least somewhat attractive. Shallow or not, I think it's pretty normal to feel that way.

Carrie M said...

I think most people feel that way, I guess I'm just wondering about what happens when someone who doesn't look like what you usually go for, but ends up being great? But again, that's the whole attraction as the overall package thing...yeah, the wheels are turning in my head over here. LOL It's all just clicked, I think. I think I'm filtering things based on my train of thoughts about looks and attraction. All still interesting though.

Ar-Jew-Tino said...

A girl once told me, "I'd eff you if you were taller." Granted, I WAS 10 at the time and she was my hebrew school teacher. Was she just not into me or was that a legitimate excuse?

Jo said...

What about guys who string you along then uses one of those excuses? I've had it happen to me and I've seen my guy friends do it.

My favorite (no hidden meaning here) was a guy who flirted with me for months, then when I gathered the guts to hit on him he says "Sorry, you're not my type".

Sometimes, even if it hurts someones feelings, honesty is the way to go.

NotCarrie said...

Girls read into things SO much. I know I've heard the friends one before and I dissected it and decided he did like me, but just wasn't ready. I now know better. And even if he had wanted something more with me, why waste the time waiting? I don't want to sit around waiting.

I'm trying to think of what the girl list of excuses would sound like. Hmmm.

Freckled K said...

There's a scene in Shopgirl where Steve Martin and Claire Danes are separately telling their friends about a relationship conversation that the two of them had had the night before. The difference in what Steve Martin said vs. how Claire interpreted it was huge. Very interesting.

6s&7s said...

You forgot the "I just need some space to figure some things out". I got that recently. Oh and the "Maybe I met someone" MAYBE? MAYBE? I think you either did or did not? There's no "maybe" unless you were on LSD at the time.

But yeah we read things the way we want to because we like someone. Then one day, hopefully, we wake up and move on. It happens to men and women...oh well. C'est la vie!

LMNt said...

Carrie M -- I can find someone who's not what I "usually go for" attractive and that's fine. If they're not what I usually go for and I don't find them attractive in some way, I'm not interested. Looking forward to reading your post.

Ar-Jew-Tino -- Know how I know you're gay? 'Cause you're my biggest fan.

Jo -- I'm very anti-stringing-people-along. That said, I flirt with everybody, so I can understand where your favorite was coming from.

NotCarrie -- I think the girls' list would look pretty similar, except it would also include "I only date guys taller than X'X" tall."

Freckled K -- Now I totally want to see the movie. Claire Danes AND a demonstration of male/female misunderstanding? I'm so there.

6s&7s -- "I need some space to figure things out" is "I'm breaking up with you but I don't have the balls to pull the trigger yet." That happens at the opposite end of a relationship from these. But yeah, I hate those, too.

Kristin said...

I don't have anything intelligent to say, I just love this post :)

SWF41 said...

Ooops....I have said "I'd fuck you if you were taller."

For some reason, he was offended.