Hey guys, remember middle school? How it was awkward and uncomfortable and you’d go to dances and stand three feet from your partner? Okay, that’s a lie, I never went to school dances because my school only held them at lunch and I thought it was lame and an affront to the precious time I had with my sammich. I remember people having crushes left, right and center, and not knowing what to do about them. They would resort to tactics that were very middle school-appropriate indeed, like writing notes that said “Do you like me? Check [ ] YES or [ ] NO,” or sending friends from one group to the other to convey messages.
I’m so glad all this has changed. Or I would be, if it actually had. I have yet to meet a grown man who isn’t really just a twelve year old in disguise. I want to say I don’t get it, but the truth is, I kind of do. The older you are, the more intensely you crush on someone, and the scarier it gets to do something. But then, the more practice you’ve had, the easier it should be, right? The thing is, trying to get someone to go out with you is only half the battle. There’s also trying to not go out with someone anymore.
Or in my case, trying to not go out with someone you had an ambiguous relationship with in the first place. I wish I could say we had an open conversation, like two adults. If we had, he would have had a chance to find out that I wasn’t really looking for anything solid or long-term at the time anyway, and was fine with leaving things at a handful of kisses. Maybe he would have been less concerned about hurting my feelings or whatever his reason for being a coward was.
As it is, he just avoided me. At a friend’s party he spoke about three words to me, and then struck up a conversation with a good friend of mine about how he wishes he could date people but he’s just so busy with work. Give him credit, at least he understood the mechanics of the lady phone system, whereby my friend will clearly transmit this information to me. The fact that he relied on this, instead of having a simple and direct conversation, is something I feel like I find in every guy I have anything remotely romantic to do with.
I don’t know what this inability to communicate is. A lot of boys are flaky, and frankly, a lot of girls are too, so let’s just chalk that up to human nature. But when emotions are involved, it’s more than that. When someone tells you they have feelings and then disappear for six months, it leaves something to be desired in the realm of maturity. When someone relies on a game of telephone to avoid having to pseudo-break-up your pseudo-ambiguous-what-is-this-anyway, they’ve taken a page straight out of a middle schooler’s handbook.
What can a girl do? When everything is awkward enough anyway, what can you do if everything feels like it would just heighten the tension? Call him out on it. I would like to note here that I need to take my own advice. It’s a tough thing to do, especially if you’re like me and terrified both of hurting someone’s feelings, and of being presumptuous that someone would like me enough in the first place that I could hurt said feelings. That’s my own issue that I’m working out and will probably use for a column on a slow news day.
In the meantime, I urge you to call out these boys because otherwise there is no hope of them ever becoming men. Maybe they’ll see that all this isn’t as scary as it seems. Maybe they’ll learn that you can’t go halfway with something if someone else’s emotions are involved too. Or maybe you’ll just learn something for yourself about that person, and have less regrets about moving on.
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