Is he, or isn’t he?

I have to tell you. From the moment I heard Greg Behrendt speak on Oprah about his book “He’s Just Not That Into You” – I was a total believer. I had been in many of the situations that he spoke about, and I was just like the girls in the book: analyzing every word of every conversation some guy ever spoke to me, and trying to figure out what it all meant. For all the time I spent trying to convince myself that these guys really were “that into me”, I’m surprised that I had never grasped the concept before – that if he really cared, he would make it clear. Needless to say, I bought the book and have been a true believer in this concept every since…until now.

oprahHaving said that, it’s one thing to believe it and an entirely different thing to live it. I think the reason why women continue to over-analyze is because we know we’re not getting the answer we want. We want to think of every single scenario, other than the fact that the guy we like, might not like us too. And I’ve been there, many times….

But – here’s my beef.

I have rarely known guys who are that early in the game (and it IS a game) – to mean what they say, and say what they mean.

I have met guys who I was 100% sure were into me. And next thing you know, I find myself questioning how I could have possibly misread the “signs” – and then I’m questioning every single guy from here on out, thinking that no guy could possibly be into me, because I was 100% sure then, so how can I be 100% sure now? How do you know whether or not a guy is being truthful? Whether or not he’s just “taking you on” as a challenge? Or, just looking for a warm body to keep from being lonely (I DO believe that guys get lonely too), or he’s playing the field with you and several others? He could be giving you all the signs and saying all the things that don’t even make you think to question whether or not he’s into you. He clearly is. But then – he drops off the face of the earth, or accuses you of making “unfair” assumptions about the state of your relationship. And is that really fair?? How are you ever really supposed to know?

This entire post stems from the recent experience of my friend JD. Long story short:

  • Friendship/on-going fling with guy a few years back
  • Runs into guy, now with LIVE-IN GIRLFRIEND, recently on business trip
  • Guy sends text message to JD, at her hotel, night of business function with suggestive implications
  • Guy contacts JD when back in the country about professional opportunity
  • JD helps Guy
  • Guy declines opportunity, but writes very suggestive email about how much he was looking forward to the opportunity to spend more time with her, and how disappointed he is that they’re not going to get to see each other on a regular basis (might sound harmless, but the tone was unquestioningly suggestive and inappropriate for a guy with a live-in girlfriend).

I told JD that she should just write back and ask: “What is that supposed to mean?” But, we all know exactly what would have happened. Although Guy was making unquestionably suggestive comments with inappropriate undertones, he would have turned it back on JD with “What did what mean?” “It didn’t “mean” anything, you’re just overanalyzing….” He knew exactly what he was doing though – he was being safe by not being explicit about what it was that he truly wanted, but knew that he had an out if she questioned him.

UGH!! I was so angry when she told me that story! I hate it that guys know exactly what they’re doing when they write a message like that – they know exactly what they want, and they know exactly how we’ll take it. And yet – they leave themselves an out in case it doesn’t work out their way, and that “out” always ends up making the girl look like she’s being a demanding and clingy. So even if you were to flat-out, straight-up call him out on his motives, you’re still in the same boat trying to figure out whether or not you misread the “signs.” (Greg Behrendt argues that there are no ‘signs’). And before people start writing angry comments – yes – I know there are women who are just as manipulative, but this is a single girl blog…I’m just talking about my experiences with men (or should I say boys…).

So – the debate rages on. Is he into you, or isn’t he? And will we ever know…


2 Responses to “Is he, or isn’t he?”

  1. August 12, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    You’re absolutely right. I have some issues with He’s Just Not That Into You. One of them is that, as you pointed out, it lets guys off the hook for a lot of inappropriate behavior. By suggesting that a guy will only treat you well when he’s “into you,” Behrendt excuses all the guys who aren’t into you for treating you like crap.

    In general, I find that while the book’s philosophy may work well for discerning whether a guy is interested after a date or two, it doesn’t work in the long run because it tries to simplify complex human behavior into a neat, tidy formula. Just like women, men struggle with insecurity, immaturity, past wounds, unhealthy habits, all kinds of things that can lead them to sabotage relationships. It’s unfair to women–and to men–to suggest that any man who is “into” a woman will immediately shower her with diamonds, whisk her off to his castle on his white horse, and live happily ever after with her without ever questioning the relationship or making mistakes. Men are just people, not ogres who are suddenly transformed into princes by the “right” women. To imply anything else is disrespectful to both sexes and promotes an inaccurate worldview.

  2. August 12, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Agreed. I keep planning to write a post about how fairytales have completely set women up for unreasonable expectations when it comes to men and finding love. And who are we kidding – girls play the exact same games that men do. Funny how there are so many differences between men and women but at the end of the day – we’re all the same. Like you said, we can’t “simplify complex human behavior into a neat, tidy formula” – every planet is different. But, wouldn’t it be nice if ALL singles, EVERYWHERE agreed to do away with the games, and treat others with honesty and respect – “what a wonderful world this would be”…..

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