Being Direct: When Things Don’t Work Themselves Out
When is it reasonable for us to expect another person to just “get it” that we’re no longer interested in them, and when are we socially required to make a direct statement of disinterest to set things straight? Chances are you’ve all been on both sides of this sticky situation: two people meet and toy around with the idea of dating. Then one realizes s/he is no longer interested and has to find a way to communicate this to the other.
I used to think there was a cut-and-dry solution to this. If no actual dates have occurred, all it requires is not picking up the phone/answering texts/etc. If there’s been one date, you might need to keep talking to the person while refusing to go on another date or participate in any non-platonic (or one-on-one) activities to get your point across. And, obviously, if the situation has escalated to involve sex then a direct statement is required – although this is a rule few people actually follow. As I said before, I used to think the above guidelines were good. Now, I am beginning to question…
Those rules seem like an easy way to judge your actions on the dating scene, but you may find, as I did, that this ease-of-use changes depending on which side you’re on. When I am the disinterested party I find it completely incomprehensible that the person I am trying to ditch doesn’t grasp my subtle hints.
“Hello, I didn’t pick up the phone ONCE when you called. Do you get it yet?”
I tend to think that subtlety is more than sufficient for my purposes, as long as I’m doing the rejecting; but my song changes when I am – or suspect I am – on the flipside.
When someone blows me off I sometimes have a hard time deciphering his/her actions. Often it’s obvious: they never pick up the phone when I call or maybe they make specific plans with me and then never show up.
Sometimes it’s just not that clear – especially if any substantial amount of emotion is involved. When I’m the one being rejected I tend to want something solid to give me closure. Hints just aren’t enough. I want you to tell me, point-blank.
This, of course, brings to light the obvious hypocrisy in my own behavior. I expect from others that which I am not always capable of doing myself. So when are non-confrontational subtleties really acceptable, and when is a more direct approach required? Essentially, what I’m asking is: What should we do when things don’t work themselves out?
Posted in Dating in the District