1. Making a conscious effort to show how much less you can care than the other person.
There’s a game commonly being played in the dating world called, I’m Going To Prove That You’re Into This WAY More Than I Am. It’s kind of like peekaboo but you’re the grown up, the other person is the baby and the objective is to meet their excitement with high levels of disinterest when your face pops into view.
I know this is a defense mechanism that people utilize as a way of proceeding with caution and protecting themselves, but if you think about it there’s no real benefit. Purposely taking long to respond to texts, waiting an extra day to return calls, being nonchalant and whatever about spending time together – these things will only fill the other person with doubt. Then, even if it doesn’t work out, regardless of the relaxed front you’ve put on you’ll still feel incredibly crappy inside. If you’re going to put your precious heart at risk, don’t keep it covered in protective plastic and Styrofoam.
2. Taking screenshots of interaction and sharing it with the masses.
If a person is trying to (and failing at) courting you, the worst possible thing you can do is snap a photo of your exchange and put it online for everyone to see. It’s incredibly, excessively rude. I get it when a scumbag is trying to cheat on their partner or something worthy of being called out, but when a person is just asking you to dinner or showering you with compliments, why try to humiliate them or call it being “thirsty?” That’s why there are only like 32 decent people left in the world, because trying to be nice is considered desperate and at risk for a grand, public ostracizing.
3. Hating being lied to, but also lying to others.
There’s a Stephen M.R. Covey quote that says: “We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior.” When someone likes you and you’re indifferent or not attracted to them, it’s easier to deliver excuses than it would be to potentially hurt their feelings by straightforwardly saying you’re not interested, but what happens when you’re in the reverse? When you place the ball in someone’s court and they are always busy or blasé towards you? Then suddenly it’s about honesty and not giving false hope or blowing you off because where’s the human decency?
Let’s face it, we’re a bunch of hypocrites and dating tends to bring out the selfish double-dealer in all of us. Being honest doesn’t mean being malicious; there are ways to tell the truth without breaking someone’s spirit. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t exist in a chain of disappointment that has Susan leading on Tommy who’s leading on Kristen who’s leading on Bradley and so on, and so on, and Scooby dooby doo.
4. Taking passive aggressive shots at the person you’re involved with on social media.
The only thing worse than having a large portion of conversations take place over text messages is ‘subliminally’ throwing stones over the internet. They’re always so blatant and obvious too, so everyone knows exactly who you’re referring to when you say “One day you’re in, the next you’re out – why can’t people make up their minds?” or whatever should-be private matter is at hand. Communication can take place in numerous forms; Sub-Tweeting shouldn’t be one of them, no matter how much you’d like to indirectly, publicly call ‘em out.
5. 90% of interaction happening via text message.
Obviously it may feel convenient to write acronym filled sentences to each other throughout the day, but texting is such an impersonal means of communication that it’s terrible to depend on so heavily. I’d like to take this opportunity to quote Will Smith’s character in the greatest rom-com (and perhaps movie, period) of all time, Hitch:
Sixty percent of all human communication is nonverbal, body language; thirty percent is your tone. So that means that ninety percent of what you’re saying ain’t coming out of your mouth.
If 90% of what you’re saying ain’t coming out of your mouth, it certainly isn’t coming from your fingers.
Nope, that’s not a mistake up above, do you see how confusing things get when there’s no label? I’m trying to prove a point because it seems like more often than not these days, romantically involved people are avoiding labels and a definitive answer to the question “What are we?” Boyfriends and girlfriends have become endangered concepts, as foggy clouds of vagueness engulf any potential conclusive clarity. Imagine grocery store aisles with no labels above — you’d have absolutely no idea where to look for things. That’s what these unlabeled daters are like, scouring for canned soup in the paper product aisle and deli meat in the produce section… Does this metaphor even make sense? No, not really, but neither do all of those inconclusive, unclear, ambiguous, blurry, special-but-not-special-enough-to-be-official connections.
7. Impassable tests and strange experiments.
Here are a few common examples of the nonsense that needs to stop:
–Saying you don’t mind if they go to girls/guys night or whatever when actually you do mind, a lot.
–Saying “Nothing’s wrong” or “I’m fine” when everything’s wrong and you’re absolutely not fine.
–Saying “So this guy/girl at work told me I’m cute today, I think he/she like, likes me or whatever” or something along those lines. Why did you say it? Are you saying this is a person they should be concerned about? Are they a threat? Are they Roy and your admiring co-worker is Jim Halpert? Because if not, there’s no sense in trying to make your [GET A FREAKING LABEL ALREADY, AND INSERT IT HERE] feel like Woody & the gang after Andy got a new Buzz Lightyear.
This post originally appeared on Thought Catalog.