That is the question…
I have come to realize I don’t know how to date. I know how to FRIEND. I know how to build a friendship, be a buddy, make guys feel comfortable, and seek out and sort out the personal stuff. So much of my history is putting my emotions into the intimate parts of my friendships with men and women. So when it comes to dating, I don’t really know what it looks like or even what’s appropriate or what means its going well or that the guy is into me… I mean what is the difference? (Yes I feel like I am channelling my inner Jr Higher.)
It seems that guy after guy in my life now and in the past has made a reference in SOME capacity to say that I was easy to talk to, I made them feel comfortable, or were just easy to be around (notice I didn’t say ALL guys – you exceptions know who you are). I have tried and tried over the years to be a good friend and not put my needs first (most of the time at least not on purpose); looking to what I can offer and not just focusing on what I can get. But somewhere in that mastering of the friendship component, I think I lost the ability to date, romance, or flirt.
Now when I say flirt I don’t mean smile pretty from across the room, or toss the hair at just the right moment. Those non assertive, subtle gestures are easy. However, I am told from most of the male population and a few news stories on dating (who would have thought that news story and dating could be in the same sentence); that men don’t notice these subtle things. There are rules to how you can get a guy’s attention and for some reason I either run in fear, chicken out, or don’t want to be humiliated when he looks at me with THAT look. Yes there is a look that strikes fear in even my bold and courageous heart some days (ok I don’t think I’m bold and courageous but some one said that to me once, so I am going with it). It’s the ewwwwwwwwww you think I could like yooooooou???? non verbal facial expression that is the ego crushing LOOK and of course insert loud obnoxious soul crushing laughter in attachment. Yeah pretty much keeps me from flirting, approaching, touching, initiating conversations ALL together.
But when I push all that romancing ooooeeeyyyy goooeeeeyyyy stuff into another corner of the universe I can relate, befriend, trash talk, one up, and listen with the best of them. Which I think some how translates into friendship as a deep friend or even brother – sister level but never romantic. Becaues I do not think I express the tom boy persona in my relating to guys, but I don’t exude the sweet, submissive, quiet, christiany fluffy girl either. Curiousor and curiousor.
Now I haven’t hired a consultant like Hitch to accompany me on every non-date I have or hire someone to secretly video tape my interactions all the men in my world; nor have I had my nearest and dearest friends score and provide feedback on my performances (Please do NOT bring the Golfing score cards to singles group next time). So I can only speculate on what I am doing wrong to project the ONLY FRIENDS thingy I have displayed over me like a No TRESPASSING sign. Some have said I am intimidating, but others have said it is merely that I am INTENSE (of course there isn’t a font bright enough or large enough to provide the perfectly BRIGHT and STRONG use of the word). But let your imagination wander through the FEELING of what INTENSE means and I think you’ll see bright colors and know that is me… well sometimes… when I’m passionate about a subject (which is most days)… I mean I did seem to toss around the phrase I was arguing with God the other day in a little too causal way, so I can imagine that is a pretty intense visual and might be a smidge INTIMIDATING too (ooops).
Yet will all this intensity I can still be a good friend, confidant, and activity buddy. I have heard that guys don’t hang out with high stress, high maintenance, extremely emotional, or drama filled PEOPLE so I can only ASSUME that some where in my friendships with them I do not do any of this. Or at least I do manage proportions of this. So how does one make that shift between Friending and Dating? Is it conscious or accidental? Is it something I cannot fix or must simply wait patiently for just the right guy to wander across my intense, clever, low maintenance, funny, cute, and creative path at the specifically providential time? The jury is still out, but the peanut gallery has a few opinions on the subject.
Even with these conflicting issues in my life, there are list items to be revealed:
- He should be willing to listen, maybe not to everything, but to the things that are important to me. Since I need to process through conversation, he must be willing to participate in this. If it does not come naturally, he must be willing to work at it.
- He must be a man who talks to me with respect, encouragement, tenderness, sweetness, and admiration. By treasuring and respecting my ideas, desires, actions, and career choices even if it does not perfectly mirror his ideas. (I of course would be expected to do the same.)