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5 Signs He’s Not That Into You


GUY'S EYE VIEW

5 Signs He’s Not That Into You

Ladies, consider yourself duly warned if your guy pulls one of these dating behaviors: They spell bad news. Here’s how to deal.

By Steve Friedman



t’s the type of situation that drives women crazy wondering what’s up: A man you’ve been dating hasn’t returned your call for two and a half days. Or, when you end up calling him to invite him out with your friends, he’s busy that night. And just when you’re about to give up on him, there he is at your door, apologizing like crazy—and not entirely sober—an hour past your bedtime.

Do actions like these conclusively prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
Too many women spend enormous amounts of energy excusing, explaining and rationalizing male behavior that can mean only one thing.
he’s not as invested in your budding affair as you are? Do they mean that he wants to stay firmly rooted in land of low expectations, the country called Keep it Casual? Have you just become the next victim of that catchall phrase “He’s just not that into you”—ugly shorthand for a woman involved with a man who isn’t quite so involved with the woman?

As much as I’d like to say otherwise, the answer is yes. The sad fact is, too many otherwise intelligent and sensitive women spend enormous amounts of energy excusing, explaining and otherwise rationalizing almost perfectly transparent male behavior—behavior that, if looked at objectively and honestly, means only one thing.

Herewith, then, in the interest of promoting peace and lasting love between the sexes, is a guide to what men do when they’re edging away, as well as a sampling of really tortured explanations women come up with to explain the behavior. Read on for a reality check:

Bad sign #1: It takes him longer than 24 hours to return your calls
Excuses women use to explain his behavior: Because the non-returned phone call has become the most obvious and frequent example of the lukewarm dater, the range of tortured explanations that have sprung up around it is impressive. “Two of my girlfriends have eerily identical afflictions,” says an old girlfriend of mine. “Both continue to find bedrock explanations to support
No call back within 24 hours? Unless he’s an undercover cop or a submariner, it means he’s blowing you off.
their guys’ behavior. They say, and I quote: ‘I think I must just really intimidate him’, and ‘He doesn’t call when he has free time because he doesn’t want to look like he has free time’, and ‘He knows I’m The One but just doesn’t want to grapple with the idea of settling down yet.’”

Reality check: Now, there have been times when I’ve been dating a woman and it’s taken me a day or so to return her calls. And if everything else between the two of you is sobbing violins and rose bushes, if he’s professing his love to you and asking when he can meet your parents, and talking about how he’d love to walk with you along the Seine next spring, chalk up the delay in his calling to an emergency, or a crisis at work. But in most cases like this, it hasn’t really been string instruments and flowers and talks about trips to Paris, has it? No, the fact is, you really like him, and he’s really not so great about getting back to you when you call. A few hours is one thing. The length of a workday is acceptable. More than 24 hours, though, and he hasn’t called back? Unless he’s an undercover cop or a submariner, it means he’s blowing you off.

Bad sign #2: He’s never available to meet your friends or family—and you’ve never met his
Excuses women use to explain his behavior: He’s shy. He treasures the time alone with you. He’s worried that you’ll be disappointed in his friends, or that he won’t measure up to your parents’ high standards. He has abandonment issues, and he’s terrified that if he gets too close to your friends and family (or you to his) that you will leave him, tearing open psychic wounds that might never heal.

Reality check: Wish away, but honestly this guy doesn’t want to make you part of his life. Are you guilty of being selfish and needy? Well, only if you’ve only known each other for a few weeks. But if this is a multiple-month romance, and things are progressing, shouldn’t all things be progressing—i.e., meeting the people important to him?

Bad sign #3: He can’t schedule anything more than a day or so in advance
Excuses women use to explain his behavior: He has a very stressful job. The first draft of his novel is due. His $20 million bonus is dependent on his focusing on work over the next…well, for the foreseeable future. Someone who is so brilliant can’t be expected to keep track of time. He knows I’m The One, but isn’t ready to settle down yet. I intimidate him.

Reality check: The truth is, there are some men who really cannot plan their lives more than 24 hours at a time: They are secret service agents and undercover CIA operatives and those guys who are called in when oil rigs explode and fires rage out of control and only they have the expertise and sheer manly guts to handle the emergency. These are guys who cannot schedule anything with anyone more than 24 hours in advance. If that’s the kind of guy you’re dating, it sounds very exciting. You have my sympathy. But let’s assume that’s not the kind of guy you’re dating. Let’s assume you’re dating someone who could make plans for next Saturday night, if he wanted to. Let’s assume the words he says most often to you are “let’s play it by ear.” Diagnosis: He sees you as a convenient distraction but doesn’t want to make any real effort.

Bad sign #4: He often calls or visits late at night, when he’s drunk
Excuses women use to explain his behavior: Sure it’s late and past your bedtime and he’s slurring his words. But he’s calling you “honey” and “sweetheart” and “sugar plum.” He brought flowers. Shouldn’t that count for something?

Reality check: Let’s just say that a guy who does this is interested in something—sex. And far be it from me to cast aspersions on the booty call. If that’s what you want, that’s great. But you should be honest with yourself. Because the fact is, he’s probably saying “honey” and “sweetheart” and “sugar plum” to waitresses he likes. And his assistant. And the dry cleaner.

Bad sign #5: He leaves you wondering about…everything
Excuses women use to explain his behavior: Maybe he wasn’t clear that you wanted to see him this weekend. Or maybe he’s shy, or intimidated by you, or….at this point you know the drill.

Reality check: “One of the great truths about men,” says my friend Joe, who some of his old girlfriends refer to as “The Sphinx” for his unblinking non-responsiveness to most of his dates, “is this: We are not complicated. If a guy wants you, you’ll know it. There won’t be any mystery. The phone will ring. An e-mail will show up. He will indicate a clear willingness for greater proximity. If that’s not happening, you’re not getting all his attention.”

Is it foolish to accept Joe’s sweeping generalizations regarding the behavior of his (and my) kind? Let’s listen some more to The Sphinx:

“What exactly is it that women don’t understand about us? I dated a woman once, I’ll call her Jenny. She was interested, I wasn’t, and I wanted the thing to fade away. I didn’t handle the matter by calling her up and hemming and hawing through a thoughtful ‘maybe not’ speech. I didn’t show up at her place with a six-pack of those little bottles of white Zinfandel, then proceed to give mixed messages. All I did was nothing. I figured, if I did my impression of Mount Rushmore long enough, she would get the hint.”

“And here’s the unbelievable thing,” he continued: “I had no contact with her for a year. And one week one of her friends pulls me aside and says, ‘You know, Jenny’s still wondering about you—you’re a cool guy, if you’re not interested you ought to tell her.’ Tell her?”

Why does it happen this way? Are men mealy-mouthed when it comes to telling women the truth? Are women too quick to give the men in their lives the benefit of the doubt? Are both sexes too terrified to confront unpleasant truths head on, preferring instead to live in convenient, semi-pleasant, but ultimately self-destructive circumstances? Um, yeah.

Besides, what’s the harm in hanging out with a guy who’s not that interested, but who views you as a pleasant distraction, an amusing companion, a witty and enthusiastic friend with benefits? No harm at all, unless you’re interested in something more. And if you are, when you stick with a guy emitting these signals like a hunk of plutonium emits radioactive beeps, then you’re investing time and energy in something that, in all probability, isn’t going to give much back. Which if fine. Provided you’re not that interested, either.


Steve Friedman is the author of seven books, including Lost on Treasure Island: A Memoir of Longing, Love, and Lousy Choices in New York City. More information at Stevefriedman.net.
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