Every now and again, one of my good female friends will seek my advice regarding some guy who is behaving oddly. Most of the time it’s just a guy being a typical closed-off, dumb guy, but sometimes she meets some real gems. I have repeatedly begged her to allow me to recount some of the more specific and bizarre occurrences from her life, to no avail, but recently she brought a disturbing trend to my attention. While entertaining me with tales about an older gentleman who had some wildly incorrect beliefs regarding the female anatomy, she abruptly shifted gears to give me a glimpse into the dating world of the average girl.
Her: “Do you initiate all the dates with the girl you’re going out with? I struggle because guys who are trash just want to talk all day and do nothing.”
Me: “What do you mean, ‘talk all day and do nothing?’”
Her: “Like this one dude, he texts me all night and day, but he never pulls the trigger to like…actually go out.”
Me: “Have you brought it up? Wanting to go out?”
Her: “Yeah he’s always being cagey about it. He’s really cute and sweet over text but he just cannot agree to a time to go out. Eventually, I’m like I know what you’re doing, so boy bye.”
To me this seemed to be incredibly odd behavior. Most guys I know are going to try to set a date after matching unless the conversation dies off on its own or the girl says something toxic. I don’t know many dudes who are on dating apps looking for a pen pal and uninterested in some action. After a bit more discussion about this particular guy, she informed me that this was not an isolated case; about 40-50% of the guys she matches with will text up a storm, but won’t make an effort to meet.
These claims seemed to far-fetched to be true, but after consultation with some other female acquaintances, this sort of stringing along through text is fairly common. Honestly, I don’t get it. Like I said, I don’t know many guys who are playing games like this. Even the typical dick dude is likely going to be aggressively hunting for tail, not content with endless chats. This issue nagged me for quite a few days, and out of pure curiosity and theory-crafting, I’ve come up with three possible explanations for this behavior.
The first (and most generous) explanation is that the guy is straight up scared. For dudes who are not very experienced or confident with the opposite sex, it can be terrifying to blindly throw out the proposition of meeting for some drinks/coffee/ice cream/Russian roulette. They’re not playing any games or putting a girl off out of malice, but are waiting for the “right time” when the conversation is flowing positively and naturally to pull the trigger. I myself, in my more innocent and formidable years, probably missed a lot of opportunities by not pulling the trigger and just asking the girl to go out. If you’re a guy who is doing this, I empathize with your fears, but unfortunately, the only way to overcome these feelings is to keep shooting threes until you don’t care if you hit or not. Just know that if the girl is responding somewhat promptly and you’re not asking her out within three days of matching, you’re waiting too long. Take a shot or three and just ask.
The second, less generous but not completely douchey reason, is that this guy has you riding the pine behind another girl he’s into more than he’s into you. He’s already got Vezina trophy winner Braden Holtby in net, but he’s gonna keep you around just in case the Holtbeast goes down with an injury. I know it hurts to hear, that he thinks of you as the “break glass in case of emergency” girl. Please don’t spiral and start thinking you’re going to remain single because this guy already found a girl he fancies in this fucked up game of romantic musical chairs. I’ve been on both sides of this situation, and it sucks. This happens to everyone, and I wish I could tell you the guy feels bad or is considering your feelings but he isn’t. If he is paying a lot more attention to another girl, it’s because he doesn’t like you that much, which is a shitty thing to hear but the harsh truth. Sometimes, people you like won’t like you back and it’s one of the worst feelings in the world.
The only thing I can say to reassure you is to not take it personally, and never accept being someone’s runner-up prize. Find a guy who will ice other girls to go out with you. And dudes, I don’t want to come down too hard on you for doing this because I get it and I’ve done it myself. It’s natural to not want to throw away a sure thing and risk being alone. But you have to know when you’ve hit the point that you know things with the girl you just sort-of like aren’t going to progress any farther and cut it off there. Be clear and kind in your intentions, always, but don’t promise anyone something knowing you won’t deliver.
The final explanation for why a guy would do something like this, posed by my female friend and the hardest for me to wrap my head around, is that he’s straight up looking for an ego boost. This guy is a douche to the nth degree. He has no intentions of ever going out with you. He matched with you purely to have the satisfaction of having a girl on his hook. When he messages you, his only pleasure is from your immediate response dripping with desperation as you ask when you’ll finally get to see him.
As I said, this really confused me. I wouldn’t expect dudes to overwhelmingly be the ones with the need to stroke their egos by having a bunch of girls tell him how pretty he is. After a bit of thought, I actually get it a bit. In the dating dynamic, guys are generally in the resource scarcity position as opposed to girls. The old adage is that dating for girls is like sifting through a bunch of shitty job applications, but, for guys it’s like trying to find a job. When you spend all your time pining for a girl’s attention and rarely getting it, it’s not surprising that some guys with fragile egos and little self-confidence might jump at the opportunity to reverse this dynamic.
Whether it’s done out of malice or a crippling lack of self-esteem, guys who are doing this should know that this is incredibly mean, dickish behavior. It is also just giving you a false sense of confidence, similar to the feeling of superiority a bully gets when he knocks down a small kid on the playground. Trust me, your ego will be a hundred times bigger when you meet someone who really likes you and you like back. Stop doing this shit, guys.
So ladies, with the apparent wealth of guys who are matching but not acting, where does that leave you? Honestly, in a shitty spot. At best guys are doing this because they have little to no confidence, at worst it’s because they’re borderline sociopaths getting off on leading you on. Either case doesn’t scream someone you want to be cuffing this winter.
All I can offer you in the way of advice is this: if you’re getting mixed signals, ask the dude out. It’s 2017, there’s no shame in just flat-out trying to figure out where you stand. Most normal guys will appreciate your candor and (should) be honest about how he feels. If he puts it off and doesn’t suggest another day or event for you to meet, he’s not that interested and you need to just move on. It’s a brutal truth that guys have learned after many times being iced by girls. It sucks to be on the other side, but at least you can learn from our experience. .
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