He loves me. He loves me not...
The delicate dance that occurs upon meeting a new love interest can be exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. The rush of excitement is followed by panic and questions such as: Should I initiate contact first? How many hours/days until I respond? What should the text message say?
The psychoanalyzing of initial communication when trying to decipher if the person likes you or not is something typical of the early stages of dating. It's much like a game of chess, where one is constantly positioning and maneuvering to capture the king.
While this was a challenge I gladly participated in during my early twenties, I've grown rather tired of that game -- one that is exhausting and pointless if you think about it.
If there's one thing I've learned through witnessing friends who are in healthy relationships, it's that when it's supposed to work, it happens organically. The dance, the chase, the playing hard to get all fall by the wayside, making room for a balance of reciprocation of affection. While one may give a little more here and the other a little more there, there is an overall harmony. As a friend of mine put it, "like a seesaw, the equal momentum keeps it going." The courtship, even if initiated by one person first, unfolds into a rather natural flow.
I believe that when something doesn't work out with someone, it's because it's meant to work out with someone else in the future. I've stopped wasting energy mulling over rejection or pining over men who aren't that in to me. Before, if a guy wasn't interested enough to pursue the path of a relationship with me, I would react by increasing my efforts and giving more. I read a quote recently that explains this tendency well:
"Sometimes, when you are not getting the love you want, giving makes you think you will." - Mitch Albom, from the book The Timekeeper
Giving more doesn't result in an increase of affection from the apple of your eye. Trying to convince someone that you are worthy of their time and affection is futile. It may work for a moment, but usually no more than that. Because people's feelings change often, and curiosity can be mistaken for genuine interest, it may be difficult to determine if someone is worth doting over or not. So, how can you tell if someone likes you?
Well, there is definitely no need to exert energy in decoding text messages or Facebook pokes to guess if someone is in to you or not. If someone likes you, it's quite simple: they will try to spend time with you. If they don't make time to see you, it's the clearest communication that they are a) not interested enough b) too busy to make getting to know you a priority c) in a time in their life where pursuing a relationship with you is not a focus. Oh, and making time for booty calls doesn't count.
To my fellow single readers out there, I'll leave you with this: Be open to meeting new people even if the person doesn't fit the "type" you think you want. If you're interested in someone romantically, initiate effort to try and see the person. If you initiate and the other person breaks plans or doesn't reciprocate energy in making time to see you, then take that as a clue that he/she is just not that into you. Don't try to convince them otherwise. Move on. Because there's someone else that's a better fit who is out there waiting for you.
Amy Chan is a relationship and lifestyle columnist. To read more of her blogs, visit www.amyfabulous.com