I think I already know your thoughts on the subject, but I’ve been having a rather heated debate with friends recently and it seems we’re largely undecided when all opinions are weighed. Since we can’t come to an agreement, I thought I’d pass the topic on to you for consideration.
Here’s the issue: Early on in a relationship, it seems you have a choice to either be “available and interested” or “reserved and coy” (people are obviously capable of falling anywhere in between but we’ll pretend they’re not for the sake of discussion). Conventional wisdom tells you that you need to move “slowly” and not let people into your life so easily to avoid getting hurt, but myself (and a few of my friends) reject that wisdom in the name of good faith toward good people. We believe that all relationships should start out on equal footing, and deliberately making yourself unavailable (by waiting to respond to txts/calls/emails or artificially filling your calendar) is a terrible way to achieve any kind of a meaningful partnership. We tend toward doing the opposite in fact: breaking plans to make way for the new person, readily corresponding, and including them in our interests.
I consider all of my friends to be “good people” so from that small sample size, it appears that people worth dating live in both camps. We’ve agreed to disagree on which method is “better” but one thing we can both agree on is this: it’s tragically frustrating when you meet someone (for dating) who’s in the opposite camp. The values clash like titans on the battlefield and at least one person almost always ends up terribly confused (if not hurt).
So, what’s the method-of-choice?
As I’ve said many times now, the dating process has become more intensified. Ten years ago people could get away with saying they didn’t get a voicemail or haven’t had the time to reply to an email. Two to three days between phone calls was plausible. Now? Nope. Not having it. If someone allows for 24 hours to go by before responding to any email, they are not available or not interested. Game over.
Meeting people and forming connections has become too easy now. People no longer have to go out to get dates. All of it can be done while lying in bed and scrolling through various social media apps on your phone.
The days of waiting three days to call or not answering the first time someone rings you up are gone. In fact, all the staple dating rules that people yammer on and on about on the Interwebs are a thing of the past. Honest to God, my eyes gloss over every time I see a new blog post about how long a woman should wait to have sex or how a guy can “create mystery” or use “charisma” to meet women. All of it is dreck, written by people who haven’t a freakin’ clue what it’s actually like to date in today’s digital world. I read chat transcripts and blog posts and honestly feel like I’m sitting around a lunch table in the cafeteria in my high school. You have a bunch of women trying to out do each other in terms of how much attention they get from men and you have a bunch of feeble white knight-ish guys telling these women how awesome they are. It’s all awful and should be ignored, blocked, muted and avoided.
If you’re interested in somebody, you need to communicate that. Pronto. You needn’t be anxious or aggressive about it. All you need to do is state your intentions. No more multiple days worth of email messages. No more counting dates until you reach some imaginary number that will spare you the “slut” label. Now is the time to just act on your feelings while practicing common sense and critical thinking. Be smart, but be proactive. We are all replaceable, more so now than ever before. We are functioning in a semi-detached society. Not replying to an email on Match.com is the norm. People break up via text message. I hate to say this so bluntly, as it makes it sound somewhat hopeless, but we just can’t get as invested in all of this as easily and quickly as we used to.
Anybody who makes you wait for a response in some way simply isn’t interested enough to make it worth your effort. While it’s always prudent to give someone breathing room, a person needs to make their interest known as quickly as they can. If someone feels like they have to wait or delay the process, consider them questionable. I don’t believe this excuse that people do this to protect themselves. I believe people who use this excuse are just ambivalent about dating in general or seeking attention. The men or women who genuinely want to meet someone will react in kind and return the effort. It’s that simple.
There’s no such thing as “taking it slow” anymore. Any time a person says they need to “take it slow” they’re either communicating that they’re not that interested or not capable of having a relationship at that point. “Take it slow” is an acceptable way to say, “I need you to complete a series of tests before I will return the effort or interest.” That’s it. It’s a ruse.
No more over-thinking everything. Now is the time to act. No response from them? Move on.