guys will hear what they want to hear.
This is the advice my friend, male, gave me when I retold a story of how a guy I had just met at a conference practically proposed to me. As I recalled the conversation I had with this eager beaver, my friend explained the meaning behind every phrase. Me saying I had enjoyed meeting the awesome people translated as he was awesome, for example.
Now this is an extreme case, but over the years, I have had the problem of giving mixed messages to guys. Somehow, me pulling up a chair so they could sit next to me rather than stand, helping with coursework, offering advice with their own love life turned to proclamation of my own love interest for them. These guys were seeing stuff that just wasn’t there. I called them mate and bro. I never let them call me babe or kissed them on the cheek. I let them know I was in a long-term relationship (when this was the case). But I think it was often how relaxed I was around them, how I genuinely cared, the way I let myself be ‘one of them’ that led to this misunderstanding. This confusion that somehow he was special and I was extra comfortable around him.
And once or twice, perhaps feelings were there. Did I flirt? Was it inappropriate for me to be talking to him well into dawn, about things that were personal? Did staying back late working with him and spending every lunch with him, building on a relationship that shouldn’t have developed? Should I have laughed so hard at his jokes, and taken so much of an interest in the games he played or books he read? But it was confusing. I don’t know if feelings were there in me because I knew they were there in him. Did I just like knowing I could get him to like me, or did I actually like him? This whole love and lust game is way too confusing. I seem to be sending signals to people I care not about, and failing to catch the interest of those I genuinely do. I seem to misjudge tones, completely missing signs of interest and perhaps seeing it in places where they do not exist. Yes, it’s a confusing game – so I think I’ll stop playing and try a more upfront approach in finding my perfect guy.