Although my crushes are largely rusted -- hence, the name of this site -- happily there are a few glimmers in the rust. One example is the way that viewing those experiences as "lessons learned" helps take the sting out of would-be loves lost.
Perhaps you can relate because your own story includes similar chapters. (Failing that, perhaps you can be amused by my antics.)
Do they, or don't they?
It's a question as old as time itself: how can I tell if someone likes me? While there's no fool-proof way to tell, after you've been around a while, you'll start to pick up on the clues. Until then, here are some things that make me think a guy is interested, inspired by my recent adventures with a guy from school.
» Whenever one of you enters a room, the other one will invariably look, make eye contact and smile.
» He gives you a soda, claiming that the machine gave him two.
» When you say that you're going to lunch, he asks if you want company. Which, of course, you do. :winks: Then he offers to drive.
» He repeatedly asks questions and shows interest in what you say. (Note: if the guy is not someone you're interested in, this can be annoying.)
» He remembers details that you've mentioned. For example, he'll ask you about your friend chezanne, instead of you having to explain, during a conversation, "You remember: my friend chezanne? I've told you about her four times??"
» You're sick, but he still hangs out with you. He even encourages you that the coughing fits are not that bad, which you know is a bald-faced lie, but it's sweet of him to say.
» When you teasingly threaten to hurt him, after he's playfully picking on you, he remembers. And mentions your threat again later. More than once.
» After he makes a comment that borders on inappropriate, he looks at you first, to get your reaction. But you're already looking at him, intrigued.
» You notice that he's quick to point out, when the topic arises in group conversation, that he does not have a girlfriend. And when he mentions a girl's name to you, he feels compelled to explain her relationship to him, as in "I was telling Michele - that's my sister . . ." And you believe him because he's mentioned her before, and you remember who she is.
» You're working on an overwhelmingly huge project, and with a note of concern, he asks, "How's it going . . . really." He adds the "really" part because you and the group you're with have all been joking about how it'll take a miracle to finish all the stuff you have to do.
News flash, guys: women appreciate a bit of romance. At least, *this* woman does. ;)
» One guy that wanted to date me left a poem that he wrote and a rose on my car. Our relationship did not end well, but he still gets points for that sweet gesture.
» Another guy was picking me up for our date. On our way to the car, he said, "There's someone that wants to meet you." As I was thinking how mad I was going to be if one of his immature friends had joined us, he opened the passenger's door and there sat a large stuffed bear with a rose.
» Yet another guy that wanted to date me would say things like, "You have the cutest laugh." Maybe it was just flattery, but he made it believable and sweet.
» One guy that I was dating called me in the middle of the night from a pay phone near my house. He said, "Can you step out on the porch and talk to me? I just really want to see you." Maybe it sounds a little corny, but even now I think that was so sweet!
» That same guy was great to watch movies with because he'd dim the lights and cuddle with me on the couch while we watched.
» I have discovered that a common way that subtle people gauge another person's interest is to say something like, "So, what do you do for fun?" The other person could respond, "Oh, I like to go hiking/to the movies/whatever." The first person could say, "Hey, me too! Maybe we could go try that new nature trail/movie/whatever?"
What Was I Thinking?
When I started dating, I was the epitome of awkward. (Truth be told, I'm still waiting to grow out of it. Any day now!)
» One mistake I've made repeatedly is to get shy and quiet around guys that I like. I guess I was so afraid of saying the wrong thing that I wouldn't say anything, not realizing that guys appreciate - as I do! - someone who is confident enough to just be themselves.
» Having since been on the receiving end of stony silence (crushing on an acquaintance who would not initiate a single conversation with me), I can empathize with the fact that such a lack of participation¹ is often interpreted as disinterest.
» Another common mistake I've made is to get stuck wanting to date one particular guy. In my mind, the object of my affection had no flaws and no one else would do -- for months, or even years. I know we like what we like, but I've learned that if said object in no way returns your affection, you'll save yourself considerable pining and heartache if you'll move on to greener pastures.
» After realizing my folly of getting too set on one guy, I became somewhat bitter. I figured that if I couldn't have the guy I wanted, I might as well date whomever asks me. I did that several times with guys where I knew the relationship would go nowhere. Again, I could've saved myself a world of heartache if I'd had the sense to not get involved in the first place.
¹ Instead of "participation," the word engagement better fits what I have in mind: the guy taking initiative to engage me in conversation. Alas, the dictionary disagrees, with most definitions referring to dinner dates, battle, or (of course) marriage betrothal. In the context above, that might confuse my line of thought. "So, it COULD be significant, that he hasn't asked to marry me." XD
It Takes Two
Previous versions of this article included a large section of rants detailing the hurtful, thoughtless behavior of my ex-boyfriends.
Now that much time has passed, I'm inclined to take a more objective look at the big picture. Building from those experiences, I recognize that disconnects might call for an appraisal of trends in the relationship.
» Does he show interest by engaging me in the discussion? Or is he his favorite topic of conversation?
» Does he do what he says he will, or is there a pattern of broken promises?
» Does he listen to my concerns, or dismiss them?
» Overall, what do his actions say about his feelings for me?
When issues arise, it has also become clear to me that my responses either help or hinder a resolution.
» Did I speak up, or slink away to fume, cry to my friends, rant on Facebook...?
» Was I clear? Did I address the heart of the matter, or only harp on the hurt?
» Did I avoid communication killers like blame and sarcasm?
» Do I only comment about what I think is wrong with the relationship?
After seeing that it truly does "take two to tango," I can no longer ascribe to my exes sole responsibility for our disastrous relationships. And, yes, *that* has been one rude awakening. On the bright side, when I own up to my mistakes, there's a chance I can do something about them!
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