Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Friday, February 25, 2005


  "He's Just Not That Into You"...or is he?

In between supervising the contractors who are renovating our third floor and fitting in three rather complicated "last minute" mystery shopping gigs, I have decided to write a bit about the book, "He's Just Not That Into You".

Why? Well, mainly because I have something to say--and this is my place to say it. But also, I have some really fabulous single girlfriends out there with whom I want to share a dash of my own experiences with Single Male Behavior.

What makes me such an expert on Single Male Behaviour? Well, I NEVER said that I was an expert. However, I was single for a pretty long time. I had quite a few boyfriends. But more importantly, I had a lot of male friends. I was a fly on the wall for many a session of "guy talk" about women and relationships. And between my boyfriends and my guy friends, I think I have a pretty good idea about what's up with the 'Menfolk'. And I'm not sure that "He's Just Not That Into You" does them justice.

The basic premise of the book is that if a guy is REALLY interested in you, he will always call when you want him to; he'll always act the way you want him to; he'll send you flowers and take you on romantic vactions...and introduce you to his mother when you want him to. And if he doesn't? "He's Just Not That Into You". Well, to the authors' credits, I will say that much of what they say is true. And I can think of one guyfriend-boyfriend-guyfriend-boyfriend-guyfriend of mine in DC who TOTALLY fit this scenario--but I couldn't see it/admit it at the time. And had this book been around them, it all would have been crystal clear.

However, I don't think that men are so simpleminded that you can say "He's just not that into me" every time a guy fails to take that next step that you expect from them. I think the "He's Just Not That Into You" rule becomes more and more applicable the older and more confident a man is. If a guy is confident, self-assured, and knows what he's looking for? Yep. This works. But I have known a lot of guys--especially in their teens, 20's, and early 30's--who let their buddies' or family's opinions of a situation or girl talk them into and out of relationships. I saw guys dump great girls on more than one occasion just because they sensed that their pals disapproved. Likewise, I watched guys who weren't "into" a particular girl marry her just because his parents thought it was right, or because she fit the right profile for his future plans.

One of my guy friends walked away from a girl he was madly in love with the first time they had a disagreement about his meddling parents (and yes, they were obnoxious...); then he met a girl on the rebound and married her three months later. Then he realized that he was still totally in love with the other girl. His marriage lasted two agonizing years. By the time he got the divorce finalized, the first girl had fallen in love with someone else and got married a few months later. My guy friend? Last I heard (two years ago) he was still single--eight years later. So did he run away from the first girl because "He just wasn't that into her"? I don't think so.

I also disagree that the reason some "guy friends" never become "boyfriends" is because "They just aren't that into you". When I was writing the guy chapter in my book, I talked to several of my guy friends (most of whom didn't even know each other) and asked them why they thought we had always remained friends and never dated. All six of the guys I asked said:
  1. they were afraid I would turn them down and they would be humiliated
  2. they were afraid that if we dated and it didn't work out that our friendship would never be the same
  3. (the four guys I asked who were a part of a group of guy friends of mine said:) they were afraid that it would mess up the dynamics of our group (if one of the guys in the group dated me and then it didn't work out, the rest of the guys would be mad because I wouldn't be "hanging out" and/or playing "stand-in date" for football games and parties with any of them anymore)

However, "He's Just Not That Into You" says that all of those reasons are just excuses--ways of saying "I don't want to kiss you, but I don't want to hurt your feelings, either". Sorry. I don't buy it. One of my guy friends recently said to me, "I think that one of the reasons we liked hanging around you was--and PLEASE don't be offended when I say this--but I think it was sort of a "thrill of the hunt" thing. Like, maybe if we were in the right place at the right time something would happen and our friendship would become a dating relationship. But I think that maybe we were waiting for YOU to make the move. And you never did...".

I think that, as men get older, they do become more confident and sure of what they are looking for. And I think that if you have a date or two with a guy and he flakes off, you can safely assume that he's just not that into you. And if you think that a guy is acting the way he is because "He's Just Not That Into You", you're probably right. But is "He's just not that into you" really a blanket explanation for every relationship quandary a singleton finds herself in? Nope. Not in my book...

So...what do YOU think?

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