It didn’t take me all of my 29 ½ years to realize that there will be things I’m interested in and things I’m not interested in. I think I learned that way back on October 24, 1984…when I expressed a disinterest in my mother’s breast milk. That written, I kind of got a bit of a secret to admit: I actually do express disinterest in the things I’m not interested in, either verbally or via correspondence. Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking: what person born after 1979 really does that in today’s day and age. I know it’s kinda taboo thing for people my age to do but I actually do it. Whether it was me telling everybody who asked that I didn’t want to be an officer during my Air Force days or writing to all the credit card companies to let them know I wanted no part of their credit offers (a trick that has actually led to me not getting any credit card offers in the mail since 2009, by the way), I’ve just been straight up and expressed my disinterest. In fact, speaking to the aforementioned 1984 incident, my mother says I cried when she tried to breastfeed me the first time…that counts as expressing disinterest verbally. It has even extended to my life as it concerns dating and relationships. I’ve declined the advances of a number of women because I wasn’t interested in them but I’ve shown them the ultimate respect by telling them why, either with words straight from my mouth in my own voice or in written form. Even in relationships and dating situations I’ve been in where the woman wanted to take it to another level—mostly physical with kissing, caressing, sex, etc.—I’ve been straight up with my disinterest. To me, having an interest in something comes with a certain time requirement and those who know me well know that, historically, I’ve placed the highest premium on time. Aside from my faith and my relationship with God, there is absolutely nothing more valuable to me…whether it’s my time or somebody else’s time. That’s why I always express disinterest, either verbally or via correspondence. I wish a lot of the women I’ve dated or been in relationships with shared that sentiment. That brings me to the 2nd contribution in The Single Guy’s Perspective series: Miss Silent Treatment.
Remember in the “You’re a Great Guy, But…” post, I wrote about how there are certain things women say and do that make relationships and dating situations uncomfortable? Remember how I noted the silent treatment routine as one of those things? All told, I believe it’s one of the top 5 cop outs concerning women and their interactions with men…or even with each other. I’ll take it a step further and inject a little bit of controversy: I think the silent treatment women give is one of the most fucked up things women do. To leave somebody hanging without any kind of communicative response is a clear sign of disrespect in my book. But women do it when they don’t respond to calls, texts, emails or use other means to purposely avoid. Eventually, the guy gets the message and presses forward but getting to that point never happens immediately because we’re kept out of the loop by this silent treatment. The really ironic thing about the silent treatment women give is that they are basically doing the very thing to men that they desire men to NEVER do to them. If you asked any woman of legitimate dating age—let’s say 17 and up—to list the top 15 things they desire in a man, that list is certain to include each of the following: (1) a man that respects them and (2) a man who communicates with them. The fact that these 2 desired attributes aren’t often reciprocated has likely left many a man baffled and in disbelief.
Two good examples come to mind for me: (1) the online correspondence scenario and (2) the first date aftermath. Let’s start with the former, which takes me to the days in which I connected with women on Match.com. With the women I was interested in communicating with, I’d send them a message introducing myself and relaying some of the things from their respective profiles that intrigued me. I felt this approach towards the woman to be a lot more personal than just looking at a profile and “liking” a picture they posted or sending a “wink” to gauge their interest. Furthermore, as a paying subscriber myself, I saw it as a form of respect towards the woman to not waste the money and time she’s spending on the site searching for a potential date. The really interesting dynamic about Match was the many features available to subscribers, all of which could be described here. The Who’s Viewed Me, Email Read Notification, and Say “No, thanks” features are the most interesting to me and happen to be the 3 that actually tie into this post. When you send someone a message on Match, the system automatically sends it to their online inbox and, depending if you activate the setting, to their personal email inbox as well. What typically happens is as follows:
- The recipient sees the message in their personal email inbox
- The recipient reads the message, which activates the Email Read Notification to the sender’s account and lists the message as read in the recipient’s online inbox
- The recipient sees the sender’s picture and clicks on it, which sends a Who’s Viewed Me notification to the sender’s account
- The recipient reads the sender’s profile
- Based on the level of interest in the sender’s profile, the recipient either responds or ignores
You’ve probably noticed that the 3rd of the features I tabbed as “most interesting to me” doesn’t appear in that scenario. That’s because it’s rarely used. In the message that goes to the online inbox and the personal email inbox, the Say “No, thanks” feature is there to be used if you’re not interested. When used by a message recipient, the system sends an automated message to the sender that states the recipient isn’t interested. As a paying subscriber, I thought it was a fair courtesy to use that feature if there was no interest. Me personally, I actually took a moment to write a message to the woman thanking her for the interest she showed in me before apologizing for the fact that I could not reciprocate. I always ended those messages by encouraging them to continue to seek in hopes of mutually attractive interest. None of those women responded to that message so I don’t know how they all took it but I did feel I was fair and honest with them, not leaving them hanging. The problem I have in this example is that I know these women have read the message and I know they’ve taken a peek at my profile. The evidence of that much is clear. Besides, non-paying subscribers can’t read messages in any format and can’t see who has viewed them. That written, I know the awesomeness of me isn’t interesting to every woman but does it really hurt to just express your disinterest directly rather than to show it through avoidance.
The second of the examples is one I’ve experienced a few times: the first date aftermath. It usually plays out like this:
- After some dialogue on the phone or correspondence via email and text, I go on a first date with a woman…probably one I’ve met from the aforementioned Match.com site
- We both converse on things that weren’t previously discussed between us or further elaborate on things that have been discussed between us
- The date eventually reaches it climactic moment: I’m either walking this woman to her automobile or transit stop if we met at a neutral location or to her doorstep if I picked her up
- I tell her my thoughts about the date and she tells me hers
- If I think it was a good date, I usually make mention that “we must do this again really soon” and if it didn’t go well, I usually say “first and foremost, I do want to extend thanks for this date but I don’t think you and I clicked too well and it wouldn’t be to your nor my advantage to pursue a 2nd date”
- The date officially ends and communication continues or discontinues based on the reactions of both parties to #5
Now, I’ve always given most women the benefit of a doubt on a first date because it’s such a high-pressure moment. However, I’m not much of a time-waster so if there was something about the woman that I didn’t particularly like on that first date, I make it a habit of letting her know. By doing that, she knows exactly where I stand and she can make the decision on whether or not she wants to go out again. For me, that’s keeping it real and being straight up. My experience with women, however, is that their approach in the aftermath is completely different. Unless the date is horrendously bad, like spilled drink on a dress or guy’s card gets declined so she has to pay bad, the vast majority of women will say that they enjoyed themselves even though they didn’t. They will also respond in a positive manner to a guy’s request for another date even though they know, in their heart, they’d rather never see or hear from him again. This leads to what is called “poofing”, where the guy reaches out to the woman through various communicative means and she just totally disappears into thin space, so to speak. The guy will probably call a few times and leave a message, shoot a couple of texts. There is no response. Some guys will then make in-person communication by visiting her residence or workplace, which is typically a bad move. Most eventually read in between the lines and figure that she’s not interested and move on. Notice the “eventually” is italicized. That’s because getting to that point is different for every guy and it’s different for every situation. I’ve experienced it where the woman agrees to a 2nd date and the communication is there up until the day of—or sometimes hours before—the follow-up date and she then can’t be reached. I’ve experienced it where there is dialogue or correspondence in trying to set up a follow-up date and then the woman interrupts the flow by making mention that she has something else to do at that very moment, often relaying to the guy that she’ll get back with him shortly only to never contact him again. Those are just two instances of my experience. I’m sure there are countless other scenarios in which this plays out.
LESSON LEARNED. In my late teens and early 20s, when I was early in dating and relationships, I reacted to the silent treatment very negatively…usually like this. I used to be very much offended by it. But a big part of how I react to it today stems from what the Lord has revealed to me in my personal relationship with Him about being offended by the actions of other “sinners” and my own personal thoughts about what the silent treatment from women in such low-level situations can represent in much higher-level situations in dating and relationships. Even more than that, as a man, I trust God in risking rejection with women and, unfortunately, this comes with the territory. After maybe 2-3 days of no responses, I generally take the high road and just let the woman continue on doing her silent treatment thing. The way I see it, one of 2 things will happen: (1) she’ll never contact you again or (2) some time will pass and she’ll reach back out to you with an apology and explanation for the silent treatment. Either way, I’ve learned that wasting time and energy on figuring out why women compensate for their fear of rejecting men they’re not interested in by being rude to them is a lost cause.