Are You A Walking Contradiction?

4 Jun

Much like the Green Day song, I’m a walking contradiction. Do you guys know Green Day? They were a band back in my day. I used to listen to them as I walked from and to bus stop. Look them up on Wikipedia or something. Anyway. On to talking romance and its many intricately complex manifestations.

I would like to object to all of this wait-X-days-to-call nonsense and all accompanying rules and regulations. I pretty much object to anything formulaic, because it makes interactions feel institutionalized and rigid. It seems like rules further complicate something that should be simple, though I still expect clear communication from people, which pretty much never happens. So how is it possible to give each other clear signals without abiding by a seemingly arbitrary code of conduct?

Hey, I’m just here to rant, not solve all the world’s problems. My general feeling – and I’m aware of how idealistic I am – is that when you actually vibe with someone, you don’t need a set of rules, things just happen. This is, of course, assuming that awkwardness, insecurity and traumatic past experiences don’t exist. Mostly we’ve just built constructs to hide in from our fear of rejection, but that’s a cliché we’re all familiar with already.

Listen. I know I don’t have any solutions. I over-think things the same way you do. That’s what democracy is all about (or was that socialism?). How about I tell you a story and maybe we’ll all learn something, or at least be entertained for a few minutes, because who doesn’t like story time? Here we go.

I have two friends, both of whom are near and dear to my heart. I spent three endless months listening to friend A tell me how he has a crush on friend B, but he never did anything because he was too nervous. Eventually friend B told me that she had a crush on friend A! Perfect! Now they can share their fluttery feelings, hold hands and breed. Right? Nope. I ended up being the diplomatic envoy between the two (never do this, ever), encouraging both that if they made the first move, it would be welcome and successful.

What more could you want? The only negative thing about liking someone is the possibility that it isn’t mutual, so knowing that your special person thinks you’re special too, wouldn’t you go for it? They didn’t. They were so nervous and caught up in their own indecisiveness and insecurity that they let it go and nothing ever happened between them. Who knows, maybe they weren’t so much into each other as just into the idea of each other, and since they’re both capable of making grown up decisions for themselves, I trust they both had their reasons. I’m not here to complain about the aneurisms I had while enduring ceaseless reprisals of “but does s/he REALLY like me?” That’s not what this is about.

The only moral I can glean from this story is that signals are arbitrary. The longer you spend up in limbo, the more of your own time you’re wasting. And while this doesn’t apply to everyone (there is no such thing as a universal rule, except for maybe gravity), it seems that more often than not, hanging passively onto a crush is more about enjoying having someone to fawn over. The idea of having someone to like is fun, though it can be unfair to the object of your affection. You’re putting them up on a pedestal that they didn’t ask to be on.

I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been crushed on openly, and it was awkward and intimidating, albeit flattering. I felt like I would inevitably disappoint the person just by being my actual self and not the idealized one they thought I was. I’ve also crushed and been confused, because when you’re into someone, it’s tough to know if you’re reading signals or just seeing what you want to. I finally just spoke up, and while the response was an expected “thanks but no thanks”, it was nevertheless empowering to be open and having been so for my own sake. Has anyone else done this, or even just wanted to? Let me know, I’d love to compare notes. Meet me in the comments section below.

Whatever you do, don’t have expectations. The only person you have control over is yourself, so if you’re going to do something, that’s who it should be for. Whether it’s stepping up or letting something simmer for a while, you will either flatter someone or have something fun to take your mind off finals. Yes, it feels bad to hear the person you like say that they aren’t interested in you, but there is also something liberating that comes with doing something scary and doing it for yourself.

Disappointment fades over time; empowerment sticks with you.

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