Q. I’m in my mid-20s and pretty attractive. I don’t have a hard time meeting men, and I think dating is fun as long as you have the right mind-set. I’ve had my fair share of funny dating stories, but nothing ever sticks with these two-to-three-date men. I either don’t like them enough or they’re just not into me. I haven’t gotten particularly heartbroken over any of them, except for one. We had a fun fling that turned serious (over a year-and-a-half), but it never became an actual relationship. He was still trying to get his life together (job, living, etc.). Eventually we amicably cut ties. It’s been a few months, and I recently reached out to him because he had been on my mind. We’ve hung out twice, including one sleepover, and he’s told me he’s missed me — but while he was drunk, which is the only time he’s ever really open with his feelings. After that, I mentioned that I’d like to see him again, and he agreed that he’d like to see me, too.
So here’s my question for you and the readers: Most of my girlfriends advise me that the guy should always text first, call first, reach out first, no matter what. I’m all for playing hard to get, but I feel like completely not making any communication effort is playing a game. I’m not into games. But I’m obviously doing something wrong here since I’m still single. Did my reaching out to him first (both times), mean that he’s just not that into me? Should I not do this with future dates? I was trying to show my interest, but does this rule always apply? Do men always go after what they want, no matter how foolish they may look or how long it’s been? I don’t believe all men are the same. But this “rule” says differently.
A. You’re allowed to call and message first. You’re allowed to express your interest. I don’t believe in playing hard to get. What’s the point?
You’re not single because you’ve done anything wrong. You’re single because you’re in your mid-20s and haven’t met the right person.
There’s no way to turn this particular guy into something he’s not. He’s clearly attracted to you and enjoys seeing you when it suits him, but he’s told you that he doesn’t want a relationship, so that’s your answer. As for new guys, yeah, if you’re always texting first and initiating plans, that’s a problem. It should be pretty equal after a date or two.
Men are not all the same (thank goodness). They’re not from Mars (not really), and they’re not going to reject you simply because you’ve expressed your intentions. Treat them like you’d want to be treated and hopefully they’ll reciprocate. And if you have any questions about what they want, just ask.
You don’t have to wait until Sadie Hawkins Day to ask a man to the dance.
You need new friends.
Replace every occurrence of “should a guy” in this letter with “should a human being.”
As a guy, the first instance a woman is “playing” with me is the minute I forget her phone number.
Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.