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You’d be surprised what people type into search engines that lead them to this here blog. Along with common sense, direct searches like “Ruth Rutherford” and “I Kissed My Date Goodnight,” hundreds of innocent, unsuspecting web travelers land here after typing seemingly unrelated terms. They run the gamut from “human barbie” to “Taylor Swift,” from “matching tattoos for lovers” to “tiny waist big tits,” from “assault rifles” to “old man with walking stick.” (Yeah, that’s a weird one.)

But there’s one theme that runs consistent through the cyber river that flows to my little online oasis. Gals are consistently driven to find an answer to one age-old question, proven by the fact that I daily see versions of the following search show up in my stats:

        • If a guy likes you he will
        • Will he call
        • If a guy likes you he will call
        • How do you know when a guy likes you?
        • If he likes you he will
        • If a guy likes you he will text you
        • When a guy likes you he will
        • If a guy is interested when will he call
        • When a man likes you he will
        • If a man likes you how do you know
        • If a guy likes you he will ask you out

And these were pulled from just the top 50 search terms. Wow. This is quite telling.

helovesmehelovesmenotWe women are dying to know how to tell if a man is interested. It’s the darkest mystery, the deepest unknown, the worst what if out there. And we rack our brains trying to figure it out, normally through a tedious clue-uncovering process that even Sherlock Holmes would be proud of.

We scour his Twitter updates and Facebook photos to determine exactly what he meant by that tweet, to learn exactly who that girl is in that two-year-old photo with him. We ask our good friends to ask his good friends if he’d ever date us. We casually bump into him in random places to increase the odds of love via recollection, while simultaneously sending even more casual text messages in an effort to monopolize his thoughts. We set up dinners with his sister or his cousin to orchestrate the perfect environment for the nonchalant conversation revolving around his love interests.

This exhausting cycle repeats in different phases, different varieties, all to answer one question:

Does he like me?

The other day I had a conversation with a good friend named Abby*, who found herself in a situation with a guy where she wanted the answer to this exact question. We’ll call the guy in question Peyton, because that name happens to be on the mind of all of America these days. I have no idea why.

Abby and Peyton have been friends for a while. They hang out often, have great conversations and share many common interests. Over time, Abby began to question whether their friendship could turn into something more. She could feel an attraction growing, but didn’t know if it was the real thing, or whether it was reciprocated.

After many, many months, Abby finally reached an impasse. She was unable to emotionally move on without knowing the truth, one way or the other. She could have had one of Peyton’s friends get the truth out of him, but she didn’t. She could have clawed through his social media activity to uncover his romantic motives, but she didn’t. She could have passed notes, messages or responsibility, but she just plain didn’t.

Coffee ConversationIn a dramatic change of events, 30-something Abby stood on her own two feet and confronted the question head on. She met Peyton for coffee and looked him right in the face. After a little small talk, she felt her courage rise up right alongside her nerves. And she did it. Abby flat out asked Peyton if there was anything more to their friendship, if there was hope for anything romantic.

I mean, can you believe it?

While listening to her story after the fact, my hand covered my mouth most of the time and my eyes read like a deer in the headlights. I couldn’t be prouder of my friend — so brave, so bold, so mature. Yet, I couldn’t imagine myself having the courage to do the same. My stomach was in knots just listening!

What kind of dating world would we live in if everyone had the courage and class of Abby?

How many what ifs would be obliterated if everyone had that same audacity and self-respect?

How much time would be saved? How many opportunities would be seized? How many hearts would be salvaged, or given the chance to truly love?

My dear Abby has challenged me to grow up, to take responsibility for my own life and thoughts and heart, and to stand up for myself. And I feel that each of us singles could be nudged a bit closer to maturity by considering a similar approach.

I know what you’re wondering: What did Peyton say? Wouldn’t you like to know?

The point is, Abby already does.

~Ruth

*Name changed because her actions speak louder than any words ever could.