Misunderstood (when love signs are not about love — or ‘like’)

Being misunderstood is rough. Especially when you’re the one whose signs were mistaken for something else. You start scaling back your actions which might strain the relationship, i.e. you stop talking to each other as much. But when you’re the person who mistakes someone else’s actions as mirroring your own, the blow hurts like nothing could be worse. The feeling of being wrong takes a toll and you give up on love. You think there’s no one out there that would be remotely interested in you. You give up on chances. You lose a little self confidence. Ok, maybe I’m getting a little carried away, but I’ve experienced such situations and it wasn’t pretty.

‘How could I have misunderstood his kindness, the way he looked at me yesterday, the way he complimented my hair (are there normal guys who say this?) — how could I have been so dumb?’

I bring this up because this just happened to a friend of mine. She’s known the guy for a few months, he’s one of the tenants in her apartment building. They actually met over the summer at a quaint impromptu a fellow tenant threw one weekend. Like learning a new word, she began bumping into him around the building and neighborhood more often than before. She secretly confessed that she thought he was finding her on purpose. She suspected he was learning her day-to-day routine. She told me he complimented her on her hair one day while he headed out to work. Some of the tenants went out drinks at a local bar a couple of weeks ago and he paid her tab. She had developed a huge crush on him and was starting to believe he liked her too. She decided to invite him out for drinks. She felt extremely confident of their mutual attraction — she didn’t care about being the one to ask him out first.

She sent him a text on Friday asking him if he was working on Sunday.

He didn’t respond. It would be a whole day later before the text showed up as ‘read’.

She didn’t hear from or see him until Monday. She was coming in from walking her dog and he was in the foyer picking up his mail.

“Hey Shannon, how are you?” His tone was pleasant and his body language appeared normal. He even stood for a minute to await her reply.

She told me she wanted to say something, but the truth was, she admitted there’d be no justification in hearing why he didn’t respond. She took it as a sign — obviously he was never interested in her in that way. In fact, she believes he might have been clueless about her interest. She didn’t know what was worse: his having no clue she has the hots for him or his blatantly ignoring her advance.

“I’m great David, how are you?” She decided to be the cool chick. It was her only saving grace at that moment.

‘I don’t understand. I really thought he liked me. He smiled at me often when I saw him. He asked me questions about me that only people ask when they want to learn more about you. He paid my tab at the bar two weeks ago! He complimented me on my hair! My own girlfriends don’t even do that anymore.’ She ranted her confusion to me. She was upset, I came to remember her pain when I put myself in her shoes.

Did he not mean to send the wrong signals? Did he like her at the beginning but then realized dating another tenant in the building may not be a good idea? Did he chicken out? There were obviously a lot of whys and not enough answers. In fact, unless he decided to be unlike a typical guy and text her back with answers to all these questions, she would never know.

That was the truth. And sometimes not knowing saves you some pain. It saves you from more pain.

The main question is: is it still worth putting yourself out there? To take a chance on love and risk being hurt? To learn that the one person you feel a connection with, doesn’t feel the same?

What do you think? I think yes. I do remember how much it hurts, but I’d rather know than not know. I’d rather take a chance on love.

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