Sometimes, they just don’t know

So you’ve been reading this blog, perhaps other dating sites and books, trying to pick up on subtle hints that someone is interested in you. You’ve read about indicators of interest (IOI), the subconscious actions that give away a person’s romantic attraction. You’ve mastered listening to the words that someone else is saying and finding hidden meaning. You’ve even paid attention to small moments of seemingly harmless physical contact. Yes, you’re convinced, this person likes you.

In some cases you’ll be right, yet in others you’ll be completely wrong. Why is that? The reason is actually very simple. At some point during life, you start to refine your behaviors as you interact with others. Everything becomes more streamlined and develop a rock solid persona. People come to know you as a “type” of person, meaning that they can predict your reactions to certain types of situations. You play be a set of rules that are defined by you based on your past experiences. Your flirting behaviors, those that are intended to attract another, fall into this category as well.

I’m sure you’ve met someone who completely lacks the ability to flirt. We’ve all run into them at one point or another. This can happen for a number of reasons such as never having been in a situation to flirt (often a misconception) or being so bad at it that you just give up (more common). Equally awkward are those people who have no idea that they’re flirting and, therefore, end up in uncomfortable situations all the time.

I recently asked out a girl that I’ve had a crush on for a while, and was incredibly excited when she said yes. I had gotten all kinds of signals from her. She complimented me seemingly out of the blue both on my work and on my style; she implied she’d like to see me again and then followed up by actually saying it; she was overly friendly, laughed at my jokes, and generally agreed to everything I asked. When I asked her out to dinner, she said she it sounded great and that she’d look forward to it. I had asked a few questions designed to determine if she was seeing anyone (i.e., so what did you do last weekend?) and there was no mention of a boyfriend. What I didn’t know: she had no idea this was a date.

She had to cancel our “date” and when we talked about rescheduling, she revealed that she was seeing someone. Certainly something that one would think to mention when someone asks you out to dinner, one would think. As our conversation went on, I could sense the confusion. She literally had no idea that she was sending me signals and no idea that I had asked her out on a date. To her, I was just the friendly guy at work that she talks to sometimes. What more could there possibly be?

The initial anger I felt faded away pretty quickly as she told me more stories of her mixing up guys’ intentions. This poor girl literally had no idea when guys were flirting with her, let alone when she was flirting with guys. My anger turned to sympathy – this girl is so completely lost. Who knows how many guys she’s inadvertently hurt in the past. And I instantly felt sorry for the guy she’s seeing, after all, does he know that she’s accepting invitations for dinner from random guys she meets?

We can do all of the studying on dating and flirting that we can, but none of it makes up for the uniqueness of each personality. For someone who doesn’t realize that she’s flirting, or someone who doesn’t realize that someone else is flirting with her, the rules don’t matter. The words she says don’t mean what you think they mean, and the looks, smiles, and winks are nothing more than the playful acts of a child. You’re reading into these signals as if they matter only to be left disappointed and confused. Don’t blame yourself, there’s nothing you could have done differently.

For some people, they just don’t know.

7 thoughts on “Sometimes, they just don’t know”

  1. Some people do this to constantly reaffirm how special they are, Zack. While some people really are that stupid, she might not have been.

  2. This week I was taking a cup of coffee with a friend, and we started to talk about past girlfriends and boyfriends, and she told me that with many of the guys she met, she simply didn’t know if the guys were simple friends or more.

    I think that in many potential relationships you simple don’t know how the girl/guy sees you (like a friend or more), but the time will tell, and we only hope it will be sooner than later.

  3. ahhhhhh but maybe she did not @ David, i hate to think that i am the typical “stupid girl” that does not know my own behavior and/or do NOT know when i am flirting …. according to my best guy friend he says that i never turn the flirting dial down or off … i guess i am flirting all of the time and it is my “nature” … to me i am just a friendly person … maybe you can totally read the “i am doing very naughty things to you in my head right now” all over my face , i had hoped that i hid that well and hope it does NOT translate into gushing flirtiness or behavior that may be misunderstood … my friend also suggested that my flirtiness and lack of knowledge that i am doing so is also to my detriment, 1.) who wants to date a flirt 2.) who wants to approach someone who flirts with everyone … the list that he gave me goes on but i will stop there … this was hard news to hear because i don’t know if this is a situation where i seriously need to curb my behavior or if my friend is being a little too harsh… i am single after all but i wonder at what point too much advice is just that, too much….

  4. I think just about all women know exactly what they are doing when this happens. It’s unfortunate but it seems to be a self esteem boost for many women which just isn’t cool at all. But what can you do, ya never know.

  5. “This poor girl literally had no idea when guys were flirting with her, let alone when she was flirting with guys. My anger turned to sympathy ”

    Maybe she wasn’t clueless. Maybe she was brilliant. After all, she turned your anger to sympathy, and you still paid for the date! Hehe.

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