While I think the content and message were great, I have a little bit of an issue with the title He’s Just Not That Into You. Words are very powerful, and if I were to have written the book, I would have phrased the message in a way that is much more empowering to women. Perhaps, Why Would You Be Into Him? Why would any girl want a man who doesn’t call, doesn’t take her on nice dates, doesn’t make time for her, etc. While He’s Not Into You is a much more shocking catch phrase and was wildly successful (and even adapted into a movie), my concern is that the terminology leaves women across America feeling rejected instead of showing them what they should be looking for in a man. Since there’s been so much talk about him not being into you, let’s discuss what to do when you’re not that into him.
We girls always want to be kind when telling a guy we aren’t interested, so often we make up an excuse instead of directly saying I’m not interested, which could be hurtful. The most common excuse, and the one I use most, is to say I have a boyfriend. If I genuinely like someone and wouldn’t mind spending time with him but don’t think we are compatible romantically, I might suggest being friends. However, girls, never tell a guy you have no intention of seeing again, “Let’s just be friends,” because he will probably keep texting you trying to hang “as friends.” I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so for all the men whom I’ve been telling I’m too busy to date, please know it’s not an excuse, it’s actually true! But, girls, you can always say you are busy. Keep in mind, if he really likes you, he will still keep texting to see when you are free.
An ex-boyfriend once told me that I should tell men that I was “in love” because guys don’t really care if you have a boyfriend. Although he was correct that some men don’t respect when you are in a relationship, I thought that response was too dramatic to say to someone if he simply had asked for my phone number. For years, I’ve been saying “I have a boyfriend” instead of saying, “I’m just not interested,” but guys will usually come back with lines like “I’m not jealous” or “We could still have lunch.” I’ll respond “I’m sorry, I can’t” and that is usually enough. However, every once in a while there’s a guy who comes along that you have to be more direct with and let him know that you’re just not that into him.
About two years ago, I started receiving random flowers and notes on my car, which was parked outside the club where I work. Although my admirer left his name and phone number, I wasn’t sure exactly who he was and wasn’t interested in dating anyone from the club, so I never called. A few months later, one of my clients tried to set me up with my admirer. I told her I was not interested, but my client told me she thought he was a really cool guy and that we should be totally be friends. I had a boyfriend at the time, so I told her I wasn’t opposed to a friendship at work, but that I spent all my free time with my guy, so I couldn’t see her friend outside of the club.
The day after my then boyfriend and I broke up, my admirer must have gotten wind of the news because he left another letter along with chocolates (which had melted from the sun) on my car. The letter he left said that my client had very nice things to say about me and asked if we could please be friends. With my client in the middle, I felt I should be polite and send the guy a thank you text. He responded asking if I would meet him for a drink. Although I was a little hesitant to say yes, in the end, I decided to go feeling it would at least distract me from thinking about my very fresh breakup.
At the bar, after just a few short minutes, this guy I had never spoken to in my life started to tell me he loved me. I should mention he is from India where arranged marriages are not uncommon even today, so I wasn’t sure if this was a cultural thing or if the guy was loco. He explained that he had been trying to meet me for a long time but no one at the club would give him an introduction. (Maybe they all sensed he was a little bit off?) It was now already April, but my admirer handed me a purse that he had bought for me when he went to visit family in India over Christmas, never knowing when he would have the opportunity to give it to me. (He could have just left it on my car!)
This all may sound sweet and romantic to you, but because I wasn’t into him (plus the fact I don’t like commitment talk on the first date), I started to feel really anxious. He expressed that he wanted a future with me and told me he wanted to take me on camping trips all over the world. (The guy obviously didn’t know me. The last time I went camping was with the Brownies, and I quit the group after that experience, telling my mom we would just stick to room service.) I didn’t want to lead this love-stricken guy on, so I told him that we could be friends, but I was still not over my breakup, and aside from that, he was far too young for me (about four years younger). He continued to express his love for me and texted later that night saying he spoke to his dad in India and that his dad approves of our age difference. Later I received another text saying that his cousin married a woman ten years older, and they are very happy together. (Wow, that makes me feel a lot better about things!)
What started out as cute and flattering quickly turned annoying, with him texting me at work asking if he could bring me coffee or have lunch with me at the club. Obviously, his days were much more leisurely than mine. He was starting to stress me out when I needed to be focusing on work. I’m not sure what my exact words were since it was so long ago, but I eventually did succeed at getting him to leave me alone for the most part.
However, every once in awhile I would continue to receive random texts like, “You should love the man who loves you, not the one you love,” or “Just so you know, someone out there loves you and is thinking of you.” I chose to ignore the majority of these messages up until a couple weeks ago–I suppose I forgot how pushy and persistent he had been in the past. When he texted asking if he could take me out, I used my usual “I have a boyfriend” excuse. He then told me he loved me more than my boyfriend and said that even though I have a boyfriend, we could still hang as friends. I told him that I’m sorry, but I really don’t have the time. At that point, he started to bribe me to hang with him and later expressed that he wanted to hold me in his arms. I figured I needed to be more direct and told him, “Sorry, I’m not interested.” He responded to let him know if I ever changed my mind. I wanted to text him that I never will, but I thought that would be mean, so I simply didn’t answer.
A couple days later, I received a text from him asking if I gave any thought to what he said, and I told him, once again, that I wasn’t interested. He then said that he loved me and no one would have to know. Here is where I’ll be honest and admit that I could have done better and responded in a way that was more spiritually aligned. However, after two years of this guy not taking no for an answer, I was starting to become frustrated. I replied, “Yuck! Lose my number,” to which he responded, “Why can’t we be friends with benefits?” Totally offended, but remembering to be kind, I said, “Please don’t text me ever again.” (Well, maybe it wasn’t that kind, but I did say “please.”) He said, “Ok,” and thankfully, I haven’t heard from him since.
Looking back, I probably should have just ignored the guy, but I do feel it is cruel to leave someone who thinks he loves you hanging, and also I wanted to resolve the situation for my own peace of mind. He’d been pestering me for two whole years! I hope he meets a nice girl who appreciates his grand gestures, likes camping and doesn’t mind eating melted chocolates off her windshield. If he does call me again, I think it’s best not to respond, or if I do, maybe I should muster up the courage to say, “I’m just not into you.”
All this made me wonder if there is a way to let a guy down nicely, but honestly, not giving him an excuse or any false hope. My girlfriend Kate, who has her Masters in Psychology, had a brilliant suggestion–she said to simply say “No, thank you!” If he asks for your number, “No, thank you.” If he asks to take you to dinner, “No, thank you.” If he asks you if you can be friends with benefits, “NO, THANK YOU!”
**Originally published on missamycakes.com November 2013**