Throughout my entire four-year undergrad at Queen’s, there are a few things that I’ve gotten really good at:
- Learning the perfect off-peak times of CoGro to make it possible for me to still make it on time to my 8:30 with a coffee and bagel in hand.
- Using my charm and nothing else to appear like I know what I’m talking about in class discussions.
- Finding unique hiding places so I don’t pay for coat check.
- And of course, probably the most important, being single.
That’s right, for four glamorous, exciting, and magical years, I’ve been walking the streets of the Limestone city without a care in the world but myself.
With all of my experiences comes the very heavy responsibility of being everyone’s personal “Call her Daddy” podcast (because that’s what couples think the entirety of being single is). I’m the go-to when they’re new to playing the field, have just gotten out of a relationship, or keep falling in love every night only to have their world completely shattered the next day when they get left on read.
That’s really where most people find themselves today, right?
Nowadays, the efforts needed to get a certain kind of attention from a certain someone is a process we are all too familiar with: taking two hours to do your hair and makeup for the single purpose of taking a total of 50 pictures just to hit the right angle that makes you look cute, yet sexy, sophisticated, yet suggestive.
When you’re confident you’ve taken the optimal picture, you waste another 30 minutes crafting the message to go along with it.
Here’s a tip for the perfect message: when in doubt, ask a question, they’re way more likely to respond.
Extra tip: the question can never be, “How was your day?”. That’s easy to blow off and they’re probably assuming you’re sending that to 20 other people. Make it something personal, but not too personal, that makes it hard for them not to respond to, i.e. “What was that show you suggested I watch again?”.
Once you finally find the perfect message, you send it, immediately shutting off your phone so you don’t obsessively check to see if they’ve opened it, only to turn it back on in the next minute because maybe they’ve seen and answered it right away. If you wait too long, maybe they won’t want to talk anymore.
But they haven’t opened it, so you wait. 10 minutes, one hour, four hours. Opened. Refresh. Opened for one minute. Refresh. Opened for three minutes. Refresh. Opened for 10 minutes: heartbreak.
Sure, maybe they got side-tracked, quickly opened it in the middle of a meeting, and didn’t have time to respond. Maybe they’re playing hard to get, testing you to see if you’ll work harder for it. Hey, maybe they’re even spending two hours trying to get the perfect angle and figuring out the perfect thing to say back.
Or maybe, just maybe, they’re really just not that into you.
We get too caught up in the neverending possibilities of relationships and happy endings that we refuse to accept the 50 signs staring at us directly in the face screaming, “STOP! They don’t like you!”.
Still, you’ve already told your entire friend group that you have a new significant other, so you’ll repeat this process at least 15 times before you actually get the hint, and probably breakdown a few times wondering what you’re doing wrong.
In the age of mind games, boredom, and hookup culture, it’s nearly impossible to figure out if you’re just a fling, or if you’re casually working your way up to something serious.
So, after four years of extensive research (yes, that’s the only reason I’ve stayed single, research), I’ve created this flawless guide that will ensure you never get caught crying in the club ever again.
(image source: Pinterest)
If they constantly say they’re busy…
They’re probably a little unsure of you if it’s still early on. Try casually talking and getting to know each other for at least a week before you ask to hang out again.
However, If they keep using the same excuse, they’re not into you. Point, blank, period. This is how nice people/ people who don’t like confrontation reject you. If they were really into you, they would make time for you.
I don’t know how to say it in a nicer way.
If they don’t sleepover…
They are indirectly saying that they like hooking up with you, but it’s never going to be anything more. There’s no need to fight over blankets and have the awkward morning goodbye.
However, some people just really don’t like sleeping in other people’s beds. The best way to tell for sure is to try and stay at their house. If they don’t offer you to sleepover, or make up an excuse for why you can’t, then it’s not happening. That being said…
If they never invite you over to their house…
You are the hookiest hookup of all hookups. Not only do they not want you to meet their housemates, they don’t want you to know where they live, and they definitely don’t want to give you the opportunity to take their shirt/sweater. Mostly, they control what time they leave. Being the guest is always the power move.
If there’s no pillow talk…
They’re REALLY not that into you. Happy one-night stand!
If they only respond to ~those~ messages…
They find you very attractive, they’re probably pretty horny, they like hooking up with you, and they don’t see you as anything more. You know what, there’s really nothing wrong with this stage, as long as you’re both on the same page.
on that note…
If they only send you ~those~ messages…
This is completely different from them just simply receiving yours. Although people may not want to admit it, this does take a certain level of comfort, trust, and dare I say it, genuine attraction. Play this right and you can use this as a go-to hookup for a while.
Warning: this has the chance of becoming an, how do you say, entanglement. If you start smiling when their name pops up in your notifications, you know you’ve gone too far.
If they ignore you in public…
There are three different possibilities:
- They could be playing the ever so famous hard to get to see if it makes you jealous.
- They’re nervous around you (this one will be obvious).
- They’re genuinely trying to ignore you and probably have their eye on someone else.
The best thing you can ever do is ignore right back. If it’s option 1, they’ll come crawling back. If it’s option 3, they’re better off being ignored anyway.
If they ghost you…
In the most dramatic turn of events, this is the most complicated situation to be in. Even I, thinking I knew the game like the back of my hand, have lost out on opportunities because both parties were waiting for the other to message first. The regret of the double ghost is never fun.
Sometimes you said or did something that really hurt them, sometimes they’ve gotten serious with someone else but don’t know how to tell you (or want to keep you as an option), sometimes they’re scared you’re going to hurt them, or sometimes, there’s simply just no reason at all.
If you care, I say ask them straight up. What do you have to lose?
If you proceed with this step, I recommend maybe having a pint of Ben and Jerry’s half-baked ice cream and a fuzzy blanket ready at your service, just in case.
(image source: Pinterest)
The truth is, the most important rule of all is to just always stay true to yourself. If you want to be single and have fun, own it. If you hate hookup culture, get out of it. If you don’t like playing games, stop playing them.
If you really like someone, tell them (unless it’s the first night you’ve ever met, à la Ted Mosby). Always regret the thing you did, rather than the thing you never had the courage to do.
If they’re just not that into you, then you’re just one step closer to finding someone who is.
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HALEY MARANDO IS AN ONLINE CONTRIBUTOR FOR MUSE ONLINE.