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No one likes rejection, but men really don’t like it. Maybe that’s true for women, too, but seeing that I am a man, I can speak from experience.
I, for one, feared rejection so badly that it kept me from dating more often.
I recall in sixth grade having a crush on Charmaine Hutchins during science camp.
I told my friend George to tell Charmaine I liked her, but I gave him explicit instructions that if she guffawed my advances through him, to laugh and say, “Are you serious? He doesn’t really like you. I was only joking. Don’t be so silly.”
When I was ready to use the L-word with Mary, a woman I dated in college, I feared rejection so badly that I worded my proclamation in such a way that I had an out, “I think I’m falling in love with you.”
See, there was that “think,” which meant I wasn’t so sure. Then there was the “falling in love,” which could mean I hadn’t quite reached the love level but was on my way. Had she laughed in my face, I had my outs.
But often (at least in my case) the barrier was the fear of being rejected. For some of us guys, it’s safer to stay a safe distance from commitment than to attempt to take that next step and put our necks (and hearts) on the line.
Guys don’t like to admit it, but we like to be in love, too. However, our prides are easily bruised.
“If you are interested,
give us some signs.”
For a man like me, make the signs obvious. Let us know you don’t plan on rejecting us.
Make the next step an easy one for us to take. That might mean telling us how great your life has been since we’ve been a part of it or maybe asking us out on the second (or even first) date.
There’s a fine line between making it easy for us and scaring some of us away. Tread lightly but if you are interested, give us some signs. Crack the door and we’ll swing it open the rest of the way.
By the way, Charmaine liked me, too, and was my girlfriend for almost four days until she broke my heart before we left science camp.
On the flipside, though, Mary responded with silence to my announcement, and then she finally told me, “I love you, too.” We’ve been married for 22 years.
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