Thursday, June 9, 2016

All The Single Ladies: 8 Ways To NOT Be A Stage-5 Clinger

To The Single Ladies: No woman likes feeling clingy, but sometimes it's almost as if we can't help ourselves (this was totally me in a prior life, so I know what I'm talking about here). I thought it would be handy to put together a step-by-step guide on How To Not Be a Stage-5 Clinger when you're out and about in the wild world of dating.

1. The Approach and the Cliffhanger. When you decide you’re interested in someone, the worst thing you can do is plop down next to him, start talking his ear off, and spill your entire life's story. Relax. Chat and see where the conversation takes you. Listen for clues about who he is. He doesn't need to know everything about you, and you don't know if you even want to know everything about him. Let's just see if you can hang and have a good time first. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be the one to let him know you’re interested, if that's the case; it just means that your initial approach needs to be casual and end with a "cliffhanger." Make a joke, give him an elbow nudge, and then walk away. Tell him he's cute, give him a wink, and then walk away. The important part is YOU WALK AWAY FIRST.

2. Let Him Contact You First (Most of the Time). The bottom line here is this: If he's thinking of you, he will call or he will text. If he doesn't reach out for extended periods of time, he's not "busy" or "indecisive;" he's not interested. This is why we are big proponents around here of "Indecision IS a decision." In that same vein, the only way to find out if he's truly interested is to see if he reaches out without you prodding him along or pinging him first. If you're always the one sending the first shot across the bow, STOP. Let him wonder what you're doing. He's a big boy and knows how to use a phone. We hope.

3. Your ONE Recheck Allowance. ONE. A lot (not all) of men have a one-track mind, meaning they can only focus on one thing at any given time. If you're constantly sending him "whatcha' doin'?" texts, you're interrupting whatever track he's on each time he sees your name pop up on his phone. He learns to associate your name with interruption to his life. That's not the goal here. Let the man have space to find the track you're on and reach out to you. That said, distractibility is a real thing with dudes, and it's always possible that he meant to respond but forgot. If you think this may have happened, you get ONE recheck. And I'm not talking, "Hey, why didn't you answer my last message?" That's lame. You're not his mother. I'm talking, "Did you see this hilarious YouTube video?" If he simply forgot to respond to the first message, you should get a reply rather quickly and possibly some sort of apology/acknowledgment. If he doesn't respond to your recheck, see #2 above.

4. Next Day, No Contact Rule. If you go on a date with a dude and end up fucking him, please, for the love of all that not insane, do NOT start blowing up his phone first thing the next morning. Basic rule of thumb: Wait 18 - 24 hours from the last time you saw him before you even THINK about sending him a text or calling him. This is the time period most dudes allot for lying low to see if you're a cray-cray Stage-5 clinger. Don't prove him right. When you do finally get past the initial wait time, send something funny or interesting. You both know what happened; there's no need to rehash it until it's time to REHASH it, ifyaknowwhatimean.

5. Wait an Hour (ish) to Reply Sometimes. Ladies, most of the time, men don't need a reply right away, so why do you feel obliged to give them one? You're a badass with shit to do. Don't set the tone right from jump that you're at his beck and call. You're not. You're BUSY. Repeat after me: There is more to your life than THAT DUDE. (And, even if you're not busy and he's all you think about, find some shit to do for an hour and then reply, mmkay? Trust me.)

6. Do You. This is my absolute favorite way to avoid being a Stage-5 Clinger. Who the hell has time to be all clingy when you're too busy being awesome at your life instead? You have fascinating interests that are all your own. You have time and space you'd like to take for yourself to do things that make you happy. You have better things to do with your energy than worry about what some dude is doing or not doing. So do all of those things. Do you. Stop fretting, worrying and/or trying to control another person. You can't. Life doesn't work that way. The only thing you have control over is your own thoughts and behaviors. Thoughts and behaviors that should be purposefully directed at creating a life that is uniquely yours. Wanna knit a blanket for your cat? You should do that! Wanna go try on all the Jimmy Choos in the store? You should that! Wanna pound some whiskey and go ice skating? You should do that! Wanna write an article detailing all of the horrifying relationship mistakes you've made in the past by being a Stage-5 Clinger? Well, I already went there in an earlier article. But you can still do that!

7. Jealousy is Gross. Warranted or unwarranted, a relationship, even when you're just casually dating, is no place for jealousy. Pull up your big-girl panties and save that shit for when you're at Baskin Robbins and see someone eating the Triple Scoop Double-Stuffed Oreo chocolate-covered waffle cone. That's jealousy-worthy. Look - if you can't trust the person you're dating, then one of you shouldn't be in that relationship. It's either you - or it's him. Either way, if jealousy is a consistent issue, it might be time to reevaluate if one or the other of you is grown-up enough to be doing this whole dating thing. Now, before you get your panties in a wad, I'm not saying "don't feel jealous." I'm saying don't bring it into your date's life and make it HIS problem. Mature folks feel the jealousy washing over them and they sit with it, accept it as their own perspective, and sometimes admit it to their date with the caveat that "it's not you; it's me." Unless it's them doing something genuinely fucked up. Then, bye, Felicia! No discussion needed.

8. Honesty is Awesome. Sometimes you just have to be straight up with whoever your'e interested in. This is not a free license to go interrogating them about how they feel about meeting your mother and what you're going to name your kids. It's actually not about their feelings at all; it's about yours. If you feel uneasy about a particular dating relationship, just be honest. There's nothing wrong with saying, "Hey, I like you" or "I'd like to spend some time together" or "You know what? You're just not for me, so I'm not going to see you again." Notice that these are statements, not questions. And they are about how you feel, not him. You are allowed to speak to how you feel, but, again, you have to be prepared for the possibility of little to no reciprocation. If you are honest with a man about your feelings, his reaction will tell you everything you need to know about where's he at with it. When you see his reaction, BELIEVE IT. Men are terrible liars, so don't make excuses for him. His reaction is how he truly feels and you need to respect that. Sometimes that may mean acknowledging he's hurt; sometimes it may mean you acknowledging that you're wasting your time. But at least you know where you stand and can move on.

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