If she twirls her hair twice, does that mean she's interested in me?
Okay, I gave him my phone number a few days ago, but he STILL hasn't called back!?
Do either of these thoughts sound familiar? When we are starting to see someone we like, we often try to do anything to "crack their code." Dating becomes about speaking a subtle language -- reading body language cues, text messages, minor gesticulations, and other cryptic forms of communication. Ultimately, we probably just want to figure out how to get their attention, and figure out how to get the person we like to like us back.
Often, too, the more we like someone, the harder we end up trying. We analyze every little thing, and Google the hell out of dating advice to try and get "an answer." Love, or our perception of what love should or could look like, can make us feel totally crazy!
It is normal to put the person you're interested in or dating on a pedestal -- and almost feel like you worship them. That said, this kind of behavior often leads us to dissect the person's every move in relation to us, as if the person we are interested in is necessarily a complicated mystery that needs to be solved.
But think about this: everything doesn't mean something. Nothing needs to be solved. People are just people, and there's not always a complex intention behind every subtle hair-twirl or text message delay.
Sure, nonverbal communication has its place. You've probably even heard of the famous study that says only 7% of communication happens through words alone. There is some controversy about this study -- namely, we see the percentage go up or down. But in any case, all of us can relate to the idea that "actions speak louder than words."
As I kid, I can still remember my grandmother giving me "the look." She didn't have to say anything, but I instantly knew what she was communicating. I still remember how I felt.
Nonverbal communication, like most things, has its pros and cons. For the good and the bad, nonverbal communication largely gets its power on an unconscious level. In other words, it often evokes an immediately emotional response because you instantly feel something in response to what you assume the other person is thinking or saying.
Where we get into trouble though, is when we turn these initial (totally valid!) feelings into stories. The obsession with "figuring out" the people we are dating causes over-analyzing. Plain and simple.
Instead of trying to figure out each other, we need to start better understanding ourselves and see ourselves from the perspective of others. Instead of asking ourselves why someone isn't interested in us, we need to ask ourselves how we can be our best selves, and therefore attract others with our own authentic energy. In short, we need to get out of our heads.
Let's examine a common dating trope and think a little deeper about it: " I texted him a day ago and he still hasn't written me back!"
First, let's take out our biases from the situation. Remove how you feel about yourself, how this person makes you feel, or what you believe to be true and look at some realistic scenarios.
Maybe he wants you to call and can't believe that if you were interested, you would have called and not texted. Maybe he isn't interested in you. Maybe your text didn't go through. Maybe he's busy.
You can look at any of these scenarios and analyze them to death. There could be an infinite number of explanations as to why someone doesn't respond to you. But the reality is, none of them have any relation to who you are, nor do they have to do with the reality of what's going on with this other person.
Be mindful when you start noticing those crazy thoughts that turn into stories you tell yourself. Don't say: I'm insecure, I'm not good enough, nobody likes me, she is not interested in someone like me. Say this instead: I notice I'm feeling insecure about the situation. In other words, stop ruminating about what could be and accept what is.
Of course, it's hard to get rejected. But it's a natural part of the dating game. Remind yourself of that simple fact. Remember that you have control in finding someone who is right for you. They are out there and you don't need to "figure out" who they are.
To find out how you can start building better relationships, download Shawn McKibben's free eBook here.