Friday, January 21

Playin' Hard To Get

Right, you guys ain't been treated to one of my theories for a while, and here's something that just came up in a conversation with a friend (names withheld, of course).

Basically the age old adage that it's "hard for friends to become anything other than that" came up. This person, for example, had "great mates" who had shown an interest in them, but whom they just didn't see in the same way. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for attraction and a bit of lust and stuff, but I'm not quite sure that "we're mates, innit?" is a valid enough excuse when everything else that matters is present.

Quite the opposite, in fact. When looking for a partner I think you should be looking for a yes to the question "are we mates?", not the opposite. On the other hand, yes, I admit that one shouldn't have to force themselves to like someone and if you don't, you don't.

Anyway, enough preamble. Here's my take.

Let's start with the whole playing hard to get tactic. We all know about this one: how attractive those inaccessible to us can be (possibly the older woman, or that Muslim guy who wants you to convert, yada yada); the whole grass is greener mindset. Now let's reverse this for a second - if someone who you can't get is so attractive, surely it makes sense that someone you can won't be?

I think it's human nature to want more than you're able to offer in return. It's a basic, but understandable, form of greed. So generally someone saying that they like you is tacitly admitting that you're a better person than they are. "But surely this isn't the case with everyone, especially our friends whom we, and they us, know inside out?", I hear you ask. Well, no. But although the details are different, the results are the same.

This results from a combination of our insecurity and pride. I mean they're such good mates and if you want anyone to have the perfect partner it would be them, right? And as we all know, being perfect isn't really an easy thing to be, especially for us. That's the insecurity bit. Some of us may find it difficult to see ourselves as others do, but that isn't really the point here. What is is that you just don't think you're good enough for your mates.

This in turn implies that there's something wrong with them for liking you in that way. Why aren't they aiming a bit higher? Are they desperate or something? Do they have to take the easy way out and ask a mate? This, friends, is where the pride comes in. Suddenly they're not good enough for you and in some cases you're insulted that they even ever considered that they were.

It's a strange paradox, a Heisenberg for Relationships if you like. Unlike the Uncertainty Principle though, this is governed by us, not physics. So the next time someone shows an interest in you, feel free to say no to them if that's how you feel. Just make sure you're doing it for the right reasons, and try not to think that this makes you a better person than they are; there's a chance that they had the guts to do something you never did.