Friday, July 25

Building A Case

One of the more lofty claims that I have is that if I ever find myself liking a girl then I would make no bones in doing something about it - I wouldn't rest on my laurels, assume she's psychic or have a fear of rejection. Not that I think I'm unrejectable of course, just that her more-than-likely reaction of telling me exactly which cliff to jump off won't put me off in revealing that I do indeed have the hotty hots for her.

And yet my track record betrays this. The truth is that I've never formally asked a lady out - although I may have told some that they are attractive, I've never gone further in action than that.

So have I once again proven myself to be a big fat liar? Or have I retaken my well used place sitting on that fence, hiding my real behaviour and opinion behind semantics? Well maybe.

There is a much simpler reason that explains the above though. Perhaps I've just vacuously not yet met anyone to say these things to? Sure, I've often found myself attracted to people I've just met (at BBQs, say) or randomly on the Tube, but how can one meeting or conversation or glance ever be enough to prompt further action? This is less about being let down by rejection, but more about making sure any outcome (be it positive or negative) is well founded.

I reckon that it's reasonable to be a bit of due diligence before proceeding further - you know, do a bit of research, gather some evidence or get a feeling as to how well a relationship will work out. I'm not talking about guaranteed indicators here; I don't think it's ever possible to find those. But there are obvious dealbreakers which you can find out before its too late, both tangible and otherwise.

Is your victim single? Are they looking for a relationship? Are they straight? Are they just a pretty face? All these can be found out pretty quickly and relatively easily. Then there are the more abstract things which may take a bit more time: do you both get on, complement and become friends with each other? Are your backgrounds compatible, or will things like ethnicity or caste be a problem (since even if it's not for you, it may be for them).

Of course many of you will already have a solution to determine all this - it's called dating. For many this isn't really an appropriate solution at all, partly due to our beliefs and principles but also because of the intrinsic emotional costs involved with the whole dating scene. The point is that you don't need to date in order to get basic and preliminary information about another person.

There are other reasons why one wouldn't want to give away their position before knowing more about a person they might like. No one likes to give themselves away too flippantly. By taking time beforehand you can also be sure you're serious about this person rather than only being interested in the chase as some who declare their feelings from the start appear to be.

And practically building a case could save you time and mental effort. Issues of reputation and face (if I asked out every girl I fancied I'd be no different from any other lech) disappear too. And you may be the type of person who just doesn't like to make glaring mistakes (not that a failed dating period is necessarily a mistake, of course).

So when do you know when you've built up a good enough case to move on? Well in an ideal you would. Just know, I mean. The chances are that you'd probably have slipped into coupledom already by that point anyway, and if not, the beauty of this method is that you can take as long as you want doing it - since it's a relatively cheap process it shouldn't impact your life or stop you from building other cases for other people in parallel.

And of course while you're building your case for this particular person you're also giving them the opportunity to build their own on you - it's likely that any rejection will be mutual since you'll probably come to the same conclusion anyway.

Of course it's easy to fall into the trap of perpetually building a case for someone - there's only so much you can learn about a potential victim before having to consciously and markedly change the nature of the relationship between the two of you to find out more about each other or just to move onwards. It's also (by definition perhaps) easier to find dealbreakers than dealmakers, especially if you look for them.

So yes, I think that I can indeed reconcile my promise to chase up a girl with how I've yet to actually do that, although even in the context above the fact remains that I've yet to build up a good enough case anyway. Ironically this could genuinely be because the principle has worked a bit too well and established enough negativity to write off a relationship before it'd even begun - the worrying thing of course is that I could have been totally wrong about that particular person.

And so ultimately this just reduces to another discussion about risk and reward, and how sometimes things might work out for the best if you only just give them a try, despite rationality and reason telling you otherwise. Optimists see failed relationships as successes anyway, so perhaps it's a bad thing to avoid the ones due to fail - but even more fundamental to that is the fact that you'll never get into a relationship (good or bad) unless you do something about it.


  1. you, sir, baffle me...

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  3. I know this is gonna sound really cliched but all one can do is just be themselves, and not get bogged down with the whole dating power game. Do what you feel is right as each experience in life prepares us for the next. Plus hello in the words of Sara Bareilles 'prince charming don't come no more' you gotta do what you gotta do :-).

  4. Great post.

    I used to be like this, overthinking and overanalysing things too much. In the past six months something changed, haven't put my finger on what yet.

    I agree with Anastasia though - do what you gotta do. Just don't step on toes and be true to yourself.

  5. anastasia, mash,

    I'm not sure if you're both referring to me or a more general "you", but just to be clear I wasn't writing about myself (despite the liberal use of introspection).

    It's actually the just-do-what-you-gotta attitude that I'm complaining about and providing an alternative to. In my opinion, although not the bet thing to do, overthinking is better than not thinking at all.

    I also wouldn't describe it as a power game of any sort - in fact I'd say it's more transparent and considerate than jumping straight in or saying "I like you" to every boy or girl you meet on the street.

  6. By "you" I meant people in general faced with the ubiquity of the same predicament, discussed in your blog. I wasn't talking about you since I don't believe in offering personal advice for free :-).

    "do-what-you-gotta-do" attitude doesn't demand one to run through a sunny meadow bollywood style, and proclaim their feelings on the first meeting. What I was saying that if one meets a "potential" and see it going somewhere then they should act on it, and pursue the "relationship" with honesty without making any empty eternal promises. It definetly requires a lot of thought and more than a couple of meetings to realize the full potentail and compatibility of a relationship.

  7. Anonymous18:33

    I would argue things are up to chance, sometimes little thinking works and sometimes over thinking works and other times both fail.

    I don't think I will ever know when to 'act' post-'building a case'..

  8. I was referring to General Yu from China.

  9. ...*sigh* always the mind games eh shak! :-P