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love out loud: silence is worth 1600 words

A few days ago, a friend correctly assumed that I would enjoy reading this, documenting a neurotic email sent by a NY banker to a woman with whom he went on one date.

Even if you’re the slowest reader in the world, I assure you that reading said email is time well spent, but here are a few choice quotes in case you’re dying to read this article first:

I assume that you no longer want to go out with me. (If you do want to go out with me, then you should let me know.) I suggest that you make a sincere apology to me for giving me mixed signals. I feel led on by you.

Things that happened during our date include, but are not limited to, the following:- You played with your hair a lot. A woman playing with her hair is a common sign of flirtation. You can even do a Google search on it. When a woman plays with her hair, she is preening. I’ve never had a date where a woman played with her hair as much as you did. In addition, it didn’t look like you were playing with your hair out of nervousness.

- We had lots of eye contact during our date. On a per-minute basis, I’ve never had as much eye contact during a date as I did with you.

- You said, ‘It was nice to meet you’ at the end of our date. A woman could say this statement as a way to show that she isn’t interested in seeing a man again or she could mean what she said-that it was nice to meet you. The statement, by itself, is inconclusive.

In addition, I’m both a right-brain and left-brain man, given that I’m both an investment manager and a philosopher/writer. That’s a unique characteristic; most people aren’t like that. I’ve never been as disappointed and sad about having difficulty about getting a second date as I am with you. I’ve gone out with a lot of women in my life. (FYI, I’m not a serial dater. Sometimes, I’ve only gone out with a woman for one date.) People don’t grow on trees. I hope you appreciate the potential we have.

If you don’t want to go out again, in my opinion, you would be making a big mistake, perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in your life. If you don’t want to go out again, then you should have called to tell me so. Even sending a text message would have been better than nothing. In my opinion, not responding to my messages is impolite, immature, passive aggressive, and cowardly. I spent time, effort, and money meeting you for dinner. Getting back to me in response to my messages would have been a reasonable thing for you to do. In addition, you arrived about 30 minutes late for our date. I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if a man showed up thirty minutes late for a first date with you.

My immediate response was to laugh, assuming that the email was written by a self-righteous cretin (which is likely why the woman didn’t want to go out with him again). And I still think this is probably a correct assertion, but after I had laughed about it for several hours, I started to mull over one section in particular: “If you don’t want to go out again, then you should have called to tell me so. Even sending a text message would have been better than nothing. In my opinion, not responding to my messages is impolite, immature, passive aggressive, and cowardly”.

The fact that this woman was ignoring him and he wrote her a ranting email seems rather absurd on his behalf but in truth, I can’t even count how many times I’ve made excuses for someone’s lack of communication. There are just too many things that can go wrong with technology. But it’s also because when you’re the one being rejected, you think to yourself, ‘I would never just ignore someone like this, what a jerk’.

And yet, most of us have probably done this at one time or another. You know you need to tell someone you’re not keen for a second date, or that you just don’t feel any chemistry with them, and there just aren’t many ways to phrase this that don’t make you feel like an arsehole. So you avoid it and eventually so much time passes that you think they must have gotten the (non-)message, so you figure there’s no point saying anything now and making things awkward when they’ve probably met someone new anyway. But really, you’ve just done the most arsehole thing of all (even if it weren’t for the intermittent reinforcement I detailed last week, it would still just be plain rude).

Even if you have no interest in a person, ignoring them often doesn’t send as clear a message as you think it does. Letting them know that they just don’t rock your world is, admittedly, kind of awkward, and you do risk the embarrassment that they actually don’t give a shit. But that would just make them a dick; you would still have done the right, respectful, ethical thing. Moreover, it allows both of you to just get over it and find someone new because even if it was just one date, the perceived missed opportunity can haunt people for years (case in point: I dated a guy for three weeks in year eight, and didn’t stop obsessing over him until year 11).

The bottom line is that unless their behaviour demands an AVO, you should tell someone you’re not keen because it is uncool and impolite to reject someone by ignoring them.

Even if they are a self-righteous cretin.

(Image credit: 1.)

2 thoughts on “love out loud: silence is worth 1600 words

  1. I love this article! This happened to a friend recently; she went on over ten dates with this guy and then he just stopped responding to her messages. It really hurt her and took her so long to get over, whereas if he had just been honest and told her he wasn’t interested then she would have been fine.

  2. I’m sure we’ve all seen or at least heard about the Sex and the City episode w the infamous post-it break-up msg. PerhAps then the girls should have been congratulating the guy’s efforts instead of chastising him for an otherwise smoke-bomb exit!

    I agree – courtesy dictates honesty (or some version of) is the best policy!

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