My favourite dating game is the waiting game.

Hang on, did I say ‘favourite’? I meant ‘least favourite’.

Imagine this. You have a crush on someone and miraculously they show interest in you too (mutual attraction is nothing short of a miracle, I can’t tell you how many times I have been involved in an unrequited love situation. It’s five, I have been in the unrequited love situation five times. I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up in one of my ex-love interests’ wedding in the future singing ‘Channa Mereya’). You start texting. Things are going well. And then one fine day, you text them and they take ages to get back to you. This keeps happening, messing with your head.

Why are they taking ages to get back to me? Am I a lot keener than they are? Should I be less keen? I am super interested but I must now hide this because they might think I am desperate. But I am not desperate, I just like them and want to see where things go. Is that bad?

Thoughts similar to these ones might start clouding your head and your judgement. And what do you do? You change your communication style to theirs. You start taking ages to get back to them too. It’s starting to get to your ego now, so you want them to have to wait for your reply too.

Why do we do this? Why do we play these games? Why are we so insecure? Why do we overthink everything instead of just enjoying things the way they are? Why do we prefer mind games over just talking to the person and figuring out if anything is wrong? Because somehow we don’t want the other party to find out just how into them we are. Why? Because that shows vulnerability. We are so afraid to be vulnerable.

Hey, I am not perfect, I did the exact same thing. Up until a few months ago that was me. I was into this guy who had made me believe he was into me (by saying things like ‘I am into you’ and ‘babe, you are gorgeous’, and he flipping called me ‘babe’,) and I thought- finally! I can be vulnerable! I can be myself. I don’t have to play these games of waiting for him to text me, or waiting for ten minutes before replying to him so he doesn’t know that I have been waiting by my phone for his text. I no longer have to pretend that I did not jump to my phone every time it beeped, thinking it was him. Things ended with him rather unceremoniously (he ghosted me) and I decided to pick up the pieces of my slightly damaged heart and move on almost instantly. But this time I decided to go into things with no external pressure. And do you know what I realised? Not giving a shit about what the guy will think of me if I reply to his texts instantly was liberating. It doesn’t take much for me to not give a shit about stuff in general anyway, but with guys, I am a bit more cautious than I would be with other stuff (given my history of being single all my life you can tell why). And you know what else I realised? The guy didn’t care what my speed of texting him back was like. The guy didn’t even notice. Because it doesn’t matter. When someone doesn’t text you back instantly or takes a bit longer, I can guarantee you they are not playing games with you. They are just busy, or haven’t seen your text, or maybe your text isn’t important enough in the context of things- and that’s okay. All you have to do is not freak out. Stay breezy. Trust me, it’s so much better for your sanity. Having said that, I am not the sanest of them all so maybe don’t take my words as gospel.

Musings of a 20-something old in this big scary world. I use humour as a coping mechanism and it shows.