Before He’s Just Not That Into You was a corny movie with star-studded actors and actresses, it was a corny book that I am apparently unashamed to tell the world I own. No matter how much this book can be critiqued – and it can and has been, mercilessly – I still think some of it is just flat-out honest reality. And yes, maybe that reality is subjective, culturally and generationally specific, and all the rest. But I did read the book again recently, which is five years from when I initially bought it, and ten years from its original publishing date. So in honor of ten years of the book being if not culturally relevant, at least rhetorically influential, I thought I’d review the given advice:
1. “He’s just not that into you If he’s not asking you out.”
Like many other ladies, I was told this from jump, and it’s hard to get away from. And as I always tell many of my male American friends, they are the luckiest men in the world because as much as they complain, many American women (in comparison to a lot of places) ask guys out. In theory, I believe it is pretty childish advice. Does it really matter who asks whom out? (And based on gender of ALL things?!) But the answer is in practice…it depends. I often cop-out of asking guys out by saying, “The kind of guy who I would be interested in is the kind of guy who would ask me out.” But let’s be real, not only is that not prove-able, it’s a pretty lame excuse. The way I see it, no guy on earth who is interested in you, would be mad if you asked him out. I could be wrong though, guys are weird.
2. “He’s just not that into you if he’s not calling you.”
In a generation that somehow became really afraid of picking up the phone and calling people, I can see how some people might think this is not telling of anything. But it is. And it’s not just calling up that’s up for consideration, but the overused communications means we call “texting.” The reality is when you like someone AND YOU HAVE THEIR NUMBER, you find any excuse to talk to them. If you are always the one calling and texting and reaching out first, and it’s not reciprocated, don’t wait until it gets pathetic. Stop calling, stop texting, and soon enough you’ll have your answer.
3. “He’s just not that into you if he’s not dating you.”
Sometimes I really despise being part of a time and in a culture that is losing the ability to date – and face it, we are. But it’s really hard to tell if someone is into you if the entire cultural approach to dating has turned on its head. So maybe the guy who texts you vehemently on Friday night who is clearly under liquid courage is doing so because he doesn’t know any better (but he is really into you). Or maybe he’s doing so because it’s a booty call. One thing is for sure, in this day and age, any person who says they want to go on an actual, real-life date with you, is definitely into you.
4. “He’s just not that into you if he’s not having sex with you.”
This is where I have to put my practicing Catholic hat on and say, “This is definitely not always true.” Especially if the person has religious, moral, and other reasons for which they don’t want to have sex with you (until a certain time). Moreover, people’s attitudes to sex differs greatly and like it or not, the way people view sex can be a deal-breaker. But in my observation of secular society, sometimes it’s the people who want to wait, that are actually really into you. So again, this piece of advice depends heavily on the values and perspectives of the individuals involved.
5. “He’s just not that into you If he’s having sex with someone else.”
I would love to give a simple black and white, “absolutely” to this one. But unfortunately, life isn’t so black and white. Cheating, in all its forms, is disgusting. It’s a betrayal, it is disrespectful, it is cruel, and it can be the reason you end up losing someone who deeply cared for you. But cheating is also not black and white. People cheat for different reasons, and people “sleep around” for different reasons. But whatever the reason, in that moment or situation, a person chooses to ignore their loved one’s feelings and to disrespect the relationship. All that being said, as much as I would love to say that proves someone is just not that into you, it doesn’t necessarily prove that. But it might prove the person may not be worth your time – that one’s up to you to figure out.
6. “He’s just not that into you if he only wants to see you when he’s drunk.”
Okay so the dude who texts you vigorously every Friday night, if he only texts you every Friday night, yeah, he’s definitely not into you. Take to your heels lest you become the booty call.
7. “He’s just not that into you if he doesn’t want to marry you.”
This one is tough. Tough because some people really do not ever want to get married to anybody. And some people just aren’t sure they want to get married to the person they are with. We all know someone who dated a person for FOREVER and then they broke-up, met a different person, and then got married in eight months. The book (and movie) insists love cures commitment-phobia. And I’m sure while that’s true some of the time, committing to someone also probably has to do with sharing similar values. Maybe someone is really into you bust just doesn’t believe in the institution of marriage. Then it becomes a question of if you’re okay with that. But one thing I don’t encourage is believing that you can change someone because you’re dating them. Sometimes you can, but most times you can’t. For me, this would be my cue to bid the dude bon voyage.
8. “He’s just not that into you if he’s breaking up with you.”
Break-ups aren’t fun. What’s less fun is seeing someone not accept that they’ve been broken up with. There’s just no way around this one (apart from getting back together I suppose). But really, he’s just not that into you if he said he doesn’t want to be with you anymore. And it might be you or him or the both of you together that suck. He might even still care for you but either way, he’s just not that into you enough.
9. “He’s just not that into you if he’s disappeared on you.”
…Duh. (Save your dignity and just never talk about him again. Ever.)
10. “He’s just not that into you if he’s married (and other insane variations of being unavailable).”
I could go on a rant here about why on earth you should never be interested in someone WHO IS MARRIED (or another insane variation of someone being unavailable). But again, I know that life is not so black and white. Still, sometimes you have to put your principles ahead of your feelings and this is one of those times. Stop wondering if he’s into you and get the hell out of those feelings. And fast.
11. “He’s just not that into you if he’s a selfish jerk, a bully, or a really big freak.”
Really this should be pretty standard but then again, I always find myself constantly shaking my head at some extremely ridiculous dating situations that have me at a loss for words. I learned early enough that people are going to do what they want to do and there is nothing that you can do about it most of the time. Anyone who makes you feel less than, who is supposed to make you feel greater than, should not even be someone you would remotely consider dating. But people have issues, I get that. Issues aside however, here are words you mother would tell you – mine certainly drilled this into my head – what you deserve is sometimes more important than what you want. And so not only is this dude just not that into you; this dude is terrible. Stay away from him.