Somebody always has to care more.
This is the unfortunate, cardinal rule of how relationships function. If one person didn’t care a teeny bit more than the other, no one would ever get asked out. Or proposed to. Or counselled back from the brink of divorce. Someone always has to put in a tiny bit more effort than the other party is offering and throughout the course of your life, you’re going to be on both sides of the situation at least once.
You’re going to be loved by someone who you just kind of like. You’re going to be head over heels for someone who essentially thinks you’re okay. And I can almost entirely assure you that you’re going to loathe the latter situation. We all do. Being the one who cares more makes you feel uncomfortably desperate – like you suddenly have to justify your entire existence to somebody else.
“I’m a catch!” You’ll want to shout at them. “I’m smart and adorable and my jokes are well-timed and my hair looks fantastic today.” You’ll comb through possible reasons why they are not as ethereally pumped about you as you are about them and you’ll come up empty-handed at best, filled with self-doubt at worst. You will resolve to care less. You will strive to inhibit the most basic emotional response possible to a situation that you are happy about.
And you know what? That is bullshit.
Being the one who cares less makes us feel cool and suave. But never anything more than that. It can’t even begin to compare with the excitement of meeting someone you are CRAZY about. Someone who lights up your day with every subtle interaction. Someone you cannot wait to see again. Someone you suddenly want to spend every waking moment with, even if that’s crazy and impulsive and happening way too fast. I know it’s a trial to be the one who cares more. But it’s also the most enthralling, fulfilling feeling and I’d like to urge you not to sell yourself short of it.
Just be the freaking person who cares more. Be the person who tries harder, loves stronger, gives more of a shit than all of the half-alive people who surround them. Be the person who answers their messages, shows up to their commitments and doesn’t leave others hanging or guessing at their eternally vague intentions. Be the person you wish you were dating. If you’re sick of the game then stop playing it. If you’re tired of the bullshit, then cut it.
Because the last thing this world needs is one more indifferent person. If you’re the only one left with passion, then use it. Use the hell out of it. At the end of your life, go out with a bruised-up, worn out heart that gave too much and loved too strongly and felt too fiercely. Go out with the certainty that you gave it everything you had and didn’t hold anything back. Go out empty-handed when it comes to should-haves and might-have-beens. Because it’s an infinitely more fulfilling way to live than the alternative. It will always be more honourable to be out in the field getting trampled on than to be on the sidelines feeling superior for never having tried.
I am tired of taking pride in being the one who cares less. It’s not a badge of honour to wear on your chest as a triumph of human detachment. If you care less, cut the cord. If you care more then show it. Answer your messages. Show up to your commitments. Don’t scale back or water-down your passion to keep up with someone who’s dead inside. Arrive with enthusiasm to every waking moment of your life.
Because that is what we need in this world – more people who care. More people who give a shit. More people who aren’t afraid to shout what they want from the rooftops and pursue it with a sense of abandon. We need more people with passion. More people with gusto. More people who will stand up and fight for exactly what they want out of life because they aren’t afraid to look a little stupid and feel a little disappointed on their way to achieving what they want out of it.
We need more people who care more, regardless of how that makes them look. More people who are, perhaps, exactly like you.