It sucks to chase someone who seems semi-interested. It sucks to spend an hour debating whether to send a text because there is a fifty-fifty chance we will actually get an answer back. It sucks to check and recheck our stories, hoping the person we’re chasing is listed underneath the views because they are the entire reason we posted anything in the first place.
We make no sense. Why do we keep chasing the same person when we are obviously the one who cares more? Why do we keep sending texts, keep updating our stories, keep holding onto the hope something will change, when we know we are going to get hurt in the end?
The simple answer is we like them, we consider them attractive, we get along well with them, we enjoy spending time with them, we want to date them. The deeper answer is more complicated, more screwed up. It’s because of the high we get when the person we’re chasing actually acknowledges our existence. It doesn’t happen often — but that’s what makes it so exciting.
A part of us is always worried they won’t answer our texts, so we get a rush of adrenaline when their name actually appears on our phone screen. It’s the same when they compliment us, ask us to hang out, or do something as simple as like one of our pictures.
We are excited when they put in the minimal amount of effort. We are excited they actually noticed us for once, actually gave us a sliver of their attention. We will rush to our friends with the smallest news, giddy about how they sent an emoji with heart eyes or continued a conversation for more than three texts.
Meanwhile, when we get a text back from someone we trust, someone we rely on, someone we know will always be there for us, we don’t think twice about it. We aren’t overly excited to hear from them. We aren’t jumping up and down about getting a reply. We expected them to answer, so we appreciate the sentiment less. We appreciate them less.
It’s scary to think about how easy it is to take our loved ones granted. We don’t have to work hard for their attention, we don’t have to fight to get noticed by them, so we accidentally put in less and less effort because we realize we can get away with less effort. Meanwhile, we realize the people we are chasing will walk away unless we bend over backwards for them, so we give them our full effort in order to keep them interested.
Without realizing it, we end up treating the toxic people we are chasing better than the people who are good to us, the people who deserve our love the most.
Deep down, we already know we have to stop chasing people who treat us like shit — but we also have to start giving more acknowledgment to the people who treat us well, the people who we never have to nudge for a text back.