1. Issues with Technology:
Although we’ve all had fire drills that feel like the end of the world, peppered by an occasional hiccup or two, on the whole, Steve Jobs is a god and cell phones tend to function as they were designed to do. A guy having constant issues with his phone, more likely than not just has issues. Modern technology is pretty awesome. It was developed by men much smarter than the one you are dating, and since the civilized world depends upon it, you should be able to as well.
If a guy cites issues with his phone, email, Facebook, etc., as the reason he has been absent, incommunicado, or otherwise missing, call bullshit.
2. Issues with Health:
We are all mere mortals and yes, that means we get sick occasionally; however, occasionally is the operative word. If you are dealing with the all-out circus that marks the landscape of modern dating, I assume you are still relatively young and that you are seeing people of a comparable age. There are exceptions, but relatively young people tend to be relatively healthy. This means that they do not spontaneously develop debilitating illnesses that necessitate an extended quarantine or general disappearance. Unless said guy has somehow gotten the plague (in which case you want nothing to do with that shit anyways) an absence beyond a week is suspicious.
Moreover, I will hearken back to the wonderful technology that enables a person to check in without even having to see or talk to that other person. You need only the strength to tap your fingers against a touch screen, and voila, contact has been made. A guy then who contends he’s sick and subsequently falls off the face of the planet is more likely than not just juggling—juggling you with other girls, juggling you with apparently more important plans, using a seemingly plausible excuse to keep you in the mix and his options open.
Convince yourself this alleged illness is an STD, and find someone well enough to see you.
3. Issues with Your Friends:
As you get older, your friends become more and more important. If you are lucky, these relationships have stood the test of time, and your friends have been there through the good and the bad. Sure, the fantasy may be that the guy swoops in every time you need saving, but for most of us, this is not a constant. More often than not, it is your friend who will sit quietly with you when you are sad, check on you, bring you soup or chocolate and watch incredibly bad TV.
At every bathroom at almost every good party, it is a friend holding a friend’s hair back when she’s had too much to drink. They are the people you call when something bad happens because they will come running; they are also the people you call when something great happens because they fully appreciate what great means to you. Because they know you so well, friends are the gatekeepers. Anyone who cares about you will also care about your friends.
A guy who really wants to be a part of your life will make an effort with the people who play such a big role in it. If he does not, this is a serious red flag. A guy who shirks from your friends, has something to hide. He is shirking from their keen judgment, unclouded by emotions of like and infatuation. After all, he knows your friends are not a neutral party; they are there on your sole behalf.
If your friends have reservations about the guy you are seeing, you should take those reservations to heart. Often, their relationship with this guy is entirely peripheral, and the only connection they have is through you. If they dislike the person you are dating, than most likely it is because of something negative in your relationship with this guy rather than theirs. Tread carefully because although a good friend never says, “I told you so,” this time, they may not be able to resist.
4. Issues with Clarity:
We all love a little mystery. It makes life exciting, and in the beginning of any romantic encounter, things are plenty mysterious. There is, however, a distinct difference between not knowing what’s going to happen and not knowing where you stand; between not quite knowing everything about the person your are dating and not quite knowing anything at all. When you’re getting to know someone, ambiguity is inevitable, and boys can be hard to read… but not that hard. In fact, chalk it up to a culture that for centuries permitted our male counterparts to be assertive, dare I say aggressive, but men tend to be pretty capable of going after what they want. No excuses.
When a guy wants to see you, he will make an effort to do so, and when he wants you to be his girlfriend, he will be very clear that he is your boyfriend. Guys will let you know exactly where they are and what they are doing, not for your own peace of mind, but more likely for theirs. They want to provoke the consequential benefits of reciprocity, i.e. they care where you are and want to know exactly what you are doing. In matters of the heart, we are all territorial, and jealousy is an offshoot of that insecurity.
Clear communication assuages this universal affliction, and therefore, exercising such is beneficial to all concerned parties. I stress concerned because issues with clarity tend to arise among the half-hearted. It’s hard to invest in uncertainties, and so the guy who does not chase you, who does not make himself clear, nine times out of ten is not merely too timid but instead just plain ambivalent. He is either unsure about you or he is unsure of himself. And what’s the difference? Either way, he is not telling you what he wants because he doesn’t know. Stick around to theorize and that is very likely what your love life will become: theoretical.
5. Issues with General Happiness:
It seems so obvious and just plain American. We should be pursuing what makes us happy… And yet so many relationships do not. They are messy. They are complicated. They are one-sided and sometimes, even abusive. Somewhere along the line we forget ourselves and the basic tendency towards satisfaction. We would rather be unhappy than be alone. In fact, those two conditions, culturally, seem so synonymous, that we confuse them for the same thing. And so, even a miserable relationship is preferable because at least it is, well, a relationship.
We are taught we need to sacrifice, even our own happiness, for the person we care about. But why? Every relationship has its up and downs, and of course, there are tradeoffs. But in the beginning, if you are already unhappy, it is a telltale sign something is wrong, and I’m not sure when this just became some sort of run-of-the-mill rite of passage.
There is a causal relationship between a situation and our emotions. When we feel that something is just not right, it probably isn’t. Trust yourself. Don’t ignore your gut just because you fear what it’s telling you is true. Listen.
When you feel like someone isn’t treating you right, they probably aren’t. Don’t accept less for the sake of one more. Ironically enough, guys normally say, “I just want to make you happy,” when they are doing something that makes you decidedly unhappy. It’s ironic, but it is no accident. If they band-aid how you feel, you probably won’t notice, identify or internalize the cause: that they are being a shithead. What’s more, if they purport that your happiness is their foremost concern, then the burden has been lifted. Making you happy is now their responsibility not yours.
On the flipside, this means being happy is outside your control. Don’t take a pass and let someone else become the manager of your mood, the keeper of your contentment; for then you run the risk they will withhold more than they bestow.