Why You Think Of Yourself As The Rule, Not The Exception


I am an honest guy, and I’m not ashamed to admit that, nor do I feel that it is a bad form of bragging. I take pride in the fact that I do not lie or deceive others. I also take pride in the fact that my friends view me as an honest guy.

It can be something as simple as asking me which shirt looks better. I’m not going to give some, “You’d look great in anything” response; instead, if you really do look good in either, I’ll say, “Both look good, but since you’re asking my opinion, I like Option B.”

It can be something more complicated as asking me what my intentions are in dating. If I see it as nothing more than something casual, I’ll tell you. If I think it has potential to be something more, I’ll tell you. If I want it to be something more, I’m definitely going to tell you.

I’ve never seen ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ in one full sitting, but I’m sure I’ve seen the entire movie in random, massive chunks. And although he totally screws my point at the end (Spoiler alert! Actually, no, the movie came out in 2009; if you haven’t seen it yet, that’s your fault), I love Justin Long’s theory of the exception and the rule. Actually, I love a lot of Long’s character’s theories.

Unfortunately, I do have a small amount of Ginnifer Goodwin in me, so I don’t always see certain things, but, overall, the exception vs. rule theory is pretty spot-on, even if I’m often the rule and it takes me a while to realize that.

I believe that if a guy wants to date you, he will ask you out; and if you accept, he is going to make it happen. I firmly, unequivocally believe that. I don’t know many guys out there — and I am certainly not one of them — who likes a girl, asks her out, has his offer accepted and then thinks, “Eh, I’ll get to that eventually.”

I’ve been the rule.

I’ve tried making plans with a girl after she accepted a date invite and nothing came of it. I’ve thought the usual — “she’s busy,” “she’s this,” “she’s that” — until I eventually have to come to the realization that maybe she’s just not that into me.

I’ve been the exception.

I was given the runaround for months with a girl before finally going on a date with her. Now, whether or not it was a pity date or she genuinely wanted to go and she’s just a flaky individual, the point is, the date happened. (For what it’s worth, I thought the date went very well.)

I believe that we should take people at their word. Meaning, if I say, “I don’t want anything serious,” I really don’t want anything serious. Maybe, somewhere down the road it will hit me that I want something more serious with her, but it’s highly doubtful. And yes, if that happens, there’s a good chance that nothing will come of it between us; maybe she’s now unavailable, or maybe she doesn’t want me anymore, or maybe she doesn’t want to be with me purely out of spite that I didn’t want her, initially.

Even still, that’s the exception. It’s called an “exception” for a reason — it’s not common.

More often than not, you’re not going to “turn” me. I don’t believe that girls (or guys) can “make” the other like them. With the exception, often it’s a realization in the future that hits you; it’s not like they all of a sudden do something that makes you go, “Oh, I love that; I want them now.” It’s often random and inexplicable, but that’s why it’s the exception — because it’s uncommon, and random and inexplicable.

This can sound harsh, but, if you like me as more than a friend and I don’t feel the same way, that’s not my problem. And the same goes for me. If I like you as more than a friend, but you don’t like me that way, that’s not your problem. Sometimes I find myself feeling guilty if a girl — especially a really, really nice girl — likes me and I just don’t like her like that; but I can’t help how I feel (or don’t feel).

For someone — or at least, for me — to want something serious, you usually know it right away. There’s something special about that person that makes you want to explore other possibilities with them. Something about them makes you want to quit the dating game, delete your Tinder account and see what can happen there.

I think it’s important to point out that these people are not the exception. If there is an immediate attraction, it’s not the exception; and I think that confuses people.

So while it’s nice to be the exception and it sucks to be the rule, you really shouldn’t strive to be either one. You should want someone who wants you, and is willing to make it happen as much as you are.

I also think it’s important to point out that people should not look to be the exception. Always assume you are the rule. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be surprised to find that you are the exception. If you’re really lucky enough, you won’t have to worry about it at all.

If they’re not calling or texting you, they probably don’t want you. There could be some sort of explanation, but we shouldn’t be looking for one. Personally, I want someone who sees me as a priority in her life, not an option, because I intend to make her a priority in mine. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Mike is a New York-based writer and admitted hopeless romantic. If Ted Mosby and Carrie Bradshaw had a son, it would be him. When he’s not writing about love, dating, and relationships, he’s working his actual job as a sports reporter and columnist.

Tune into his podcast, “Heart Of The Matter” here.

Keep up with Mike on Instagram, Twitter and mikezacchio.com

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