When I type “overthink” into Google, it gives me this result:
think about (something) too much or for too long.
“must you overthink every relationship?”
If you are an overthinker, you know the answer to this hypothetical question is that yes, we must overthink every relationship, whether we like it or not. We must overthink long-term relationships. We must overthink short-term relationships. We must overthink relationships that do not yet exist. We must overthink relationships that exist only in our imaginations. We must overthink other people’s relationships in which we have no involvement. We must overthink relationships between fictional characters in movies. It is our duty as overthinkers to overthink every relationship, because if we do not think every thought that can be thunk, who will? After all, we must prepare for every possible way things could go wrong, right? Right?!?
Unfortunately, dating conventions are not skewed in favor of overthinkers, to say the least. To name just a few examples, we’re stuck applying our overthinking compulsion to all these painful situations:
1. “Putting your best foot forward”
So here’s what I don’t get. If you end up dating someone, they’re going to find out about your fringe spiritual practices, attachment to your childhood stuffed animals, and drama-ridden family eventually, right? So why not just break it to them now? That way, your date gets to learn you’re not normal enough for them, you get to learn they’re a Judgy McJudgerson, and you both get to nip the relationship in the bud. It’s a win-win!
2. Blind dates
Standing in the middle of a restaurant swiveling your head back and forth until you catch the eyes of someone also standing somewhere in the same restaurant awkwardly darting their eyes around … yikes. I understand your friend Tom is really great, but maybe invite us both to a group outing to spare me the humiliation of asking the wrong person “Is your name Tom?” and receiving only a perplexed look?
3. The three day rule
Say goodbye to three days of your life, which will now be spent wondering if Saturday night was as magical as it seemed or a figment of your wistful imagination.
4. Seeing who has viewed your online dating profile
What’s the only thing more anxiety-provoking than seeing a prospective employer has viewed your LinkedIn profile? Seeing a prospective date has viewed your OKCupid profile — and done nothing in response. Is it because of the way you answered some meaningless question (maybe nuclear war would be exciting if you experienced it for yourself??) Do you look like a dork in that Halloween photo with the cat ears? You may never know.
After you’ve waited ungodly long to send that pivotal follow-up text, you then must word it in such a way that comes off interested but not desperate, available but not too available. And if you’re an overthinker, you will likely read about seventeen iterations to yourself and your friends as if your future depended on whether you say “Hey” or “Hello” before hitting that dreaded “send” button, and then you will experience a mild panic attack every time your phone vibrates for the rest of the day.
Whew, I’m getting stressed out just writing about this. Hold on, let me go put on some relaxing music and take a bubble bath.
Okay, I’m back.
So, in conclusion, could we maybe just stop all this? It has to be bad for our nervous systems. Pondering how someone feels about you for three days must have health risks. How could OKCupid not take a toll on your stomach lining? I say we go back to the days of chaperoned dates and arranged marriages.
In all seriousness, though, is there any point to all these games? Would anyone actually be offended by a text after, say, one or two days? (If you would, please dismount your high horse and head back to the stables with the rest of the population.) Maybe if we stopped following these ridiculous rules, we’d find that nobody actually cares, and our dates would also be liberated from all the debilitating overthinking. And maybe our liberation is worth risking the possibility that “Hello” was the wrong word.