Taking the road less traveled?


Okay, so I saw a (sort of) funny, but true, picture on the internet that says: “It’s funny how you can tell someone likes someone else, but you can’t tell if someone likes you.” It’s got a lot of truth in it; but why is that so?

Here’s the deal: boy meets girl, girl meets girl, or boy meets boy – whatever the scenario – and, if Cupid had more than one arrow (since the son-of-a-gun is usually short on them, or is too freakin’ lazy to shoot more than one), they both fall in “like”. They exchange numbers and add each other on all social media networks on which they have an account. All under the pretext of “we’re making new friends”.

Of course, when you’re “hit” by Mr. Cupid’s arrow, you tend to lose sight and become one huge ball of feelings: emotions of like, having a crush, sweaty palms, rapid heart beats, and the list goes on. Point is: you’re such a huge ball of emotions that you go blind as to whether or not the other person has fallen in “like” with you. So you start the endless cycle of confusion; and instead of clearing the air, as they say, you begin to wonder endlessly throughout the waking (and sometimes the non-waking) hours of the day. That is where it all begins: the indirect communication method we all follow.

It all starts with the wait. The oh-so-long wait for a text or a call; or for a like or a comment of some sort. Naturally, we don’t want to show our object of “like” that we are easy (whatever that means), so we inflict on ourselves the agony of the wait. It’s like we are masochists and enjoy this kind of torture; the longer the wait, the better it is for our image of non-easiness. Not to forget that under no circumstance should you show your object of “like” that you are (almost) drooling over them. That’s horrendous for your image and might make them flee. You don’t want to run the risk of losing them now that you found them, do you?

Anyway… The wait brings along with it another form of agony, that of confusion. Sheer and utter confusion that leaves you feeling like a moron, despite the fact that you’ve been there before and have substantial experience. At first, there’s a logical ground for confusion: does this person like me? It’s a legitimate question when you first fall in “like” with someone. You want – and need – to know if this person feels the same. However, as though that confusion is not enough for us, we start looking and waiting for signs from this person. The first “like” or “comment” on any post you make on any social media network is like a ginormous volcano of confusion that has erupted after a long dormant period. And you start wondering: “does that mean he likes me?”, “did she really like that?”, “did he go through my profile or did this just appear on his news feed?”… Endless questions that start racing through your mind, causing you to become glued to your tablet or smart phone, waiting for the next like or comment, solemnly believing that another like or comment definitely means they like you.

But of course, we should be tactful and respectful, and follow Newton’s third law of physics: every like or comment has an equal and opposite like or comment. And we should always be ware not to over do it: never leave a comment after you’ve received a like from your object of “like”. That is out of the question! After all, we cannot prove Newton wrong, plus our image of I-am-not-drooling has to remain intact.

Another form of confusion befalls you when your object of “like” posts something on a social media network that leaves you completely in the dark. “Could she be talking about me?”, “how did he know I like that song?”, “has she researched and found out I like yoga?”… This is some of the first set of questions that emerge. They are usually followed by a sense of denial (as though there was actually proof that that post was indirectly for you): “but I’m just one of his 741 friends on Facebook; this can’t be for me!”, “but she’s in a relationship!”, “nah, I have Sound Cloud too, but that doesn’t mean anything!”.

Funny enough, right after that denial phase, which usually lasts somewhere between 5 to 10 seconds, the endless swarm of confusing questions reemerge, and you end up spending days on end trying to know if you are the subject matter for your object of “like’s” post. Now if this person posts something else, the same cycle applies, only double-fold since you have not figured out the meaning of the first post anyway!

In the mean time, you figure that you should do something to win your object of “like” – to make them like you back. So you try to impress them with your knowledge or sense of humor or your newfound love for classical movies (you know they are suckers for that era). You start reading articles about topics you have never had an interest in, and share these articles. You suddenly become the world’s expert on science and religion and philosophy and politics and finance and the occult. Heck, Wikipedia would not be able to compare to your knowledge!

In addition, in an attempt to show your object of “like” how you feel for them (surely without looking desperate), you decide that the best communication method is the indirect one. I’m not sure how that came about since we were taught that ‘the shortest distance between two points is a straight line’; I guess all the laws of physics – and logic for that matter – do not apply, except maybe Newton’s third law of physics.

Anyhow, back to our point.

The decision for indirect communication has been made; no turning back now. And so, you start posting ambiguous status updates that insinuate your emotions while making you look literate and philosophical; love songs that carry a hidden message you want to convey; pictures or quotes which you pray they would see and like. After all, that would mean they got the message…. And the cycle continues as though it’s a competition to see who “breaks the silence” first and utters those three hard-to-utter words: I like you.

This usually goes on even after, for instance, you and your hopefully-soon-to-be-your-significant-other have met up for coffee or tea (or whatever your preference is). During this time, though, you start throwing references to your meeting on social media networks and wait for that special someone to like or comment, as though it’s an inside joke only the two of you share. You suddenly also become a class-A photographer, and your Instagram overflows with all kinds of artistic photographs.

In general, this cycle continues for an indefinite time; it might vary from 3 weeks to 6 months, depending on how much in “like” you both are. And there is no one way for this cycle to end. It might end with the first kiss, after having gone to the movies together; or with a drunk confession after one too many drinks. However, thankfully, this cycle ends, sometimes with one of the two running for their lives. However, do not for a moment think that it ends without draining all your mental and analytical capacities, or without having bestowed upon you a PhD in indirect communication methods.

Now, the question that bedazzles me is this: why, in the name of everything sacred, do we do this to ourselves? Why can’t we just avoid all the wait and confusion, and just blurt it out? “I like you”. See? It wasn’t that hard, was it? Maybe we ought to try new methods, what do you say?

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