I think most comparisons between the present and the past are naive, nostalgic and completely out of touch with reality. But one aspect of modern life that’s indisputably more complicated than it once was is dating.
Im no time traveler, but gauging someone’s interest was probably a lot easier when they had to ride a horse and send a carrier pigeon or spin the dial on a telephone 47 times to be able to communicate with you.
But now that potential suitors and lovers are a simple “u up?” text away, I’d venture to say that it’s a lot harder to figure out what’s what.
Any girl can tell you that when she’s seeing someone new that she’s actually interested in, all texts sent and received go through several rounds of examination and approval. It’s nerve wracking, because one emoji could turn out to be the difference between meeting the parents at Thanksgiving or being left on read for a week and a half. And I’m only half kidding.
What I’ve realized is that young, single men and women are all making arguably minor choices that end up falling like dominos and determining the fates of their love lives. And a lot of the time, it’s hard to gauge whether that choice was the right one until after the results have played out. It’s honestly kind of like investing, because everyone and their divorced uncle has an opinion about what you should be doing and how you should be doing it — and of course there are best practices — but at the end of the day no one actually knows what they’re talking about.
Just because something worked for your rich step cousin doesn’t mean it’ll work for you, and just because your sorority sister followed a very specific plan of action in locking down a professional golfer doesn’t mean that following in her footsteps will yield the same results.
I know a girl that I’ll call Isabel. Isabel took interest in a guy that had no interest in her. She pursued him pretty aggressively — definitely by girl standards — and now they’re together, happy as can be.
I also know a girl that I’ll call Bianca. Bianca took interest in a guy that was neutral towards her, and also pursued him pretty aggressively. They aren’t together. And given what I know about each situation, if I had to put money on it, Isabel wouldn’t be with her boyfriend if she hadn’t gone after him like that psychotic old man in UP that was chasing the weird bird. But on the flip side, Bianca ruined any chances she had with her crush by doing the exact same thing.
Its so easy to beat yourself up after the fact when you make a calculated decision that doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would — whether that’s romantically, professionally or elsewhere. And obviously, you should learn from your mistakes. But as someone that’s particularly hard on myself in most aspects of my life, I’ve learned that blind and misguided self scolding is no more productive than lazy, irresponsible self pity.
Yes, you made a mistake. And as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20 — and you’re probably asking yourself how you could have been so stupid or careless or unaware to do whatever it was that you did. But if you’re going to be anyone worth knowing or do anything worth doing, you’re going to fuck up. But it isn’t the end of the world.