He’s just not that into you…To me it’s pretty clear what the phrase means. There’s no uncertainty there. A few years ago while watching the Oprah show; it featured a man, who was the writer of a book by the same title. He basically had one point, summed up around the notion that when a man is truly interested in a woman, he goes out of his way to show it. She does not have to second guess or have any reason to doubt whether he likes her or not. It is clear to her and it is clear to everyone else. Towards the end of the show, there was a question and answer session where different women in the audience asked the writer for his opinion on their relationship issues. One by one they emptied their treasure chests, challenging their doubts and asking questions which women are sometimes too scared to ask for fear of knowing the painful truth. When all was said and done, all answers ended on the same note… ‘He’s just not that into you’. That was five years ago and the phrase stuck.
Being an avid reader, I own a copy of the book subtitled ‘the no excuses truth to understanding guys’. From the first time I saw the movie previewed, I had looked forward to seeing the movie. I eventually saw the movie a couple of days ago and if I picked up one thing from the movie it is this; ‘Give people advice based on the rule not the exception’. Now let me explain this new insight using the example from the movie and from personal experience.
The movie example goes like this; Gorgeous Single Girl (SG) meets Scrumptious Married Man (MM) at the supermarket. They strike a conversation; SG finds MM truly scrumptious and proceeds to arrange another meeting with MM using the reason of him helping her get ahead in her career. MM obviously attracted to SG and enjoying the attention, tells SG he is married. SG slightly embarrassed, retorts with something along the lines of ‘I didn’t know married people couldn’t have friends’. MM tries to explain that he’s just being careful, after all it’s better to be safe than sorry. MM has obviously done a mental check and has come to the conclusion that Gorgeous SG is a temptation he cannot resist. At this point, it is obvious that SG’s ego has been bruised by MM who has made his stance very clear. SG however requests for his business card and they part ways.
Time passes by, maybe days, maybe weeks. SG meets up with a friend whom we will call FF and relays how she met this fantastic guy at the supermarket. SG goes on to explain how great this guy is and the only problem is that he is married. It is clear to me that SG has decided to rule out Mr. Gorgeous MM based on his marital status which is what society at large teaches us is the decent thing to do. So what happens next? In a conversation that is geared to inspire SG, FF begins to relay a story pertaining to another friend of hers. She tells SG of her friend who meets an unhappily married man who eventually breaks up with his wife and marries her friend. FF explains that her friend and the previously unhappily married man have since been happily married for over 20 years. FF ends the pep talk by saying,
‘What if you meet the love of your life but you’re already married to someone else? Are you supposed to let true love pass you by?’ SG replies saying ‘You’re right. I’m gonna call him.’
So SG dashes off to call MM, who is still all, ‘I can’t. I’m married.’ Saddened by another rejection, the conversation ends between SG and MM. By now, it’s already too late because the train is already moving at high speed and you guessed right, it has no brakes. Thoughts and fantasies have given birth in the mind of MM. What seems like a strong, faithful married man, crashes in the next few scenes as he calls SG back and arranges to meet her. I do not need to tell you that this was the beginning of an affair that spiraled into an unhappy ending for all involved.
Now what just happened here between SG and her friend FF is typical of women and their friends and the kind of unhealthy advice that women are guilty of giving themselves. Giving each other hope in situations where we should be giving practical advice linked to ‘the rule’ not ‘the exception’. What is the probability of a married man leaving his wife for a mistress? In every 1000 cases of unfaithful married men, how many have left their wives and lived happily ever after with their mistresses? Now why would anyone, no matter how much of an optimist they are, give another person that kind of advice? With sincere conviction, I believe that the advice given to SG backed by the story of an exceptional case was a major reason why SG called MM in the first place. Yes, I know people are adults and can think for themselves but we do look unto our friends for advice that may or may not inform our decision. Ok maybe this example had moral insinuations because there is a married person involved so let’s take another example of single people. In fact, let’s take a personal experience. Please note that, I am a woman like any other and I have often held unto the exception story and clung unto it for hope that I will be the one, the one who is different, the one who against all odds, the one whose relationship may start awfully but have a wonderful ending. I have never thought of myself as the rule. So it is very easy for me to believe I am the exception.
I remember being in a situation a few years back. I was involved with a guy who got back with his ex girlfriend after a few weeks of us establishing a relationship. Yes, I was lucky, he actually told me. Of course the sensible thing to do was to leave him and go and be appreciated by my own man but what happened was just a whole lot of silliness, for reasons I would now narrow down to plain stupidity and insecurity. I have learned that people treat you how you treat yourself and they take you for granted to the extent that you take yourself for granted.
Now back to the story, he got back with his ex and he still wanted to keep me on the side (God will save us from the evil of men o). He claimed he loved her but he loved me even more as I was his soul mate. I relished in the dream, I fantasized in the hope. To me it was only a matter of time. Stories of exceptional cases from friends and well wishers only ignited the fires of hope. One friend actually told me that all girlfriends’ start off being number 2s as every Nigerian guy already has a girlfriend, so it’s the number 2 that ends up becoming number 1. Another friend told me of how a friend met her husband when he was already engaged to someone else and how he had left his fiancée to marry her friend. The guy in question also told me that I could have kept hold of him over his ex if I wanted to because women had that power to keep a guy. Till this day, I never really understood what he meant by that statement and if it’s what I am thinking of now, all I can say to that is hmmmm. All well and good were the intentions of these stories of hope from friends and acquaintances alike. I forgot the rule and hung unto the exception because in my mind’s eye I am worthy of being an exception. My whole life is an exception. My love life should be an even bigger exception…a fairytale of exception! Needless to say, the relationship was doomed from Day 1, with a foundation like that; there wasn’t really much hope for it. Like a pack of domino tiles it crashed one tile after the other.
There’s a scene in the movie where they go around the world listening to conversations of women and their friends. Friends and confidantes feeding women with all sorts of plain and simple nonsense!
‘Maybe he’s afraid to get hurt again’
‘Maybe he doesn’t want to ruin the friendship’
‘Maybe he’s intimida
ted by you’
‘Maybe he likes you too much’
‘He just got out of a relationship’
‘He lost your number or his phone’
‘Maybe the dog ate your number’ (I couldn’t resist adding this one)
The funniest scene is depicted with 3 women in a remote African village, the third woman is being consoled by the first two women.
African Woman #1: I’m sure he just forgot your hut number!
African Woman #2: Or was eaten by a lion!
African Woman #3: You guys are awesome!
Obviously the scene was added for comic relief to buttress the extent we sometimes go to make excuses for the men who disappear on us. One of the home hitting quotes from the movie was ‘If a guy treats you like he doesn’t give a shit, it’s because he doesn’t give a shit.’ Case closed.
Let’s save our stories of hope and exceptions for the people who really need it. For life or death situations, for giving hope to the dying, the terminally ill, the war torn, the persecuted, rather than put false hope in the thoughts and hearts of the broken hearted and lonely. Give me practical advice, tell me to look after myself and treat me the way I would like to be treated. Tell me not to allow other people treat me in a manner that rubs me of my dignity. Say nothing! In the absence of saying anything practical, tell me ‘may God’s will be done’, ‘it is well’, or even the classic ‘e go better’. The book spells it out loud and clear and another very popular book says ‘to them who have ears, let them hear’ or in this case if you have eyes, please read and digest.
1. He’s just not that into you if he’s not asking you out (after many fights on this one, the verdict is yes, men still ask out women they are into; assumptions are risky)
2. He’s just not that into you if he’s not calling you
3. He’s just not that into you if he’s not dating you
4. He’s just not that into you if he doesn’t want to have sex with you (whether you consent is your own issue, but any normal guy will want to sleep with you)
5. He’s just not that into you if he’s having sex with someone else
6. He’s just not that into you if he only wants to see you when he’s drunk, or night time
7. He’s just not that into you if he doesn’t want to marry you
8. He’s just not that into you if he’s breaking up with you
9. He’s just not that into you if he’s disappeared on you
10. He’s just not that into you if he’s married, has a girlfriend or any other variation of being unavailable
11. He’s just not that into you if he’s a selfish jerk, a bully or a big freak
12. And lastly he’ll never be into you if you keep listening to these stories of exceptions. The chances are, it will not happen to you!
Stop listening to these fairytale exception stories that only happen to a minuscule minority, examples are;
1. Guys that were pursued by some girl who asked them out and she ends up being the love of his life. Chances are, it won’t be happening to you.
2. The guy who treats a girl badly, sleeps with her occasionally and after a couple of years he changes, marries her and is now the best husband ever. Chances are, it will not happen to you.
3. The guy who doesn’t call a girl he has slept with for over a month and then he finally calls and now they are the best couple money can buy. Yeah right!
4. The girl who is sleeping with a married guy and the married man ends up leaving his wife for her and they now live happily ever after. Fat chance!
5. The guy over 30, who had commitment phobia, dated his girlfriend for 8 years but finally came round and married her. Lai lai!
6. The guy who tells you he is committed to you and that marriage is just a piece of paper but miraculously changes his mind and marries you. If it’s just paper, let’s get married tomorrow!
Chances are, the minute you let go of any of the aforementioned guys, they’ll be married to someone else in 6 months. You are lovely as you are but he’s not worthy of you, he’s not sure about you and he’s definitely just not that into you!
In my opinion, the movie was not even great; it dragged in the middle. I wouldn’t recommend it for big screen viewing, wait for it to come out on video. The book is much better. I bought it at Silverbird 2 years ago; they may still have it in stock. If not I’ll be happy to read you excerpts.
I did say that if I learned nothing from the movie, I learnt one thing.
‘In as much as we love the exception stories, most of us are the rule and not the exception.’
It’s the same reason why laws are created based on the rule and not the exception. We can’t lay all our hopes on small probabilities. Faith works like that but when we need to make practical informed decisions, like we have to in relationships, most of us will benefit from sticking to the rule.
If you are in a happy place, being treated in a way you appreciate, whether it’s the rule or the exception that’s awesome. As individuals, we will all have varying interpretations of happiness or what we consider as acceptable to us. This message is for anyone who currently feels or has ever felt they were badly treated and needs to move from where they are now to a happy place.
This quote from the movie sums it all up;
‘Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up: if a boy punches you he likes you, never try to trim your own bangs, and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, every story we’re told implores us to wait for it: the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule. But sometimes we’re so focused on finding our happy ending; we don’t learn how to read the signs. How to tell the ones who want us from the ones who don’t, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a guy, maybe it’s you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is just moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this: knowing after all the unreturned phone calls and broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment… you never gave up hope.’
Please if you have more examples of the exception stories, feel free to share, let’s laugh at ourselves a little?.