Ojisan asks: I have a crush on a girl, and I thought she liked me too because I openly flirted with her about making her my girlfriend and she used to say “we’ll see.” Finally I proposed to her but she rejected me. Normally most people would avoid each other after this but she is still close to me. Whenever I joke about my confession to her she says that everything takes time and one should know the person really well before coming into a relationship. I still like her but I’m confused. Is she hinting to me to take my time, or am I just overthinking too much and should just be friends?
Hi Ojisan –
People love to talk about the differences between cats and dogs. Now of course you and I know that cats are awful and stinky and need to be chased, right? Right?
(Okay, okay, I know, they deserve freedom and happiness just like anyone else, and I have to learn to be tolerant, and some of them are really great, okay… But that’s not what I’m talking about here anyway.)
Most dogs, when you meet us, are instantly friendly. We want to be your best friend. We want to sniff you and lick you and jump on you (some of us have been trained not to, but we do want to!). That’s just the way we are.
Meanwhile, most cats are far more cautious. They stand back, figuring you out, to see if you’ll be nice or not. And even once they know you’re nice, they still hold back – they stay ‘cool,’ even standoffish, except when they just can’t take it anymore and come to you for a cuddle.
Well people are a lot like cats and dogs. Some are eager at once to connect all the way, and some hold back. It doesn’t mean the eager ones will be more committed than the hold-backers; sometimes the opposite happens. But it does mean it’s a good idea to look at people and figure out what they need and how they want to be treated.
In a sense, Ojisan, you’re a dog and she’s a cat. Your view is that if two people like each other they should admit it and run into each other’s arms. While she seems to be feeling, “That’s great, he likes me just as I like him. Now let’s start seeing what each other is like, and if I should allow him even a step closer!”
Now here’s the great news, Ojisan – she is telling you, in every way, to please keep pursuing her. “We’ll see,” and “everything takes time” and “get to know each other better” and staying close to you are all signs she wants you around.
But – and this is SO hard for me with people – you have to restrain your natural doggy impulses.
Still, trained dogs get lots of love. So you’re doing fine. You’re winning; it’s just slow.
In the meantime, I suggest you find some ways to spend time with her that aren’t romantic, that you have conversations with her all the time, that you find ways to open up about your feelings about other things than her (“I love my dad more than I can tell him, but when he has one drink too many I don’t know if I want to hide in my room or kick him out of the house!”). These will win her over.
And that’s what she wants. She wants to be won. She’s completely told you that you’re acceptable to her, but now she wants you to make her fall in love with you.
And here’s the good part, and why some people prefer cats to us pooches. If you succeed, and she does become your girlfriend, you’ll feel a success, a triumph, you wouldn’t have with a friendly doggy girl like me. And she’ll probably want you to feel that pride, that joy, in having won her heart.
And if I’m wrong, and she’s just teasing you like a cat teases a bird… then you can always stop, and just walk away from her, and go find a friendly doggy-girl… or a friendly dog!… and get the affection you deserve.
Either way, you are in better shape than you realize. Go like a chivalrous knight to win the heart of this fair lady. Whatever the result, the adventure will be glorious!