Dating a guy? Think he’s “the one”? Then stop being so nice. Seriously. When it comes to love, there can be a fine line between nurturing your new romance and being a complete pushover. If you don’t set the right tone from the get go, you may end up with power imbalances in your relationship down the track. Or you might just come off as too accessible when what you want to do is create an air of mystery so he keeps coming back because there is more to know about you. To keep him guessing and interested, and ensure he’s not calling the shots all the time, avoid making any of the following nice girls mistakes.
Being Too Available
He says: “Want to meet me for a drink tonight?”
Sweet talk: “Sure. I have dinner plans but I’ll cancel them. What time should I be there?”
Savvy talk: “Oh, I would love to, but I’m catching up with a good friend and tomorrow night is out too. But I’d love to see you the night after that.”
Wise up: While it’s fine to see him often, don’t make the mistake of seeming too available for him. Every once in a while, tell him you’re busy – even if all you were planning to do was stay home and paint your nails or watch re-runs of Friends. Just because you have him interested and you’ve been on a few dates doesn’t mean you should stop playing hard to get. If you drop everything to ensure you’re available every time he wants to hang out, there’s a risk you might seem too desperate or eager.
Get sassy: Show him you have a life outside of your dates with him, so he realises you are in demand in other circles. This will create a strong impression that you have a life of your own and are not depending on him to make you enjoy your life.
It’s only natural that you want to call him constantly because you two have been hitting it off so well. But it screams “I’m not going to let you get away” when the message you want to be giving is “I’m enjoying making this connection but I’m cool, calm and collected, and there’s a lot about me you don’t know.”
Wise up: If you hit the guy you’ve been dating recently with an unending avalanche of texts and Facebook messages, you will seem like a stalker and not a potential girlfriend. This could turn him off you when he was actually thinking he wanted to get to know you better. It’s fine to stay in contact with him, but make sure you do it in a more casual way.
Get sassy: Play it cool. Wait a few hours before you return his texts, calls or Facebook messages. And from time to time, when he calls in the evening, don’t respond until the next day if you’re already in bed – apologise and say you were busy and didn’t get to check your phone.
He says: “I don’t have any clean clothes at your place. Would it be OK if you throw my stuff in with yours when you do a load of washing?”
Sweet talk: “No problem. I’ll wash your clothes ASAP. Are the clothes that are lying on my bedroom floor the ones you want washed?”
Savvy talk: “Sorry, I’m not washing my clothes anytime soon, so I can’t help out. I should probably add that I think it’s good to set some boundaries at the start of our relationship so I don’t end up feeling like I’m turning into your mother. I think we should make a deal that we both should look after our own washing when we stay at each other’s houses. And we should also share jobs like the washing up after dinner.”
Wise up: If you hang up his towel every morning, let him stay over for days without ever paying for groceries, cook meals for him and carry his dishes to the sink then wash them up, he will instantly slip into the habit of treating you like his own personal domestic slave.
Get sassy: Instead of showing your love for him through molly-coddling, aim to ensure you remain equals in your relationship – this will give your romance a much better chance in the long-term.
Liking Everything He Likes
He says: “I love old school martial arts films – I have a whole collection on DVD.”
Sweet talk: “I love them too! Could you tell me more about them so I really get where they’re coming from?”
Savvy talk: “I haven’t seen many martial arts films, and I’m sure they’re great if you like them but what I really enjoy are films with plenty of good dialogue and stories that take a while to play out. Maybe when we go to the movies we might have to watch different films!”
Wise up: Finding out more about something he’s into is normal when you like a guy. What’s more, seeming super interested in his passions to impress him is only normal when you start a relationship, so you create some common ground to discuss things. It’s no big deal, unless you’re such a bland woman that you agree with everything your guy says all the time. But if you’re trying to please him by trying to be an outdoorsy type when you’re really a bookworm, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. “Eventually, he’s going to discover what you’re really like or you’ll resent having to live a lie,” says psychologist Joan Gibson. “A relationship should be based on honesty or it doesn’t have a future.”
Get sassy: Give yourself credit. You’re compelling enough to attract a man by being yourself. In subtle ways like expressing your opinions or telling him the kinds of films you’d like to see, you can reveal your true personality and then rest assured that your partner is in love with the real you. If you try to fake your identity and turn yourself into a clone of him, you might be reducing the traits that attracted him to you in the first place (given that opposites often attract). And when you get tired of keeping up the pretence and eventually let the truth slip out, he will feel irritated that you’ve taken him for a bit of a sucker and have been pretending to be something you’re not just to try to get him to fall for you.
Arranging Every Get-together
He says: “What are we doing this weekend?”
Sweet talk: “We’re going to Kelly’s party on Saturday, and I organised a BBQ on Sunday afternoon at the park. Can’t wait!”
Savvy talk: “I have no idea – did you RSVP for the party or call anyone about getting together this Sunday?”
Wise up: Lots of guys love going out, but dislike being told where to go and hassled about getting to the party or dinner on time. While they enjoy all the fringe benefits of socialising, men don’t always appreciate the value of catching up with friends. Many of them don’t seem to realise that unless you nurture your social life, it will sputter to a halt and may even cause the relationship to become boring and stale. So from the start of your relationship, it’s important to make sure he doesn’t slip into the habit of treating you like you’re his own personal social secretary. Otherwise, you will end up resenting him down the track. Also, instead of thanking you, he may in fact accuse you of being a control freak when in fact he has pushed you into taking the initiative because he never does.
Get sassy: Organise a get-together with your girlfriends. When he asks what’s on, tell him you’re busy this weekend, but you would love to do something with him and the gang next weekend if he wants to organise it. Do this for a few weekends, and hopefully he will get the hint.
Getting Too Emo
He says: “You’re a cool girl.”
Sweet talk: “I am so in love with you! You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Savvy talk: “You’re cool too. I’m really enjoying hanging out together.”
Wise up: Guys don’t melt when you gush about them or write them love poems or declarations of love on your Facebook page. In fact, that kind of heart-on-your-sleeve behaviour in the early days is likely to make him run for the hills because you seem desperately in love with love.
Get sassy: Don’t be the first one to say “I love you” unless you’re sure or bring up the “Where is this going?” conversation. Never get too gushy – playing your cards close to your chest should have the effect of making him declare how strong his feelings are for you so he gets a sense of whether you like him as much. It’s love reverse psychology and works every time!
Image: Edyta Pawlowska / 123RF.com
Text: Stephanie Osfield, Natalie Pang