What to do when they just aren’t that into you

By Collin Bryant | Columnist

It’s imperative to be clear when you are not interested in a person.

As college students, it’s rare to have romance down to a science. We’re busy with changing lives that can be difficult to manage while single, let alone with a significant other. It’s far from uncommon to figure out you and another person just won’t work out. Long-term, however, it’s better to be straightforward and honest about those feelings – especially considering that the other person will be faced with the same reality sooner or later.

We live in a world where communication skills are slowly eroding. Blame television, social media, technology – people just don’t understand others anymore. Nowhere is this more prevalent than when you’re trying to let someone know you are not interested romantically.

This issue isn’t for the blunt spirits that say whatever comes to mind. Blunt spirits seem to have no real interest in protecting the feelings of the other person. Sure, if they aren’t completely selfish, they may feel bad for telling the truth, but they’re simply acting within their character. It’s the nice souls who struggle. The people who want to spare the feelings of others. The individuals who wish to remain friends instead of just ripping off the Band-Aid.

People are simply no longer able to decipher when someone is uninterested. This lack of awareness is the reason why the uninterested party must say something.

Dr. Jeffrey Hall, a professor of communications at Kansas University, said in his research that if there is an overarching feeling of doubt with someone being interested, they most likely aren’t.

However, these thoughts seem to go over people’s heads. Either they know and don’t want to admit what they see, or they really just can’t take the hint. This lack of awareness becomes a hindrance to both parties involved.

The interested party puts themselves in a position to only be more upset when the cords are finally cut. The uninterested appears to be that much more the “bad guy” in the situation. In reality, if both parties were completely open and honest, they’d avoid most of the miscommunication altogether.

People seem to shy away from this transparency for the sake of “playing hard to get” in most instances. Playing hard to get can be a successful tactic, but if done incorrectly, it can lead to a communication haywire.

Dr. Jeremey Nicholson of Psychology Today said in an article that it takes a certain level of tactfulness to properly utilize the method of playing hard-to-get.

“Some of the behaviors and tactics associated with playing hard to get succeed in making someone more desirable as a date or relationship partner,” Nicholson said. “They can also be a way to test a partner’s level of interest and commitment. Nevertheless, for those interested in playing hard to get, it takes some finesse, the right timing, and the proper balance.”

Without the balance Nicholson described, the lines become blurred, creating a grey area that can lead to some real hurt in the end. This principle goes hand in hand with people enjoying the chase when they’re pursuing someone. People like going after someone new. It’s fun, different and exciting. Once again, if not properly balanced, it turns into someone uninterested being chased by someone that feels very differently. This unhealthy situation can quickly breed resentment and disdain from the unlucky one, causing issues for both individuals.

We are all young, busy and just trying to find our way romantically. It isn’t abnormal to figure out while getting to know someone that you aren’t really interested. Yet for the sake of yourself and the feelings of the other person, it would be beneficial to just tell them the truth. Because in the end, they have to find out one way or another. So why not do them the courtesy of letting them down honestly instead of easily?

Collin Bryant is a senior journalism major from Montgomery.