Dating Advice

Fine Tune Your “Fluff” Detector

I’m not sure exactly. Maybe it was the seven years I spent working with gang kids. Perhaps I’ve been conditioned by those eleven years’ worth of high-pressure dealings with telecom companies. Or, more likely, it was the last five years of dating that got me to this point.

But there’s no denying it. I have a “smoke” detector that would make “Judge Judy” jealous.

Let me explain. I make it a point to look for the best in people, and I believe I do my part in bringing it out in them. And as an adopted Texan a handshake means something to me. But I’ll tell you what-there’s wisdom in training ourselves to recognize when someone’s trying to deceive us, and courage in having the self-esteem to accept that we’re being flim-flammed and to call it out.

For some unknown reason, such trickery is particularly prevalent in the dating world. Here are eight examples of the many ways people try to dupe us into accepting ridiculous circumstances:

  1. “Get in touch with me and we’ll make plans”

  2. Learn the SecretHow to go down on a woman so she's begging for more!

    Said as a response to interest expressed by someone else. At best a person who replies with this is on the fence about whether or not to go out with you. At worst, they’ve already made the decision. Either way, don’t count on it happening. If this was a promising situation, you would be hearing more details. All of this is especially true when a woman hears this phrase from a man. He would be asking for your number were he interested.

    That said, I am not going to discount a man having such fear of rejection that he still doesn’t ask for a woman’s number when fed a similar line as an obvious hint. But that’s a different context. And besides, ladies, you are better off NOT hearing from that guy anyway.

  3. “Call me on that day and we’ll set a time for the date”

  4. Translation: “Yeah, well I think I need some extra time to work out the details of how I’m going to end up flaking out on you.” Let this person rearrange his or her sock drawer in peace.

  5. “Oh, him/her? S/he’s just a friend”
  6. Let’s assume for a moment, hopefully correctly, that you are not a pathologically jealous loser. Fair enough? Okay, then if you had to ask this question, his or her “friend” ISN’T JUST A FRIEND. And if the person of your affection DOES operate with his or her “friends” in a manner that fuels speculation otherwise, why put yourself through being concerned about it? Find someone with integrity.

    Which, of course, segues nicely into the next bullet point…

  7. “I think we should just be friends”
  8. Long utilized as a de facto standard by disinterested people everywhere, this signals that all attraction is now lost-if there ever was any to begin with. Sometimes a person really, truly does want to remain friends with someone despite an utter lack of romant-o-sexual chemistry. But such a mindset requires immense integrity on the part of someone who has true character. Knowing how rare that is, rest assured that this line is typically employed an allegedly “nice” way to actually end things.

  9. “I’m not ready for a relationship”
  10. Followed mentally by, “at least not until someone comes along who is more targeted towards who I am looking for than you are.” Argue with me if you must on this one. I’ve seen people who were just “hurt bad” by someone, “focused on work” and/or “getting in touch with self right now” meet someone who really rocks their world. Then all of this crazy talk about “not being ready” goes out the window. Deep down, unless we are in a coma we all are ready to “relate” to someone-as long as it’s the right someone.

  11. “Maybe”
  12. But most likely NOT. People who are interested don’t use this word with you unless they are major game players. In either case, find someone else to spend your valuable energy on.

  13. “I’ve been really busy”
  14. This is simply metaphorical for “you are not a priority”. You and I both know that it’s basic human nature to move mountains in order to create huge blocks of time out of the “busiest” of schedules when we meet someone we are truly crazy about. Don’t shout me down for telling the truth.

  15. “I have to be home early and/or get up early tomorrow”
  16. Ah, yes the trickiest one of all. Sometimes this one really is TRUE. What a bummer to have to play this card at face value. After all, most of the time this is what falls out of the mouth of someone who wants to bail out of a date IMMEDIATELY.

    So how can you tell the difference? Simple. If it comes out of LEFT FIELD and without any elaboration, there’s a 100% chance he or she wants out – now. On the other hand, if you are told ahead of time about it you can put some stock in the statement – ESPECIALLY if he or she bends rules a bit when the pre-determined hour arrives and chooses to stay out a bit later. Additionally, when someone legitimately has to get home early you are likely to be BOMBARDED with heartfelt apologies and proactive suggestions about when and where to see you again.

I know that most of you have heard some of these examples before. In fact, I’m willing to bet that you’ve even uttered some of them yourself.

Either way, it comes down to something other than a desire to be blatantly deceitful.

I believe all this “smoke blowing” is rooted in nothing other than sheer cowardice. People just don’t have the guts to tell other people the truth. So they lie. My stand on the matter is that we’re all adults around here and tactful positioning of the TRUTH is always more productive for everyone involved in the dating world than laying false hope on someone. Never mind that whoever is subject to such mental gymnastics would to be naive and/or flat-out obsessed to believe any of it. That’s beside the point.

Yet, many of us are serving up more “whoppers” than Burger King when it comes to dealing with people who are interested in us. Stop that. Be honest with people. And be honest with YOURSELF when you are hearing any of the lines above. What we often consider “tried and true” lines to feed one another are actually “tired and FALSE”. Deserve what you want.

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Scot McKay

Scot McKay is a professional dating and relationship coach, author and podcast host. He founded X & Y Communications in San Antonio, TX, which focuses on equipping and empowering men and women who want to go from good to great in their relationships. Scot is now married to his wife Emily.

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