Guys do it. Girls do it. We put on the glasses that allow us to look at a red flag and see it as white. (Or maybe a pale and palatable shade of pink!) You might say they’re “Bleaching Lenses” because they have the power to distort the way you perceive someone’s behavior. You want to be the girlfriend (you’re trying so hard to be the girlfriend!) but thanks to those lenses that help you bleach red flags white (with thanks to Jenny McCarthy for turning that phrase), you might do any number of these things:
1. You hear yourself saying the words, “I’m kinda, sorta seeing this guy…” but he’s never called you his girlfriend in front of anyone. And you’d feel kind of weird and embarrassed if he heard you calling yourself his girlfriend. In fact, the G-word just doesn’t get thrown around.
2. You hear yourself saying, “We’re only ‘talking’ (texting)” or “We’re only hooking up.” And you pretend like that’s fine, but get a few more martinis down and you can finally admit it’s not.
3. You aren’t sure what he thinks about you. Or if he thinks about you when you’re not right in front of him. And you aren’t sure what he feels for you. Or if he feels anything for you. In fact… does he have feelings? Maybe he’s a robot. A machine. (Even if that machine is a sex machine, this still spells disappointment.)
4. You wonder aloud who he’s taking to his company picnic and he doesn’t know. He still doesn’t know the day before. And you have dropped mad hints about the great BBQ skewers you make!
5. If he treats you like a friend, not a flame, you’re not his girl. There should be HEAT! “Can I borrow your Netflix password?” is not heat.
6. You notice he flirts often with other women. They look at you and — seeing no threat — they flirt back. Ouch. Sorry, love, you’re not his lady.
7. If his Facebook status says he’s single, you find out he still has a Tinder account, or he hasn’t deleted his match.com profile, guess what? You guessed it: You’re. Not. His. Girlfriend. (Sensing a pattern?)
8. He should want to see you when it works for you — not just when it’s convenient for him. Mutuality and respect are good fertilizer for relationship soil. If he’s not seeding with these qualities, he doesn’t intend for whatever you’re doing together to lead anywhere.
9. If he says, “I’m not really looking for a relationship right now,” or “I’m not really interested in something serious,” believe him. “People usually tell you the truth about who they are [and what they want] up front” as Maya Angelou used to say — and they do it through their words and/or their actions. Pay attention to what he does in addition to what he says. Rare is the guy who has changed his mind about this.
Obviously, the more red flags you detect, the worse your chances are of getting the clarity and the security you probably desire. But you deserve to know where you stand and where things are headed so you can use your dating energy where you’ll be appreciated and valued. So, take these tips, get honest with yourself, and break the habit of bleaching those red flags white! Remember, Love Favors the Brave!