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THE INTERNET’S WORST LIE: “If he wanted to he would”


If your For You page is anything like mine, I’m sure you’ve come across videos of flawless millennial-age micro influencers preaching catchall generalizations about men and how they function like “if he wanted to he would” or “If he won’t, someone else will”. This advice is both reassuring and anxiety-inducing, offering each listener the wisdom they need to move on or some sort of clarity with a situation… for a brief minute until we ignore the red flags and go back to our overthinking or realize this advice is quite empty. During my junior year, Tinx, the TikTok and Instagram influencer, was my gospel for all things dating advice, niche predicaments, texting game, and heartbreak. She would say he should be texting, “dinner at 7 on Saturday. I’ll pick you up” by Thursday at the latest, and I lived by it. But what about her “box theory” - her conceptualized claim that heterosexual men see women in three neat categories? Why did it feel ingenuine when I tried explaining these same theories to my friends, not to mention the number of times I reiterated these internet secrets about men and how they operate to myself as I psychoanalyzed my own situations. In the end, this advice never helped me and it didn’t help my friends, and that’s because I took other peoples’ words as the truth, applying vast generalizations to my own life without thinking twice.


I’ll admit that I’m exaggerating a little bit. First of all, I think 'if he wanted to, he would' applies when you're talking about a very serious situationship but is way too harsh of a phrase to apply prematurely when you're just getting to know someone. There’s no way I ever believed “if he wanted to, he would” for more than more than 10 minutes max because I go straight to the 'he's just really busy, he did put in that effort the last time, he has the potential to be great". I also can't be alone when I say that it feels like I'm the only one who it's not working out for in the guy department. What’s really instructed by actions and viewpoints more is a line I heard a while ago from a friend, “the grass is greener where you water it”. I know wholeheartedly that theory speaks more impactfully to the fearless, bold, confident, self-assured Middle Girl readers of my blog.


Gender roles and societal norms are fundamentally ingrained into every heterosexual interaction from a very young age (boys can’t hit girls, boys pay for the first date and hold the door open, etc). Even as a fifth grader at sleepaway camp growing up, I began to see this play out for the first time. It didn’t matter who I had eyes for… it was clear that they boys had the power and I could only pray that the one I liked secretly had a crush on me back. In my eyes, it was clear that the boys had the control to pick the girl they wanted and if courageous enough, would muster up the bravery to make some sort of camp-appropriate move. Of course, the girl could reject him or reciprocate his interest, but either way, it didn’t really matter who the girl was dazzled by from afar because we were quiet and demure.


That girl was always me, heavily crushing on someone who wasn’t crushing back and then being told by my friends to lower my standards. I always wondered, why do the boys always get to choose their crush and then that’s who the girl is stuck with. Things started changing for me when I truly realized that girls can and should make the first move. Have I ever had a boyfriend? No. Are there guys lined up to take me out? No. Not even close. Whether it’s covid, going to a girls' school, or living in LA in the 21st century, all the possible excuses I could offer to defend my reality are clearly not hindering everyone else. What I’ll say is that these predicaments really leave a girl with one choice: be bold. I’ve only ever known making the first move, putting myself out there, and getting a little bit vulnerable. I’ve been way more successful in the past few years striking up conversations or asking a friend to make a connection that turns into a fling because of my own boldness and tenacity. More often than not, I’ve realized, watering your own grass and going after the things you want ultimately will lead you to an open door. It’s not that I’m lucky, that the things that have worked out are a result of some sort of magic. Who cares if he wanted to, he would?! It doesn’t matter. You text him first, you suggest hanging out, and you make that move. By no means am I saying that you should ignore all signs, be delusional, or allow yourself to walked on… but If you strategically put yourself in the right position and strongly believe that the guy should be absolutely FLATTERED that you’re interested, then there’s a good chance it’ll work out.


I know that was a lot of words, but please take this message with you: It doesn’t feel good to be waiting for great things to happen to you. Don’t sulk and complain when there’s a chance you could make something really awesome happen for yourself even if it feels so so scary. New phrase unlocked: If I want to, I will.


Take my word and be a little bit more bold in 2023.


We got this,

Sophia


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3 Comments


softbolt wares
softbolt wares
Oct 09, 2023

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I love this, but what if your already friends with them? Being bold is easier with strangers then with friends. There’s always that fear that things will be too weird or different after. Any advice on how to do this but with friends? Or should you just not

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daniarely
daniarely
Aug 03, 2023
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It all depends on the relationship that you have with that person. Test the waters, start showing a little bit of interest without it being too obvious and see how the other person reacts/responds. Then from that reaction/response, you should determine whether you proceed with your "boldness" or just stop!

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