Apparently, ‘benching’ is the new ghosting.
Haven’t heard of it? Perhaps you’ve engaged in this millennial-coined behavior without even knowing it. Instead of disappearing completely because you’ve lost interest, you keep a person (or two, or three) on the benches – with just the right amount of of winky faced emoticons peppered by the odd “Hey, how are you?” here and there so that the benchee maintains interest and hope. The person stays in the rotation so you keep your options open, in case of that rainy day when all other options are exhausted. Or you’re struck by some epiphany that the love of your life is actually the one you’ve had an ongoing emoticon text relationship with for the last 7 months (even though the collective word count wouldn’t even add up to a paragraph). Yeah, cause that happens.
Let’s reality check, shall we?
Benching, ghosting, avoiding, being an asshole – label it whatever you want, it’s all the same thing: someone isn’t interested enough, and doesn’t communicate this fact in a mature and adult way. This way of treating people like they are transactions is selfish, and we need to take the lead on bringing back the decency in how we treat each other when it comes to matters of the heart. Man or woman, millennial or middle aged – we must stop participating in both the doing and receiving of this behavior which lacks human decency and respect for other people’s feelings. But this post is not intended to rip a new asshole out of an asshole, it’s to shed some light on those who may be the subject of this latest millennial dating phenomena of benching (I kid).
Benchees, listen up.
Still trying to decode text messages to determine if he/she is into you? Here’s a breakdown to clarify the confusion:
- He/she doesn’t try to see you = person is not interested.
- He/she consistently flakes out on plans = person is not interested.
- He/she only contacts you late night for a drink or to ‘netflix and chill’’ = person wants to have sex with you and probably not more.
- If you think you’re in an exclusive relationship, and there’s absolutely no trace of you on their social media, the person is A) extremely private B) has a side piece C) doesn’t want to show that they are off the market (sorry to break it to you, but it’s more likely B & C)
- He/she is always busy = person is not prioritizing you, which means they’re not interested enough.
If someone isn’t interested in you, don’t chase them down in an attempt to convince them otherwise. Sure, there’s a courtship dance in the beginning and you need to show some degree of interest and receptiveness, but after a period of time, once you’ve made it clear that you’re romantically interested, and the other person isn’t taking, then let it be. In other words, let it go. This doesn’t mean you slam the door, but stop pouring energy into trying to force someone desire you or want to spend time with you. And if you’re constantly confused if someone likes you, they probably don’t. When two people are excited about each other, there isn’t much guesswork required or text messages to decode – you just feel it.
Back to this benching business. If a relationship is what you want, stop passively accepting your place on the bench. If someone isn’t giving you the time or attention you need, then communicate it in an adult way. Acting out like a hurt child and unfollowing them off social media, punishing them, etc probably isn’t going to achieve the results you want, which is ultimately, connection.
Be an active participant in your dating destiny instead of just reacting to what’s being handed to you. If you’re interested in someone, show them. If you’re confused if they feel the same way, ask them. The response may not be what you want, and you may feel rejected because telling someone you like them is vulnerable, but at least you have the clarity and data you need to make a decision. Trust that you have enough self-esteem that you can voice your needs and boundaries, and that someone’s lack of interest is not a reflection of how awesome you are. You’re just not the right fit.
Tired of being benched?
Go out there with an abundance mentality – know that there ARE PLENTY OF GREAT PEOPLE out there. Go meet them, be open minded, and stop engaging with prospects who clearly don’t want the same things, hoping you can change the person or their timing in life. And if you are seeing a pattern that you’re constantly being ‘benched’, it might be wise to take a good internal look at yourself. You attract people of a similar health level, and your dating market value is going to pretty much determine who you attract. You want awesome? Then you better be awesome yourself and the truth is, you may need to readjust your expectations and standards, or, you need to increase the value of what you bring to the table. Are you aiming too high? Are you aiming too low? Do you need to do some serious overhaul of toxic patterns that are causing you to be an unpleasant partner? Maybe all this benching is an indicator that hey, you may very well not be ready to play the field yet.
Photo by Ryan McGuire