Sunday, January 07, 2007

Facing Aversion

Sometimes, I avoid confrontation. I suppose I do it for a lot of reasons, depending on the situation but most of it is due to my laziness or having already moved on to occupy myself with something else.

Just yesterday, I was walking down the street and turning to go into a store. The store owner was standing in the doorway, talking to another patron. She seemed to be upset about something and the store owner was apologizing. As I approached the door, the unhappy customer had turned to leave and the owner, less than two feet away from me, let go of the handle and headed back inside. She let the door shut in my face. There, in that single second I decided that store had nothing for me. I turned to the friend I was walking with and said "never mind" and we walked away.

The store owner, apparently having seen this, came back out the door and said "we're open, come in." Obviously, she thought nothing of what she did. "No thank you," I said. And part of me wanted to walk back in there and tell her why. But that other part, that avoid it, it's hard and will make you uncomfortable for no reason part, just kept walking.

I do this too much, though. With things I think are unimportant, inconsequential. I did it when I was younger, when I didn't want to hang out with someone anymore- I'd just distance myself, until we drifted apart. I don't do that now, but the problem is, the attitude seeps into other areas. Areas it shouldn't. Some things, you have to confront.

We'd been out twice. Once, for drinks, that turned into dinner. It was nice, but I was worried. "No spark," I'd told a friend. She convinced me to give it another chance. I opened an email from him. If I were a celebrity with a fan club, I'd want a letter like this. I'd want a hundred of them. He was a fan. So we went out again. I was tired, just back from a trip. And a marathon. He was anxious, obviously so. I had a hard time engaging and I blamed it on being tired. At the end of the evening, I hugged him and said sure to another phone call, another meeting.

I knew better. Somewhere, and not-so-deep down, I knew what it was. That elusive "spark" I'd wondered about before, it still wasn't there. It wasn't going to be. Something was off, something just didn't flow. It would have been missing, even if the interests weren't romantic. No click, no chemistry. None of those descriptions we use to talk about something good. Someone good.

But the phone calls came anyway. One, two, then three. I'd legitimately missed only one of those, avoided the others. I was ashamed of myself. What was I doing, practicing something this childish, at twenty-seven? So I decided, I had to make the call. And just like that, it was easy. The words came to me, I dialed the numbers. I gave him the explanation, the honest explanation. None of that "I'm so busy" or "you don't want to date me" crap. I said genuine words. Adult words. Call it nerve, call it gutsy, call it about time. What I'm going to call it, though, is growing the hell up.


Sister Buckle said...

Oh man - you did it. You did the thing. NOW you definitely deserve fan mail.

God, I'd like to know how you articulated it so I can take some notes. Sometimes I think dating is just bloodless torture. I hate having to make these sort of judgments based on artificial meetings together. It's like a job interview with enormously higher stakes. Euuaaach! I can't handle it.

justacoolcat said...

Nice job. When I was single and dating I used to think the the largest obstacle was the games so I took it upon myself to be straight forward even if it was tough. Doesn't it feel better?

Sizzle said...

good for you! i know firsthand that call isn't easy but at least you can go to sleep at night knowing you have integrity. i'd want someone to be upfront with me instead of giving me the brush off so it should follow i treat people that way too.

i've done the same thing with the store situation. it can seem like a little thing but if it clicks inside, i'm done.

e.b. said...

Call it awesome. I may have been guilty of the duck and run. Ignorning the calls until they stopped coming.

Dawn said...

Good for you! I don't know if I've got the guts to do that.

GirlGoyle said...

No sense in beating around the bush. Plus, some people are unable to get the hint and then it gets annoying until you run out of patience and things get ugly. Best off being adult and honest. Good job! Though for the store owner...I would've said something, or maybe not.

Danielle said...

Good for you. I'm of the same mindset. I really want to be able to tell someone that I'm not interested or what not if that situation comes up cause I'm so sick of not having a return call or something...guys are way too common at doing it and figuring that I hate it and would like honesty, I really hope I can be brave and do it myself next time.

Ginger Breadman said...

You can call it growing up, but then realize that so many adults never grow up and are able to face people head on. It was gutsy.

I feel like I do the same avoidance thing you do with a lot of people in life - who knows why. But sometimes - think about the affect you might have on that person's day - their week - their world - just by saying something. Perhaps the store owner was internalizing what happened with the other customer and lost focus for a second when the door shut - and when given the benefit of the doubt - if you had said something - 2 things might happen - they could be rude and blow you off - (oh, well, you tried), or they might be really thankful and genuine for what you've brought to their attention, having not realizing what they'd done. Who knows . . you might make their whole day.