“I need to find a guy like you, just not you”. What does that mean?

 ImN0tSuperman ask: 

I had a female friend say this to me a few months ago when we were talking about relationships and how we’re both frustrated with our inability to find something meaningful with another person. Recently it’s been bugging me; WHAT DID SHE MEAN?

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in her and she always seems excited to see me when we run into each other (example: if she finds out we’re in the same place unplanned I usually get a “Come here/find me!” text), but otherwise I find her impossible to read. I just don’t want to ruin a good thing…


Demetrius says:

My friend, you need to learn a vital skill when it comes to communication. When people communicate with you, pay attention to what’s said and what’s left unsaid.

The best way I can think of describing it is with the concept of negative space, or the space around the subject. There’s something that people do when they’re trying to be polite, or passive aggressive, and that’s to imply something without having to actually say it. It’s sort of like conversational negative space. They give you the subject, in  your case you were told that she wants to date someone like you, but not you, and she left it up to you to interpret what that conversational negative space  means.  So tell me, is this a vase, or two dudes?

The fact that you’re asking what she meant is the equivalent of only seeing the vase  and missing the figures in the negative space around the vase. What she means is simple. She wants to date someone with your personality and demeanor but she is not attracted to you. I could have ended the post there, but I want to teach you how to recognize what people mean when they leave certain things unsaid.

Unless you’re dealing with the most forthright people, you’re going to encounter your fair share of people who employ conversational negative space. People tend to shy away from aggressive or confrontational behavior, so implication is a tool that many people use in conversation. How to recognize it requires a bit of interpretation, so try asking yourself this the next time you’re wondering what something means: What is being said, and what is left unsaid. It might sound weird and pseudo-mystical, but just trust me on this.

You were told that she wants to date someone like you, but not you. So what was she implying? What’s being left unsaid? She was implying that in all ways except attraction, you are extremely compatible with each other and your personality traits are desirable. She wants to date someone who will treat her the way you treat her, which I’m assuming is with respect and compassion. What was left unsaid that I can gather from her statement is that she isn’t attracted to you, she doesn’t want to pursue anything romantically with you, but she does place a very high value on your friendship. How can I gather these things? I can tell she isn’t attracted to you and doesn’t want to pursue anything with you because while lamenting your lack of luck in dating, she didn’t suggest potentially dating each other even as an unlikely scenario. She did imply that you have high value as a friend because she’s said that all your characteristics are high value and she wants them in the next person she pursues romantically. That also explains her excitement to see you and be around you. For her, you represent the ideal of a platonic relationship. You have all the characteristics she enjoys in person, just none of the attraction.

At this point, you know where you stand with her, so what you do next is up to you. What I can tell you for sure is that you have no shot romantically with this girl, so put the energy you’re wasting thinking about what she meant toward meeting someone like her, but with whom you share an attraction.

Good Luck Out There.

Reply