I was hanging out with a female friend a year or so ago when a text message came in from a girl that I had been dating, but nothing was “official” yet. I interrupted our conversation to view the text with anticipation.
Instead of a warm or playful response to what I had previously thought was a flirty message from me, I received a confusing and seemingly neutral type of message. I stared at my phone looking for the hidden meaning or another context within a message that didn’t appear to align with what I had been initiating.
Perplexed, I needed assistance.
I handed my phone to my female friend in hopes of a better translation. She giggled and explained that the text was engaged but there was some obvious restraint shown, likely to protect this girl’s intentions and therefore her vulnerability.
Handing the phone back to me my friend grinned and said “You’re in the weird zone of dating!”
In dating the first few dates are typically a fun and casual exploration of the other person to determine if there may be a future fit. This may eventually lead to a committed relationship but not without passing through the treacherous “weird zone” first.
The weird zone is a place where our interest levels increase almost in direct proportion to our need to protect our heart and even our pride. No one wants to over-play their hand and be left on the short side of the emotional playing field.
As we feel our way almost blindly through the weird zone, either of us may try to warm up the budding romance with innuendo and flirtatious implications. However, the perils may include uneven reciprocity and misaligned levels of engagement.
Uneven reciprocity is when you call her “baby” and she answers back with your name. “Oops, was that ‘baby’ too soon?” you think with self conscious apprehension.
A misaligned level of engagement is when you keep in touch two or three times a day by email or text and she responds once if you’re lucky. “Is she uninterested or is it that she’s playing the game and is actually completely interested” you think with frustrated near resignation.
The weird zone is an ultra-sensitive mine field full of disconnects and misinterpretations. One step in the wrong direction and the future possibilities could be blown sky high.
What is the way safely out of the weird zone and into the calming comfort of a committed relationship? Stay the course with integrity and without (too much) strategy. Take things step-by-step and remember that the moral to every story is good communication.
I totally appreciate your take on the “weird zone of dating”. In fact there are many “weird zones” at various stages in relationships. Like the transition from love interest to “friends zone”. It feels weird the entire time to the person that turns into the friend. Or in a break up phase or as a relationship fizzles out or changes. One or both parties often enter this “weird zone” when texts, calls, emails and messages are re-read, over-analyzed and misinterpreted like your solving an elaborate puzzle.
The most common and practical advice that many experts and non-experts with say, is to just “go with the flow”. So I agree with you that you take things “step-by-step” without “too much” strategy. It’s always a great reminder that the only person, thoughts and actions we can control in a relationship is our own! So don’t worry about things you can’t change, stay positive and true to your beliefs and goals.
i can’t help but feel there is something fundamentally wrong about this article.
who emails and texts a girl three times a day when he’s been dating her for a week or two? why would you do that? and if you do that regularly, i can understand how there could be some uneven reciprocity.
there are just so many unspoken assumptions behind this article which seem very bizarre to me. for another example, if you call a girl “baby” and she calls you “gary”, why would you even stop to think whether you’d overextended your boundaries? i call my friends “baby” sometimes, and if they don’t call me “baby” back, i don’t sit in a dark room getting teary eyed. it’s the same thing with a woman. who gives a shit what she calls you as long as she’s hanging out with you, and if she doesn’t want to hang out with you, it doesn’t matter anyway, because then you can go off and meet another hot babe or do something else awesome.
i think this article highlights a problem that a lot of men and women have: being overly-analytical in their romantic interactions. it might help you being analytical when you’re at work programming a web platform in php, but not when you’re having a laugh with your buddies, and certainly not when you’re finding a potential mate.
Thank You Kurt! This article just encorages game playing, just do what you want and who gives a shit…..if other person overanalyzes it to death or reads to much into it….NEXT
Totally what I am going through right now. Need to find a way out. :S
It doesn’t sound like a “weird zone” to me, it sounds like the other person is simply not very interested at all.
Clearly written by someone who has yet to have a connection with a person. I entered the wierd zone many times, only to eventually realize that if there is a “weird zone” and you have to analyze everything the other person does and carefully plan everything you do, they are not the right person. When I met my current partner, in the early stages of dating, there was no weird zone. I said and did what I felt with no fears because I knew we were both on the same page.
It’s good to know other guys have gone through the exact same situation. I stupidly stayed in it too long, because the woman I was with was unpredictably shifting from hot to cold and back for several months, and because I was completely smitten. The woman said she didn’t want to play games, and I had been interested in her for a while, so I laid all my cards on the table very early on. I think that even if a woman says she’s ready for that, men have to hold something back and maintain a bit of mystery. I agree with the comments that it should be easier if you’re on the same page, but love, ego, hope, and emotional manipulation by the object of affection, can conspire to make a fool of anyone. The point is to have enough self-esteem and faith that the world won’t end without this person, and know they’ll respect you more in the end if you have the guts to get out fast when you get in a weird zone that doesn’t resolve quickly, rather lingers and heads into Rod Serling territory of weirdness! Love yourself enough and you’ll be able to embrace the reality of rejection or unrequited love, rather than losing your mind (and resources) courting a woman who never intended to or even could be an equal partner.
Well put Hugh. In the case of the article it was just typical weirdness that can go along with the getting to know someone while protecting your ego; not playing too many cards at once. It may not be the best plan but it’s natural sometimes to take things step by step and not go in heart first. In your case it seems like it went on for a long time and you were “sucked in” by a woman who just wasn’t sure of what she wanted. She took you along for the ride and that’s unfortunate. I’ve been there too. Everyone’s different and different approaches to romance are probably good because then we learn. This article was just anecdotal of one of my experiences. Good luck!
very well said…thx for this….
i think ALL of you are over-analyzing. what the author calls a “misaligned level of engagement” sounds like the girl could be playing hard to get. (hey, i don’t care how progressive gender relations get, bottom line the guy is still supposed to be the pursuer.. without getting creepy.)
at the end of the day, dating is supposed to be enjoyable. so just relax and enjoy the moment. does this person add to your life and self-value? send positive vibes and encourage the same from you? or do they make you nervous, in a bad way? it’ll take some dating missteps to hone your instincts, but after that you’ll be able to trust your gut and stop over-analyzing. you won’t last a lifetime together if you can’t enjoy the day-to-day. so in the beginning, focus on enjoying their company and learning about the other person.
What’s important is to know the difference between what makes you seem interesting, or cute, and what makes you just plain weird.
The weird zone is the funnest part!!!…..ive always been good with people reading and its like a chess game…you have to move the right pieces at the right time…and counter the pieces she throws at you…it takes practice and eventually you will learn which path will get what reaction according to what type of girl she is and be able to categorize different approaches or withdrawels females take
I like you’re attitude Ken and I think you’re right! Of course with the right attitude dating is a fantastic journey with lessons and thrills along the way! Thanks for your comment.
“Medium is the message” pretty much sums up texting as a dating tool. Or in this case, texting IS the dating weird zone by its very nature. In the past when a man was interested in a women he would call her up on the phone or ask her out in person. The woman knew exactly where she stood and so did the guy because the woman would either say yes or no. For the most part it was black or white.
Texting has created a whole other grey area. Just because a man texts you nowadays doesn’t mean he’s even remotely interested in dating you. Maybe he has no other plans for the night. Maybe he’s only interested in casual sex. Maybe he’s texting 20 other women at the same time. Women know this and that’s why we respond to guy’s texts in a lukewarm manner. We’re simply not sure of his intentions.
I can’t tell you how many times I got a text message from a guy I was initially very interested in that went absolutely nowhere. Each time it would turn into a texting marathon with no effort on the man’s part to get together. You know, like a real date. I’d assume he was texting other women and keeping me on the back burner. So I would gradually stop responding to his texts. How sad. What started out with so much potential crashed and burned all because texting is so impersonal and both parties aren’t sure of the others interest.
Men: if you want to eliminate the weird zone don’t text. It’s that simple. Call up the woman you’re interested in and invite her out on a date the way men have been doing for generations. Sure, the risk of rejection is always there. But so are the rewards. You may end up with amazing woman that other dudes were too scared to ask out.
Well put Brigette. Texting truly is the black hole of ambiguity. Most of us hate it, but it has become the norm. Asking out, paying compliments and even breaking up, are all being communicated in text now. I know people, mostly women, who now consider it rude to simply call without warning! Everyone has different expectations. Maybe the solution is to be up front when we meet the opposite sex and clearly state our preferred method of communication. What do you think?
I read somewhere that for women attraction isn’t a choice. It’s a gut reaction we experience when a man engages in certain masculine behaviours. I happen to agree. I also think that as women we don’t always know what’s good for us. So asking for our preferred method of communication can be counterproductive.
Here’s a perfect example. I’m one of those women who hates chatting on the phone. My friends have a running joke that they’re only allowed to call me if they’re lying dead in a ditch. So when I met this really great guy and we exchanged numbers I told him upfront – text only. Guess what? He called anyway to set up our first date. To say I was blown away is an understatement. And you know what? My attraction and respect for him skyrocketed. He took control, did what he thought was right (call) and this was super sexy to me! We dated for a while. It didn’t work out for unrelated reasons. But to this day my friends and I talk fondly about that guy.
To your point, Gary, when a woman is genuinely interested in a man she’ll be glad he called. If she’s even mildly annoyed it means her interest level was never very high. Think about it. If a beautiful and fascinating woman called you on the phone would you think she was being rude? Exactly. BTW I’m now a firm believer in that initial phone call. When done the right way it sets the guy apart and can trigger powerful subconscious feelings of attraction that you can’t replicate through texting.
Brigitte that was a perfect story to share. At first, everyone has their own preferred methods of communication. I dated a girl once who thought it was rude to phone someone! She considered it like walking up to someone’s house unannounced and ringing the doorbell. Sometimes we get used to all the many ways we can communicate and become narrow minded or too selective about dating commutation; even lazy!
I really like how this guy decided on his own that his preferred method of communication was to call irrespective of your direction to text only. It illustrated so much to you in a hurry…his independence, confidence, “control” all of which confirm great things to a woman when done with respect. In short, he was a real MAN! I think when women “test” men, they are looking to confirm if he is a real man. When you didn’t even have to test him and he proved so much with one move, it’s understandable how attraction would “skyrocket”!
Thanks very much for sharing Brigitte!
“The weird zone is an ultra-sensitive mine field full of disconnects and misinterpretations. One step in the wrong direction and the future possibilities could be blown sky high.”
If other person acts like described in an article, possibilities are already blown, just other person doesn’t want to tell you that directly.
The best advice I can give you, you guys do it to yourselves.
How horrible for you poor idiots in the US, having to hyper-complicate your interpersonal relationships to such an extent. American and European women are far, far, far, far, FAR gone. The hapless men there seriously believe they can be communicated and reasoned with. Fahget Abaht-It! There is no longer any hope for the super-angry, ultra-materialistic, mombo-misanthropic American woman. Mass lesbianism is their only hope.
My guy played it just right, every time I thought things were going downhill he would do something unexpectedly sweet and charming. He is a little older, but I think that gives him an advantage. 🙂
It’s been pointed out elsewhere… if things were meant to be, in terms of real interest, compatibility, the right situation, etc. only a serious faux pas will mess things up. On the other hand if the essential things aren’t there or aren’t workable then there is nothing either party CAN do to make it work.
I am sure you can look back through the annals of a successful relationship and see many wince-inducing things either person said or did, and they still made it.
Honestly, after reading the article and comments on this page – I found the Comments just as -if not more – helpful than the article itself. I am recently single and just gotten back into the dating game. It’s confusing and terrifying, but at the same time extremely exciting. I agree with what someone mentioned earlier that the whole strategy behind the ‘weird zone’ can be really fun – but only when you are both on level playing fields and have some kind of unsaid understanding – let’s face it, nobody will admit they’re playing the game, but you both know it’s going on. I really am struggling with this at the moment, and the fact that when you’re dating you don’t have to be completely upfront and honest about communicating your feelings as you would in a relationship, if anything, it’s the opposite – you need to play it ‘cool’ and seemingly you need to be aloof and act like nothing bothers you. I recently have been texting with a guy and while I precisely make my texts seem blaze – I’m secretly shitting myself every time I press send and bugging the hell out of my girlfriends about whether one or two x’s is appropriate! It’s ridiculous! I definitely agree with Brigitte – texting is what created the weird grey zone. And while it’s fun, it can also just be so confusing and hurtful when you’re new to the dating game!
Thank you for your comment Alyce. You make many great points…”one or two x’s”? These things, as ridiculous as they can seem, do tend to matter. Good luck and thank you for reading!
M a fearless female and mde it quite clear when I told a guy I realy liked tht I’d like to be lovers with him.
Yes which guy wudnt want free sex so tuned out we became more than just friends and three years dwn the line I typed ..
I HATE you BIG time.
What I meant was I hate tht evn when with my female friends I wud miss HIM cause with him I was able to be myslf and we alwz gave it ALL where we met which was bout once a week.
But he flipped at tht sentence and totaly over analayzd without givin me a chance to explain .a perfect example of ‘weird zone’ ….
Things have never bin the same cause I rethink evry txt I send and he kips mentioning the ‘hate’ thing evn thou I’ve tried to explain.