Because ghosting has actually become a thing

There are many things all of us humans could do better in life (besides accurately forecast the weather).

Like treat people well.

I’ve mentioned before how I feel about online dating, though I’m happy for the people who have their success stories from it. One thing that drives me crazy about it is how easy it is for people to dodge those they suddenly realize aren’t what they’re looking for without so much as a “hey, this just isn’t going to work.”

Is that really so difficult to say—especially if you’re not even saying it to a person’s face?

I have a friend who had been chatting with a fella for a while now and was supposed to get together with him recently. But then when it came time for them actually to hang out, he vanished. When she reached out to him to check on their plans, nada. Zilch. Zip. He straight up just didn’t respond, and she didn’t hear from him again.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had friends experience this, whether after meeting someone on a dating app or elsewhere. I realize that these people who do the whole “ghosting” thing, as the hip people call it, usually don’t have deep relationships with the people from whom they suddenly vanish, but it still makes no sense to me why anyone would lead someone on only to stop all communications completely.

And I can’t say that I haven’t fallen victim to this myself.

This is just part of who I am.

I’ve been on the wrong end of a text that never got a response or a hand-written note that was never even acknowledged (that one hurt quite a bit). Oftentimes these situations leave us hurting and wondering what could possibly be so wrong with us that we can’t even get the people we truly care about to give us enough of their time even to respond. Maybe some individuals are forgetful or extremely busy, but you make time for the things you want to make time for in life, and it doesn’t take that long to reply to someone.

I spent more years than I would like to admit thinking that I simply wasn’t good enough for guys—I wasn’t pretty enough or smart enough or experienced enough or whatever enough for them to think I was worthy of their time. Friends, I hope that you never feel this way. It’s a horrible place to be. I’m confident now that I don’t need to worry about any of that because I was uniquely made as I am for a purpose and on purpose. I have quirks, and I’m never going to look like a supermodel, but there might be someone out there who will be captivated by me for me.

I hope that you’ve never been suddenly ignored by someone you thought really might care about you as much as you care about him, and I hope that you never do that to someone else, either. It might be the easy way for you, but think about how you would feel if it did actually happen to you. Regardless, I truly hope that you know that your worth doesn’t change based on someone else’s words and actions—or lack thereof both.

Being single isn’t always easy, especially with each year that goes by and each friend and family member you watch fall in love, get married, and start life together with someone else. And now with all of those dating apps that are out there, it’s even more challenging at times to meet people organically. Like I’ve said before, my ideal way to find someone is getting hit with a frisbee in a park by the guy who is my person, and he runs over to check on me, and sparks fly (I’ll keep you updated on if that happens).

The more I go through life, the more I appreciate people who are genuine. While it’s not necessarily the best idea to be honest about everything that’s on your mind at all times, I do think it’s important to be sincere in how you treat people and that you match your words with how you actually live your life. And one big part of treating people well and loving them well is not leading them on. Whether you’re afraid to hurt someone’s feelings or are only regarding your own feelings at the time, it’s not a good idea to make someone believe you care when you actually don’t.

Legos and Barbies are toys—people’s hearts are not.

When you pursue what you know you should

Unfortunately, we don’t always get the things we want in life.

No matter how hard we chase them.

When I was a little girl, I used to follow my brother around everywhere and insist that he let me play in every pickup basketball and football game and street hockey game with him and all of his friends. He usually acted pretty annoyed about it but let me play (most of the time, anyway). Back then, I thought my brother was one of the coolest people who existed, and I wanted him to want to hang out with me—I pursued a strong sibling relationship with him.

What hurt, though, were the times when he didn’t want to spend time with me, too, particularly as we grew older in middle school and high school. I realize that some kids and teenagers go through stages in which they become “too cool” for their younger brothers and sisters, but it’s never enjoyable to be on the wrong end of a rejection, especially from someone you care about so much.

Thankfully, my brother can’t ever actually get rid of me, and I’ve enjoyed being able to spend more time with him in the last year or so as I’ve gone over to his house to spend quality time with my niece. Being halfway across the country now, I’m thankful for FaceTime to help me still be part of their lives.

But not everything we pursue turns out so great—including when we pursue people.

I think I’ve always been a people pursuer. I love people—I love spending time with them and hearing their stories and sharing inside jokes and making memories and reaching points when you know each other’s special quirks and tendencies. It’s comforting to know others and to be known by them.

My sweet friend Jayna is one who wholeheartedly pursues friendship. She even sacrificed an entire afternoon to help me pack the day before I moved so that she could spend time with me.

It’s not always easy, though, because a lot of people are very busy, and sometimes it’s more difficult than I would like to connect with them. Whether it’s work or family or social activities, we all have a tremendous amount of stuff going on in our lives, and I think a lot of times we get so caught up in our own worlds that we forget to pursue some of our relationships. I know I’m guilty of this, though I’ve been trying to be better about reaching out to people more often, especially now that I live so far away from most of my people.

Starting over in a new place has also been challenging because I definitely have to do quite a bit of pursuing to form new friendships and reach those levels with new individuals to where we know each other well and become more like family. I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m not ashamed to ask people right off the bat to grab coffee (I don’t even drink coffee) or go for a walk or something so that we can get to know each other better. And I pretty much consider everyone a friend after at least one conversation. I don’t mind pursuing people—I like for people to know that they’re important enough to have others want to make time for them.

But there’s one area of my life that I don’t necessarily want to pursue someone—and that’s obviously in the whole love and dating arena. It’s not because I believe in some conventional gentleman-has-to-ask-out-the-lady thing; it’s more that I simply want someone to want me for a change.

I’ve gone my entire life being interested in guys who are never interested back or only lead me on for a little while, and it often feels like I’m chasing them, but I’m on a treadmill going nowhere, and they’re on the normal ground actually moving. I don’t want that—at all. I think that’s one reason I don’t like dating apps: I don’t like to feel like I’m having to pursue a relationship and forcing something that might not be there. I want someone to fall for me out of everyone else in the world and pursue me for once.

Is that so wrong?

I was thinking the other day about how God continually pursues us, and we don’t always pursue Him back. We’re too busy being wrapped up in all of the busyness in our lives that keeps us chasing all of the things. I’m trying to be more diligent about pursuing Him and the opportunities He’s given me rather than chasing after the things that may not be right for me. I’m going to try not to worry about whether or not I may be single for the rest of my life, and I don’t want to let my heart get broken again by focusing so much on someone who may or may not have ever actually cared for me.

Will I still pursue the friends and family members who are placed in my life? Absolutely.

Because everyone deserves to be pursued and feel loved.

Because you might miss out when you’re scared you’re missing out

Some of the most valuable things I’ve learned have come from the most unlikely places.

You know, like Urban Dictionary.

I used to have my students to help me out with the latest lingo and snazzy expressions people are saying these days. Since I’ve been out of the teacher world, the struggle has been real for me to keep up with all of the hip quips. If I want to know what something means, I usually have to resort to Urban Dictionary.

One thing I’ve learned is that FOMO refers to the “fear of missing out,” and I think it’s a pretty legit abbreviated expression because it’s very true—certain things truly do make you feel like you’re being left out of some really great memories. I mean, just open up your FaceBook or Instagram app, and take a look at all of the fun events and activities your friends are a part of, and you might experience some of the symptoms of FOMO.

Why am I not there?
Why are they having so much fun without me?
Why was I not invited?
Why did I choose to sit at home when I could be out with them?
Who is that new person in this picture with my friends?
What if I’m missing out on some really wonderful memories?

There are just so many questions that come along with the FOMO moments.

I must admit that I’ve had many FOMO times in my life, even before it was a hashtag. When I was in high school, most of my friends started dating, and I sat back and waited for my turn (still waiting, by the way). It was the same story in college and after that, and then everyone started getting engaged, and I felt like I was being left behind.

When I went through all of those issues with my kidneys recently and wasn’t able to run much, I started to feel like I was missing out on a lot in the local running community, especially because I had to miss out on a some of the bigger races I love running. I still haven’t raced in almost a year, so it’s been rough.

Not thinking about what I’m missing out on—pondering important things, instead

Since I moved to California, I’ve definitely had my fair share of moments of feeling like I’m missing out on some really great things with my people back home. When I see pictures of my friends, I want to be there with them. When my sister texts me pictures of her with my mom, I want to hop on a plane and go take a selfie with them. When my brother sends me pics of my sweet niece, I want to rush over to their house like I used to every weekend and hang out with them.

I recently had to remind myself, though, that if I spend so much time thinking about what I’m missing out on elsewhere, I’m actually really missing out on the moment right before me.

No, I don’t have a husband or a boyfriend or a date to anything ever, but my singleness has never actually gotten in the way of my life. Maybe one day someone will fall in love with me, but if he doesn’t, then I can’t let that stop me from dancing on my own and enjoying every moment I can.

No, I haven’t gotten to race or be anywhere close to in racing shape in quite some time, but for some reason or another, I needed that time away from all of that. I needed to slow down a little, and I reached a point when I realized that my main focus needed to be on enjoying those moments when I wasn’t hooked up to IVs and in so much pain that I couldn’t even get up to walk without it being a struggle.

No, I don’t live in Texas anymore, but there are a lot of great people and great places in California, and I don’t want to miss out on them because I’m focusing so much on what I’m missing out on somewhere else. God called me out here for a reason, and I’m going to trust whatever it is and not what it’s not.

The wise and poetic Hannah Montana said it best: “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock.” You can’t be everywhere with everyone all of the time—you only can be where you are in the moment. None of us knows how many moments we’ll get, so it’s important to be present and to make each one count.

Because if you’re so busy letting the fear of missing out get the best of you, you’re actually missing out on more than you know.

And then I made a first date even more uncomfortable

At my age, you’d think I would know when to bite my tongue, especially on a first date.

Between two other people.

Over the weekend, I went to get froyo like I normally do, but I was a few minutes early and had to wait outside until the place opened. A woman came up and sat down at one of the tables outside, and I figured she was simply really eager to get froyo like I was.

It turns out she was eager for something else.

A man arrived, and there was an awkward exchange between the two of them—sort of a “Hey, are you so-and-so. Yeah, great! I’m so-and-so.” Then they sat down and started talking, asking each other all of these get-to-know you things with lots of uncomfortable silence between the Q&A portions. I should have minded my own business—I really do know that. But I had left my phone in the car, so I couldn’t pretend to be scrolling through Instagram or texting someone, and the gal inside the froyo place was still checking the machines and toppings and not coming to the door with the keys in her hand, so I did what I shouldn’t have done: I started talking to them.

“First date, huh?”

They both looked up at me and at first didn’t say anything. Then, thankfully, the guy said it was. I probably should have stopped there, but I think we all know I didn’t.

“You picked a great place to come to and definitely a great time—the froyo is always best right when they open because that’s when the machines are freshest. I recommend the cake batter flavor. It’s incredible.”

The blank stares they gave me made me feel like I was back in the classroom, standing in front of a room full of students as I tried to explain why they should care who Edward R. Murrow is. At this point, most people probably would have kept their mouths shut. But I just really wanted to know more about them.

“So, did y’all meet online?”

They actually answered and told me which app they used, and I was about to keep going, when the froyo employee FINALLY opened the door. I bounced inside, and she handed me my sample cups without me even having to ask (they know me there), and the potential couple remained outside chatting while I filled my froyo cup full of delicious bliss. I can’t say I blame them at that point. I don’t think I helped their situation any (aside from giving them extra conversation topics regarding the odd girl who wouldn’t leave them alone).

They were still outside after I paid for my froyo, and as I walked out to my car, I felt I couldn’t leave without a farewell to my new friends (they might have a different choice of a word for what I am to them).

“The place is all yours! Have fun! Hope to see you again!”

I don’t know that the feeling is mutual.

If you need someone to crash your first date, I’m your girl.

What is wrong with me? I really love people, and talking to people about almost anything to get to know them better is one of my favorite pastimes, but I know that there are simply times when it’s not appropriate. Yet, for some strange reason, I didn’t listen to any of that in this particular instance.

I think there are certain times in life when it’s fine to say what you want to say, but I think there are also moments when you should simply be silent. I’ve felt this way a lot regarding things other people say to me. Sometimes you have to let people do their own things and go their own ways—and be on their own first dates—without saying exactly what’s on your mind. Perhaps there are times when the best way to show love to someone is simply to let them be without trying to interfere.

I certainly don’t understand the things other people do. I don’t know why people who have broken my heart hurt me the ways they did; I don’t know why people like the online dating thing and the often uncomfortable first dates that accompany that tactic (yes, I know it works for some people); I don’t know why people ever liked and used MySpace; I don’t know why fidget spinners are a thing; I don’t know why people like PCs over Macs; I don’t know why anyone would ever want a bird as a pet; and I don’t know why people choose to subject themselves to vacations at places with snow—where it’s COLD.

I don’t know so many more things, but I don’t have to—because I’m not everybody.

I remember when I was in a rough patch a few years ago, and I got this spontaneous notion to drive to Tennessee to hear one of my favorite authors speak at a conference. It was on a weekend that was going to be pretty tough for me, and I simply needed to get away. I texted my sister to see if she would come with me, and she didn’t even ask why at first. She said she was in. She didn’t tell me I was crazy or ridiculous for wanting to drive all that way and turn around and drive all the way back the very next day. Instead, she let me do what she knew I needed to do.

There are times when it’s great to say what’s on your mind, and there are other times when people simply need your support through your silence. To the couple at the froyo place, even though you will probably never read this, I’m sorry I ruined the first part of your first date—I truly am. I hope the rest of it went well, and the hopeless romantic within me really hopes you end up together forever.

Because love is stronger than anything a person could ever say.

When you can’t find the right avocado

Dating can sometimes be like trying to pick out the right avocado—you’re trying to find the one that’s best for you, and you might encounter some not-so-great ones in the process.

And you certainly don’t want to get one that’s a lot worse on the inside than it looked on the outside.

I fully understand that no one is perfect, and I don’t expect anyone to be. But I still have the childhood belief I always did that there are people who are perfect for each other. I look at my parents, who have been married for almost 45 years, and I know without a doubt in my heart that there’s no one else for either of them in the entire world. Spend about 12 minutes with them, and I’m pretty sure you’ll agree.

Sure, people may have to go through some imperfect matches to get to their lobsters (I’m sorry if you don’t get that Friends reference—it’s on Netflix, and there are reruns on TV all of the time), but I believe certain people are meant to be together.

And others simply aren’t.

I shared in the past that I tried a dating app for less than a day. Not a fan. But for some weird reason, not too long ago, I let a few of my friends convince me to give it another try—for a longer period of time.

I talked to some guys who seemed nice and others who turned out to be turds, but even the nice ones just didn’t seem right for me. I went out with one of those nice guys, but I felt zilch the entire time. Well, unless you count boredom, because I felt that (I know that sounds mean). So, once again, I deleted the app—this time forever.

There are some things I’ll never understand.

I think one thing I really don’t like about the apps is that everything feels so forced. Do I want to meet my Jim Halpert? Sure. But I honestly don’t want to go searching for him. And I know many people have found their true loves on dating apps, and I’m very happy for them, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.

I do realize that I have somewhat high expectations, but I’m fine with that—and sometimes I wish my friends were, too. I understand their hearts are in the right places, but we’re all different and don’t all want the same things in life. I know what I want and what I don’t want, and I’m not looking to spend time and energy where I don’t want to. I’d rather be single forever than end up with someone for the sole purpose of ending up with someone.

My friend and I were out one night recently, and we met a couple of guys who seemed pretty decent. I realized very quickly that I wasn’t interested in either of them, but I was good with the wingman role for the evening. At one point, one of the guys asked me if I was single and told me I should go out with him. No, no. False. And then he asked me how I would know if I was meant to be with a person if I never actually spent time with him. I tried to answer as best as I could without being a complete jerk, but I had chatted just enough with him to know that we were definitely not meant to be and that I actually didn’t want to spend any time with him at all. Ever.

Truthfully, I don’t know if I’m the right person to answer his question. I know what I want to believe—I want to believe that when you know, you just know. But I’ve never been there before. Have I had hope for certain people? Of course. I think we know how that turned out, though.

But I do know something else: I know that, regardless of what your dating or marital status is, you’re capable of sharing love that’s big and authentic and pure and hopeful and genuine and bold and determined and true—and it doesn’t have to be reserved for just one person. It’s a love for all.

We don’t all have to agree on everything. We don’t all have to hold the same beliefs. We don’t all have to take the same paths to the same destinations. We don’t all have to fall in love or have people fall in love with us.

But I do think we should all know what love is and what love does—and it doesn’t take a perfect pair to do that.

RSVP for 1

I’ve spent 29 years of my life as a single gal, and I don’t think it’s the strangest thing in the world.

However, others find it quite peculiar. And wrong.

I was at an event recently and began chatting with a woman a bit older than I am, and we were having a great conversation. Somehow the topic of boyfriends or dating came up, and she found out I’ve never even been on a date. I’m not quite sure how to describe the look on her face. You know the scene in The Sandlot when Ham Porter has to teach Smalls how to make a s’more? Remember the look of sheer disgust combined with confusion and disbelief that Porter had? It might have resembled something like that.

At first she began telling me how horrible the dating world is now and that I had picked a really bad time to get started. (For the record, I hadn’t mentioned “getting started” with anything.) But just a few moments after that, she was throwing out ideas of ways for me to meet people. She mentioned organizations and events I’ve never even heard of and that, quite honestly, didn’t sound too appealing to me.

I guess I never knew just how much of a crime I was committing by being fine with being single.america

I’ve had people tell me before that I need to date to get experience and find out what I want or don’t want. Well, that’s actually what I don’t want. I don’t want to date around just to “get experience.” I want things to be special, and I’m not sorry about that. At all. I’m not against dating, and hopefully someday I’ll get that first date. But not just with any guy–with the right guy.

I already have a first kiss that forever haunts my lips, and I really don’t want another heartache like that, especially after waiting this many years.

Everyone is different, and there is no perfect timetable we all have to follow in the way we live our lives. I know I’m behind a lot of people my age, but I don’t care. Things will happen for me when they are supposed to and in the ways they are supposed to occur. I’m not going to rush them, and I certainly am not going to force them. There may come a time when I have a permanent plus one to put on wedding RSVPs, and there may not. But it’s not something about which other people need to concern themselves–joy and love can be found in this world without actually being in love.

For now, I’ll just live out my fairy tale a little differently than most of the Disney girls did prior to meeting their princes–with contentment.

“When are you getting married?”

There are certain things in life that involve processes you must go through to get to them–you know, like actually combining two slices of bread with peanut butter on one and jelly on the other before you can eat a quality sandwich.

And, unless you partake in various cultures that do marriage differently than I’ve always known it, you should probably go on a date before thinking about a wedding.

A coworker of mine asked me today when I am going to get married.

He clearly doesn’t know much about my life.

I’ve been to and in quite a few weddings in my day, and thinking about my actual “big day” has never really crossed my mind. I’ve never even gone on a date, so I think that would be stepping ahead a bit too much. It did give me a chuckle, though, and I told him I would prefer to go on a date before I even let the thought of a white dress and a handsome fella in a tux gazing at me how I’ve always wanted enter my heart.

Of course, then he proceeded to ask me why I haven’t ever gone on a date. I’m never really sure how to respond to that question, so I gave him a somewhat, “Oh, I don’t know” answer in hopes that we could change the subject. A lot of people seem to think that there is something strange about a 29-year-old who has never dated, and perhaps there is. But it’s not like every guy I meet strikes my fancy, and I certainly don’t have guys throwing rocks at my window to try to get my attention. And, unlike in so many movies I’ve seen, I didn’t have some romantic love-at-first-sight encounter or a friendship that blossomed into true love.

It’s not always as simple as we’d hoped.