“He’s Just Not That Into You”

One of my female friends has been going through an “extended pre-courtship ritual”, for lack of a better description, with one rugged fellow she’s met. Lately, though, things have seemed to stall…what’s up with that? Flirting: check! Meaningful conversation: check! But where’s the followup? So far, she’s seen zero action on his part, and frankly she’s getting tired of waiting.

So we’ve been chatting about the causes of this irritating lack of manly initiative on the dude’s part. As a guy, I had some theories about this embarassing lapse of action by “my team”…maybe he’s intimidated? Maybe he’s just a boy and doesn’t know what to do? Interesting to theorize about, but wasn’t getting my friend anywhere.

A couple weeks pass, and my friend mentions a book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo called He’s Just Not That Into You: “The No Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys”. My assignment: read it and report whether it was full of crap or not; when I mentioned this to the help desk women at Barnes and Noble, they nodded in recognition and grimly led me to its resting place in the “relationships” section.

He’s Just Not That Into You is written by a consulting storywriter (Greg) with an executive story editor (Liz) for the show Sex and the City.

The general idea: If that guy you’re seeing isn’t moving heaven and earth to be with you, to be nice to you, or otherwise make a commitment…he’s just not that into you. Move on!

I started with a healthy dose of skepticism, but as I went through it, it rang true. The book shoots down every excuse that you’re likely to hear from a guy; Greg’s premise is that if a guy is really into you…he’s not going to let anything get in his way. He will act. He will overcome scheduling difficulties and fears. Commitment will not be an issue. If he doesn’t, then that’s probably not the guy you want, sorry. He’s just not into you enough. So don’t waste your time making excuses for him…find someone who is into you, who will will treat you the way you deserve. Greg doesn’t want you to settle. Liz isn’t so convinced…she provides the counterpoint to Greg’s straight male perspective, and grudgingly admits that she sees how it’s true.

In a broader sense, I wonder if the same underlying principle can be applied to business practice. Some relationships are built on hope: that we can find “enough of a match” so we don’t end up being alone. Can the same thing be said about business relationships, rephrased as “we work together, finding enough synergy so we build a product that works”? Milton Glaser, the American Graphic Designer, said once that he can only work for people he likes…perhaps this is in the same vein?

I suspect, in either Love or Business, figuring out what’s more important to you–reaching for the highest and maybe not reaching it versus finding a compromise that works–will have some degree of correlation with how one perceives He’s Just Not That Into You. Sure, there are exceptions…but read this so you know what signals you’re putting out there. Unless you’re my sister, who finds the whole idea of this book absolutely appalling :-)