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Signs of endearment — or just habits?

Posted Oct 01 2008 4:25pm

When we are fond of a man, we look for signs of his endearment toward us. We seek affirmation that he thinks as dearly about us as we do about him. Sometimes we mistake his natural habits for signs that he is going out of his way to show his affection toward us.

For example, you are on your third date and he:

  • Has Country and Western music playing on his radio when he drives you to the restaurant. “Wow!” you think, “He must have remembered I like Garth Brooks and set the radio on Country because he knew I liked it.”
  • Takes you to a Thai restaurant without asking your preference. “How thoughtful he is,” you tell yourself. “He remembered my mentioning my Thailand trip a few years ago and knew I’d like the food.”
  • Seats you at the table, walks on the outside of the sidewalk, opens doors for you, helps with your coat and insists that he come around to open the car door for you. You think, “How sweet that he is treating me like a queen. He must really like me.”

The truth is, this is what he would do naturally, without thinking — or at least not necessarily thinking about you. These are his preferences or habits. He likes C&W music and Thai food. He has been trained since childhood to be chivalrous. None of these things are necessarily about his trying to please you or show his fondness toward you.

Of course, these could be indications of his enchantment. But many times we interpret behaviors like these as absolute signs when they aren’t.

Now if he prefers reggae but plays C&W on the radio because he knows you like it, yes, he’s showing his desire to make you happy. If he would rather have Chinese but knows you love Thai, then yes, he’s showing his affection. If he normally wouldn’t be conscious of where he walks but knows it makes you feel cherished if he walks on the outside, he’s showing his care by doing what he knows you like.

In retrospect, I’ve interpreted simple acts as major signs that a man is entranced by me. When the rose-colored glasses have come off, I saw that he was doing whatever he naturally did and I took it as a massive sign that he was into me. Of course, there were instances of him consciously doing what he knew I liked. But I’ve been sobered by the realization that so much of what I interpreted as beguilement and wooing was in fact just what he would do for any women in his presence, whether romantically interested or not. And often it was what he’d do if alone.

So be careful about what you make to mean a sign he’s into you.
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