Groundhog’s Day Debate: Should you be scared off by your shadow?

He’s just not your type. He’s too loud. He’s not loud enough. He’s awkward. He’s cocky. He doesn’t get along with your friends. He’s trying to get too close too soon. He doesn’t seem to have anything in common with you – yet wants to date you anyway. He wants to be around you all the time, when you really just want some space. We’ve all had an admirer like this – the guy who, despite all signs pointing to no, just can’t seem to take a hint, cut his losses, and let it go. He’s your shadow, and like the famous groundhog, he makes you want to escape back into your burrow to hide for the rest of the winter.

However, I’ve noticed people tend to get a little, uh…less selective…once we start moving towards spring. And I totally get it. It’s getting warmer, clothing is becoming less mandatory and more optional by the day and you want someone to help you re-enact the age old tale of the birds and the bees. Completely understandable. What isn’t understandable, at least to me, is stringing along some guy you have no interest in just because you’re bored. Or lonely. Or you want attention. Or, as I often like to say, your car’s all gassed up and ready to go, but you just need someone to stick his key in your ignition and take you for a drive. And if that’s not graphic enough for you, I could absolutely go on, but I think you get the point. All those things that initially annoyed you about the guy are seeming less and less important as no other viable options are on the horizon and you’re faced with the possibility of being single in the springtime. Which is totally not that bad, by the way. I’ve done it. And what I discovered was that while not having anyone to cuddle with during a thunderstorm kind of sucked, the term “spring fling” doesn’t only refer to chaperoned dances in the middle school auditorium. As a matter of fact, it’s better when it doesn’t.

And honestly, if you know you’re not feeling the guy, why prolong the inevitable? Every open-ended excuse and ambiguous, self-serving line you feed him just gives him that much more hope that maybe, just maybe he’s still got a chance, or that he can change your mind. Trust me – I hang out with mostly guys and I see this happen all the time. We all know how this story goes: he’ll end up embarrassing himself, and later resenting you for not sparing him the unnecessary torture when you knew you just weren’t interested. One of my best guy friends had a crush on a girl who strung him along for years. Literally. YEARS. He put himself out there for her time and time again, and she essentially took advantage of his feelings for her while simultaneously treating him like he was only one of a million guys who were vying for her attention, like she was too good to make time for him. When in reality, she’d be lucky to date a guy even half as sweet as he is. She left him crushed, and I have a hard time resisting the urge to push her into oncoming traffic on a damn near daily basis. Boys are not our toys. You don’t get any respect from anyone by treating them like they’re disposable.

So if you come out of your hole this groundhog’s day to find your shadow waiting for you, just be straight with him. He might have six more weeks of winter in his future, but it’s better than promising him the springtime when you know it isn’t coming. That way, you’re both free to find your perfect bird…or bee…or whichever awkward sexual innuendo fits you best.

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