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 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.