Ugochi V. Ukah: He Is Not Netflix
I know there are a lot of articles that review all the wrong things that men can possibly do and some other articles advising guys on how to improve themselves in a relationship. So I thought that I would share a personal story that might be useful to women this time around.
A while ago, I met a guy who seemed like an amazing dude; good looking, good manners, good education, hardworking etc. He practically ticked all the items on my ‘list’ but there was only one hiccup – he barely picked his phone calls. Regardless of how many times I told him to hold his phone or take it off silent mode, it was very difficult for me to get through to him. Therefore, the only times that we could speak were the times he called by himself. The few times, I spoke to him about this attitude, he apologized and promised to change. However, he did not change his behaviour despite his promises, and after multiple recurrent episodes, it did not take long for me to conclude that he was not seriously interested in me.
I shared my concern with a dear friend of mine and her husband, expecting some form of consolation, but instead her husband made a remark “Well, he’s not Netflix.”
“Huh? What do you mean?” I asked, confused.
“He’s not Netflix so he can’t always be available to you on demand.”
While I find the statement quite amusing now, I did not necessarily agree with it at that particular moment because I felt that someone who is truly interested in another person should make some time to be ‘on demand’. But after doing some thinking, those words started to have deeper meanings. The point that my friend’s husband was trying to make was that people have other things in life to do; so when they do not pick up, it does not always mean that they do not care about you. He also made some key points about how people are different so while it might be okay for you to always hold your phone, looking at it and expecting a call, your guy might not like to use phones as often. Lastly, he suggested that I got busy, because if I were, then I would not have time to be angry with someone else who is busy or claims to be busy. In other words, face ya work.
While these words seemed a bit harsh, he was just trying to make me realize that one man or woman’s way of life is different from another and sadly, that is the reality we face daily. The only problem is that in many relationships, we expect our partners to be like Netflix, DSTV or whatever, forgetting that people actually have their own lives; besides such services do not come free. Sometimes, we ladies are so engrossed in making lists of what we want in a man such that we forget that nobody is perfect and that when some attributes are present in a person, there is a high chance that another desired attribute on the same list will be deficient in that person. For instance, a very hardworking guy might pay you less attention because he is always at the office or a very frugal man may be stingy because well, he’s frugal!
The same goes for the men, a god-fearing lady might refuse to kiss him or a lady with strong family values might refuse to spend the weekend at his place. So either way, as you are getting one positive characteristic, you are potentially losing another that may still be of interest to you. It is left for you to prioritize and decide on which ones are most important to you or maybe try finding someone new that may have both. For me, success and hard work are important attributes and among the top things on my list but frequent phone calls from a potential or an already-made boyfriend/partner are just as important because communication is necessary.
I had never been in such a situation before. Most times in the past, the decisions were much easier because the guy would already lack half of the items on my list. So if I did not think that he was paying me as much attention as I wanted, I would not see the point of keeping him anyway. But this case was unique and so I decided to consider my friend’s husband’s advice and not be in a hurry to throw this dude away. Therefore, I sat down to do some self-evaluation. I realised that majority of the times I was upset with Mr. Busy, the reason was not because he had not called me but rather, because he had not picked up when I called him. I also had a fault whereby if I saw a missed call or wanted to talk to someone, I would call multiple times and with each unpicked call, I would get even more frustrated. So instead of feeling frustrated and whining all the time, I found a solution. You know what they say, “If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.” My solution was a simple one; I deleted his phone number!
No, it’s not what you’re thinking; we are not quarreling o! And no, I do not have any back up number, neither did I cram his number nor do I contact him via any social media. I just got rid of his number so that I would prevent myself from dialling and so I would be less upset with him. However, I still pick his calls and of course, since I know his voice, I can tell that he’s the one within seconds of talking to him and so he would never have to find out that I don’t have his number. After every call from him, I clear the call log so that I cannot dial back (smart, aye?). Since then, things have been working fine between us (or at least for me). I am less grumpy like before because he cannot miss a call from me and we have our usual delightful conversations without me complaining, so he cannot describe me as ‘cray cray’ (which I have heard some guys use to describe many girls). More importantly, I focus more on my work now and I have come to realize that I barely look at my phone these days because I am not trying to get hold of him. So the advice I was given is actually true! Therefore, it is not surprising that now I miss some of his calls although not on purpose; so now the caller has become the ‘call-ee’.
In conclusion, while there is nothing wrong with having high expectations, ladies, please stop trying to force a guy to fit them all. If he does not already suit your needs, change them or change the guy. In my case, my needs have changed and even though I am still ‘friends’ with Mr. Busy, whenever I see a missed call from him, I still clear the call log without dialling back and then say to myself “Well, I’m not Netflix…he will call back if he really wants to talk.”
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