I Led Him On But It Was Totally Warranted In This Case

Usually, I believe in no BS when it comes to dating: no games, no beating around the bush—just let me know if you’re feeling me and I’ll do the same. However, there was one instance where I led a guy on and I’m not sorry I did it.

We weren’t even close to being official. Seriously, besides a couple almost-dates and borderline-flirty text threads, you could technically argue that we were just really close friends. Plus, throughout our entire flirtationship, he was talking to another girl who I knew was trying to get with him. He never made it clear that he wanted to be with me, so I saw no problem with some harmless flirting.

It helped me realize my own power. I’d just been through two back-to-back heartbreaks where I gave the guys all the agency and was disappointed when they dropped the baton. With this dude, I tossed old-fashioned ideals in the garbage: if I wanted to ask him out, I would, damn it! Taking the reins felt amazing, and it made me realize that I didn’t have to sit back and cross my fingers hoping that a guy would take initiative.

I didn’t actually think he’d end up liking me.Like I said, I was more focused on taking back my power than actually successfully seducing someone. I didn’t try too hard—I asked him out when I felt like it, I texted him when I felt like it, and I didn’t try to mold myself into someone I thought he’d like because deep down, I didn’t care whether he actually liked me or not.

He only started liking me when I lost interest. Somewhere down the line, I realized I wasn’t too into this guy, so I gradually began to pull away and BOOM! It was like I was a eucalyptus tree and he was one hungry koala—he was all over me. I had a not-so-sneaking suspicion that this dude only got turned on by the chase, so the minute I tapped out, he was 100% in—and I’m not into that.

I don’t like confrontation. My rejection style is like a slow, careful peeling off of a Band-Aid: so gradual you don’t even know it’s happening. Any normal guy would’ve taken my five days between texting back as a huge clue that I wasn’t interested anymore, but not this dude! I wasn’t about to get my hands dirty with a paragraph-long “I don’t like you anymore” text just because he couldn’t take a hint.

Ghosting is tacky and immature. I’m so not a fan of the going-off-the-grid approach—maybe it’s effective, but it’s rude as hell. I much prefer a slow fade-out, so I kept my responses short, sweet, and friendly but no more than that. Looking back, he probably read those messages as a sign that I was still into him when really, I was just trying to be polite.

I didn’t want to risk looking the fool. Sure, I could’ve been straight with him and been like, “Hey, I know you’re into me, but I’m just not interested right now.” Still, he’d never really told me he liked me—we hadn’t even kissed!—so there was a chance he’d come back and pretend he only liked me as a friend to save face. I didn’t want to risk that embarrassment, especially because I knew he was pretty shallow and definitely might try to deflect.

I didn’t feel like dealing with social drama. While we were never close friends, we definitely run in similar social circles. If I flat-out dropped him, it would’ve probably turned nasty, people would’ve taken sides, and suddenly I’d have to explain the whole story to everybody who’d heard the rumors. No thanks, hard pass!

I didn’t have a good reason for why I lost interest. I know this sounds shallow, but to be honest, I just got bored. He wasn’t as interesting as I originally thought he was and suddenly, everything about him irritated me, from the way he ate to the way he walked. I just stopped liking him, plain and simple, but I didn’t feel like explaining this to him. Besides, there was no way to do it without being hurtful.

I realized I didn’t have to be perfect to get a guy to like me. When I stopped liking him, I stopped trying to present myself in a way that I thought would make me attractive. Seriously: I wore zero makeup, ate pasta like a starving gorilla, and gave into my “unladylike” dirty sense of humor, assuming it would turn him off. It did just the opposite: it seemed like he was even more into me because I was being exactly who I was. Granted, he wasn’t the guy I wanted to be with, but it helped me realize that all my “strategies” for getting guys to like me were stupid and that my hot mess self was attractive because it was authentic.

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