Why do we do this?
Allow me to take a stab at figuring it out.
Something I've noticed over my eighteen-and-a-half years of existence is that romantic love has a way of screwing things up. I'm not trying to be cynical or pessimistic, I'm just making an observation. Eros ruins friendships and breaks hearts and creates fear and frustration in the minds of its victims. It is, so often, a destroyer.
But it isn't supposed to be that way. It's supposed to make us come alive and redefine beauty in our minds. It's supposed to be a life-giver. But it's not. And that's because we're doing it wrong.
There's a guy - call him Joe. And he's romantically interested in a girl - call her Christine. But Christine doesn't reciprocate Joe's feelings for her. Now, she has a few options here. The best one is to be honest with him, to tell him that she doesn't feel the same way, but to do it in a gentle and respectful manner. This would bring clarity and spare Joe's feelings and probably even save the friendship. Life is a heck of a lot easier when we're honest with each other.
But more than likely she will not say anything, leading him to believe that he has a chance with her even though he doesn't. There are a dozen reasons why she would do this, all of which stem from selfish ambition or fear. To save her own reputation as a "nice" person, to avoid confrontation, the list goes on. But none of these reasons are really valid. Let me tell you why.
What Christine does to Joe by avoiding the awkward "I'm just not that into you" conversation is, to be blunt, blatantly disrespectful and under no circumstances is it okay. I honestly couldn't care less what her reasoning is behind doing this to him. He's a human being and deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and love.
Obviously, this is all hypothetical. But in reality, it's not. Too many of my friends have suffered like Joe. I have suffered like Joe, and I don't think it's fair. No one should ever, ever waver on the brink that separates hope from pain. Being led on makes one think that there is a chance at being with the person that he or she so admires. It causes guys and girls to waste their time, their energy, their love on someone who doesn't want any of it and will just toss it out the window when they aren't looking.
People are worth an infinite amount. God made this abundantly clear when He made a sacrifice of infinite value for our sake. Can we all just agree to start treating each other as such? As priceless? As deserving of honesty? Not a lot peeves me more than such disregard for emotion.
I'll start this movement if I have to. Right now, I vow never to intentionally lead anyone on, to be transparent with my emotions, and to treat people with respect. I ask you all to hold me to this. I can't promise that what I say or do will not be read into. I'm naturally friendly and outgoing, and I understand how that could be interpreted as flirtation. But to the best of my ability I want to be clear about my intentions with people. They deserve that.
I ask you to do the same. Make a similar vow, or at the very least just try to be careful with people's hearts. They can withstand a lot. But they are so delicate. And it is our job to protect each other the best ways that we know how. Let's start here. Let's start now.
Are you in?