Actions speak louder than words

“He’s just not that into you if he’s not calling you — Men know how to use the phone”

— Greg Behrendt


IN last Friday’s Mail & Guardian, Bongela wrote an article “A deep desire to believe” in which among other things, she touched on the emotions of two women, one single and the other married.

She mentioned her interest in doing a documentary on the “extraordinary number of black women in Johannesburg who are beautiful, intelligent, career savvy, independent and confident in all areas of their lives, yet single.”

This piqued my interest and gave me an excuse to delve into the book, He’s Just Not That Into You, by comedian Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, which sold millions of copies and was featured on Oprah Winfrey’s show.

It’s one that should be compulsory reading for young women and which older single women will find useful too.

It gives an interesting and humorous insight into how a woman can make excuses for a man, thereby refusing to acknowledge what his actions really mean.

Even though the book is based on the experiences of American women, clearly the issues raised therein are global.

According to Greg, He is not that into you if he:

Is too busy to call — The case of the guy who says he will phone and doesn’t was explored in detail.

There are variations — promises to call tomorrow but the call only comes after a week, or if left to his own devices, sometimes never.

Excuses ranged from too busy at work, a sick relative, no signal or having to go out of town at short notice.

Oftentimes the women ended up calling in between thereby prolonging a relationship which is not going anywhere.

“Don’t be with someone who doesn’t do what they say they are going to do,” says the author.

According to him, a man will definitely make the time to call a woman he likes.

Sometimes it’s hard for a woman to accept that she is not that person.

Treats you badly — shouting, selfishness, bullying or even physical abuse is not a good sign says Greg.

One woman asks about her live-in partner who often yells and screams at her because “he is under pressure from exams”.

This is a crucial point because if girls learn to nip bad relationships in the bud then there would be fewer abusive marriages.

It reminded me of a high profile case in Zimbabwe some years ago in which a young wife was eventually killed by her husband.

It turned out violence had always been a feature in their relationship even when she was at university.

Despite this she still went on to marry him and on that fateful day she had started legal proceedings to leave.

In case you are wondering, a few weeks later the man died, under unclear circumstances while in prison awaiting trial.

Is cheating or is unavailable — Unavailable in this instance is another word for married or in a long-term relationship.

Many a girl confessed to being with someone who “is not ready to leave but his wife is really mean to him”.

One reason was he would leave but the children would be devastated.

Cheating is a thorny issue and when caught out some claimed it was an accident and hadn’t meant to.

Greg polled a number of men and they confirmed that it’s never an accident, although some were keen to know how and where they could encounter such accidents.

One wonders, isn’t it easier for the male friend to just say exactly what he is thinking instead of behaving strangely and hoping the woman will get the message?

Apparently not.

“A man would rather be trampled by elephants that are on fire than tell you that he’s just not that into you.”

So what’s a woman to do?

Reset your standards is the advice at the end of the book, by raising them a couple of notches.

After being asked why he doesn’t write a book for men called She’s Just Not That Into You, the author said it would only sell eight copies because men don’t process heartbreak by going out to buy a book.

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