He may call you, but itâ€™s unlikely with all the modes of indirect communication at his disposal. Itâ€™s more likely that heâ€™ll text or Instant Message you. Heâ€™ll tell you heâ€™s in town, but make no plans to see you. Or, heâ€™ll text you some random fact or conversation opener, leaving out one crucial piece of information: Why is this relevant to you?
Heâ€™s a less memorable ex, someone whoâ€™s admired you from afar (sometimes VERY far), or a male associate who thinks that smudging the lines of platonicity will work in his favor. Whatever it is, it is blurry.
I continue to look at modern dating and gender dynamics with an anthropological sense of wonder. How did we become so detached, yet screaming out for love and attention? How did â€œI like youâ€ become a slur that must never be spoken? When did showing genuine interest become the real-life equivalent of playing all your cards, and rejection a fate worse than death or angry, involuntary celibacy?
To â€œPINGâ€ someone, according to master networker Keith Ferrazzi, is to send someone short but regular correspondences to maintain them as a part of your network. A decade ago, a ping would be a short phone call, a brief email or even *gasp* a written note, sent in the mail. Modern technology has given us even more ways to ping, including:
Text Messaging: I resisted it for the longest, but it is the most effective way to remind someone of your existence, without engaging them in a real way. The format demands brevity. Be forewarned: If someone youâ€™re associated with only texts you, and doesnâ€™t make attempts to call or see you, you are not high on their queue.
Social networks: What is a wall, picture or status comment, other than a ping? I can even tell you I â€œlikeâ€-d what you posted, without saying anything else. And Twitter is ping central. You can respond to peopleâ€™s vague/random/mindless self-disclosures without disclosing anything about yourself. Twitter is like the worldâ€™s largest cocktail party, all conversation and little content. Caveat: I have met people through Twitter, and it makes sense since Twitter is about conversation. By the time you see the person in real life, youâ€™ve already talked to them (in less than 140-word intervals).
Instant Messaging (to a degree): This is more conducive to actual conversations, and is even more personal than texting. But you can still use it to drop someone a quick line, make yourself known, and disappear back into the social ether.
So why would a potential love interest want to ping you, instead of make a real connection with you? Call me naÃ¯ve (you wouldnâ€™t be the first), but it wasnâ€™t until recently that I suspected that many of these people, men or women, have a dating queue. It works like any other queue: The person at the top gets the most attention, with the other folks getting whatâ€™s left. Thus is it quite possible that someone who just pops up every now and then to keep you in their networks is actually trying to keep you in the queue. Itâ€™s like the Neflix queue; some flicks arenâ€™t available yet, but you can add them anyway, and wait until theyâ€™re â€œin stock.â€
Can you really be in the queue without knowing or consenting to it? Yes, if you arenâ€™t aware of the signs. So the big question is: Does it matter if you are? It depends on how you feel about the person, and yourself. People are just like movies: Good movies are higher in the queue, but â€œgoodâ€ is subjective. I have movies that have been in my queue for years, that Iâ€™m not ready to watch, not ready to add to the top. Iâ€™m not in the right mood, or I want to see something lighter. People are the same way.