As talented and beautiful as Taylor Swift is, she seems to have her fair share of trouble with men. Her fans and the tabloids have followed the rise and fall of her relationships through songs, interviews, and performances (remember when she imitated Harry Styles at the 2013 Grammys?). The young songstress has given her fans plenty of guidance about dating over the years, but her advice in Glamour magazine seems to have raised a lot of eyebrows and questions amongst readers.
During an interview with Glamour writer Cindi Leive, Swift was asked how she suggests changing the game with a guy who seems to have the upper hand. Swift suggests a “Freeze-Out.” When asked to explain, Swift says, “You don’t respond to any of his texts or calls until he does something desperate [like] shows up. Or he calls and leaves a voice mail. Something that makes it very clear to you that he’s interested.” She goes on to say, “I think everyone should approach relationships from the perspective of playing it straight and giving someone the benefit of the doubt. Until he establishes that this is a game. And if it’s a game, you need to win. The best thing to do is just walk away from the table.”
As I read her suggestion, I struggled to find how I felt about it. I mean, it’s a very vague question and a fairly vague response. How could I judge Swift’s advice without understanding it in its entirety? After tossing the idea around my head for a while, I finally settled on this: Swift’s got the right solution, but it’s coming from the wrong place. In any romantic relationship, men and women alike have to face the reality that sometimes one person will be more interested than the other. Sometimes someone will be a little more eager to hear from the other person. And more often than not, that role switches from one partner to the other. It’s a wonderful thing to be emotionally in sync with your partner, but it’s definitely not always the case. You can’t blame the person for feeling the way they do about you, one way or the other. But in a healthy relationship, the person who has the “upper hand” will not monopolize on the other person’s feelings. They won’t turn that person’s feelings into a game. And if they do, Swift said it right: walk away. But don’t walk away to see if they follow. Walk away because you don’t have time to deal with someone who exploits your feelings.
Think about it- what good can come of a man who likes to watch you squirm when he doesn’t reciprocate all the feelings you have for him? Unless you’re smothering the guy, why should you have to make this relationship into a game of tag to get and keep his attention? There’s nothing wrong with being aloof or busy or a little less eager to intrigue someone, but you shouldn’t have to “freeze-out” someone to get them to chase after you. If that’s what gets the guy going, that is, more often than not, a sign of a man who, more than anything else, loves the chase. You’ll always be on your toes with him; if you slip up and show him that the chase is over, he’ll go back to blowing you off and paying you no mind. It’s a back-and-forth you can’t win. Swift’s right: freeze him out. But don’t freeze him out for the sake of a game, but for the sake of your sanity.
Now I’m not saying that freezing him out won’t bring him back with a genuine apology. I’m simply saying don’t play along with his games. You don’t “need to win,” like Swift claims and, honestly, you haven’t necessarily won just because he comes back with a grand gesture. Sometimes men do need a blatant sign from you that you’re not interested in being the one doing all the liking, but be leery of a man who likes you more when he’s running to keep up with you. Be leery of a man who needs you to blow him off to turn him on. Nobody deserves to have their feelings treated like a game and even if it feels fun now, it won’t feel so rewarding down the road when you’re ready to stop playing and he’s not willing to stick around if you’ve stopped.
As talented and beautiful as Swift is, her advice seems to fall short of her experiences. Hasn’t she had enough Harrys and Joes to know that guys who like games shouldn’t be entertained? You can’t walk away from a guy, with the hopes he’ll start walking right behind you. You have to walk away for yourself and not for a silly game. At the end of the day, all relationships are a little bit of a tug-and-pull. But playing along with a childish chase in the hopes of keeping a guy around won’t help your happiness, sanity, or self-respect.