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 I find you attractive.

When you first meet me, the chances are quite good that you will like me. Iíll make sure of it. When I need to be, Iím actually somewhat charming. I am cordial, welcoming, deferential, wholly inoffensive, and even am considered somewhat witty. Iím different than most people you know. When you are introduced to me, I am focused exclusively on making you like me. Nothing is more important.

Whatever it takes. Whenever youíve entered my circle, Iím sizing you up. What do you like? Are you a former sorority girl? An airhead? A hippie? A capitalist? A dreamer? I look for context clues, and Iím constantly thinking, calculating, absorbing. Iím downloading your persona, searching for what I think you want me to be. And then I act that way. Iím Zelig, a cipher, a void eager to be filled. Whatever you are, whatever you want, Iím that. I just want to please.

And yes, you will like me. You will be surprised how comfortable you are with me, how you feel you can tell me things you canít tell other people, how non-judgmental I am, how I really listen. Very few people in this world really listen to people. I know this. This is how I draw you in. Iím paying attention. Not enough people pay attention.

Nothing is off-limits with me. Iíll tell you things, personal things, things you wouldnít believe someone would tell a person they barely know. I draw you in; I make you special. You are important. I believe you are important. You are important to me. You like me, donít you? Of course you do. I wonít allow you to do anything else. I am in control of this situation. It is an easy control, smooth, you donít even know Iím doing it. But our conversations, no matter what they consist of, theyíre really just about one thing: making you like me. I wonít stop until you do.

Because Iím so ingratiating, youíll be drawn in. This guy really cares.

And itís not an artifice. I am not trying to hurt you. How could I? I just want to make you happy. If youíre happy, Iím happy. What more could you want?

So we are happy. Until you arenít.

I have had three serious relationships in my life. In all three, the first three to four months have been glorious. We fall instantly in love. Defenses are brought down; nothing has been like this before. We have such a connection. We talk of our future. We will live together. We will get married. What will our children look like? Theyíll have your brains and charm, and my looks and level head, Will. It will be wonderful. It is wonderful.

And then they tire. No one wants to be looked after, to be doted on, not forever. Nobody wants to be someoneís No. 1 priority after nine months of a relationship. By then, youíre supposed to be comfortable, youíre supposed to not be trying so hard to impress everybody all the time. I begin to seem pathetic and clingy. Is that all there is to him? Just that he loves me? They try to make it work, but this kid just wonít stop. He never takes a step back. He just charges forward.

Da-da-da-da-DA ... CHARGE!

You love me, donít you? Donít you? You could love me more, right? Maybe if I try harder, if I call you more, if I do nicer things, maybe youíll love me more. Wouldnít you have to? Arenít I great?

And then they leave, exhausted, usually with little warning. We go from talk of cohabitance and sharing our lives to ďI canít do this anymoreĒ in a month, 60-to-zero in half a second, hitting a brick wall. And it ends, and theyíre instantly snapped back to reality. What was that all about? They think they just got caught up in feeling so loved, lost their head for a while, back to reality now. When they looked behind the curtain, there was nothing there. I am not a difficult guy to get over.

None of those relationships even lasted a year.

I could sit here and say that I am a broken man, that women leave me, that I only mean well, that relationships have defeated me, that these women have shattered my heart. Why didnít they understand I would have done anything for them? I would have.

But Iím just fooling myself. I can draw them in, but the next level, the one where two people, two equals, having a healthy, happy, communicative life together ... I canít ever get it to that point. Iím too busy making sure they like me. They mustnít waver. If they waver, I panic, and I try harder.

Why is this? Why canít I just be? Well, I think itís because beneath the artifice, Iím beginning to realize, I think they might be right: There really might not be anything there.

But you will like me. For a while. Then youíll leave.

I suppose I should just accept that thatís enough. That may be all Iím going to get. Perhaps I lay off this relationship game for a while.



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