Please, Don't Lead Me On

Less than 24 hours after dropping off Taylor Swift at the airport, Harry Styles was pictured out and about with a troupe of young girls at a college party in Sheffield, England. Ouch, Harry. Best be mindful of who you’re seen instagramming with, lest you be the muse for Taylor’s next platinum single, “Wrong Direction”.

If you’re a Taylor Swift lover and are panicking that I’m about to bash Taylor, don’t be. I love Taylor as much as the next 13-year-old  (probably more, to be honest). On the other hand, if you are a Taylor hater and were excited at the prospect of reading an article which bashes T. Swift so you could ruthlessly attack her in the comments, well then in the words of Taylor herself, “Why you gotta be so mean?”

Have no fear, Gigglers. This article is about neither trolling nor Taylor Swift, but rather the important issue which Taylor’s new relationship with baby-faced Lothario Harry Styles brings to light. I am speaking of course of the the time-honored battle which has left many a maiden dead in the “friend zone”: being led on.

If you’re anything like me, your past crushes read like a laundry list of closeted gays, jerks and boys who, in the end, were just not that into you. Am I preaching to the choir? Did you just shout “amen” to yourself, because I was right on the dot? Thought so… Unless you are one of the aforementioned Taylor haters who clicked on this article to troll (shame on you), you likely clicked because you too have been led on by one-too-many a charming fella.

In that case, I will attempt to tackle this the terrifying travesty of being led on in three parts: why do they do it, how do you know if you’re being led on and finally a personal letter to the boys who have led me on in the past.

Disclaimer:  Should I begin to sound like a bitter, cynical woman at any point please refer to the following articles I’ve written about how perfectly thrilled I am to be exactly who I am. 1, 2, 3, 4. #girlpower

1.Why Do They Do It

Though there is a great deal of debate as to why men lead us on, the answer is much simpler than most of the psychoanalysis taking place. In short, men lead us on because they can.

Time for a #girlpower moment. Do you ever feel powerless in your relationships— like you’re always the one waiting on them to call, gchat, text or email you? You do? Well let me tell you why: us girls often forget that we’ve got the power, too. No relationship is a one-way street!

But because of the way we’ve been socialized for most of our lives, we often default to damsel-in-distress mode, waiting for a prince to rescue us from our ridiculous towers. We shouldn’t be waiting around for a guy to text us like the helpless maidens of yore – this is the 21st century! Besides, in doing so, we enable the young men around us to toy with us, never having to be more than coy with us (look at all those rhymes, I’m practically Dr. Seuss).

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that boys will continue to lead us on if we continue behave like we have nothing better to do than wait around for him to throw us a bone. Trust me, you have better things to do! And the reality is, the guy you want to end up with is not the one who is constantly messing with you.

2. How Do You Know You’re Being Led On 

I could make you a list that sounds a lot like the book/movie He’s Just Not That Into You,  but I strongly feel women waste a lot of time running themselves through checklists  in books and magazines.

Bottom line: If you feel less yourself in any way, shape or form, then it’s likely this guy is leading you on. You should never let someone make you feel less secure about yourself.  As the great Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

3. My Letter To The Guys Who Have Led Me On 

Dear past crushes,

I’m not writing this to hurt you, call you out or even to make you realize I’m the one that got away. Perhaps as the great and immensely wise Beyoncé one sang, “You’re the best thing I never had… I bet it sucks to be you right now.”

I guess I’m writing to say that what you did by leading me on all those years… yeah, that wasn’t the coolest. But really I’m angrier at myself than I am at you. Back then/last week, I didn’t fully realize I was worth more than a random text here and there, a casual email or a non-nonchalant “sup”, but I do now (refer to Beyoncé).

I deserve better than this. I deserve better than casual. I don’t feel bad for saying that I’m awesome—because I am— and therefore I deserve more. I’m done waiting around in towers that I built. In fact, should you ever want to find a great girl, I’ll be out slaying my own dragons.

So in the end, I guess what I should be saying is thank you. Thank you for being so unassertive, nonchalant and dismissive that I was finally able to realize I deserve more. Thank you for leading me on, yanking my chain and leaving me in the friend zone, because now I’m so tired of it I refuse to stay here any longer.

Thank you old crush.

All the best,

Ashley, the non-bitter, non-cynical, awesome lady

Featured image via Metro

  • Hilary June

    Awesome article, I love your writing. (I think Taylor/all girls needs to read it, and your one about being single and why it is great!)

  • Katie de la Rosa

    crafty writing. brava.

  • Emily Rowe

    my mate goes to uni/college with the girls this harry kid is in these photos with and he’s just an old school friend of one of them, the media twist everything!

  • Lauren Saville

    Great article, really needed this right now!

  • Shandra Goldfinger

    What’s the difference between “leading someone on” and thinking that both parties are fine with the casual relationship? Or what about simply enjoying being friends with someone? I’m not saying that there aren’t jerks out there who purposefully use people, but if you never tell the person you want more out of a relationship and give them a chance to be honest with you, can you really complain? And, like you said, if a relationship isn’t making you happy nothing is forcing you to continue it. This seems similar to “nice guy syndrome.”

  • Jess Pope

    I stumbled across this blog, and think your letter is brilliant!! I’m just wondering if you actually sent it to your crushes – I know i would certainly like to do so, but maybe it’s better to save my pride and burn it?

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