If it is true that a woman

will let you know she’s interested without explicitly saying so, the inverse is also true: a disinterested woman will let you know she doesn’t like you without explicitly saying so.

Importantly, the inverse is more broadly true since everyone prefers delivering good news. So, yes, sometimes a woman will explicitly say “I like you,” and those times will outnumber occasions when she says, “I don’t like you.”

The implicit disinterest may be so obvious nobody could miss it (e.g., ghosting), but infatuation, love, and lust can do weird things to even usually well-calibrated social sensors. What you would clearly see as Dude, that girl so doesn’t like you if you friend was telling the story becomes Maybe she lost her phone when it’s your story.

Someone must rise above cowardice. The woman and her I don’t want to hurt him mentality is cowardly. The man and his refusal to see clearly is also being a coward. The woman is protected by a society that cheers untruths that protect feelings. Yes, I love that shirt (that you hate); Dinner was incredible (when it totally wasn’t); and I really had a fun time (when you were praying for it to end). Correcting this social norm will take too much effort – especially since many people would see the above instances as kindness – so we must focus on the man.

There are three interrelated reasons the man misses the disinterest. The first is, obviously, the fact that nobody likes to be rejected. Me??!? How could she not like ME????? The second is that since nothing is explicit, there were, barring a total catastrophe, a few wins one could reasonably put on the She’s Into Me side of the ledger. In a world of “signals,” well-intentioned people can miss them. So what if you are wrong? You think she’s not into it when she is and you prematurely cut it off. This fear is the third reason.

Fortunately, a woman will let you know if she’s interested, so in any 50/50 situation, you can default to not being a coward and ending that which she herself can’t end since if you are wrong, if she was actually interested, she’ll find a way to let you know you erred in your conclusion.