Last week, I saw a tweet pop up on my timeline that said “you gotta know the difference between being patient and wasting your time.”
While both may involve waiting on someone or something to come around or to change, there is a difference between being patient and wasting your time. It may not always seem like there is much that distinguishes the two, but the difference lies in what the end goal is and if you have any control over the outcome.
If you’re interested in someone but they say they aren’t ready for a relationship, believe them and let them be. Conversely, if you see that someone is interested in you but you’re not ready for a relationship, don’t lead them on, no matter how interested you may be in them as a person.
This might be controversial—so please don’t come for me—but I don’t think there’s such a thing as the right person at the wrong time. If it seems like it’s the wrong time, it just means it’s the wrong person, no matter how right it may seem at first. People tend to forget that there’s more than just being interested in someone for it to be “right.” Think about your mental stability, your emotional availability, your willingness to commit to someone—when it comes to people’s feelings, yours or another person’s, don’t half-ass it because that just ends badly for at least one of the people involved.
What does this have to do with knowing there’s a difference between having patience and wasting your time? Keep an eye out for these things to know where you stand with someone. If someone is showing interest but isn’t making the effort, let it be. If someone says they’re not ready to embark into a new relationship, let them be. If you’re only interested in someone for what they do and not them as a person, let them go.
What’s it like being patient, then? It’s being around them and feeling yourself become happy. It’s feeling their energy shift after a few days or weeks of seeing each other regularly, whether in a group or on an individual basis. It’s also sharing some tender moments and not feeling rushed or pressured. It can be spending so many nights cooped up in a car having late night chats, and your favourite thing about it all is the way their eyes smile when you look at them, or the way their hugs are a bit tighter every time you say goodbye.
And sometimes, it’s having a mutual friend that knows what both of you are too afraid to admit to each other.
Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria