Dear Thelma: Why doesn't he pick up?

I’ve known this guy R for more than a year. We have been pretty close and had numerous conversations. I used to have a crush on him but never pursued it. As we became closer, I realised that his actions and words somehow indicated that he had feelings for me too.

Just recently, about a week back, he confessed to me. I was really happy about it. I was supposed to call him that night and have a proper talk about our feelings for each other. But when I called, he didn’t respond so well.

In fact, he said he will message me later, and that he was busy at the moment. I didn’t receive any message after that. The next day I called and messaged him, but there was no response. Then I called back one last time and he picked up the call. He said he was sorry for not attending to my phone calls as he was in a rush for work. He gave a couple of reasons for not getting back to me as he promised, but I didn’t feel assured. He responded to my WhatsApp messages, and they seemed genuine, but I have my doubts. I didn’t contact him after that. Yesterday, I called him back twice but there was no answer or messages. I’m not sure if he’s avoiding me and I’m very confused. He never used to behave like this.

Even if he doesn’t answer my calls, he would get back to me later. I’m not sure how to react to this and I wish he would give me an explanation if there’s a problem. I really like this guy, and I do know he likes me back, but right now I’m not sure what’s going on in his mind.


It is in moments like these that one usually loathes the fact that one is not psychic. How easy it would be to know exactly what the guy you like is thinking. That would be one way to solve one of the more enduring mysteries of the world.

But, alas, we are not psychics and there is absolutely no way of knowing what the other person is thinking. A good indication, though, is their behaviour and that can tell you a lot. It does seem like he is avoiding your phone calls. Yet, he had replied to your WhatsApp messages so he is not avoiding you totally.

Interestingly, you doubted the sincerity of his messages. Ask yourself why. Is it because you were trying to figure out what it meant in light of his other behaviour? Or, did you doubt what he was saying? It is likely that he got cold feet.

It is a different matter when you have a crush on someone. That person takes on an almost “unreal” existence because their “relationship” exists in a fantasy. In this fantasy relationship there are no unmet expectations, no heartache and no pain. Then, reality hits them. This reality is fraught with uncertainty and this raises insecurity resulting in fear of the unexpected.

It could very likely be that this guy likes you, but is now afraid of what could happen now that his feelings are out in the open and he has become vulnerable. This is not uncommon. And, it is not your fault.

However, you are at the receiving end of this conundrum and an affected party. Maybe what you need to do now is to back off a little bit and give him some space. You have made it clear that you want to speak with him. He knows it. Let him get back to you when he is ready.

For now, give him the benefit of the doubt. Let him know that you would like to talk. And, that you can talk when he is ready. This does not, however, mean that you have to wait forever. What do you think is a reasonable time for you to wait? If he does not get back to you in that time, it probably means that he does not respect you or value you enough to honour what you have asked of him. Then, it is a good time to move on.

However, it could also be that he may be afraid or even shy of speaking face to face. Communication like text messaging or WhatsApp, e-mail or Facebook messaging may be less threatening. Try these methods of communication as well.

E-mail and Facebook messages allow him time to think about what he wants to say, and the opportunity to phrase it in the best way he can. So, that leaves him room to feel less threatened.

Relationships are tricky. This only means that the best way to know anything is to communicate. The key is asking the right question at the right time.

If the answers are not forthcoming though, you will have to decide if you can be in a relationship like that or if you can accept this trait in your partner. That will help you decide.

Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help. Write to Dear Thelma, c/o Star2, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor or e-mail: Please include your full name and address, and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained. The Star does not give any warranty of accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

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