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Natalie Sharpe presents: the “chill” complex

Photo by Nina '16
Photo by Nina ’16

Through my middle and high school careers, I have noticed a common thread that unifies all out-of-school, co-ed encounters: an expectation to be lowkey about everything all the time. One harmful aspect about this mentality is that the vague definition of lowkey or “chill” can easily be misinterpreted or transformed into plain disinterest. Sometimes it feels like an effort to be easy going — don’t express your own preferences in making a plan, appear to be a go-with-the-flow type of gal. And sometimes it’s to “keep them guessing” — don’t let him know that you like him, throw the ball back on his court, see how he reacts. This mindset is subconscious, which is why I like to call it the Chill Complex. Now let’s walk through a small example:

1) You are texting a crush. Good for you! Now you want to hang out with your special someone this weekend. Instead of texting, “do you want to hang out this weekend?,” you fumble through long-winded small talk to see if he will ask you first. Eventually you settle for an inconclusive “going to bed haha talk to you later.” (Yes, the haha’s are part of your chill complex, too. Just make it seem like you are laughing along the way of this natural, cool convo! Because interactions with high school boys are the definition of natural and cool!)

2) Somehow one of you is forward enough to establish a loose plan for sometime this weekend. A true Christmas miracle! Now what? Do you text him the day-of to confirm? What are you guys even doing?

3) You decide to text him on Friday afternoon at the calculated hour of 4:00 p.m., not too early that he is just getting out of school but not too late that the hangout will never happen. You text “what’s up” because God forbid he knows you actually care about whether you see him or not. Conversation fizzles, and repeat from step 1 for eternity until one of you makes it happen or gives up.

It makes sense that this is a thing. Showing interest is taking a risk and vulnerability is hard, etc. But my dear fellow students: at this point, what do you have to lose?! This is the second semester! Might as well send the text!