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To Persevere or 'Next'?
April 17, 2011 5:36 AM   Subscribe

How to solve this dating dilemma?

I find time and again that a girl I'm trying to date soon seems not very interested (even though she was initially). I'm not talking about any games - she clearly seems not interested.

Should you then persevere with her - after all, she might become interested again! - or try someone new? Lots of men say you should persevere ALTHOUGH she seems not interested - but the problem is that it's really off-putting to me if someone doesn't seem interested.
posted by MBViktor to Human Relations (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
More details might help, but as a general thing, if a woman seems uninterested, drop it. Persevering when someone has made clear they're not interested is creepy, stalkery, and -- yes -- off-putting. It would make me LESS likely ever to be interested again, not more.

That said, "seems" is a broad word. Your other good, non-creepy option is to just ask outright, "Hey, it seemed like you were interested in going out sometime, but I'm not getting that vibe from you anymore -- do you want to go get dinner with me on Friday, or are you not into it?"

Also, it's a little odd that you're "trying to date" her and gauging her interest/non-interest without (apparently?) asking her on a date. The easiest solution here would be to ask her out somewhere, once -- perhaps twice if she gives a "Oh, I can't on Friday, how about another time?" answer -- and if she says no, drop it. Then you don't have to be guessing.

(P.S. -- certain kinds of men have lots of opinions about "what women really want" in dating. They have not usually run any of these opinions by actual XX-chromosome types.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:47 AM on April 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't know what you mean by "trying to date" or "seems not interested".

If by "trying to date" you mean "asking her to accompany you to some specific event at some specific date and time", and by "seems not interested" she either ignores or declines, AND this happens twice in a row (or once if the "no" doesn't cite a scheduling conflict or other possibly changeable circumstance) - in that case, give it up.

If OTOH by "trying to date" you mean making eye contact, or closing your eyes and wishing real hard she will approach you under her own steam and start snogging you without preamble, or dropping hints, or vaguely suggesting sort of maybe eventually vaguely coincidentally happening to possibly be at the same international rock festival at some, possibly non-overlapping, time during its 7-day duration... or not... with a big crowd of friends of course...

If that's what you mean, you are not actually "trying to date", even though huge numbers of people labour for years under the mistaken impression that that's what they're doing.

A lot of people also evade "yes or no" questions to protect themselves from hearing "no" so that they can prolong the discomfort and make themselves as creepy as possible to the other person. Don't do this.

If you've had a direct "no" twice (or, as stated, once if the "no" is non-circumstantial), asking a third time is absolutely crossing a line. Don't do this either.
posted by tel3path at 5:51 AM on April 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


Just because a girl is initially polite to you, or chats to you like a friend, doesn't always mean she wants to go out with you. Are you sure you're reading their initial interest right?
posted by joannemullen at 5:52 AM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can echo some of the sentiments by eyebrows. But I'd like to add some stuff too:

Some people talk about dating one way...and go about it a totally different way. Be wary of any advice. In fact, don't treat interacting with a living breathing human being as a formula.

If the same thing keeps happening again and again, it might be you. One of the bravest things I have ever done is ask someone who told me she wasn't interested "why" in a matter-of-factly kind of way. Build on that if you seem to keep falling into the same patterns.

Good luck.

Oh, also...joannemullen is 100% correct. Girls are just nice, doesn't mean they just want to get with you.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:55 AM on April 17, 2011


Now, I'm not the best person in the world with getting vibes off people, but there have been a number of times where I've caught up with someone for coffee, or the like, and TOTALLY NOT REALISED IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A DATE. For me, making friends equals, say, you meet at some event/work/party and you're talking and you think they're awesome and you want to catch up again because they're awesome, right?

Only then you realise yeah, they're awesome, but they want something more from you than you were offering--friendship--and doing the backscrabble without being rude and distancing yourself totally is hard. Especially if you think they're pretty cool. Just that you don't want to date them. Me, because I'm not interesting in dating, full-stop, but it doesn't change that I like people.

You're probably a really cool guy. (Right? You're not a chick? That would pose a bunch of other problems right there.) Depending upon what scene you're in, but it could be the norm that I'm trying to unlearn that catching up for a chat isn't necessarily precursor to dating. Maybe they did what I do all the time (I'm learning, though!), and gave you the wrong signals to begin with, and then try to backtrack.

But yeah, if they're cooling off, don't keep trying. Eyebrows McGee has the right of it, re: suggestions. Also, be really specific about it being a date, so that daft buggers like me realise that it's supposed to be that in the first place.
posted by owlrigh at 6:05 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree with what everyone has said, but t could be that she was actually interested, or at least curious, initially, but later realized that she wasn't interested enough to date you. I'm guilty of this myself sometimes- initially I'll wonder if I am interested in a guy and then will go out on a date with him, and not feel many romantic vibes.

There's also a chance that you are coming on too strong so women initially interested are getting a little turned off. You could try cooling off a bit and waiting awhile before asking again. But generally, don't push it if she says no. Some women DO need time to get used to a guy and the idea of dating him, but we generally do NOT like getting "used" to a guy while he's pestering us for a date. (not saying you are doing that, just saying).
posted by bearette at 6:21 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"it could also be", oops!
posted by bearette at 6:22 AM on April 17, 2011


Just because a girl is initially polite to you, or chats to you like a friend, doesn't always mean she wants to go out with you. Are you sure you're reading their initial interest right??

Equally - just because she doesn't ever make the first move or call/text back straight away doesn't mean she isn't interested. Without more info its hard to say if you are mis-reading their initial interest or misreading their 'playing hard to get'/'trying to not look desperate' as disintrest. It could also be that you're good looking but dull or talk about yourself too much - or there's something else about your personality or dating technique that would turn the majority of women off - or even just the kind of girl you're interested in.
posted by missmagenta at 6:43 AM on April 17, 2011


This could possibly be what's happening:

1. Girl notices you and decides she likes you okay
2. Girl acts friendly and available, hoping to get you to ask her out
3. You take a long time to notice, then it takes you longer to decide you like her, and even then you keep fishing for a while, trying to figure out how much she likes you before you'll commit to liking her
4. Girl gets sick of waiting for you to ask her out, turns cold and gives up on you
5. You're like, "what happened?" Answer: You didn't ask her out quick enough and she got tired of making an effort.

It helps to think of interest as a tennis ball or something- you're passing it back and forth. One of you is making the effort to get noticed, and looking for a certain response. Then when they get that response, you have to escalate it. If she's showing interest, you must take over at some point and show interest, then she may take the ball back at some point, then you, etc. No one is just "intrinsically and forever" interested in you, I'm afraid. In fact, I like to think of it as a game that's made up of timing more than anything else- everyone is a little interested in everyone, but not many people are interested enough to respond quickly between signals, if that makes sense. IE, hitting the ball back and forth very fast. Don't fumble or drop the ball when it's your turn. If that's your problem, you may just be completely underestimating the effort the girl has already put in in a subtle passive way, and so are not serving the ball back with the right amount of force. To her, you seem oblivious and lazy. To her, it's natural that she serves the ball first, then you have to put in the effort, then she'll reward the effort, then you again, etc. Even in LTRs that's how it works.

I don't know if that tennis ball analogy works for you at all, but it's probably the best way I can describe courting, and indeed all relationships. You may even have the opposite problem, which is coming on too strong, it's really hard to tell from your post. Also, obviously, sometimes people find out more about you and genuinely feel like it's just not a good match. There's not much you can do about that.

However, if you get turned down, or get excuses- that is actual verbal "nos" at any point- definitely stop.
posted by Nixy at 6:46 AM on April 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


Try and kiss the girl before it gets to this point. Then if she still wants to kiss you it's still on.
posted by Not Supplied at 7:04 AM on April 17, 2011


You can't draw any inferences about a woman's serious interest from her accepting an offer of a first date, to say the least of a not-explicitly-a-date outing. Some women like to reserve judgment and give guys a chance, but that doesn't mean they won't render judgment quickly once they have sufficient data.
posted by MattD at 7:05 AM on April 17, 2011


Oh- I assumed this was in meatspace. If you're talking about online dating, ignore what I said. Just ask them out and take excuses as "no" most of the time. You might say something like, "I understand, let me know if you change your mind, and just give me a call anytime."

Personally, when I'm busy or not that into someone, and later on I get some free time and start reconsidering gentlemen from my past, at the top of the list are guys who take rejection well and are able to let me come back anytime with no hard feelings. That's actually a vey attractive quality in a guy, strangely.
posted by Nixy at 7:22 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think we can answer this question until we hear back from you with more details. Specifically, please define, using examples from your own life, "trying to date," "seems not very interested," and "persevere."
posted by decathecting at 7:25 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


..but the problem is that it's really off-putting to me if someone doesn't seem interested.

Don't do things that are off-putting to you. You're not going to be into it and the uninterested girl isn't suddenly going to be turned on by your off-putted self.

If chicks seem to stop digging you, talk to your friends to see what, if anything, you're doing wrong that drives women away.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:38 AM on April 17, 2011


She could have been "giving you a chance" dating, and then somehow didn't change her mind about you after dating you. Everyone tells women to do this even if they have zero interest in the guy (see many a thread around here). God knows I've gone on many "give him a chance" dates myself and then they all thought I was interested because I said yes once, but in reality I never really was.

Don't persevere. It's hard (and deathly scary) for a woman to say no once, without you forcing her to do it over and over and over again. You've picked up the hint that she's not into you, move on.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:14 AM on April 17, 2011


Lots of men say you should persevere ALTHOUGH she seems not interested - but the problem is that it's really off-putting to me if someone doesn't seem interested.

You sound like you have great instincts. If it's off-putting, definitely listen to that feeling; if you continue to pursue someone who isn't interested in you, not only are you creeping her out, you're earning a reputation among her friends and acquaintances as The Creepy Guy. This will not widen your pool of dateable women.

You don't sound like a creep. No need to doubt yourself and act like one.
posted by corey flood at 11:06 AM on April 17, 2011


I can only give you my own opinion. If a woman seems uninterested in me I grant them the respect of assuming their lack of interest is genuine. It usually is. On the off-chance they're playing games, I don't want to know anyway, since I despise that sort of nonsense. YMMV.
posted by Decani at 11:59 AM on April 17, 2011


Should you then persevere with her - after all, she might become interested again!
No, she won't, and if she does, she can pursue you.
- or try someone new?
Yes.
Lots of men say you should persevere ALTHOUGH she seems not interested
These guys are super creeps, taking dating cues from pickup artists and romantic comedies.
- but the problem is that it's really off-putting to me if someone doesn't seem interested.
This is a sign of good character on your part.
posted by Marty Marx at 1:10 PM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Lots of men say you should persevere ALTHOUGH she seems not interested
These guys are super creeps, taking dating cues from pickup artists and romantic comedies."


"you may just be completely underestimating the effort the girl has already put in in a subtle passive way, and so are not serving the ball back with the right amount of force. To her, you seem oblivious and lazy. To her, it's natural that she serves the ball first, then you have to put in the effort"

I'd like to bring these two things together. If she seems to be avoiding you, then obviously, don't pursue. Some PUA advice tells you "it's always on" unless she's actively telling you, in those exact words, "go away". While it shouldn't be taken to the extreme of making a woman directly say "go away" to you, it is true that a lot of guys think a woman's not interested if she's not actively pursuing him. Whereas in fact, it's that the ball is in his court and he's not hitting it back. So here is the value, for guys, of just plain asking for a date and being prepared to hear "no" and resume normal service with no hard feelings. As Nixy points out, if anything is going to make a woman reconsider and perhaps seek you out later, it's your ability to gracefully assert yourself and accept assertion in return.

Although rejection in dating seems very personal, in reality it's not personal at all. Attraction is either there or it's not, for me, and if I'm not attracted enough to want to date someone it certainly does not mean I like or respect them any less. So, if you get turned down, do not take it personally because it's not personal.
posted by tel3path at 3:18 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


If someone doesn't seem interested I just give up. Saves me time and hassle.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:28 PM on April 17, 2011


Thanks for you answers, guys! Sorry about the delay in responding.

It varies from girl to girl what I mean by ‘trying to date’. But mostly it’s just that we have only been meeting as friends and, for all I know, she might not have any interest in me as more than a friend. It's about this kind of relaing that I use the expression 'seems interested'.

I accept that it might help to be explicit about it's being a 'date' - if that's what I want. There are however two problems with that. One is that I'm often not sure if that is what I want. Another is that it's in all probability going to make me come on too strong given, among other things, the girls' background.

But I'm in any case grateful to hear that the 'persevering' idea is just some PUA crap.
posted by MBViktor at 5:48 AM on April 28, 2011


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