Join 3,377 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Insight as to why this guy who is interested in me is acting nervous?
April 28, 2011 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Why is the guy who appears to have a crush on me suddenly acting so nervous? Why isn't he contacting me more now that I have expressed interest?

Need a males perspective on this one, methinks! I don't really have close guy friends. I have been told that I am intimidating, being tall (and pretty, I guess?). I think I am approachable though--smiley, outgoing, and friendly with everyone (except my ex). Am not saying this to brag or anything. Just trying to paint a picture of the situation.

This guy *was* previously someone who I considered a friend, but then I starting falling for him. I had been dating my ex when this boy and I met, and I am older and was in a leadership role in the context of our first encounter. He is one of the nicest people I've ever met, who exudes warmth everywhere he goes. He's so comfortable with himself that some might consider it effeminate. I think it reflects maturity and confidence. He pays when we get meals together, bought me a very nice gift, and remembers little details I've told him. He is very friendly towards everyone, though- genuinely nice, joyful, and appreciative of people. This also makes it difficult to "read" his behavior.

Most recently when I saw him, he was very nervous and unsure of himself. He warmed up after we sat down to eat. We had a lovely, long conversation, and he was clasping my hands and very animated. I let him do most of the talking since he is usually so eager to listen to me. I tried to touch his arm too, to change the dynamic and be more flirtatious with him, instead of treating him as a friend.

It is very stressful time for both of us now with so much work to finish, but it still makes me think if he really missed me he'd make plans to see me before we leave in a couple weeks.

The second part of my question is this: Do men compartmentalize work and relationships, just taking things as they come? Shouldn't he have contacted me already if he really does "like" me, at least to stay in touch, or something? I didn't grow up with brothers or male friends, so any insight would be helpful. Also, I'm moving states in a couple of weeks, so I won't be around (in person) for a very long time.
posted by sunnychef88 to Human Relations (70 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would say that this guy is getting your signals and knows what he wants but is waiting for a really unambiguous "all clear" since when he was figuring you out, the relationship was totally different, with you both "above" him and forbidden. You need to let him know that's no longer the case, which may mean doing something like just going in for the kill and kissing him or some other gesture that's unmistakable.

For part two - people compartmentalize differently, man or woman. There are no rules.

And he knows you're leaving, right?
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:27 PM on April 28, 2011


God damn it, just talk to him.
posted by cmoj at 8:30 PM on April 28, 2011 [18 favorites]


I think he is acting nervous because he knows exactly what the situation is now and it has changed from a comfortable friend zone to flirt zone to potentially more zone. He wants to make a move or take the next step but is nervous about it. I would suggest you make the next move in a subtle way.

I cannot speak for all men, but I am very good at compartmentalizing. In fact, I was taught to separate work and relationships. The old, "Don't f*/ck where you sh*t theory.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:31 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


We've seen this kind of question over and over in AskMe, where the OP has analyzed every little detail and wants to know how interested he is and why he hasn't taken one more step. I don't understand. What's stopping you from taking that one more step if you want to?
posted by John Cohen at 8:33 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


He's for sure straight, right?
posted by kevinsp8 at 8:40 PM on April 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Why am I not making a move? Because I think if a guy is ready to have a relationship, he'll put his a** on the line and let me know. And I want to accept the fact that he's "just not that into me" if he isn't. I am super receptive whenever we speak, and I've stopped by his place (I used to live in the same building, and still have meetings and friends who live there) to say "hi" and make friendly conversation a couple of times. We parted from our last meal with me saying we should do something again. How can he NOT know I want to date him?
posted by sunnychef88 at 8:41 PM on April 28, 2011


cmoj has the tl;dr version.

If time is short just say something, make the first move.

Some guys can really get tongue tied and introverted about you tricky females, even if they know them and really do like them. We get stupid like that.
Pull him along and he'll probably catch on very quickly.
posted by Blackie at 8:43 PM on April 28, 2011


Why is he not making a move? Because he thinks if a girl is ready to have a relationship, she'll put her a** on the line and let him know.

FTFY
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:47 PM on April 28, 2011 [42 favorites]


I think I am approachable though--smiley, outgoing, and friendly with everyone (except my ex).

That's the thing. He isn't sure if you're being friendly because you're friendly or because you like him. Nothing in your post indicates that you've unambiguously expressed interest.
There's a girl I'm kinda crushing on now, and she's always super-friendly when I see her. But I assume that's because she's friendly. I own't make a move without further signs.

TLDR:
Just kiss him. Or put on some romantic music and dance with him. Or put on a movie and cuddle up with him.. Or osmething.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:50 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why am I not making a move? Because I think if a guy is ready to have a relationship, he'll put his a** on the line and let me know. And I want to accept the fact that he's "just not that into me" if he isn't.

What do you want more?

a) To date this guy

b) To maintain certain traditional sex roles with men you date.

If a), then I say you should put your ass on the line and let him know. It may not work out, but you'll have done all you could. You may find that there's some pleasure in going after what you want.
posted by ferdydurke at 8:51 PM on April 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


If you're friendly with everyone, how can he know if your friendliness with him is just more of that, as opposed to being indicative of something more romantic? Being flirtatious is not enough, as many women are generally flirtatious with many people. In and of itself, that actually doesn't say very much about specific interest.

Also, you don't say how long it's been since you've been broken up, and you don't say if he knows that you'll be moving states, but between getting out of a relationship and your moving, those are two red flags for getting into a relationship. If you don't put your ass on the line and suggest to him what you might or might not be cool with, he may be assuming that now is not the time for whatever reason to do things with you.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:55 PM on April 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why am I not making a move? Because I think if a guy is ready to have a relationship, he'll put his a** on the line and let me know

Well then, you have your answer! He's nervous because he's expecting you to give him a sign that you want him to make a move, or make a move yourself, while you're expecting him to put his ass on the line. He, shockingly enough, does not have exactly the same idea about courtship as you. That's why he's not making a move.

Pick one:

1) Decide he's not willing to put his ass on the line, and move on

2) Decide you actually want to date him more than you want to maintain this rule about how you think men should behave.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:56 PM on April 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm not clear here, when in your story did you say something to the effect of "Hey X, I really like you, and I like spending time with you. Would you like to go on some dates before I move away?".

Ah, the old "arm-touch-equals-love" trick. Lots of people touch lots of people on the arms. Most of them aren't dating. Screw your courage to the sticking place or resign to no action before you move.
posted by smoke at 9:22 PM on April 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't understand the bad part of any of this. Sounds like everything is naturally progressing at an OK pace. Maybe he just needs a bit more time before making an "official" type move. Maybe he isn't the type to force something.

I'm with the others, if you want it to happen now then try to make it happen now.
posted by zephyr_words at 9:54 PM on April 28, 2011


He was your friend and now you want more than that? Tell him that, although your question still doesn't make it clear if you want to have sex with him or not. He doesn't want to make a move and get rejected and lose your friendship too. He's not a mind reader and he doesn't sound a pushy sort of guy, which is why you like him in the first place. Tell him also that you're leaving, so he better move fast. Quite why you want him to make a move now, given that you're leaving, is a bit beyond me though. It might look a bit cruel if he's always liked you, if you do finally get together what's he supposed to do? Move with you? Stay faithful to you when you're not there and won't be there again for a long time? Or do you just want another couple of dinners out of him and maybe a kiss at the door? No wonder the poor guy seemed nervous. Anyway, you're telling all this to a bunch of strangers on the internet when you should be telling him all this in real life. If you always want men to make the first move, then great, but you're going to spend more nights alone than you would otherwise. Making people play mind games and jump through hoops to get you doesn't make you interesting or alluring, it makes you a pain. What are you afraid of? Let's be honest, single men hardly ever say no and married ones aren't much different.
posted by joannemullen at 10:00 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a female, perhaps I have no room to talk, but guys are overwhelmingly likely to give you the 'just do it yourself' talk. Overwhelmingly. Especially geek guys who're not all macho or whatever. I mean, maybe if you asked a well-weighted random sample of geek-to-jock ratio guys.... but probably not at metafi (I'm guessing). To be honest, I'm not sure what a jock-type guy would say, but likely something disparaging about this guy and his manhood or something like you shouldn't lead him on if you're leaving (ie, don't make a move and suck it up). Well, wild guess there.

More to the point, I speak as someone who's known lots of geek aka 'effeminate, intelligent and mature' guys (also I'm the female version of the geek species). They're not very mysterious, and share some definite emotional traits and hang-ups, on a range of maturity of course. It's *rare* a geek-type will 1a) read your signals unless they're literally written in the sky in big flaming letters of DOOM; 1b) read your signals *optimistically* if there's *anything* to suggest negative consequences (ie, if he has a suspicion things may fail-- like, say, he knows you're moving and/or he things of you as 'out of his league' or is used to seeing you as 'taken'-- or all three!), his natural tendency to caution will win; 2) make a move under pretty much any circumstances unless you're totally 'safe' and easy pickings. Not to say some (most?) geek guys never make a move first... it happens, of course. But they're notorious (in my mind) for holding back even once they *do*. If you want a guy who'll warm up quickly and won't hold back (at least at first), don't pick a geek. That cautiousness, keeping-expectations-low, nice-to-everyone-but-trusting-few thing... it's all tied in with the qualities you like. On top of that, enthusiastically talking-- being very animated-- is something geek-guys (and geek-girls) do naturally with good friends; it won't 'ping' as romantic behavior at all. We're talky.

Note: I know 'geek' seems to connote introversion and yet this guy seems extraverted, but extraverted geeks aren't *that* different, especially during the early years of development. He may be friendly (especially with his friends, but also nice to everyone, etc), but that's totally different from romantic-zone comfort or flirting or things that require traditionally 'male' behavior. Also, nothing you said has to do with geekiness in the intellectual-interest sense, but I mean it in the personality-type sense and base it on my experience with that kind of guy, as I said.

Anyway, I've always been kinda frustrated with this 'cause I am so shy I *can't* make a move first; if you can, you should consider it-- it's likely a lot easier for you than for him if you're genuinely outgoing/social/etc. I would be *shocked* if the sort of guy you described didn't have some serious relationship hang-ups/shyness issues unless he's over 35 and/or has had lots of experience. I wouldn't outright say you *have* to make a move-- I personally would feel pressured by that being necessary-- just be prepared for this taking awhile. Geeks sometimes have like, 4-year-plus courtships when it comes to a girl they're friends with first. It's like, epic. If you don't have oodles of patience, realize that he does. :)
posted by reenka at 10:05 PM on April 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


Because I think if a guy is ready to have a relationship, he'll put his a** on the line and let me know

Does a guy that you're not interested in, automatically have the right to take away from you a friendship that you valued, and to do it without your permission?

Your rule is a stranger-in-a-bar situation rule. He might be playing by rules that are more considerate to his friends.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:14 PM on April 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Why does he owe you anything? You are the one that went from becoming unavailable to liking him. You can't just expect him to have to make the first move when it was you that had a change of mind.
posted by mungaman at 10:30 PM on April 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


How can he NOT know I want to date him?

Because you haven't told him?

You've hinted, you've edged close to hinting, and you've hinted at hinting. But you haven't "manned up" (as it were) and said "hey, want to go out for drinks on Friday?"

The reasons why he hasn't asked you out are endless and unknowable. Maybe he is a chickenshit, maybe he is scrupulous about not mixing work and fun, maybe he's gay, maybe he likes women of a different race, religion, or size... I could go on for hours. If you don't suck it up and make a move, you'll never know.
posted by Forktine at 10:49 PM on April 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Almost the exact same thing happened to me once with a guy who sounds a lot like this guy, and it turned out that he got so nervous because he was about to reveal to me that he was gay, and had never told anyone before. So, there's that too.
posted by Ashley801 at 10:52 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


sunnychef88: "Why am I not making a move? Because I think if a guy is ready to have a relationship, he'll put his a** on the line and let me know."

Wow! Nothing wrong with you being you, but I find that attitude disturbing. Good luck.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 11:52 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not your guy, but I'm this guy. Your guy sounds nicer than me, but I will take the chance to look bad to help you.

You need to explicitly state you want to date.

In college, a female friend actually put her hands on my stomach and guided me into a secluded place, and I asked her what was going on, and she smiled, but didn't say anything. My internal voice lives in an amazing universe of denial and nothing became of this moment together, because I truly could not understand what was happening.

I had even told her I liked her. (But about a year earlier, and I was so confused, I had no idea these events were related.)

Explicitly state you want to date. And if he says that he's gay, well, give him a hug and go see a movie with your awesome friend.
posted by CarlRossi at 11:52 PM on April 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Wow! Nothing wrong with you being you, but I find that attitude disturbing. Good luck."

How is it wrong to want to be sure a guy wants to date you, wants to be dating somene, and is mature enough to pursue a relationship? Have you ever seen "He's Just Not That Into You"? There's nothing strange about wanting to be wanted. Why would you want to be with a guy who doesn't want to be with you? The last guy I dated dumped me. He wasn't into me, and wasn't ready for a relationship. He was one of those geeky nice guys with low self-confidence, and I pursued him. He was too passive aggressive to say "no," when I asked him anything (we never fought, but secretly he must have been unhappy?), so I guess he just went along for the ride for the year that we dated up until he dumped me. I became so clingy and emotional as a girlfriend, and refuse to make that mistake twice. Guys want what they can't have, right?
posted by sunnychef88 at 12:02 AM on April 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is nothing "disturbing" about wanting to be with someone who wants you. But, it doesn't sound like it's going to be this guy.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:14 AM on April 29, 2011


He could want you as much as you want him, but he could be shy.

In college, a female friend actually put her hands on my stomach and guided me into a secluded place, and I asked her what was going on, and she smiled, but didn't say anything. My internal voice lives in an amazing universe of denial and nothing became of this moment together, because I truly could not understand what was happening.

THIS
A girl invited me to her place at 1am after her birthday drinks. I brought along my best friend.

You need to give a clearer sign.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:21 AM on April 29, 2011 [15 favorites]


Thank you. That is what I needed to hear! It's fine that he doesn't want me. There is surely someone better out there for me. :)
posted by sunnychef88 at 12:22 AM on April 29, 2011


Re: your second question. Do some reading on gender stereotyping.

Re: your main question. I get the impression you are projecting your experience with your previous boyfriend onto this fellow here. From what you have written, he sounds interested in you. Reread the comments.

If you're not interested in something with your friend right now (starting a brief fling, rebound, and/or long-distance relationship), that's totally fine. After your experience with your last boyfriend, it sounds like your friend may not be a right person for you at this time. But don't conflate that with him not being interested.
posted by aniola at 12:45 AM on April 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


From your post and its following responses, it sounds like you want to be pursued, and that this is sort of a make or break factor for you. Also this idea of pursuit was formed in the aftermath of your previous relationship. There's nothing disturbing about that, nobody wants to get hurt or be fooled, especially in the same way twice.

If this is true, then it's a moot point whether this guy is interested in you. Both of you are going your separate ways in a couple of weeks, and he's not the kind of guy you're looking for anyways, since you don't want someone who beats around the bush.

As for your second question, I compartmentalize. I rarely date or show interest, but I don't go out with co-workers, roommates, or even people who are in a close circle of friends. But, I'm a special outlier case that's a bit more sensitive to other's opinions of me and goes out of the way to avoid drama.
posted by FJT at 12:49 AM on April 29, 2011


You're asking why he's not making a move. Does knowing the answer really change anything? It could be any number of reasons, shyness, uninterested, doesn't want to ruin the friendship. But we will never know because you don't have the nerve to ask him, or ask him out yet you seem upset that he may not have the nerve to do it either. Double standard anyone? And it's a shame because you've described what sounds like quite a nice guy. I wonder how many other guys have slipped through your fingers this way and how many will in the future. I'm predicting your AskMe in later years "I'm almost 40 and I'm all alone. All the good men are taken and I can't understand how my life has gone this way. What do I do now?"

If you're not going to ask him your questions, there's no point asking us. Seize the day, girl! You can do it.
posted by Jubey at 1:13 AM on April 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thank you. That is what I needed to hear! It's fine that he doesn't want me. There is surely someone better out there for me.

What? I mean... what? Where did you get this?
posted by Justinian at 1:56 AM on April 29, 2011 [24 favorites]


Personally, I can go from being outwardly confident, flirtatious and friendly with a girl to frozen, awkward and nervous like flicking a switch. Often, much to my chagrin, that switch is when I realise she's actually genuinely interested. Then I start to freak out. Then, quite often, get really drunk to alleviate the nervousness and bollocks the whole thing up.

Seconding posters upthread - sometimes (often), to a guy, you can make it duh duh obvious that you're into him and he still won't get it, or quite know what to do next. You might need to give the process that last little push along yourself.
posted by chmmr at 1:57 AM on April 29, 2011


Thank you. That is what I needed to hear! It's fine that he doesn't want me. There is surely someone better out there for me. :)

????

You seem to be locked up in a world of stereotyped gender roles, (understandable) fear of being hurt again and projection of the behaviour of one individual (your ex) onto 50% of the human population (which is also understandable, but extremely counterproductive and clearly wrong).

What you have here is very simply that you are hinting to your friend about your desire to be with him in ways that to you seem obvious but to almost all the posters in this thread seem completely unclear. If we wouldn't have understood your desires / intentions from your behaviour I think you have to accept that your friend is pretty unlikely to have as well.

If (both of) you can't communicate effectively implicitly then you need to do what mature adults (should) do and communicate effectively explicitly.
posted by inbetweener at 2:14 AM on April 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Guys" do not come off the factory belts all molded the same. There are guys who'd pursue anything that breathes. There are guys who are petrified of the very word 'date'. There are a million guys in between those two points, and many more out of them.

Stop painting this guy with the brush of your ex. Yeah, your ex could've/should've/maybe been a bit more forthcoming, etc etc. But this guy? Ain't your ex. He could have very good reasons for not having asked you out (he's not sure you're interested, he's got a debilitating condition and worrying about his chances, etc etc etc). Maybe he doesn't have a reason at all. You won't know until either he a) opens his mouth, or b) you open your mouth. Since the first is out of your control...

You seem to really want the attention of being pursued and of openly shown interest. Let's hypothesize that you ask him out....

SITUATION ONE: HE RESPONDS POSITIVELY

You: Hey! He really digs me!
Him: Hey! She really digs me! *proceeds to call you, go out on dates with you, the two of you go out for fancy dinners, etc etc that all fall within the realm of "pursuing you"/showing interest in you...which is what you want, yes?*

SITUATION TWO: HE RESPONDS NEGATIVELY

...well, you've already said that you're fine if he doesn't want you, right?

If you can't or won't ask him out, so be it. But then you've lost all ground to say "well, obviously he's not into me because he won't ask me out". Double standards, pot meet kettle...
posted by Hakaisha at 2:22 AM on April 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


You've already made up your mind that it's not worth being vulnerable for this guy. Sounds like its better off for both of you that you not put yourself out there.

Move on, nothing to see here.
posted by softlord at 2:34 AM on April 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


You guys are inspiring. I'll update you with how things work out. He's worth putting myself out there again. I'll update y'all with what happens...
posted by sunnychef88 at 2:47 AM on April 29, 2011


Have you ever seen "He's Just Not That Into You"?

Just fyi, but please please please don't use rancid texts like this as a guide to anything in real life. They won't tell you anything decent about people or relationships, for reals. They will trick you, and give you bizarre ideas about men and women.

There are lots of great relationship books out there - post an askme asking for reccs if you want to - but this is sooooooo not one of them.
posted by smoke at 3:04 AM on April 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


How is it wrong to want to be sure a guy wants to date you, wants to be dating somene, and is mature enough to pursue a relationship?

This is such a double standard. You expect him to demonstrate his maturity by being clear and unambiguous about his intentions, while simultaneously planning to be completely unclear and extremely ambiguous yourself. Presumably that means you don't want to date him, or indeed anyone, and are not mature enough to pursue a relationship - according to your own logic!

Maybe you are looking the kind of relationship in which you never state what you want, but expect everyone else to divine your intentions with their psychic powers, and if they fail in this then you sulk and feel let down. But if that's NOT what you want, then maybe you can start on the right foot by ditching this idea that men should do all the work and women should sit around like beautiful flowers waiting to be plucked.
posted by emilyw at 3:13 AM on April 29, 2011 [13 favorites]


sunnychef, are you sure you should ignore your previous experience?

Remember what joannemullen said: "Let's be honest, single men hardly ever say no and married ones aren't much different." WHETHER OR NOT THEY'RE INTO YOU.

If you're going to ignore all your previous experience, you should also ignore all the Asks from women whose bfs just aren't into them, like this one and this one and this one and this one.

I understand why all the guys here are all indignant about your adherence to gender roles, but if you're going to follow their advice, you probably also need to get some tips from this: this (SLYT) (NSFW) Because as much as there is a gender stereotype that a man who wants something will ask for it, there is also a gender stereotype that women should pursue and cater to men, and try to mind-read and smooth over men's emotional problems for them.

I'd think carefully about which stereotype you would rather uphold. It sounds like you want a man who will want you enough to make a move. He isn't doing so. I get that he doesn't have 100% certainty that you'll say yes, and that you are friends and all and maybe he doesn't want to ruin that. But a person with functional adult communication skills can almost always find a way of declaring interest without leaving a trail of destruction (as much as people love to insist that that's impossible). And the bottom line is, the man you want would want you enough to be motivated to say something. He is not saying anything. Figuring out why isn't really going to help, because his not saying anything is a deal-breaker for you, and it's a deal-breaker because of a bad experience that you don't want to repeat.

tl;dr It's not unreasonable to want a man who will ask you out, but this guy isn't asking you out so you're hosed, and the reasons why aren't really relevant.
posted by tel3path at 3:30 AM on April 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


Y'know what - if there is some particular aspect of dating or relationships that you *crave*, accept it, but act like it's a personal kink that unless you go searching for and tell people about, you're going to drastically reduce your chances of finding someone who'd do that for/with you.

Either you've been reading too much "He's just not that into you", or you really get off on the idea of being pursued. The latter is cool.
But given the number of people who do *not* like being aggressively pursued, especially females by male 'friends', you'll have much better chances of getting what you want if you tell this guy you've been a bit put off by feeling like your ex wasn't that into you, and you'd really like if your *future-romantic-partner* did *romantic-gesture/pursuit-type-of-your-choice*, like, outright tell him that if he is interested in you, you would like it if he took the lead.
If he takes up the challenge, you've gotten what you want. If he doesn't, and it's something you want, then hey, you'll both find better matches out there.
posted by Elysum at 3:35 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like the thud of Elysum's heavy hint being dropped. If you said something like that, that would work if anything will.
posted by tel3path at 3:41 AM on April 29, 2011


A few things I noticed on reading your question:

You bring up your ex a lot, even when you don't have to.

You were dating your ex when you and the current boy met, does he know that you're on the market?

To put it bluntly, you have rather quaint ideas about men, especially ones that indicate we're all alike. That just isn't so.

Guys want what they can't have, right?

This makes not a lick of sense in the context of your question. You swear you're giving off signals that indicate you're receptive to doing something with him, but then you pull out a line like that so I'm not even sure what hell you're talking about.

I have no idea what's going through your guy friend's head, nor do I care (being a hetersexual internet stranger). If I were you, I'd ask him, make a move or move on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:46 AM on April 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


The funny thing about both He's Just Not That Into You and The Rules (which you didn't bring up, but I put them in the same category) is that they're both built around the same kernel of truth - "stop obsessing over that guy, it's not doing you any favors" - and then they add thirty chapters and four hundred bullet-pointed ways to obsess over guys.

It's just so much easier and more pleasant to operate by two rules: if you like him, ask him out; if he's not interested, move on. When you've got that down, you'll look back on all this coyness and overinterpretation and sigh with relief that you've gotten past it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:35 AM on April 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


You're moving in just a couple of weeks. Presumably he knows that. Maybe he assumes there's no future possible because of that? Is it a long-distance relationship you're hoping to start with him now?
posted by tomboko at 4:40 AM on April 29, 2011


If he really likes you, he would move heaven and earth just to be close to you, even though he is a nervous wreck guy.
posted by allure at 5:16 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you ever seen "He's Just Not That Into You"? ...Guys want what they can't have, right?

HJNTIY is a gimmicky, pop-culture derived cash cow for its authors. C'mon, it's based on Sex and the City...not the most realistic portrayal of relationships!

The logical conclusion of your idea that guys only want what they can't have is that you can never let your guard down and relax in a relationship because you have to keep up the facade of being mysterious and distant or he'll lose interest.

Basically, HJNTIY and its equivalent for men (pickup artist techniques) operate on the premise that the best way to get and keep a relationship is to make sure the other person is always somewhat insecure about how much you like them, to keep them yearning after you.

Would you really want to do this to someone you care about? Isn't that what your ex did to you?

Any guy who only wants what he can't have isn't the kind of guy you want. Just ask him out already!
posted by xenophile at 6:15 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It could be that he's reluctant to "creep you out". Sounds like he's into you but doesn't want to ruin a friendship in case you don't reciprocate.
posted by the noob at 6:27 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that all future RelationshipFilter questions should have a gender-neutral version of this comment marked Best Answer by default.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:47 AM on April 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Look, if a guy is interested enough he will always find a way to indicate this to you. If he doesn't, there's always a good reason.

'It could be that he's reluctant to "creep you out".' Some people don't have the social skills to indicate their interest in a non-creepy way, or else think there's something inherently creepy about expressing interest towards someone without first being 100% certain that they'll reciprocate. Since you don't want to date one of those people, that's a good reason for you right there.

'You're moving in just a couple of weeks.' That's a good reason.

'But given the number of people who do *not* like being aggressively pursued' - some people view all pursuit as inherently aggressive and/or don't have the social skills to pursue someone assertively. You don't want that kind of guy either, so that's another good reason.

He may realize you're interested and be reciprocally interested but be too nervous or shy to indicate this in any way. You could ask him, but for experiential reasons don't want to do so, so if he's driven by shyness, the shyness itself is a good reason why neither of you should pursue this.

It may be his belief that it's the interested party's place to make the first move. If that's his position, it's an entirely reasonable one, but again because of bad experience, you want the first move to come from him. Deadlock. This could be broken by dropping a hint as Elysum suggests. If dropping the hint doesn't break the deadlock... there's a good reason for that, even if you'll never know what it is.

It really isn't that difficult for a guy to ask a woman out in the assertive manner you desire. I've even had it happen to me. By a friend who has serious mental problems including schizophrenia. And he still managed to put his request out there AND take no for an answer without creeping me out or ruining the friendship. His assertiveness greatly increased my admiration for him, even though I did not want to date him. So, it can absolutely be done, and on rare occasions even is done. You're not wishing for something impossible, but you aren't necessarily going to get it from this guy.
posted by tel3path at 6:58 AM on April 29, 2011


Dear Ladies and Guys who do this game thing,

You make us crazy. And that's cool. But please be aware of the huge difference between making sure someone likes you for you, and putting up unnecessary roadblocks between meeting someone and expressing interest that can lead to a relationship.

This could be as simple as "Let's go on a date" instead of "Let's go out" or just saying one time "I think I may like you as more than a friend" or "I am really attracted to you." Saying those things does not obligate you do anything. If you truly like a person, the conversation you have after this will quickly alert you to what kind of person they are.

This next bit is a generalization in guy-girl relationships, but the desire for things to be spontaneous leaves us gentlemen in a very weird no-man's land. Especially for the "nice" guys, who would rather keep you in their life as a friend than possibly creep you out. There you are, sending subtle signals across the table, and here we sit, wondering if we are reading them correctly. If we go for it and fail, we are doomed to never see you again, and possibly get a reputation among your friends for being weird. That's huge disincentive.

We've got this language thing down as a species. Let's communicate clearly instead of getting bogged down in ritualized courtship.
posted by notion at 7:04 AM on April 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


This could be as simple as "Let's go on a date" instead of "Let's go out" or just saying one time "I think I may like you as more than a friend" or "I am really attracted to you." Saying those things does not obligate you do anything. If you truly like a person, the conversation you have after this will quickly alert you to what kind of person they are.

So, you should just go for it, but

Especially for the "nice" guys, who would rather keep you in their life as a friend than possibly creep you out. There you are, sending subtle signals across the table, and here we sit, wondering if we are reading them correctly. If we go for it and fail, we are doomed to never see you again, and possibly get a reputation among your friends for being weird. That's huge disincentive.

we can't be expected to take that risk, because we know that you are vindictive enough to slander us and destroy our reputation if we make a mistake. If those are the assumptions that drive him, that's another reason not to pursue anything with him.

However, the very important point is raised that you must not keep dropping hints if you're getting no response. It's a form of not taking "no" for an answer, except that you're also depriving him of the opportunity to say "no" at all because you aren't asking. That's creepy and tortuous and is GUARANTEED to ruin a friendship.

So my advice is, drop the hint and if he doesn't take it, stop trying to communicate interest, because doing so eventually just becomes harassment.
posted by tel3path at 7:28 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really could have written this question earlier this year, down to your description of said guy.

In my case, he turned out to be just as into me as me him. BUT, I waited a bit too long to ask that critical question of "hey, what ARE we doing here?" and he ended up having just started dating someone else, because (I think) he was as unsure of what I thought of him, as I was of what he thought of me.

Nothing wrong with asking outright. In fact, I recommend sooner rather than later.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 8:10 AM on April 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


notion: If we go for it and fail, we are doomed to never see you again, and possibly get a reputation among your friends for being weird. That's huge disincentive.

tel3path: because we know that you are vindictive enough to slander us and destroy our reputation if we make a mistake.

Are you guys still in school or are you both politicians?

Since we're talking in group pronouns, I'll play the role as generic friend and say we could not give a damn about your reputation. We don't hang out with you because of your reputation. So just go for it already.
posted by FJT at 8:55 AM on April 29, 2011


For the record, "He's Just Not That Into You" is for when you've already been on a couple dates and you want to know why he's not returning any of your phone calls. It's for when the guy has said he is into you, but not followed up on it, despite your sending him a couple specific "so, do you want to get together next Tuesday?" emailed invitations.

You aren't even there yet. "He's Just Not That Into You" should not be your game plan. What you need is a book titled "People Are Not Mind Readers, So Come Out And Say You Are Interested."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:58 AM on April 29, 2011 [7 favorites]



Thank you. That is what I needed to hear! It's fine that he doesn't want me. There is surely someone better out there for me. :)


This came out of absolutely nowhere. You are not remotely recovered from your last bad experience. I did what you did, exhausted myself pursuing someone who did not actually love me, and it took a long time to get over the bad feelings--about myself and others--that came out of that.

Also, you are also moving far away in a couple of weeks. What is it, exactly, you want from this man in that short period of time?

Shouldn't he have contacted me already if he really does "like" me, at least to stay in touch, or something?
You yourself are fudging the meaning of "like" here. Again, what do you want to see happen, specifically, in this situation?

Because I think if a guy is ready to have a relationship, he'll put his a** on the line and let me know. And I want to accept the fact that he's "just not that into me" if he isn't.

People on this list are (understandably) making fun of rules for dating, gender stereotypes, "games." But the fact is, the overwhelming majority of guys you ask out directly will say yes. They will be pleased and flattered that you did so. They will go out with you. They will have sex with you. Etcetera. And there are a percentage who will even say whatever needs to be said just to keep this convenient situation going, if they like you well enough for that. But if by "a relationship" you mean someone who will love you, (and commit to you) I agree that you want to see a man do some part of the work to keep the relationship alive. That's why seeing a man "make the first move" is necessary reassurance for you. But I think, under the circumstances of your imminent move, there is no judging what this man feels about you.
posted by uans at 9:21 AM on April 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Are you guys still in school or are you both politicians?"

To be clear, this is not my point of view. My point was that I don't agree that it's an unacceptable risk for a guy to respectfully ask a woman out if he thinks he's getting signals, and that the fear that being turned down will also result in total and deliberate destruction of his social credibility forever... is both unfounded, and rather unflattering to the object of his affections.
posted by tel3path at 9:35 AM on April 29, 2011


In defense of the OP, I think I get what she's saying. I sort of made the same promise to myself recently not to aggressively pursue men that I was interested in because when I was doing so I was ending up with immature, awkward men who just in general didn't have their lives together. In my mind, a man who is willing to put something on the line to ask me out is mature and self-aware enough to know what he wants and invest something in getting it. I don't want to be with someone who is just going with the flow and dating me because I'm doing all the work in making it happen.

It's not really about traditional gender roles as it is about making sure the person that I'm interested in is interested enough to take action--and I'm using that as some kind of indicator about how he conducts the rest of his life. This thread has been insightful as to why this attitude might be a problem.

OP, can I suggest a compromise? I recommend that you tell him straight out that you're interested. Just tell him that you're interested. Let HIM do the actual asking out. If he's interested but is still too scared to ask out someone who has flat out told him that she is also interested, then the relationship will probably falter because of whatever is preventing him from taking that simple step. This way you get the same reassurance that he's interested, but you've also cut to the chase. I think this will be new strategy from now on.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 9:39 AM on April 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Since you are about to move, I think it might be bad to get together with this guy, if it turns out he wants a Real Relationship with you. You might just break his heart. A lot of times when you want funsexytimes with someone, one of the people gets very attached and it's kind of cruel if you know you're about to leave.
posted by marble at 10:13 AM on April 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


He is "previously someone who [you] considered a friend" and then two weeks before you leave the state, you suddenly get all flirty?

Yeah, I can't speak for him, but presuming I were into you and did discern the meaning of your arm-touching, I would regret the poor timing of your change of heart, but I wouldn't go out of my way to cram in two weeks of dating.
posted by RobotHero at 10:23 AM on April 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Just kiss him. Or put on some romantic music and dance with him. Or put on a movie and cuddle up with him.. Or osmething.

YES. Watch The Little Mermaid together, and when the song "Kiss The Girl" comes on, crabdance at him seductively.
posted by elizardbits at 11:21 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Colonel_Chappy: In my mind, a man who is willing to put something on the line to ask me out is mature and self-aware enough to know what he wants and invest something in getting it. I don't want to be with someone who is just going with the flow and dating me because I'm doing all the work in making it happen.

Yes.

Attraction is like a ball that bounces between two people, gathering momentum with each bounce. I will do my part in making sure the ball stays in play (or put the ball in play myself), but I want the guy to demonstrate that he has guts, and generally that means he does the asking. I know so many awesome women who have their act together and are working hard to improve themselves, but the guys are in immature limbo, lost and foundering. My sister and I figured out as kids that if we were incompetent at chores, my mom would give up and do them herself. Then we got to play more. I think this is what is happening with men.

Like Colonel_Chappy says, it's not about gender roles. Will one get more dates if one makes easy for the other party? Absolutely. But I don't know that lowering the bar has ever inspired anyone to improve above the minimum requirement.

OP, I suspect that the guy isn't asking because you are moving away. What would the point be in starting something that is going to be abandoned?
posted by griselda at 11:39 AM on April 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


Admittedly I am much older, but in his shoes I would be flattered by the attention but have no interest in a woman who communicated via hints and implications. Depending on his previous relationships he may be in the same boat.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:38 PM on April 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just showed this post to a friend who has been in pretty much exactly the same situation over the past few days. We talked about the answers, and she finally screwed up her courage and asked the guy directly and explicitly if he was interested in scheduling in an unambiguous date with her. And he was! Now they have a date! THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.
posted by Eshkol at 2:24 PM on April 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


What's the point? I don't know what the point is in me finally declaring how I feel about him. Maybe I am just young and idealistic and have it in my head that there are certain people who particularly special and unique in this life, and you better let them know how important they are to you while you can. You never know if that person will come back into your life later on, at a better time...

It's also nice to make people as genuinely good-hearted as he is feel good about themselves. Even if I get rejected by him at this point, I think my expression of interest would be an ego boost for him. He deserves it, and he is worth my pride taking a little hit. ;)
posted by sunnychef88 at 7:04 PM on April 29, 2011


You're on the rebound. Being the rebound person isn't necessarily an ego boost.

With your initial question, you listed a lot of things you like about him. It would be an ego boost for him if you told him that you thought those things about him. You aren't required to do that in the context of romantic interest.
posted by aniola at 7:50 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of late to the game here, but I was in a similar situation last year (he was like your guy in personality, and there was a heck of a lot of indirect communication, but he was the one moving away). I had similar sentiments as you (but without the experience). I thought he was worth it enough for me to take the chance and express my interest, even if I didn't know what would happen next. Though it turned out rather badly, I don't have any regrets for having done that.

I've always liked the quote, "Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." You're moving away. Think of it like this, just that one step of telling him CLEARLY that you like him: a year or two from now, which would you regret more, telling him or not telling him, whatever the outcome? Is it going to hurt more that you never told him, or that you actually did tell him? Sometimes imagining yourself as an older you and thinking back in hindsight to past decisions help.
posted by elisynn at 9:20 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am not on the rebound - I have fully recovered from the situation with my ex. It took a good 5 months, but I can see him without feeling anything at all at this point.

I told this guy (the one described above) about how great I thought he was, and he said he's not interested in dating anyone. It strangely didn't hurt when he told me that, though. It felt kinda liberating to have the confidence to put myself out there and tell him. Since I'm moving and pursuing grad school, it's not like anything could have come of it. Also, since I was rejected once before, I am not so sensitive about these things. It's wonderful that now I can actually concentrate on all my school work! God always knows exactly what you need, when you need it.

Thank you for the feedback, all!
posted by sunnychef88 at 12:29 AM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


It took a good 5 months, but I can see him without feeling anything at all at this point.

Just FYI, you went out of your way in this post to malign him and weren't going to do anything with your current guy friend because you had decided not to behave in a manner similar to the way you behaved with your ex. Nothing wrong with changing your mind or perhaps I misunderstood your comments, but it didn't sound like you were over him. Food for though perhaps.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:00 AM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm glad you were able to disambiguate this, sunnychef88. Onward and upward!
posted by tel3path at 3:34 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good on you! Sorry it didn't work out though.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:02 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I found out he has told multiple people that he's not looking to date at this point in his life. I knew it wasn't anything to do with me, and it was good to hear that confirmed! What we had was really nice, and who knows if we might meet again some day when we're older... :)
posted by sunnychef88 at 3:34 PM on May 7, 2011


« Older How to record something digita...   |  I am beginning to dance with f... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.