What should I do about this guy?
October 26, 2012 9:06 AM   Subscribe

What should I do about this guy? I'll preface this by saying I have pretty much no prior experience, so I'm not sure about what's considered "normal" in terms of communication (FYI this is a little long)...

So, I met a guy at an event and we hit it off (no making out, but some cuddling, dancing, etc.). I gave him my number, and he contacted me the next day by text, saying we should get together. He told me Friday works for him. I was unsure if he meant in general, or if he meant this week specifically (I had answered in general before he told me about Friday), so I asked if he meant this one.

...And I received no response. Not wanting to seem "clingy" (remember, I don't really know what I'm doing), I decided to (anxiously) wait for his reply. After 3 days of nothing, I figure he changed his mind or something. I was, to say the least, annoyed (it's not so much to ask for a response, right?).

Today, I wake up and find that he's texted me again (4 days later) asking if we're good for tonight, with no acknowledgement that he received my earlier question.

Is this lack of communication normal in the dating world? Should I respond? If so, how?

One final note that might be relevant: while I was not unattracted to him, I also wasn't super attracted (part of why it was easy to hit it off - I tend to freeze up around such guys). I figured going out with him could be a good way to earn experience, but I felt guilty about thinking that way... Is this a bad reason for dating someone?

Thanks hivemind!
posted by Sakura3210 to Human Relations (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Oh also, the "tonight" aspect freaks me out a little, as I'm not sure what that means expectation-wise on a first date.
posted by Sakura3210 at 9:09 AM on October 26, 2012


Don't overthink it. He might have been busy this week, realized he didn't hit "send," been doing the "wait 3 days thing," who knows. My interpretation of "Friday" is "this Friday." Go out with him, have fun. Don't put pressure on you or him for it to be "the relationship to end all relationships" -- you barely know him, spend some time getting to know him.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:11 AM on October 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


1. Write off the botched communication flaw as a one-off event at this point. If it keeps happening, then it becomes an issue, but it isn't there yet.

2. Should you respond? Sure, if you want to see him tonight.

3. There's nothing wrong with causual dating because you're comfortable with someone, as long as you're not portraying it as something it isn't.
posted by HuronBob at 9:12 AM on October 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


It is entirely possible he either didn't receive the text, overlooked the text, forgot about it, started a reply and didn't complete it, started a reply and had his phone crash (my phone does this...), started a reply, accidentally clicked "delete" instead of "send" and thought he sent it, or had the complete reply disappear into the cell phone networking ether.

You should either respond with, "yes, we're good - where are we going?", or "no, we're not, I'll pass." I'd suggest the former. The former has at least a non-zero chance of working out in the long term and the latter has a zero chance of working out in the long term. If you turn this guy down based on a one time miscommunication, you are going to have a hard time in the future.

You are not dating this guy - you have not even gone on a single date yet! I would suggest not judging someone based on a single time action. If this persists, then you can work on it, but right now, you have a single (questionable) data point that tells almost nothing about the guy.
posted by saeculorum at 9:13 AM on October 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Go and have fun. I have friends who do not clarify when asked and it's annoying.

Just because you're not "super attracted" doesn't mean you shouldn't go and enjoy. You get to decide what you want to do, won't do, aren't ready for, aren't in the mood for, etc. There are no rules and there are no guidelines. You're the boss of you. Keep it casual and friendly and get to know him. Attraction can grow stronger (or weaken) as you get to know a person.
posted by Fairchild at 9:15 AM on October 26, 2012


Treat dating communication like all other communication. If you need an answer, ask for an answer. Don't be afraid to seem clingy for asking a basic question. Would you be concerned about asking your friend for that information?

Did he say "friday" is good for him (meaning this coming friday he would like to hang out) or did he say fridays are good for him (meaning any friday in general is usually open). Like I said before, don't treat all communications from him as some coded "date message" just treat it like normal communication.

Maybe he never got your last text? It happens.

And yes, going on one date with a guy that you aren't 100% sure about is fine and perfectly acceptable. You don't need to want to spend the rest of your life with every one you date. The outcome of dating can go many ways. I have a couple very good friends who I met by going on a couple dates with, I also have a boyfriend I met by going on a couple dates with, I also have people I have no interest in seeing ever again...that I met by going on a couple dates with.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:15 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


You have two ways to play this. You can be up front, or you can game him.

1) Text him back and say, "oh, since I didn't hear back from you the other day, I didn't realize we'd be going out tonight. I have made other plans," and then the ball is in his court as far as giving you an explanation and making concrete plans for another day. (I do not recommend this one.)

2) Text him back (or call him) and say, "I didn't realize we had anything planned tonight! What do you have in mind?" (This assumes that you are, indeed, free tonight.)


Expectation-wise, the expectations are that you guys go out on a date. Nothing more, nothing less. This involves talking, getting to know each other, laughing at each other's stupid jokes, maybe eating some food. If you don't want to make out/sleep with him/whatever, you don't. If you do, you do. That's entirely up to you. If you don't want to see him anymore, that's fine. If you do, but only as a friend, that's fine, too. If you think you need to get to know him a little better before deciding any of those things, make plans for a second date.

Have fun!
posted by phunniemee at 9:16 AM on October 26, 2012


Every now and then, communications misfire. Frankly, the entire world needs to be more forgiving with each other when that happens. There's a ridiculous chain of insanely complicated technology between his send button and your eyes, and it doesn't always work right. It's frankly amazing that any of it works at all.

If you kind of maybe seem into him, and it could become a Thing, get back to him and go for the date. Maybe it'll turn out to be nothing, but maybe it won't!
posted by mhoye at 9:17 AM on October 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am over-anxious about such things. If I texted someone to say 'Friday is good for me', and they replied 'Do you mean this Friday?' I might get it into my head that they were expressing reservations about meeting up so soon, meaning I had come on too strong. I would then worry about how to reply without coming on even stronger. I might well leave it a few days, calm myself down, and the re-contact the person that Friday.

I'm not saying that's what happened - there are probably like 20,000 plausible scenarios here. I'm just giving you one of them. One thing that is almost certain is that you are not the only person in this situation who feels they don't know what they are doing.
posted by Acheman at 9:21 AM on October 26, 2012


Occam's Razor. He thought it was tonight and the Friday thing completely slipped his mind. It might not be the most likely possibility, but it's the simplest one and the best one to go forward with.

I don't know what you're getting at with the "tonight" thing, to be honest - do you mean it seems like it's a hookup? Getting together at the spur at the moment =/= a booty call, generally those are a lot easier to tell. Most likely case it's nothing. Worst case scenario it just means he's "spontaneous" / a flake.
posted by dekathelon at 9:23 AM on October 26, 2012


Honestly, so many missed connections happen with texting that Jane Austen would have worked it into every single one of her books if she'd been alive and writing today.

In future - it isn't "clingy" to ask a second time for clarification on "did you mean this Friday or next" when you haven't heard back from him (okay, maybe if you ask only five minutes later and then again another five minutes after that and....). I'd go ahead and go out with him tonight, if you want and you're free, and maybe in the future actually call him for clarification moves like that just to be safe.

And then pretend that you're Elizabeth and he's Mr. Darcy and your butler brought his letter to your sister by accident or something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:40 AM on October 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I didn't realize we had anything planned tonight! What do you have in mind?"

I like this, but is it maybe too passive-aggressive?
posted by Sakura3210 at 9:45 AM on October 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Advice to all young people:

Stop texting and start talking. All the problems you have could easily be clarified with a single phone call.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:46 AM on October 26, 2012 [28 favorites]


If you're free, then sure, go. "Yup! Where are we going?"

If you're not, give a short explanation, "Oh crap, I texted you on Tuesday to verify that you meant this Friday, and since I didn't hear back I thought you meant next Friday. D'oh! I still want to meet, how does Friday next week work?"

Either way, you indicate that you're ready to go.

As for attraction, that's not always instant, sometimes you get more attracted the better you know someone (and vice versa-fo sho).

So go out, get to know the guy and then decide.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:50 AM on October 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


"I didn't realize we had anything planned tonight! What do you have in mind?"

I like this, but is it maybe too passive-aggressive?


Yes, that comes off as passive aggressive, and there's no need for that. If this continues you can have a real conversation about how you communicate, etc. But for now, just be cool and keep it simple. "Sure. What did you have in mind?" -or- "Damn! I'd love to but didn't hear back from you the other day so I made other plans. How about next Tuesday?"
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:54 AM on October 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is this lack of communication normal in the dating world?

It's a little odd to be silent for three days, ending on a part of the conversation where an answer is expected from him, and then to respond on the day as if you'd said yes. But it's not a huge catastrophic crazy thing and I can think of a million reasons why it would play out like that, many of them innocuous.

Should I respond?

It would be polite, but you're not obligated,

If so, how?

If you want to go on a date with him tonight and see what happens, respond "Sure! Where and when?" and then maybe, a little while into an in-person conversation, bring up the weird gap in a way that isn't accusatory. That should give you some insight into how the dude works and if he's playing you or what.

If you don't want to go on a date with him tonight, but you still might want to date him, same as above but tell him tonight's bad and suggest another night.

If you don't want to go on a date with him at all, you have a lot of options. The safest one would be to tell him you can't, don't suggest another night, and say that you're really busy right now, and he should get the hint. This is not enitrely honest but some dudes take flat-out rejection really badly (like, a couple dozen texts calling you a stupid ugly bitch kind of badly) and this usually minimizes that risk as much as can be hoped for.

One final note that might be relevant: while I was not unattracted to him, I also wasn't super attracted (part of why it was easy to hit it off - I tend to freeze up around such guys). I figured going out with him could be a good way to earn experience, but I felt guilty about thinking that way... Is this a bad reason for dating someone?

Casual dating in the name of getting experience is a fine thing and I think everyone should do it, but you should be honest and up-front about the casual nature of it (not about the fact that you're only sort of into him). You should also be prepared for the risk that it might not end great and maybe someone's feelings will get a little hurt. This is not a reason not to do it; it helps instill in you a wisdom that only experience will give you. Useful relationship lessons are rarely learned without some hurt feelings, especially for the inexperienced. It's a process. Everyone goes through it.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:15 AM on October 26, 2012


You should be honest and up-front about the casual nature of it

This has been mentioned twice - how would I go about doing that?
posted by Sakura3210 at 10:20 AM on October 26, 2012


This has been mentioned twice - how would I go about doing that?

Are you free to go? Do you want to go? If yes, then just go!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:31 AM on October 26, 2012


You are way over thinking this! You wanna go out, go out.
posted by LarryC at 10:31 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would avoid the last-minute date, but not in a rude way:

"Sorry, I didn't get your response about the timing and I already have plans for tonight. Are you free next Friday?"

That is because last-minute plans (and people who refuse to plan until the last minute) drive me TOTALLY BATSHIT INSANE WITH FRUSTRATION AND ANXIETY. Sorry about the yelling, but that is about how crazy they drive me. Very crazy. So I try to head this shit off at the pass right away in the hope that they'll get their shit together and prioritize planning.

Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:35 AM on October 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh and if this kind of last-minute thing is cool with you, then sure, go for it. I know that it's not cool for me, and so I will not do it. There is no one right answer, unfortunately, just what makes you comfortable, and knowing what makes you comfortable will come with experience.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:37 AM on October 26, 2012


So I feel like you have some stuff in the back of your head that is like "if I go on this date I will have to Date Him" or maybe "if I go on this date I will have to hook up with him", like agreeing to meet up for pasta is some kind of contract for companionship or sex. I know that young women are pressured to feel this way now, but the best thing you can do for yourself and your dating is to have some firm boundaries and a sense of what you actually want.

I will tell you a story of my youth: I started dating a guy once, and I wasn't all that into him, and it wasn't a very good relationship....but I had it in my head that it would be "rude" and "leading someone on" to break up after we'd just started going out. In my head I had to have sex with him and date for at least six months before it would be acceptable to break things off. Needless to say, the relationship was not very good and I was a miserable basket case by the end of it. In retrospect, I realize that I thought of myself as a sort of unpaid service provider, and I thought of making out as a kind of contract - that I had incurred this "obligation" to do something, and that relationships were not about what I wanted or liked but were instead about figuring out what I "owed" the guy.

Don't think like this! My sad story happened in the nineties, so it's not even totally a different world, either!
posted by Frowner at 10:40 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


This has been mentioned twice - how would I go about doing that?

I'm in my early thirties and I find that most people in my age group work with the assumption that you're not exclusive until you have a talk about it and agree to be exclusive. If you're a bit younger then I'd try to find a way to calmly work it into the conversation on the second date or so that you're mostly into casual dating at the moment. It's one of those handy polite fictions that doesn't require you to say that you might want to be dating more than casually if you were more into him. Other than being honest about the nature of things, you don't owe him anything.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:54 AM on October 26, 2012


So, are you good for tonight?

If yes, say yes.

If you think he's a flake or just aren't interested, say no and you probably won't hear from him again.

If tonight doesn't work, but you'd really like to do something later then say "Oooooh, sorry. I already have something planned for tonight" and then suggest something specific for another date (IOW, don't say "Maybe we can do something some other time". Say something like "Would you like to get dinner and see Argo next Friday?").

In other words, figure out what you want and are comfortable with and act accordingly. If he's not the kind of guy you want to hang out with then you'll figure that out pretty quickly. There's no need to try to deduce everything from one botched text communication.

IMHO, texts are a lousy way to communicate (but then, I'm old and cranky) because they suck at nuance and it's too easy to forget to reply to one if you don't do it immediately.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:12 AM on October 26, 2012


If you're lucky this guy will be your soulmate and all tortured efforts will be all worth it... if you're NORMAL(I know there is no such thing but...) you'll go through this thinking its the most important thing in the world, learn some lessons, do things differently with the next totally different guy... and so on and so forth... learning things...until....whatever you want!
posted by misspony at 11:18 AM on October 26, 2012


Do what you want to do.

It's just that simple. There's no way any of this is "supposed" to go. Take ownership of it and make it go the way you want it to go.
posted by Betelgeuse at 2:16 PM on October 26, 2012


My husband originally invited me out to lunch via email, the only way he had to contact me. I never got the email. I am so glad he didn't hold my "flakiness" against me when he next had the chance to ask me out. (I would have been glad even if we didn't wind up married.)

Go out with him!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 3:50 PM on October 26, 2012


Thanks everyone. I went out with him, but it seems like we'll be better as friends. Appreciated all the advice, so no one best answer!
posted by Sakura3210 at 12:57 AM on October 27, 2012


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