Are we friends? Are we dating? How do I find out without ruining everything?
posted by quincunx to Human Relations (28 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I like a guy. I think. But I don't know if we're friends or?
Where do I even start with this? I guess I start at the beginning. So this guy messaged me on okcupid last month. His message was…I honestly don’t even remember, but it was decent and passable and genuine enough that I wrote back, and we bonded over photos of the Grand Canyon and Crater Lake. (I’m not even that outdoorsy, but I have an appreciation for national parks instilled in me by my dad.) Then he asks to meet for coffee, after a few messages back and forth. I say I’d love to. Only catch: He says “I seem interesting and fun and he needs new friends.” He’s a phD student in science, and your pretty stereotypical slightly-awkward (but still pretty socially capable, as they go) nerd.
I go on the coffee date. I basically just blow in there, expecting less than nothing, made a decent effort but not a huge effort, and treat him like a friend. I was burned out on okcupid dates because I just went on a string of like ten and they all were fairly boring and nothing horrible or dramatic happened but there was no chemistry and they went nowhere, and the only one I actually liked turned into a two-week-long fling and then crashed and burned, and my latest one was with another dude that seemed promising and was totally wrong for me- blah blah, the point is, I was barely trying, I had zero expectations, I was tired of the whole thing, I really don’t invest much energy into it anymore, you get the idea. I was probably kind of borderline rude in my not-tryingness, because normally I am pretty charming, but I was just super low key and whateeevvs.
My immediate impression of him is that he’s handsome. That was a bad sign, because he’s handsome in a way that slightly intimidates me and definitely makes my heart go pit-pat a little bit. He dresses like a nerd, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t some attraction there. He looks better in real life than in photos.
Well, I have a pretty good time, he tells me a really interesting story or two, and I’m glad I went out on the date/friendship hanging out goodtimes/whatever the hell it is. It’s not super awkward or anything, it’s going pretty well. I pay for my stuff, he pays for his, it’s all pretty platonic. I suggested the place to him. But then! Then the bakery closes and he has to finish telling me a story. So he asks me to go to a bar nearby to get beer. We get beer. He pays for the beer. He suggests the place, and picks the beer. We chat a lot about books. We both get slightly tipsy and he tells me in passing that I’m pretty and there’s definitely more-than-friendly mild and slight banter going on. Enough that I think, “I’d better eject, this guy clearly wants more than friendship.” By now it’s like 8 or 9 at night.
He asks me to do stuff later that week, and as I always, always always do after a first date, I say something like, “My work schedule is busy, I’ll text you.” I do this partly because it’s true and partly because I always need time after a first date to decide if I like the guy.
He texts me like, the next day or two and invites me out to do stuff that week. My work is crazy and I’m tired and on the fence and I say no. He’s out of town that weekend. The next week, he wants to meet up, and I totally intend to, but then things get busy, whatever, I don’t know, I didn’t respond. I was worried that he was going to want sex and I wasn’t ready for him to want sex, basically. I would legit be friends with this guy, but I couldn’t tell if he legit wanted to be friends because of the whole beer thing.
So then later that week he messaged me on okcupid and says he’s sorry that I’m not interested in getting to know him more because he thinks I’m interesting and he liked me. It seemed pretty genuine and not manipulative or anything. I guess it worked, because I felt bad.
I told him I liked him too, and I had a good time (true) but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to date someone religious as an atheist, because I had tried in the past and it didn’t go well (very true.)
Did I mention he was raised in the most stereotypically Irish Catholic family ever? And I am a hardcore atheist at this point in my life. He doesn’t go to church, and he left “religion” blank on okc, but I insulted Christians in front of him and he kind of cringed so I figured out he was like a lapsed-Catholic-not-quite-agnostic. Awkward.
He replies “Oh no, I really just wanted to be friends, sorry you misunderstood.”
I was like, “Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Friendship with straight guys? Ones I meet on okcupid? Has this ever worked ever in my life?”
But, hey, if the guy actually likes me, and isn’t going to push for sex and I don’t have to feel guilty about leading him on…fair game, right? I consult some girlfriends, they concur that this is more than fair game. He’s putting himself on the line. He says he wants to be legit friends. It’s not my fault if I break his heart.
So I’m like, “Okay, let’s legit be friends! Add me on Facebook! We can do legit friend things!”
And he’s like, “Okay!” And he does and it’s awesome.
So then he invites me out to this comedy show on Saturday night. Some of his friends are in the show. It’s a good show, I like it more than I expect. He buys the tickets. I try to pay him back, he says no. Then I buy cheesecake and he takes like a bite or two. I tell him I love cheesecake, it’s my favorite dessert. He walks me to my car and then it’s totally awkward because it would be a hug moment but it isn’t because, right, friends. We’re like “Bye, friend! Thanks friend!” He texts me later and says, “Glad you had a good time, hope I didn’t scare you off this time.” And I said (and meant it) “No, not at all.”
Then Monday. Work sucks, I have a bad day. He texts me halfway through the day and says, “It’s your fault, I was thinking of you and I just made cheesecake.” That made me smile. Really smile and laugh. I was having a shit day, it kind of melted my heart, whatever, I’m a sap. The key to a woman’s heart is definitely through her sweet tooth, if the woman in question is me.
So I told him “We’ll have to eat it and then dance it off.”
And he invites me to swing dance. I go with him. It’s fun. He invites me back to his place for cheesecake after. Turns out he lives really near where I work (and also near where I live), which is a huge plus. (Yeah we danced and ate in the wrong order.) His place, right? He baked for me? We sit on the couch and it reclines? This is totally the part where SEX jumps in and messes everything up, right?
Nope, we end up legit talking. I told him about my ex-fiance and stuff, and he seemed understanding. He leant me a book on the history of the English language, which OMG, that also is a big points winner. Like major points.
Problem: Shit, I might like him now. Shit. Can’t even look him in the eyes on the couch ‘cause I like him. But he wants to be friends, right? Even though I’m pretty sure we’re both attracted to each other? And he’s possibly a mild non-church-going lingering Christian (who is pretty hardcore into science and doesn’t mind being friends/flirting with a hardcore atheist, though, so how Christian can he be, right?) He mentions during our conversation about exes that he has never felt Catholic guilt after having hot sex, and I said I hadn’t done that either, and he said, “Had hot sex?” and I said, “No, felt Catholic guilt." It made sense in context and wasn’t creepy and gross, I think. But it was also definitely flirting. Right? Or was it?
We’re dance partners now and we’re going out on Sunday again, and probably sooner, to “practice dancing.”
Basically, I have to figure this shit out quickly. What the hell do I do? Do we be friends? Is he playing me? Am I playing him? What? ARGH. I don’t know what’s happening, the ambiguity is going to kill me. I hate ambiguity. Do dude and lady friends just flirt with each other sometimes and it’s all just chill and okay? It doesn't really mean he like-likes me? Is that a thing that happens, in the world, to other cooler people who don’t go freaking cray cray? The last time I was legit good friends with a straight boy I was 11 and we got teased on the bus every day for it. Is this reverse psychology or voodoo or something and he actually wants to date me? If we stay friends for too long, will I stop being attracted to him? Will we start dating other people? Or will we just become hetero life-mates and cock-block each other forever, like Olympic ice dance partners? What the fuck? I actually do want to be friends with him. But I also want to possibly sleep with him at some point. But I don't know the protocol for these things. Before anyone asks, he's definitely not gay.
Why does online dating suck so much?? I literally have no other way to meet straight guys in my daily life or work circles, so I pretty much have to use it, but then things like this happen.