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Why does the posse show up on a date?
June 16, 2008 5:14 AM   Subscribe

Why does she invite her ex or friends to everything we do? What's my next move?

I'm a guy in my late 20s. There's this girl I like. We met through a mutual friend. Since then we chat online at least 3 hours/day.

We hang out in person three or so times a week, going on a month now. Sometimes I initiate an event and sometimes she does. Sometimes these are casual events and other times they're more formal ones. But regardless, she makes sure her ex or another guy friend appears too. Sometimes she'll call minutes before we rendezvous asking "Is it cool if John comes along too?" Other times the person will just appear. Though we plan a lot of events, there's only been one where it's been just the two of us in the end. I like all of her friends, but it's usually a little awkward since they aren't people I would hang out with on my own accord.

I'm pretty sure she likes me. She usually sits next to me when we eat or see a movie, walks next to me when we walk, laughs at my jokes, goes out of her way to talk to me, dances with me, makes an effort to touch my arm, etc. I've been the third wheel many (many) times before and I don't feel like this is one of them.

She and her ex ended a multi-year relationship a few months ago and he's one of her closest friends in the area. She's mentioned in the past that she wants to let what happens happen, but she is leaving the state in two months so I don't want this to drag out forever.

Does she want me to be more explicit about asking her out "on a date"? Am I reading this wrong and she really just wants to be friends? In the past with other people I've straight up discussed relationship status, and that's always killed the relationship momentum. Going in for a kiss is tough too though since we're never alone.

What should my next move be?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (44 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
The standard AskMeFi advice is to dump her because she is cheater and she will never change. I like to think you almost always have a choice without feeling like a doormat.

anonymous mentioned: Going in for a kiss is tough too though since we're never alone.

You know, if I were you I'd make it uncomfortable for the third wheel and kiss her, hold her, etc. Of course I have no problems with PDA but why should you let other people cock block you?
posted by JJ86 at 5:42 AM on June 16, 2008


I can't read this girl's mind, but I know that I would often like people to be more explicit about whether we're "on a date." I suppose by asking her outright, you would find out one way or the other whether she's interested in you that way.
posted by srah at 5:42 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you want to date her, your next move should be to ask her out on a date! Be very clear: "Would you like to go out on a date next [day] to [activity], say around [time]?"
posted by Houstonian at 5:46 AM on June 16, 2008


Does she want me to be more explicit about asking her out "on a date"?

Uh..yeah.

And I wouldn't try kissing her until you're really sure. Surprise magic movie kisses tend to end with testicular battery in real life. Or embarrassment. I'm not sure which is worse.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:48 AM on June 16, 2008


Not to say that she specifically wants you to ask her out, but it sounds like it's in the realm of possibility.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:48 AM on June 16, 2008


Does she want me to be more explicit about asking her out "on a date"?

It sounds to me like you're in the Friend Zone and she's stringing you along somewhat. You know what Chris Rock says about that. The Friend Zone is fine, but it sounds like you're looking for more here. The touching doesn't really mean much; you're not even to first base.

I think you need to be assertive at this point. Yes, do invite her on a date, preferably after a longer period of little contact. No, it's not ok if she invites someone. I think how she reacts is more important than her actual answer. If this sours things or the ex does somehow show up again, then (1) withdraw from activities with her, and (2) be grateful for having a true picture of the relationship and not wasting your time and money any further. And thenceforth you can (and should) start looking at other fish in the sea. There really, really are better women out there, and you're only 28ish... that's excellent.
posted by crapmatic at 5:50 AM on June 16, 2008


It does seem a little odd that someone who otherwise appears to be romantically interested in you brings along another male friend (and an ex at that!), even though it wasn't made explicit that these were "dates". That would certainly give me cause for concern, if I were in your shoes.

This guy who has only recently split up with her continues to be her close friend? That's another red flag. It's certainly not impossible that a long-standing relationship could transform into a friendship like that in such a short time, but how often does that happen? Not often at all. I would be wondering whether everything has been sorted out with their emotions to one another.

Basically, these questions will drive you up the wall unless you find answers.

I think you should be upfront and make it clear that your next time together would be considered a date, with just the two of you. If she doesn't want a relationship like that with you, she'll let you know. But be prepared for that possibility.
posted by idiomatika at 5:50 AM on June 16, 2008


Ask her to do something with you, such as coming over to your place so you can make her dinner and watch a movie with her, and casually add something about how it'll be nice for just the two of you to spend some time together.
posted by orange swan at 5:50 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hate to tell you, and I only know from experience, they show up cause its not a date. I'd suggest if you really want to know where you stand don't discuss the relationship status, but call her on the phone (not in a chat) and say "_____, i'd like to take you out to __(insert your own idea of a romantic place)__. Just the two of us." If she says yes then you have a date. If she says no or ok but just as friends you know where you stand. Its my experience from these kind of situations you need to be clear about your intentions with people or you'll never know the truth. You'll miss the opportunity for a great relationship because you were afraid to break the friend barrier or you'll continue to live in uncertainty missing opportunities with other women because you are living in an illusion that will never come to pass. Good luck!
posted by jeffe at 5:52 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also I think it's safe to say that the ex is getting benefits -- it's common and I'm sure is happening here. I'm not sure if you want that complication.
posted by crapmatic at 5:53 AM on June 16, 2008


Hey, wanna go out to the [event] on Friday, JUST THE TWO OF US?
posted by rokusan at 6:22 AM on June 16, 2008


just a friend. assuming you are telling the whole story, the fact that you haven't mentioned any moments of intimacy tells me this girl really likes you as a friend and bringing along a third wheel is her way of being subtle about it. If she wanted something more I guarantee you she would not be bringing along friends on your "dates". She'd be doing everything she could to be alone with you as much as possible. You have two choices - make a move and know for sure or stay in limbo and enjoy her company - but if you do that you must come to terms with yourself that you are just friends. Sometimes that kind of realization will give you just enough emotional separation to make her actually become attracted to you.
posted by any major dude at 6:28 AM on June 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


The one time I saw this in action very close up, the girl was seemed to be trying to tell the guy that she didn't like him, in that way, but didn't want to hurt his feelings. Although they would spend lots of time together on and offline and he went through all the rigmarole of setting up exclusive and romantic dates, flowers, picnics with champagne & strawberries, the whole nine yards... it was still after 2 years of this a very solid friendship.

When he did tried to press the issue she blanked him, although she kept accepting the invites, flowers, drinks etc,

You may have to prepare yourself for the prospect that what you will get from this is a very good friend.
posted by Wilder at 6:32 AM on June 16, 2008


It sounds to me like you're in the Friend Zone and she's stringing you along somewhat. You know what Chris Rock says about that. The Friend Zone is fine, but it sounds like you're looking for more here. The touching doesn't really mean much; you're not even to first base.

crapmatic has it, but then stumbles....

I think you need to be assertive at this point.

If she hasn't made a move - and she hasn't given you an obvious invitation to make a move - then she isn't waiting for you to, and she's hoping you won't.

I hate to tell you, and I only know from experience, they show up cause its not a date.

That's it. If you can't be friends with the girl - and I mean friends where you can see her banging someone else and not feel bad - then move on.

Don't be a sap.
posted by three blind mice at 6:36 AM on June 16, 2008


I've done this, I'm ashamed to say. I've been the girl who invites other friends along on the outing with the guy (a guy who I loved dearly as a friend) because I was too young and chickenshit to say that I just wanted to be friends and his own non-platonic feelings were very apparent. It's a lame thing to do. This is not to say that you shouldn't try for the one-on-one date and make your move, but be prepared that it may not go the way you had hoped.
posted by meerkatty at 6:40 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Contrast these two statements of yours:

I'm pretty sure she likes me.

she makes sure her ex or another guy friend appears too.

She's bringing along another guy when going out with you. She doesn't want to be alone with you. She does like you, but she doesn't want to be alone with you and consistently takes steps to make sure she isn't alone with you. Signals don't get much clearer than that, you know?

Your next move should be to decide whether you can handle this and still be friends with her.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:45 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not to be a downer, but this happened to me once, and it meant Friend Zone. Here's the thing: Signals like touching, dancing don't mean anything in and of themselves. Some people are just naturally flirtatious and this is how they interact with people. If she really wanted to date you she probably wouldn't be trying to arrange it so that other people are always showing up. I'm not saying don't go for it, but she probably knows what is up, hence inviting people along.
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:55 AM on June 16, 2008


Ditto meerkatty. Although I have not done it myself, this is what some girls do when they don't want things to go further with a guy, but they like the attention too much to stop seeing him altogether. I guess it's possible that this is not what she's doing, but unfortunately it most likely is. And anyone who strings a guy along like this is most likely not someone worth your further efforts.

Have you tried saying "Actually no, it's not cool if John comes along, I had hoped it would just be the two of us?" Because her reaction to that would probably tell you what you need to know.
posted by boomchicka at 6:56 AM on June 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


she doesn't like you that way
posted by matteo at 6:57 AM on June 16, 2008


I would read this as "she is not that into me." Doesn't mean she never was or never will be, but at this moment she is signaling loud and clear that she does not want to jump your bones.

I'd say, enjoy her friendship and the flirting, but since she's leaving town really soon, and is still hanging out with the "ex," I wouldn't put a lot of effort into trying to change anything. Enjoy it for what it is, and maybe she will introduce you to a cute friend of hers or something like that.
posted by Forktine at 7:07 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


You could try mildly saying 'not really' when she asks if it's cool to bring the ex. Or why not take an ex of your own along next time, and see what the reaction is? If it annoys her, you've got an opening for discussing the issue: if she doesn't mind you really are in Friend Zone.
posted by Phanx at 7:08 AM on June 16, 2008


What should my next move be?

A spin move. She's playing good defense, but maybe get a friend (male or female) of yours to pick her off and they can hang out with her online and off. Meanwhile you go the other way and see if you can get some points with someone who isn't making sure you're never alone with them.

"Is it cool if John comes along too?"

Sure! Mary and Paul would love that. I'm going to take off in about 30 minutes to see a friend.

...have fun! Good seeing you and John again. Bye!


Life's too short, dude.
posted by cashman at 7:10 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but: she's just not that into you. You're a friend. Accept it and be just a friend, or say "Hey, sorry, I like you in that way, and it's clear you don't like me in that way, and that's cool, but I can't really deal with that too easily. So uh, thanks for being around, good luck with your life," and walk away.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:12 AM on June 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Or why not take an ex of your own along next time, and see what the reaction is?

Stooping to her level of game-playing would be juvenile. Anon sounds like he's above that.
posted by boomchicka at 7:16 AM on June 16, 2008


Although I have not done it myself, this is what some girls do when they don't want things to go further with a guy, but they like the attention too much to stop seeing him altogether.

Agreed.

Have you tried saying "Actually no, it's not cool if John comes along, I had hoped it would just be the two of us?"

This is a good idea.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:20 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


In my opinion, if she was romantically interested in you she wouldn't invite others to tag along.
posted by PFL at 7:20 AM on June 16, 2008


I am sorry but it seems like she likes you but not in that way. Consider what you'd be expecting if she were as interested in getting alone-time with you as you were with her. She'd turn off her ringer, say thanks but no thanks to her friends, say "a movie would be nice but why don't we just watch a video at your place...?" &c. It's not that she doesn't think you're a nice companion, but if you think this girl has any agency at all, she's not trying even a little bit to have private/personal time with you. If you assume she's capable of making these choices/plans -- and as an aside when I met a guy I liked I would have moved heaven and earth to make sure 1) he knew 2) that I'd willingly walk a mile in the jungle just to find a quiet space where the two of us could sit and make moony faces at each other 3) that no, now was NOT too soon -- then you have to admit she's just not making those efforts. In fact she IS making efforts to somehow get her friends to arrive on the scene. That's effort but it's not pointed in your direction.

I don't think you have anything to lose by being frank "hey it looks like I'd like to spend more private/personal time with you and that doesn't seem to be something you're inteersted in..." but I'd be a little resigned that maybe this time things aren't going to go your way. Sorry about that.
posted by jessamyn at 7:32 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe she is just social and friend-oriented. Ask her out explicitly for a date.
posted by k8t at 7:46 AM on June 16, 2008


Run. She'll never live up to your expectations.
posted by phaedon at 8:14 AM on June 16, 2008


She's just not that into you.

The people who are ascribing her all sorts of sketchy motives--some people are just outgoing and like to hang with a group and dance with people. It's not a huge character flaw.
posted by sondrialiac at 8:24 AM on June 16, 2008


Sometimes she'll call minutes before we rendezvous asking "Is it cool if John comes along too?" Other times the person will just appear.

If she's asking you minutes before, it's not really a question and you can't really say no.

As a hopeless optimist, I would probably risk asking her out once, redundantly clearly and prepared for the chance of rejection - "would you like to go on a date this saturday, just the two of us?"

That said, it doesn't sound from your question like there's anything happening in romantic rather than friends territory at all, which sucks but is more than likely your answer. I also wonder if the other guys she's bringing along are in a similar boat - looking at how they behave around both of you, and towards her, might give you a few more clues (like, do they know she knows you like her?), but it'll probably still add up to friends. Which sucks, if you really want more.
posted by carbide at 8:28 AM on June 16, 2008


These are not dates. You are being politely told that you are not going to be permitted to go out on a date with her.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:43 AM on June 16, 2008


Also I think it's safe to say that the ex is getting benefits -- it's common and I'm sure is happening here. I'm not sure if you want that complication.

How can you be sure that's happening here? Do you know these people? Because otherwise there's absolutely no indication this is happening as the question is stated.

OP, if she wanted to be alone with you, she would have made sure that no one came along. Go ahead and try asking her on a real date, if you like. I can imagine someone who wanted a romantic relationship waiting for that specific language in order to not drag their friends along if they were extremely afraid of looking pushy or easy or something, but that would be pretty odd. You might as well ask, though; as you said you've only got a short amount of time to figure this out.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:03 AM on June 16, 2008


You said she's moving in two months. I think this is her way of letting you know she's not into starting a long distance relationship. She's bringing male friends along on your outings so you can't make a move and make the last two months of her stay awkward. She may like you, like the attention you give her, etc, but she doesn't want a relationship because she's leaving.
posted by blueskiesinside at 9:06 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


People are probably right, she doesn't like you "that way," but you don't really know for sure. Do you want to know for sure? If so, push the issue, ask her out, explicitly, on a date. If she demures because of other plans (it sounds like she would), try and pin her down.

If she turns you down outright, or wriggles free without committing to something, then you'll know she's just a friend. If you don't want to know for sure, then you'll just have to accept that she's just a friend. Either way, you'll have to decide whether you want to spend so much time on her if she's just a friend.
posted by Good Brain at 9:10 AM on June 16, 2008


"Is it cool if John comes?"

Ugg. Been there done that. She very well might be a super cool person but either she is oblivious to the frustration she is putting you through or she likes playing games. You might be a pawn in the chess game that is John. There are so many seemingly nice people who don't mind toying with others. My guess is that she knows exactly how you feel, and doesn't want to reciprocate for whatever reason but at the same time likes being 'courted.'

nthing Life's too short. Move on.
posted by ian1977 at 9:24 AM on June 16, 2008


Speaking as a female: I don't know that there's much gameplaying or other sinister "OMG women are evil harpies who toy with the gentle affections of "nice guys" and use them!!1!" machinations going on here.

I think she likes your company, likes you as a friend, but that you're getting "buffered" so she doesn't have to say outright (which can seem presumptuous and insulting, if the guy has never put himself out to ask for an actual date), "this isn't a date, OK?"

Directness on your part (i.e. "I'd like this to just be the two of us, like a date") is the most likely way to prompt directness on her part (i.e. "Sorry, I don't like you in the 'datey' way but was trying to protect you from rejection because I still think you're cool to spend time with"). But you won't know for sure unless you ask (and not asking is its own kind of gameplaying).
posted by availablelight at 9:49 AM on June 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sounds like you are indeed in the Friend Zone. However, it's not 100% certain you have to stay there. I have been in the Friend Zone and got out of it. How? Simply by making it absolutely clear what I wanted. There's no guarantee she'll let you into the Lover Zone, or whatever you want to call it, but (a) she might (b) you won't damage your relationship with her by trying and (c) you'll feel better in yourself for plucking up courage to make your feelings explicit. I will say though, "a few months" may not be enough after a "multi-year relationship" for her to feel free enough to fall in love with you. So be prepared for this possible scenario: she'll allow intimacy, but the relationship won't go anywhere.
posted by londongeezer at 9:55 AM on June 16, 2008


Maybe she hasn't made her mind up about you. Ask her on a date. It's that simple.
posted by xammerboy at 10:06 AM on June 16, 2008


Though we plan a lot of events, there's only been one where it's been just the two of us in the end.

I'm with all the people who say she doesn't like you romantically; it's unlikely she is unaware of the romantic undertone of your invitations, and as such repeatedly derailing your romantic advances strongly implies she is not romantically interested in you.

That said, you could explicitly ask her on a date on the (very small) chance she is waiting for you to - it's not like you have much to lose by doing so.
posted by Mike1024 at 11:34 AM on June 16, 2008


I have been involved with this person. She and her friends are not individuals, they are a single unit. It is, and always will be, about them. If you ever end up dating her, you will be dating them too.

Get used to the idea. Then run far, far away.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:21 PM on June 16, 2008


Am I the only person who went through this (though it was mostly female friends, though there was an ex in there) and then asked the girl out on a date and she said "Yes"?

A big part of it was that yeah, she was going away to school in the fall and was being kinda tentative about things. But then I asked, she said yes, and we dated for about a year-and-a-half. (And that my relationship with her ended badly is no real reason to no tell you to pursue this.)
posted by klangklangston at 2:04 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just to play Devil's Advocate... it's possible that she's bringing other people along because she DOES like you, and doesn't think you like her, and she's trying to diffuse the tension. I could kind of see that. There's only one way to find out WHY she's doing this!
posted by srah at 8:55 AM on June 17, 2008


she's probably still having sex with the ex and is basically using you
posted by every_one_needs_a_hug_sometimes at 12:47 PM on June 30, 2008


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