Best practices for seducing someone after having the "just friends" talk
May 26, 2009 4:48 PM   Subscribe

I met this girl, and we were sorta-dating for a couple of weeks, before eventually she decided she wasn't up for dating anyone at the moment and we had the "just friends" talk. I'm fine with that, but would like AMF's advice on best practices for making her have second thoughts. This is less of a bad idea than it might seem, I promise.

So about a month ago, I met this girl at a party (at school; we both go to the same college). We ended up flirting pretty heavily, and over the next couple of weeks things progressed positively. While we never "officially" got into a relationship, there was lots of making out (and a bit beyond), a few dates, lots of IM-flirtation, she slept over a couple of times, etc. And we connect really well with each other; not only is the "chemistry" there, but we both ended up sharing a lot of pretty intimate details about our past experiences, family lives, life philosophies, and so on. Awesome, right?

After a these first couple of weeks, though, when it was starting to get to the "are we officially going out?" stage, she was giving mixed signals and backing out. The interesting part is why... and she was kind enough to explain this in some detail. The main factor seemed to be that she had only had "bad" relationships in the past, where she ended up dating the guy because she felt sorry for him, and the relationship ended up feeling like a chore instead of something wonderful. Since I was different—actually attractive and interesting, apparently—she wasn't sure what to do there, as I didn't fit into her paradigm for dating people and she was afraid she'd lose me as a cool friend. She also explained that she was afraid of falling in love too quickly (in the sense of becoming emotionally dependent on the other person's happiness), as she's done that in the past. And finally, there were some issues related to her recent problems with depression and how her mom disapproves.

So, about a week ago, we had the "just friends" talk. This actually went really well, and I'm happy with it—she is really cool, and a great person to have as a friend. The funny part is that, over the course of this talk, she was explaining things like how girls (in generality, apparently) often start crushing on good friends and warm up to a relationship over time, and how she'd like nothing better than to keep me "in the wings" reserved for when she feels ready for a relationship. Also highly amusing, I thought, was that soon after agreeing to be just friends, she was saying "wow, I feel like I could totally go see a movie with you now" and was making plans for doing things in the near future. (In fact, we have a fancy dinner-date soon... as "just friends.") But of course we both were in agreement that me waiting around was not such a great idea, and soon enough we were swapping thoughts about other girls.

Now, as far as I can tell, this definitely has the potential for developing over the longer term. I don't have one-itis; I'm not going to wait around for that—hell, I'm flirting with other girls left and right, now that I'm sure that I'm actually single. But I do really like this girl, and would like to accelerate the process wherein she reconsiders the "just friends" decision, as it seems pretty clear from the above that after she gets over some mental blocks, that's exactly what's going to happen... I'd just rather not wait around too long. So I turn to you, my dear readers, to help me out: what are the best practices for seducing someone back in this kind of situation? Things like... is mentioning/flirting with other girls around her likely to increase my status as a "catch," or is it just tactless? What kind of behaviors solidify the "hey he's really attractive, hmm, maybe that was a mistake" kind of thinking, as opposed to the "oh wow, I'm so glad we're just friends" kind of thinking? My cautious instincts are to back off and let her initiate anything, but my impression is that this actually would just degrade things. Or is this actually reasonable, in a sort of "make her miss me" kind of way? I'm asking for "best practices" instead of just "tips" since I'm also interested in how to approach this situation in a tactful, nice, and friendship-preserving way; it's not just a goal-oriented question.

Any more general advice on this situation would probably be welcome too. Thanks!
posted by Jacen Solo to Human Relations (52 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Things like... is mentioning/flirting with other girls around her likely to increase my status as a "catch," or is it just tactless?
That would not work with me. If I was truly interested in you, I'd think you were a jerk for flirting with other girls.

I think you need to let go entirely and see what happens. You're going to be waiting in the wings for her, whether you're willing to admit it or not, unless you just let her go and see if she comes back. Personally, i'd say she's really not into you, despite all the rationalization that she's given you. If she was into you, none of that would matter.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:54 PM on May 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


She's clearly pretty confused and probably immature about relationships in general. It doesn't sound like you have to do anything. I mean, seriously, plans for movies and fancy dinner-dates as "just friends"? Continue taking the lady on nice one-on-one outings that are clearly dates to any observer, maintaining the "just friends" premise. Make sure you're engaging in lots of friendly touching (hugging, arm around the shoulder, etc) to establish some sexual tension, and she'll probably come around.

But in case she doesn't, don't take this all too seriously and get too attached to the hopes that she'll agree to start dating you. Keep your options open.

And playing the jealousy card or hoping she misses you is a sure-fire way to make her MORE confused and come off like a douche.
posted by schroedinger at 4:58 PM on May 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


we had the "just friends" talk.

Stop. Forget about everything after this line. Is it possible that she really is into you but can't handle a relationship? Of course. Is it likely? No. You were just lucky enough to get the "just friends" talk from a woman who is either empathetic or conniving, depending on your level of cynicism. Go date other women, and remain friendly with this one so you don't come off looking like a cad.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 4:59 PM on May 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


but would like AMF's advice on best practices for making her have second thoughts.

This is where I stopped reading. Cut her loose. It's like a train station. If you miss your train, there'll be another one along in a few minutes going in the same direction.

I wish someone had pulled me aside in my 20s and went, "Dude, you know how they say there are plenty of fish in the sea? It's a Really. Fucking. Big. Sea. You have no idea."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:04 PM on May 26, 2009 [32 favorites]


There are two opinions at play in your relationship; the opinion that you're better off as friends, and the opinion that dating would be preferable. Right now her opinion is winning because you gave into it and agreed that your friendship is awesome and she's awesome and just being her friend is super!

But you don't really think that, and pretty soon you're either gonna see some response to the flirting you've been doing and get into a dating relationship with someone else, which is gonna put some kind of crimp on this friendship of yours, or you're gonna languish without a relationship for a while and begin to feel even more convinced that you should be dating your friend.

Tell your friend that you're really into her and that you don't want your relationship to fall short of the amazing romance that it could be. Tell her that her friendship is valuable to you, but that some things are worth taking risks for and she's one of them. Tell her that you'll understand if there's previously-undiscussed reasons why she doesn't want to date you, but that you need to know what they are, because as it stands you're too crazy about her to pretend otherwise.

By taking this direct approach, you'll either succeed or get some improved clarity on the situation. You can't happily be friends with someone you want to be in a romance with, in my (perhaps-pathetically-extensive) experience. You can do the things together that friends do, but you can't stop your heart from breaking every time they get a crush or hook-up or get mistreated by another dude or anything like that.

Good luck!
posted by chudmonkey at 5:08 PM on May 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Just be friends.

Really.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:12 PM on May 26, 2009


Just let her do her thing and Keep Being Awesome.

Either she'll decide she was wrong that being Just Friends was better, or not.

Over-thinking it or scheming is doomed for failure.
posted by flaterik at 5:12 PM on May 26, 2009


All of her reasons are bullshit. I'm sorry, but they are. If she was into you, you'd still be together. When someone says that they'd date you but you're so awesome and such a good friend and etc.? It's bullshit. It's nice bullshit and it's a kind way to put things except for when people take it literally and start puzzling over how we can solve this terrible problem and be together. The other stuff - the flirting and "dates" and "oh, maybe someday I'll stop being so messed up and we'll be together" is also bullshit and it's not nice at all. I know what she's doing because I was That Girl when I was your age and I didn't understand how shitty it is to behave that way. In your girl's defense, I'm sure she doesn't mean to be doing anything wrong - it feels like everyone wins, right? She has fun, you appear to be having fun... but the reality is that this kind of behavior is being driven by selfishness and pride and the feeling of knowing that some poor guy is just crazy about you - and those feelings are so intoxicating that you'll say anything to keep fanning that flame. Having a girlfriend is wonderful - having a real friend is great, too... but this kind of scene is for the birds.
posted by moxiedoll at 5:13 PM on May 26, 2009 [27 favorites]


and would like to accelerate the process wherein she reconsiders the "just friends" decision, as it seems pretty clear from the above that after she gets over some mental blocks, that's exactly what's going to happen...

1. There's no magic button you can push to "accelerate the process".

2. The future can't be predicted, so don't even think you know how this is going to play out.

3. It's a Really. Fucking. Big. Sea.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:13 PM on May 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm, from the comments so far it looks like I've perhaps given a mistaken impression of how attached to her I am. I'm not latching on and waiting for something, and I'm definitely of the "there are other fish in the sea" school (@Cool Papa Bell). For example, @chudmonkey, I'm not "too crazy about her to pretend otherwise." Perhaps to sum up, it's not that I am trying to "happily be friends with someone I want to be in a romance with" (at least, not terribly more so than I want to be in a romance with most of my other attractive female friends) but instead that seems like the natural direction that will happen sooner or later, and I'm just asking what the best practices are for "sooner" rather than "later." Really I'm not going to be anguishing over this in the slightest, I promise. @schroedinger seems to best understand the situation, to give some perspective.

@otherworldlyglow, @schroedinger: Thanks for the clear-cut advice on not being a jerk! That's definitely under the heading of "best practices" I was looking for.
posted by Jacen Solo at 5:19 PM on May 26, 2009


It's pretty easy to say "move on to the next girl", and that is always an option.

But if you're really, truly infatuated, this sounds like an interesting (and almost interesting) challenge.

Keep going on these "dates", but explain to her that you're going old school, and you're trying to *court* her, kind of like in a Victorian novel or something. You could try flirting with her at the end of the night by kissing her hand, and move it up a notch the next week (or month, it might be best to go slow) by requesting a kiss on the cheek. Try holding hands. Open the car door for her. Always pick up the tab. Then, by the end of the summer, when the moon is full, go out for a walk on the pier or whatever and try smooching.

However, if it apparent that she wants to experiment with other people, you should try dating other girls/women too.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:19 PM on May 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


But if you're really, truly infatuated, this sounds like an interesting (and almost innocent) challenge.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:20 PM on May 26, 2009


This is less of a bad idea than it might seem, I promise.

No, it's not.
posted by spinturtle at 5:20 PM on May 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


@moxiedoll: thanks, that kind of outsider perspective is very helpful, and quite possibly what's going on. Much appreciated.
posted by Jacen Solo at 5:21 PM on May 26, 2009


See here.
posted by rr at 5:22 PM on May 26, 2009


@rr: Not as of yet, but I'll watch out for that, I promise.
posted by Jacen Solo at 5:24 PM on May 26, 2009


The trouble with young people today (he said, putting on his Grumpy Old Fart hat) is that they spend far too much time trying to figure out what the rules are so that they know what's acceptable to conform to, and nowhere near enough time actually contemplating what the right path is for them.

Your question is absolutely symptomatic of this.

If you can obtain "going out" status from this woman, you will presumably stop sleeping around or attempting to sleep around, because that's what people do when they're "going out". If you're "just friends" then presumably it's normal and expected behavior to continue playing the field.

But this is all crap. It has nothing to do with your relationship to this woman, and it's the nature of that relationship itself that you really need to be thinking about.

Now, as far as I can tell, this definitely has the potential for developing over the longer term.

Is that what you want it to do? Do you want a long term relationship with this person, or with any person, or is just getting laid more important? You need to work out what your own priorities are.

I don't have one-itis; I'm not going to wait around for that—hell, I'm flirting with other girls left and right, now that I'm sure that I'm actually single.

Responding to your socially recognized "single" status by reflexively flirting left and right is like automatically driving at the speed limit. It's not always a good idea.

But I do really like this girl, and would like to accelerate the process wherein she reconsiders the "just friends" decision, as it seems pretty clear from the above that after she gets over some mental blocks, that's exactly what's going to happen... I'd just rather not wait around too long.

So, to clarify your thinking, you need to set an internal deadline. You don't need to tell anybody else what it is. The more you care about increasing your intimacy with this woman, the longer your waiting deadline will be, and you can of course revise it at any time depending on how things are going; but you should always have one in mind. Wait until it expires before pursuing anybody else.

So I turn to you, my dear readers, to help me out: what are the best practices for seducing someone back in this kind of situation?

Healthy long term relationships are about availability and intimacy. Being intimate with more than one person complicates things for all concerned, especially if the intimacy is not symmetric (which is the usual way these things pan out). So if your aim is to remain available for growing this relationship's intimacy, then you just need to be the low-pressure, available, cuddly friend.

Things like... is mentioning/flirting with other girls around her likely to increase my status as a "catch," or is it just tactless?

Relationships built on foundations of "status as a catch" are generally fragile and worthless things. If that's why she's into you, you're better off without her. So although this is indeed tactless behavior, the question should be irrelevant to your decision making process.

What kind of behaviors solidify the "hey he's really attractive, hmm, maybe that was a mistake" kind of thinking, as opposed to the "oh wow, I'm so glad we're just friends" kind of thinking?

Projecting a lack of desperation to get in bed is generally the best start.

My cautious instincts are to back off and let her initiate anything,

Your cautious instincts are probably completely sound.

but my impression is that this actually would just degrade things.

That's because you live in a culture that's saturated with status markers that you haven't yet learned to discount appropriately.

Or is this actually reasonable, in a sort of "make her miss me" kind of way?

Seeking to manipulate the woman you want for a partner will undermine any relationship you have with her.

I'm asking for "best practices" instead of just "tips" since I'm also interested in how to approach this situation in a tactful, nice, and friendship-preserving way; it's not just a goal-oriented question.

Best practice for any relationship, intimate or otherwise: take people as you find them, do your best to understand what you want out of the relationship and what they want out of it, and relax, and let the relationship dynamic evolve as it will.

If you do decide to wait in this woman's wings, under no circumstances announce this or otherwise make a big deal out of doing so. Treat it as a decision you've made for yourself, not for anybody else. Expecting somebody else to reward you for a decision of that nature can only end badly.

On preview: there's no need for @twitterisms on mefi.
posted by flabdablet at 5:32 PM on May 26, 2009 [26 favorites]


Jacen Solo, I told you to SAY those things, I didn't claim that I thought you felt them. You're plainly asking how to manipulate this girl, so that was the thrust of my advice.

Also, if your feelings for this girl don't go beyond those you have for any attractive female friend, then why ask this question? You don't need to answer that for me, but maybe you should consider the answer none-the-less.

There are a lot of established ire on this site for the @username convention of replying to people - you may want to forgo it here just for the sake of not-rocking-the-boat, since there are simple, equally-effective ways of doing the same thing.
posted by chudmonkey at 5:32 PM on May 26, 2009


making her have second thoughts

is futile.
posted by paultopia at 5:36 PM on May 26, 2009


The saying goes, "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?"

In this case, you are the cow, and the milk is your precious, precious attention.
posted by hermitosis at 5:40 PM on May 26, 2009 [16 favorites]


flabdablet, thank you for that very thoughtful and thought-provoking post. I'll need to spend some time digesting it, but it all rings true at the moment.

chudmonkey: two good points (well, three I suppose). I suppose the answer is that I've already connected with this person on a good-friends level, which I feel is the foundation of a relationship. So while the romantic feelings aren't intense and thus a lack of romance won't keep me up at night, that's why I'm thinking about what to do with this situation, since it's already progressed in that direction. But I'm not sure if that's such a good answer, so again, I'll need to think on it.

To paultopia and others saying this is futile: maybe? You're saying that there are no behaviors that make friends-one's-attracted-to seem more attractive and perhaps worth dating, and that once one's made up one's mind, that's it? Perhaps! Quite possible in light of moxiedoll's comment, too.

All: sorry for the "@twitterisms." Just got a MeFi mail about that from a kind member. Obviously I'm new around these parts, so I'll do my best to catch on :).
posted by Jacen Solo at 5:42 PM on May 26, 2009


But I do really like this girl, and would like to accelerate the process wherein she reconsiders the "just friends" decision, as it seems pretty clear from the above that after she gets over some mental blocks, that's exactly what's going to happen.

It seems pretty clear? Uh... by what signs exactly?

I echo Cool Papa Bell and moxiedoll, and wish someone had knocked that into me at an earlier age. Seriously, if she's told you that she just wants to be friends, blah, blah, blah excuses...

Back off. Give up all hope. Most importantly, if someone tells you something about herself, Listen to her.

There are no "best practices" for making her reconsider - except not to try. Stop with the sleepovers, the make-outs, the super-intimate confessions. Be friendly, go have fun doing stuff, but trust those cautious instincts of yours. That's your sense of self-preservation talking.
posted by canine epigram at 5:43 PM on May 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Canine epigram: It seems pretty clear? Uh... by what signs exactly?

Paragraph 3 of the original question?
posted by Jacen Solo at 5:47 PM on May 26, 2009


Also highly amusing, I thought, was that soon after agreeing to be just friends, she was saying "wow, I feel like I could totally go see a movie with you now" and was making plans for doing things in the near future.

After I have explicitly clarified with a guy that I am not looking for something romantic to happen, I have no problem with organising activities like a movie, etc, that might seem date-like. I told him what's going on, I am no longer going to devote much effort to making sure I'm not leading him on. If he insists on seeing signs in how I behave, I will probably become annoyed and stop wanting to spend time with him, because I don't need friends that make me watch everything I do for ambiguity and subtext.
posted by jacalata at 5:56 PM on May 26, 2009 [10 favorites]


After a these first couple of weeks, though, when it was starting to get to the "are we officially going out?" stage, she was giving mixed signals and backing out. The interesting part is why... and she was kind enough to explain this in some detail. The main factor seemed to be that she had only had "bad" relationships in the past, where she ended up dating the guy because she felt sorry for him, and the relationship ended up feeling like a chore instead of something wonderful. Since I was different—actually attractive and interesting, apparently—she wasn't sure what to do there, as I didn't fit into her paradigm for dating people and she was afraid she'd lose me as a cool friend.

She is clearly trying to get out of a romantic relationship while still allowing you to save face. That's how a lot of people do it. The old "it's not you, it's me" angle is so poplular because it doesn't damage the other person's morale so much, and also prevents an angry (or even violent) response. And giving you hope by suggesting future "friends" outings further leaves her free from pissing you off mightily - she's ripping off the relationship bandage ever.so.slowly. Move on.
posted by fish tick at 6:14 PM on May 26, 2009


If I could give my college-age self one piece of advice about relationships, it would be, "Believe what people tell you about themselves." Either they're actually telling you the truth, or they believe it's the truth, which causes the same result. You don't always have to believe what people tell you about you, or about the world, but you should always believe what people tell you about their own natures and what they want out of life.

In this case, this woman has told you that she is depressed, that she is really screwed up about relationships, that she's not interested in a long-term commitment, and that she doesn't want to date you right now. Believe her, on all counts. Because even if she's not depressed and doesn't have relationship issues and deep-down wants to settle down and be with you, she's going to act as though she does feel that way and doesn't want those things. And the result will be the same for you.

Rule her out as a prospect. Move on with your life. Hang out with her as a friend if you both want to. And if she eventually changes her mind and feels differently about all of the things she's feeling right now, you can begin to date then. But for now, believe her when she says she doesn't want to date you.
posted by decathecting at 6:15 PM on May 26, 2009 [11 favorites]


Since I was different—actually attractive and interesting, apparently—she wasn't sure what to do there, as I didn't fit into her paradigm for dating people and she was afraid she'd lose me as a cool friend.

Note those words. as a friend.

Yes, that? That's called letting you down gently, my friend. Also, re-read what moxiedoll wrote earlier and jacalata just wrote above. Then cut out all of your framing text and re-read what your friend told you.

Right now, she just wants to be friends. She'd like to keep you in the wings, but recognizes that's not a great idea. She's afraid of emotional dependence, she has mommy and depression issues. All of her depersonalized generalizing? It's the sort of thing you say when you're afraid to own your words.

I'm really sorry, and it's clear you desperately want this to turn out otherwise. But she's told you that right now, yeah, she's happy to go on "just-friend" fancy dinners, pseudo-dates where you're the "safe" boy that she can practice with.

If I had taken the advice I'm giving you now, I'd have at least two years less of useless mooning after girls who were either letting me down gently or not sure what they wanted either and we all would have been happier.
posted by canine epigram at 6:18 PM on May 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


BTW, AskMe also frowns on responding to every comment in one's own question. If you need to post one or two clarifications because it becomes clear that you've left out relevant information that will help others reach an answer, that's fine, but arguing with the respondents or posting your opinions of their answers is considered unnecessary and unhelpful. It's usually best to stay out of questions you've started.
posted by decathecting at 6:20 PM on May 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Barf. Not on you but on the whole "just friends" thing. There is no "just friends" talk that has ever gone right for the guy involved unless it was the guy doing the breaking up. This is what you have to do and do it right now.

In your mind, dump her. You are so busy dating and flirting with other women that you can't possibly be "just friends" with her. That's the way it should be and that's what you need to get busy doing.

Put your flirt into overdrive. Date LOTS of women. Seriously. And if she sees you with one hotty one day and a different hotty the next day, all the better. And if you don't have time to do all these lame "just friends" things with her then guaranteed she will think "Wow! Maybe I did mess things up by putting the brakes on!" And that, my friend is when you smile to yourself knowing you did the right thing. A woman on a date is a bit of a confirmation to other women that this guy is worthy of dating.

How do you make anything more attractive? Answer: make it unattainable. You can't hang out with her because you've got so much going on! Whether it's because you have a date coming up or you're going sky diving with the guys or you're eating sushi with your new girl friend or seeing the new "Terminator" movie with your other girl friend on a double date with another couple or you're doing a strictly guy thing (totally acceptable) your calender is booked.

And it's booked for the days she wants to go out as "just friends." Every day she wants to go out is all booked up. In fact, you're so busy you can't talk to her on the phone for very long. Thirty seconds max, then, "Hey, listen. I gotta go. Thanks for calling."

The point is. . .you are in demand!

And you can't waste time with kinda sorta girlfriends and luke warm dates. Ditch that idea entirely. Cancel your fancy dinner date. If you have a real date, she may understand. "Just friends" become lovers only in the movies.

If you do it right she'll really want to get back with you. But you won't be so easy to convince this time (you are still unattainable. Playing hard to get works in the other direction incredibly well.) Remember this: Give her the gift of missing you. Don't give into her right away. Spend only a little time with her. Be confident (always and forever). Be cocky. Be funny. Tease her. Then it's time to go (you're not on a real date yet). And when you do finally start dating again. . .flirt like hell with her but don't go anywhere with it at first. Tease her ("You remind me of my bratty little sister" Good God that works! She will NOT be compared to your sister. She will show YOU just how unlike your sister she can be!) Then give in a little (only a little). If she whines tell her she doesn't really want to go out with you (a good teasing point and can be backed up historically--remember, you're still unattainable).

Only give in when she's tearing your shirt off. Then do it smoothly.

The worst thing that can come of this is you'll be dating a lot more women than just this one. Oh darn. Guys wish they could have such problems!

You might have gotten into this situation by moving to quickly--not physically but emotionally. You probably started talking about long term this and that, career, religion, philosophy, deep deep stuff. Leave that stuff for later. It'll always be there for you two. It won't go away. No need to dive into it on date number 5. Keep it light and fun for many dates. Then get deep only if you really want to. Getting intellectually and emotionally too deep too quickly sometimes sends a "clingy" signal. And nobody wants a clingy girlfriend/boyfriend. It looks weak. You may not have even known it or felt like it was a sign of weakness but the fact remains she got turned off by you when things looked like they were going very well. You (mistakenly?) sent her the wrong signal.

Be confident. Always. Be cocky and funny.

If you don't do this she WILL end up attached to another guy. He'll probably be the kind of guy you didn't expect her to go to (he'll probably be a "bad boy" if she's really good looking) and you'll be left scratching your head and wondering what happened. You don't have to be a jerk to be a bad boy. The world is filled with non-jerk bad boys: James Bond, Mufassa, Simba, Han Solo, Richard Branson, Donald Trump, John Bon Jovi, and guys you know who are so cool they can get a woman to start a conversation just by wagging a finger in that "come hither" way (then when she does come over to talk he says, "I made you come with one finger." Ha! Use it judiciously.)

Lots of jerks out there too like wife beater Tommy Lee. So what's the lesson?

Don't be a jerk. Be a bad boy.

And always be confident. Be cocky and funny.

And if there is anyone out there who thinks this whole concept is a little deceptive I would challenge that person to consider the whole "just friends" thing as being deceptive. It's a talk around. A euphemism. "Just friends" doesn't mean "just friends." It means "no way." Let's be honest. Furthermore, inside every man is a confident, cocky, funny, adventurous, exciting ladies man just dying to burst out. I'm here to help.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 6:26 PM on May 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


I just joined Mefi to post a slightly more optimistic answer to your query:
I am a college student who identifies a lot with your girl here, at least as you've presented her. I've done the pity-dating thing, to a degree, and now I avoid relationships where I feel like I've got the upper hand too much.

I would definitely say something like what Girl has here and really mean that I might one day date you, but it would depend on how you acted as well as me getting my shit together. My advice: first show her you don't need her -- let her take the initiative in making plans for a while -- then show her that you do want her (are still interested) by continuing to flirt. Bringing up other girls very casually is ok in support of point 1, but don't force or overdo it. Don't pressure her, and maybe she'll come around.
Or maybe not -- I think a lot of the answers about not knowing what she wants are probably valid too, just offering my POV on how to maybe overcome that.


on preview- project confidence definitely, cocky is ok, but if you're really aiming to date her I wouldn't follow the ladies-man approach above

Good luck!
posted by lilbizou at 6:35 PM on May 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


she'd like nothing better than to keep me "in the wings" reserved for when she feels ready for a relationship.

This isn't fair to you. Don't wait in the wings. Give it one "direct approach" attempt, and if that meets with a refusal, then flip yourself off like a switch and start concentrating on other women. She really might be that wonderful, but she's not in control of herself right now, if she is. You don't want to dance jigs for her while she hems and haws over whether you're worth it. You WILL meet other women who you connect to philosophically and all that jazz - but please, please don't act like a doormat for her. Don't stand in the wings waiting for her to figure herself out. You have a life to live and a lot to give to someone mature enough to accept it. Right now - unless she surprises all of us when you lay down your direct approach - that's not her.
posted by Miko at 6:52 PM on May 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another woman who's given the exact same excuses your friend has in college...and they were all code for "I'm just not that into you". I wasn't trying to be mean; in fact, I was trying to be nice. I also didn't really know what I wanted, and someone paying that much attention to me was confusing, especially when I didn't reciprocate as strongly. Because when I met someone I really clicked with, let me tell you--losing him as a cool friend was not something I feared. I no longer cared about a bad relationship history. I certainly wasn't worried about falling in love too fast. All I knew was that someone who really pushed my buttons pushed all of those concerns right out of my head.

Sorry, dude. You can come up with all the excuses in the world as to what she "means" when she says things, but it's been said upthread: believe what people tell you about themselves.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:01 PM on May 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Believe what people tell you about themselves."

This, this, this, a million times this. If there's one thing valuable thing I learned in my teens and twenties, it's this. Unfortunately, you seem to be doing what most of us did when we were green to relationships: you're hearing the messages you want to hear. She says: you're awesome, but I don't want a relationship. You hear: she thinks I'm awesome! I have a shot!

Another thing that others have touched on, but bears repeating - you can't "make her have second thoughts" because you cannot make any other person think something they do not already think. There's no trick you can use to change her mind. There are dating techniques for things like getting someone's attention, or communicating interest, but you guys are beyond that point.

I'm not saying this to be a jerk. Most of us, I'm sure, have at one time or another fallen into both of these traps. It's human. But they are traps, and won't help you find a good relationship.
posted by lunasol at 7:04 PM on May 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Three times someone has given me the "just friends" talk and then later (times ranging one month to four years) initiated a relationship with me. To be honest, this is probably less because I am awesome and more because I was too awkward at the time (college) at attempting to start a relationship myself and this put her off initially.

In any case, my secret was: be an awesome friend, and honestly be okay with that. If you are hanging around waiting for something more, she will pick up on it and it will make things tense. If you are really okay with being friends, go ahead and be friends, don't expect anything more, and if it really is a good idea for her to date you, she may eventually decide that that is the case.
posted by dfan at 7:05 PM on May 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Little story here, bear with me. My ex-fiance and I really disliked each other when we first met. Circumstances changed and we started dating. Dated 6 years and engaged for 1 year. He broke my heart and we went down in flames.

Sometimes things aren't meant to be for a reason. Go on with your life. If she shops up again, fine, if not, you're better off. College is too short a time to waste with games, drama and manipulations.
posted by CwgrlUp at 8:16 PM on May 26, 2009


Become more unavailable.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:29 PM on May 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


College is too short a time to waste with games, drama and manipulations.

For sure. There are plenty of fish in that big wide ocean, but college is more like one of those streams that all the fish of a particular species gather for a while for one sole purpose. Well, maybe two, but only one of them is academic.

And you don't have to spawn-then-die, either, as long as you take appropriate precautions.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:53 PM on May 26, 2009


Walk away now, while you still have your self respect.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:55 PM on May 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


How to "seduce" her? Live your life. Be happy and successful without her and if you are and she sees it and she wants you, she'll let you know. You said you were flirting with other girls left and right--keep doing that and find someone else! Doesn't mean you can't be friends with this girl but she doesn't sound like girlfriend material, to be honest.

It's almost totally against human nature to deliberately not hang out with someone you like, but don't hang out with her for a while. Nix these "friend dates" or whatever because that'll just make you want her more and prolong your frustration with her wishy-washiness. Take a deep breath, take a cold shower, and stop seeing her for a couple of weeks, a month. Date those other girls. You owe it to yourself.
posted by zardoz at 10:04 PM on May 26, 2009


..and if that aloofness is something that sparks her interest and you date her and fall for her, she will leave you a smoking ruin.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:05 PM on May 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


how she'd like nothing better than to keep me "in the wings" reserved for when she feels ready for a relationship.

Is this what you deserve, then? You're not a bloody library book.

Be friends with her if you think you can handle it - and if she has her own problems, she's letting you know about them now to stop you getting hurt- but don't let this mess up your head and prevent you from meeting someone who really does want to be with you.
posted by mippy at 3:52 AM on May 27, 2009


The funny part is that, over the course of this talk, she was explaining things like how girls (in generality, apparently) often start crushing on good friends and warm up to a relationship over time, and how she'd like nothing better than to keep me "in the wings" reserved for when she feels ready for a relationship.

You probably have better things to do with your life and yourself than to be someone's Plan
B.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:48 AM on May 27, 2009


"just friends" "I have a history that impedes a new relationship" "not ready for a relationship" etc. - these are usually either rationalizations of why a given girl is not feeling it with someone, or her trying to let you down nicely. Generally I'd say there's no point trying to logic your way to a resolution of these things, because in the end, if she didn't feel the click or spark or whatever it is that moves each of us to cleave unto someone else for a while - well, she didn't. If she did, those problems wouldn't have been problems. Pretty sure.
"in the wings" just means that she's scared she won't find anyone else, and wants the security and validation of a guy she gets along with as a fallback. This is dangerous ground, and I would not tread it if I were you; you'll be paying a high price for a long time and getting scraps in return and honestly, the fallback guy only gets the girl in geek movies.
posted by Billegible at 8:19 AM on May 27, 2009


Just a bit of clarification here:

But first look at the responses pertaining to this "just friends" BS. Lots of pretty wise people saying, "Drop it. Fuggedabout it! Move on."

They're right, my friend.

She's nice. She doesn't want to hurt you. She's trying to let you down easy. Fine. Take the hint and move on. Life will not come to a screaching halt because you can't be intimate with her. Now for the clarification:

If you do what I mention above you will either:

1) End up dating a lot of women some of which will be hotter than the object of your desire.

or

2) End up dating a lot of women plus this woman of your dreams

Either way is pretty darn good for you.

And you need to get over this desire to control her. None of what I've written is about controlling her or other people. THAT is being manipulative. The whole cocky and funny thing, the teasing, being unavailable is all, 100% about self control.

Self control is very attractive. Being a control freak is not.

Go forth and date hot women!
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 10:36 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dude, she's just not that into you.

She got lonely, liked the attention, likes and cares about you as a person, but she has realized that she's not falling for you. That'd be okay, but it's apparent to her that you're falling for her, and she doesn't want to hurt you. So she needs to extricate herself from your embrace while somehow not hurting your feelings, so she feeds you some lines that give her an "out" while not making you feel like utter shit.

FWIW, I don't really think this is super assholish of her. The alternative is that she remains celibate until she finds somebody she's pretty sure she can fall in love with, and while that's probably the most ethical road to travel, it's a pretty lonely one. It would have been better if she had prefaced the whole thing with, "I'm really not looking for anything serious, so if you're okay with that then let's keep seeing each other." ... but would that have made any difference to you? Really?

So if you're truly happy just being friends with her, with no expectations of anything more, then keep hanging out with her. Otherwise, cut her (and yourself) loose -- one-sided relationships do nobody any good. You both deserve to be in mutually loving relationships.
posted by LordSludge at 11:53 AM on May 27, 2009


Lord Fancy Pants has provided you with a nice clear exposition of the Usual Rules.

I suggest you contemplate these rules, contemplate yourself, contemplate your friend, contemplate your goals and desires, and come to your own decision about whether following the Usual Rules will save you more grief than it causes.

I note in passing that the players identified in the Usual Rules (hot women, bad boys, jerks, wife beaters) may or may not map usefully onto the people you're contemplating, and that attempting to fit real people into preconceived categories often involves ignoring enough of their important attributes to cause significant difficulty in relating well to them.
posted by flabdablet at 5:50 PM on May 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


This The main factor seemed to be that she had only had "bad" relationships in the past, where she ended up dating the guy because she felt sorry for him, and the relationship ended up feeling like a chore instead of something wonderful. Since I was different—actually attractive and interesting, apparently—she wasn't sure what to do there, as I didn't fit into her paradigm for dating people and she was afraid she'd lose me as a cool friend. She also explained that she was afraid of falling in love too quickly (in the sense of becoming emotionally dependent on the other person's happiness), as she's done that in the past. And finally, there were some issues related to her recent problems with depression and how her mom disapproves was a lie.

It seems like you're tripping yourself up by taking what she said literally. She didn't mean that the reasons she's not ready for a relationship with you are 1, 2, 3a, and 3b, and once she solves those problems she will be ready and willing to be with you. She wanted to convey that she doesn't want to be in a relationship with you but didn't want to hurt your feelings (or completely remove you from her list of possibles-in-case-she's-lonely or ego-strokers), and so she chose these things to say to make that happen, regardless of their truthfulness. Everything she told you in the "talk" should not be weighted equally. "I don't want to be in a relationship with you" was the bottom line; everything else was bubble-wrap.
posted by thebazilist at 8:14 PM on May 27, 2009


The Ladder Theory.
posted by zardoz at 9:23 PM on May 27, 2009


Please, god, not Ladder Theory. Ladder theory is an understandable, but ridiculous attempt by men who are hurting to understand why they're hurting, in cartoon form. It should not be used as a serious relationship tool by anyone.

(I am a woman. I have only one "ladder." I promise.)
posted by decathecting at 9:40 PM on May 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yeah, thanks for all the response everyone; I think enough of you have hit me over the head with the "she's just not that into you" message that it's sunk in now :). Moving on is indeed the new strategy.

(Pretty sure this reply is not violating decathecting's point about AskMeFi etiquette?)
posted by Jacen Solo at 2:26 AM on May 28, 2009


i think thanks & decisions are always appreciated. likewise, clarifications if people have asked for them. just not personally replying heaps to comments, or (worse) getting into arguments, which i don't think you did. maybe think of it as being a bit like setting a lobster trap - place bait, throw overboard, come back later & eat find tasty lobsters to cook & eat.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:53 AM on May 28, 2009


Just wanted to let you guys know that you were so write about "she's just not that into you." Once I slipped into that frame of mind, all of our recent and ongoing interactions made much more sense. After removing the cognitive bias that is so very evident in my original post, everything in my life with regards to this girl went so much more smoothly.

What I feel really good about is that I'm now much better equipped to, as several of you have said, "believe what people tell you about themselves." It's probably one of those lessons that can only be learned through experience, but I'm glad that I've got mine, and I'm glad that future relationships/breakups/social-interactions-in-general will benefit from it.

Yay AskMeFi :).
posted by Jacen Solo at 3:10 AM on July 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


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