Was this a date?
October 24, 2009 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Was it a date? Last night I went out for a few drinks with a guy I've been interested in, but was it just friends hanging out?

I'm a 22 year old F grad student in need of advice, being pretty new to dating. I've been developing a crush on a guy in my research group after gradually getting to know him in the office, mild flirtation (reciprocated, close body language, lingering glances/smiles over computer screens :D), and a great conversation at an office-drinks-night in a bar after everyone had gone home last week. I'd been thinking about him since then and wanted to ask him out... So when we were chatting about weekend plans, we kind of simultaneously asked each other out for some drinks on Friday night, which I was SO excited about.

I won't go into too much detail, but it was really only an OK night. The conversation was slightly awkward - it was all very chatty chatty without having the chemistry I was hoping for, and a "see ya later!" goodbye. We were both really tired from our weeks' work, but still, bleaugh.

I'm very willing to pursue this crush despite the general disappointment of last night and the ambiguity of his feelings towards me. I've been on way better first dates, most of which have turned into nothing interesting at all, so given that I'm really very attracted to this guy I'm okay with waiting to let the chemistry build up. (Actually, is this a good idea? I'm really totally clueless.)

I really just want to get a vibe for what people think he might have interpreted last night as? Same as me? Just friends meeting after work? I'm meeting him again tomorrow night (Sunday) at a mutual friend's party. I'm tempted to wear a knock-out dress, get drunk and flirt outrageously. (Like I said, clueless.)
posted by hannahlambda to Human Relations (26 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
He's probably as confused as you are.

I'm tempted to wear a knock-out dress, get drunk and flirt outrageously.

I like your plan.
posted by torquemaniac at 12:58 PM on October 24, 2009 [5 favorites]

If it was awkward, it was a date. At least, assuming you already know him at work and can talk casually to him there. Probably you were both a bit nervous.

Don't worry. Just have fun at the party and see what happens.
posted by zompist at 12:59 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Well, since you described the conversation as awkward, I would say it was closer to a date than just friends hanging out. First dates tend to be awkward; and since it was the first time the two of you ventured out on your own, the awkwardness could be a good sign that he was a bit nervous (even if it wasn't a "date"). I say, go to the party, wear the knock-out dress, be flirty, but don't get drunk. Buzzed yes, drunk, no.
posted by AlliKat75 at 1:00 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Well, given the office flirtation etc. that you listed, he's interested enough in you not to let one bad date (albeit the first one) ruin it.

The important thing is what was the context of the awkwardness? The way I see it, either you two aren't as compatible as you thought, or one or both of you were just nervous. As a guy, I know from personal experience that I can confidently flirt and show interest while also being nervous and shy on the first date. If it's a latter, this is actually a good sign, because he's interested enough in you to be nervous. He wasn't going at full steam, couldn't think of the banter or talk, so the chemistry wasn't there.

Also, he's probably just another guy who doesn't even think about subtleties of which word he used to say goodbye until long after the fact if ever. See you later means he's going to see you in the office. Since the date didn't go that well, and if he was nervous, he probably places some of the blame on himself and didn't want to follow up immediately. He needs to regroup and is planning to ask (or for you to ask) again at work.

That's my happy ending interpretation, but it's hard to be sure without going on the date myself. ;)
posted by metacollin at 1:03 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Did anything remotely sexual happen, such as kissing, hand holding, stroking, or anything like that? If not, it might well have been a date, but you guys were just two friends hanging out.

Quality of conversation is no guide to whether something was a date or not. Obviously romantic behaviour is a good giveaway. Wear the dress and kiss him goodbye. You'll get a much faster answer that way.

Be warned, though, that just because you're wearing love-goggles, it doesn't mean he is. He could just be after something completely platonic.
posted by Solomon at 1:06 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Next time you see him, say, "I had a great time with you. How about a second date?"

If he stammers and gets nervous and tries to let you down easy, it wasn't a date.

If he says, "I'd love to!" Congratulations! First date!
posted by xingcat at 1:09 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

well you are young...but sound mature for your age...how old is he?! he could be shy or a little intimidated by you. give it time to develop... be glad you have regular contact with him in a non-date setting (less pressure) wear that knock out dress (remember there's fine line between sexy and slutty tho) and hope that he asks you out next time or at least asks what you are doing on the weekend. when i was in my 20s, i found guys in their 20s to be a little on the insecure side and needing a little prodding...but just don't force it and definitely don't be too available.
posted by dmbfan93 at 1:19 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's a reason the World Series is best-of-seven.
posted by mpls2 at 1:39 PM on October 24, 2009 [10 favorites]

the ambiguity of his feelings towards me. I've been on way better first dates.

There is no data in the information given to support the conclusion drawn here. You cannot read his mind and know what he thinks. Further interaction is needed. Often, a little encouragement from the woman will work wonders, usually in the form of more flirting. Then you can draw conclusions. People are far more difficult to read than is commonly believed and it is sustained behavior that is the indicator of how a person feels. That, and just asking.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:39 PM on October 24, 2009

As a nerdy guy in a tech field who is 23, I can attest that a lot of us will suck at first dates (we probably didn't get as much practice in high school), but we're awesome once we get more comfortable around you!

I third the plan of knock-out dress, getting drunk, outrageous flirting. This is basically crack for male grad students.
posted by metacollin at 1:42 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: dmbfan: I don't know exactly how old he is, but calculating from what he's told me about his past I'd put him in his late 20's. I've had much more success with guys after realising that this age group is fair game for dating! Most guys my age have a little more growing up to do for my taste :)

Solomon: no, nothing close to sexual happened. I could excuse this for now because of the rather repressed country I'm living in (Ireland), but as I said, I've had first dates with way more chemistry.

I'm appreciating the advice:
It was a crappy date.
*sight* yeah, it was. Maybe we just aren't that compatible... But I'm comforted by a few successful relationship's I've witnessed that didn't start of with a huge spark. Also, in general he's a great banterer, as am I, giving potential to the "we were nervous on a first date" explanation.
posted by hannahlambda at 1:46 PM on October 24, 2009

You are/were both awkward. Go with your plan and relax on Sunday with some drinks. Flirt. See what happens. If still nothing, flag it and move on.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:50 PM on October 24, 2009

Another vote for him being nervous too, which hey, is actually a good thing. Sure, confidence is sexy, but there's something to be said about being so excited about a date/hanging out with you that his normal coolness faltered a little, yeah?

And if nothing really happened other than talking, he might just be kicking himself and wondering if he screwed up.

Go hang out on Sunday. Give him (and yourself!) another few hours of interaction before writing this one off. And hey, if you (or him!) go for a quick hug/kiss goodbye...well, you're in business!
posted by Hakaisha at 1:58 PM on October 24, 2009

Bad first dates happen. That's why unless there is an obvious, deal-breaking problem, you probably shouldn't discard someone until you've been out a couple of times.
posted by hermitosis at 2:29 PM on October 24, 2009

Awkward? Sounds like a date to me! Your plan for wearing a knock out dress and flirting seems good, but don't get too wasted. You don't want to be the wasted girl who throws herself at a dude in a totally obvious way that people gossip about later. (Same applies to being the wasted guy who throws himself at a girl)
posted by ishotjr at 3:44 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm okay with waiting to let the chemistry build up. (Actually, is this a good idea? I'm really totally clueless.)

I can't really answer the "was it a date?" thing, but from my own experience, letting the chemistry build up can be ok. I knew a guy for a few years before there was any significant amount of chemistry between us. Then the chemistry built up. REALLY built up. (We're married now.)

Anyway, if you like this guy, just go with the flow. Don't overthink or force anything.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 3:47 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just repeating that yes, it was a date; yes, relationships can start from crappy/awkward dates; yes to the dress and flirting but DON'T get drunk...set a two-drink limit, or if you're like me you'll start drinking like a fish to overcome the jitters and end up doing or saying something you'll regret in the morning...
posted by janerica at 5:23 PM on October 24, 2009

Best answer: I think it can be hard to transition from bonding over work to becoming more acquainted and bonding over other topics which is eventually what you want. Sounds like you guys had a hard week and wanted to spend some time together and it didn't come together seamlessly -- it's hard when you're tired and exhausted, hard to get a feel for what other things you can talk about besides work/school. Give it another shot. No reason to get drunk to do it, there are other things to regret down that road. Go prepared with a few conversation starters and have a drink to loosen up but your goal here is to see if there's more spark. You can't do that if you're blotto. You can have a one-night-stand blotto but that doesn't seem like your goal.

Good luck!
posted by amanda at 6:18 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

When I was younger, I was far from being proficient at decoding subtle conversational hints from girls, so you may consider erring on the blunter side of expressing yourself. For me at least, sexy girl in a classy knockout dress = very good, but drunk girl = big turnoff for anything other than a highly regretted one time date. Good luck, be persistent if he seems receptive, but back off if he doesn't. Working with this guy would be awkward if you make a fool of yourself.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:02 PM on October 24, 2009

I'm tempted to wear a knock-out dress, get drunk and flirt outrageously.

I'm with torquemaniac, why stray from a classic? (just make sure you don't get too drunk, aim on the side of tipsy)
posted by whoaali at 8:29 PM on October 24, 2009

Mr Dame here.

Most likely, he didn't think about whether or not it was a "date". That doesn't mean he's not interested. It sounds like you're both a little shy, which is good, even great. Nine times out of ten if you're wondering how the guy felt, it's probably similar to how you felt, just that guys don't always analyze so much.

That means, he's probably interested, though not necessarily with an agenda. As clueless as you claim to be, it seems like you have a clear goal and a plan, both good things. Your idea for Sunday night sounds like a good one. As a nerdy guy I can say from experience that if there's some interest, and the girl displays confidence, it sets a good stage for the man to be confident in return.

Just be careful not to get too drunk, that's never a good idea. Knockout dresses always work and at the very least you'll feel sexy, if he engages or not. Just go and have fun, with as low expectations as possible so there's nothing to disappoint you.
posted by dame at 11:09 PM on October 24, 2009

How long have you been in Ireland? We tend not to go on "american style" dates over here.
So when we were chatting about weekend plans, we kind of simultaneously asked each other out for some drinks on Friday night, which I was SO excited about..
As an Irish guy I can say that we go out for a few drinkswith co workers/ people from our research group all the time . It doesn't necessarily mean he is interested, it could just be a social thing.At the very least he enjoys your company though. He probably would have made excuses not to go if he didn't.

I'm tempted to wear a knock-out dress, get drunk and flirt outrageously. (Like I said, clueless.)
Do this but don't get too drunk.
posted by drugstorefrog at 4:07 AM on October 25, 2009

Yeah I don't know about Irish dates, I just know that American people probably have no perception of how they are supposed to go.
posted by sully75 at 4:33 AM on October 25, 2009

Response by poster: Regrets:

Oh dear. We stayed on my couch watching Blackadder til 4am ending the night with a hug. We'd a great night, but Grrrrrrr.
posted by hannahlambda at 5:48 AM on October 26, 2009

I wouldn't normally say this, but he sounds gay.
posted by sully75 at 11:32 AM on October 26, 2009

hannahlambda: "Regrets:

Oh dear. We stayed on my couch watching Blackadder til 4am ending the night with a hug. We'd a great night, but Grrrrrrr.

You need to give the boy a kiss. Take the initiative and find out now or you will have regrets not knowing later.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:59 PM on October 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

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