What are some good guidelines to keep my confidence up and show her I'm worth hanging with and possibly dating if I can conjure up the chemistry?
July 15, 2010 12:06 PM   Subscribe

I didn't think the whole "if you're persistent it'll work" thing would work, but it did and now I have a chance to get to know her better...what do I do? She's gorgeous and smart...now if I can just get her to laugh some more with me, I'll be on the right path. Or do I boast, or compliment?

Long story less long...I met a smart and beautiful young lady after a short email exchange on an online dating site. She agreed to go out after my proposal that it was good to see if any chemistry might be there. That backfired when after what seemed like a great 2 hour talk/walk/sit in the sun thing, she later sms'd that there wasn't enough chemistry for her to want to see me again(I may have been too eager with my post meet sms's)(but, obviously chemistry doesn't always arise from one flippin' coffee rendez-vous).
But although I figured "there's plenty of other fish" something about her stuck with me and I couldn't resist sending another flirty yet friendly, "then, let's get to know each other as friends" sms, and she's up for it...when and where is now the question.
Of course I'm sticking to the whole let's be friends thing because I'll be happy to have her as a friend but I feel like I'm going to be even more nervous than I was last time seeing her. What are some good guidelines to keep my confidence up and show her I'm worth hanging with and possibly dating if I can conjure up the chemistry down the line, while keeping it cool?
posted by talljamal to Human Relations (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Of course I'm sticking to the whole let's be friends thing because I'll be happy to have her as a friend


What are some good guidelines to keep my confidence up and show her I'm worth hanging with and possibly dating

This is shaky ground you're treading.

Also, "chemistry" is hard to define and different for every person, so I'm going to go ahead with the equally vague advice of "just be yourself".
posted by Think_Long at 12:11 PM on July 15, 2010

Every woman is different so we can't know what might help.

To be frank, this sounds to me like a bad plan that will waste your time. If at some point you find yourself feeling bitter and led-on, just remember that she gave you a clear answer now.
posted by salvia at 12:12 PM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

If she's said she's not interested she's likely not interested.

Maybe she said she'll be friends with you but she may not have any intention of actually meeting up with you.

Move along.
posted by dfriedman at 12:13 PM on July 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

You don't seem to know what you want. You tell us that you're fine with being friends, then you ask for advice about how to get her to want to date you later. Don't do that.

Be friends if you can. Don't be friends if you can't. But don't make her think you're fine with being friends if you're not.
posted by theichibun at 12:15 PM on July 15, 2010 [5 favorites]

You are starting from a dishonest premise.

If friendship with this lady is not sufficient for you, do her a favor and take your conniving elsewhere.

She has made it clear that she's not interested in you romantically. If anyone is going to change her mind, it will be her.

If I had agreed to develop a friendship and later discovered this false premise, I would be furious. Not disappointed. Not smitten. Not impressed. Not disgusted.


You have lied to her. She says there's no chemistry, and you are hoping to covertly concoct some, under the guise of friendship.

That is unfair to her, (and also, unfair to women who might be genuinely interested in you.) so knock it off.
posted by bilabial at 12:16 PM on July 15, 2010 [12 favorites]

She doesn't want to date you. And if she finds out your offer of friendship was made to get around the fact that she clearly told you she didn't want to date you, then she won't want to be your friend, either.

You weren't persistent. You were insincere.
posted by sallybrown at 12:17 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Of course I'm sticking to the whole let's be friends thing because I'll be happy to have her as a friend

I seriously doubt this. You don't want her as a "friend," you want her as a dating partner. The only reason you want her as a "friend" is because you want to change her mind (show her I'm worth hanging with and possibly dating if I can conjure up the chemistry down the line).

She's already told you no. She's likely just saying you can "be friends" in order to let you down easy. She's not interested in dating you and any attempt on your part to force her into a pseudo-friendship to change her mind is only going to frustrate you and put her in an awkward position.

No means no. Accept it and move on.
posted by December at 12:18 PM on July 15, 2010

I've had pretty excellent luck turning some dates from online dating sites into honestly good friends. The cases where it's worked well are the ones where we're all on the same page about what is and is not going to happen (i.e. I am not going to change my mind about dating you). The cases where it's gone very poorly are the ones where the dude was happy to settle for being friends in the hopes I'd change my mind. I have not changed my mind about anyone in terms of dating, but I've had to change my mind about whether I could be friends with the latter category.

In your case, I think you should decline to continue hanging out with her. It isn't a good situation for her, and it's definitely not a good situation for you.
posted by adiabat at 12:19 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I say go for it, but really as a friend.

I bet she has friends who are similarly smart and beautiful who have different chemistry sets. Instead of going out one-on-one, create opportunities to get your friends and her friends together. Nothing wrong with increasing your social circle.
posted by jander03 at 12:27 PM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

I think it is creepy to hang out with someone as friends *with the intention of changing her mind*, after she has told you she doesn't feel chemistry.

If you can't hang out with her solely as friends with no other intentions (and it is OK that you cannot - it's *hard* to turn off your attraction for someone and you're human, after all), don't do it.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:29 PM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

If I were this girl, I would be able to smell your intentions a mile away, and I would be annoyed.

People do make friends from failed attempts at dating, but not like this.
posted by millipede at 12:36 PM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

I didn't think the whole "if you're persistent it'll work" thing would work,

The "persistence" is not working. She offered friendship. Don't pretend to be her friend when you know you want more. It's not worth it to you and it's cruel to her. Like others have said, you are basing the "friendship" on a lie.

I have had this happen to me where a guy swears he OK just being friends and then it turns out he's not. In the meantime, I have gotten close to this person and trusted this person only to find out that they were lying. This did not make me want to suddenly start dating them. It made me sick to my stomach and cut off all contact.

Please move on and save both of you from heartbreak. Respect her enough to understand that she is absolutely not interested in having a dating relationship with you. If I were her and I later found out that you had lied to me, I would assume that you never really cared about me or my feelings and that you had no respect for me or women in general.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:36 PM on July 15, 2010

If you ever met me in real life, you'll wonder why women find me attractive - really, I'm just a big, wiry, bearded loud dude, with too much energy. And I smell.

But I ooooooze confidence.

I think the fact that you met online is showing already that you don't have confidence. The SMS thing shows she doesn't have any either.

Find a sweet young thing at, like, a coffee shop. Bring a book you love. Just say hello to her. If there's a response, strike up a conversation.

Show confidence by being confident.

If you're in a location that you feel comfortable in - like you didn't just move there, and you know the native language, using a dating website is sort of showing that your missing that piece.

Sorry, to hate on the online dating sites.
posted by alex_skazat at 12:38 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice. Wow, I'm glad I aired this out before I went down the creepy/insincere path. I'll accept she's just not into me like that. Of course I can't get her to like chocolate if she's into vanilla...so I'll drop that whole idea.

I would like to know her as a friend because we're both not from around here, so there's some common grounds there, and I actually can live with the fact that that is what it'll be. I like what you say jander03. +1 there.

Much appreciated, mefi friends.
posted by talljamal at 12:38 PM on July 15, 2010

The SMS thing shows she doesn't have any either.

I just want to be on the record saying that this is not true.

Also I want to be on the record as stating that when a guy "ooooozes confidence" I tend to find him alternately overbearing and smarmy, and I find nothing more revolting. So, OP, don't necessarily take that advice to heart. Some girls eat it up. Some don't. I and others I know prefer a quiet, semi-awkward sincerity.
posted by millipede at 1:24 PM on July 15, 2010 [6 favorites]

"There wasn't enough chemistry" is a nice way to say "I'm not attracted to you."
posted by callmejay at 1:33 PM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

You can't fake chemistry. If it's not there, it's not there. Let it go and be honest with yourself and with her.

If you really want to be her friend - and are comfortable with never, ever dating her - go for it. But please don't be her friend under false pretenses.
posted by nathanfhtagn at 2:37 PM on July 15, 2010

Man you guys are real harsh.

Totally get back out there and chill with her a bit more, see what happens. Don't be too eager, don't SMS her too much, just be yourself. If it's a good thing, that'll be more than enough.

I find this whole 'dating' idea to be pretty ridiculous. You can't tell anything about a person after a few hours, and 'chemistry' is an incredibly vague idea and something that changes wildly over time. Yes be 'friends' with her, yes take the opportunity to spend more time together, no that's not 'dishonest'.

We're all mature adults here and understand that friendship isn't a freaking contract that say we won't flirt or have any attraction or hold out hope for something more. It's just two people hanging out.
posted by milinar at 3:48 PM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

I just want to be on the record saying that this is not true.

My point is, if someone has to text you about how they're feeling, they either can't talk to you directly, or don't want to. Maybe I'm a curmudgeon about it and enjoy plain, simple direct communication.

Also I want to be on the record as stating that when a guy "ooooozes confidence" I tend to find him alternately overbearing and smarmy, and I find nothing more revolting.

My confidence is backed up with also being super nice, hard working, reliable, selfless and funny. It ain't just something written on a piece of paper.

I'm not trying to give you a picture that I'm sporting some leather jacket without a shirt and gold chains on me, over a fake tan, driving some ridiculous car to make up for my lack of, well, a personality. I have confidence in myself, because I've challenged myself and came out alive.
posted by alex_skazat at 4:33 PM on July 15, 2010

I'm going to be the voice of dissent here. I say that you should meet with her, and see how it goes. However, if you're going to do this, the key is to be respectful of her feelings. Go into it with no expectations. Don't try to manipulate the situation. If you don't think you'll be okay with being just friends with her, don't do it.

It's most likely that one of three things will happen:
1. She'll get to know you a bit better, and she'll slowly discover what a great guy you are, and she will find that there IS chemistry there, after all.
2. You will move past your romantic intentions, and you'll become friends.
3. She will sense that you're still trying to romance her, and she won't like it. She will blow you off. An awkward scene or confrontation might occur. But you'll go your separate ways and that will be that.
posted by cleverevans at 6:16 PM on July 15, 2010

Look at this way - she's agreed to see you again.

You and I both know that *sometimes* chemistry can happen later. In fact, it often does, but it feels nicer.

If you can really be cool and a real friend, great. If at any point she decides she would like to date you after all, I'm sure she will let you know.
posted by Locochona at 8:37 PM on July 15, 2010

Would you be cool hanging out with this girl and her boyfriend when she gets one? Watching them kiss and giggle in front of you? Would you let her set you up on a date with someone you've never met? These seem like obvious questions, but your gut reaction's got to be your guide here: can you, or not?

If not, you can't be her friend. And for god's sake, don't be that guy friend who picks apart every guy she notices out of insecurity or falls into the trap of being her "between boyfriend" - fyi, this is when a girl hangs out with you, confides in you, accompanies you places like your work Xmas party (though NOT as your date, but as proof you know an attractive girl to your coworkers)... this is the dilemma, really.

Either you're really her friend and enjoy her company with no agenda, or you're waiting for her to be vulnerable and give you an open where it's reasonable to make a move that you both might regret later. Worse-case scenario, you're in Lurk Mode, hoping for this to happen, and she uses you as a stand-in boyfriend between actual boyfriends. You become codependent opposite sex friends that everybody assumes are sleeping together when you're not.

You can be friends with people you would normally date, but based on your past AskMes, you tend to cling to hope after it's reasonably gone (with your SO of 5 years, whom you were still trying to engage with 1.5 years later in this question.) I'm not bringing this up to be mean, and it's been awhile since you broke up, but I'm really concerned you will end up in the "between boyfriend" position with this girl because of it. I get that this girl is a real catch, and I don't want you to get so stuck on her that you can't fall in love with someone who will love you back and give you everything you need, emotionally and physically.

You're at that age where you may feel pressure to marry and have kids (peers, family, society) and while people usually say that to female askers, guys get this kind of pressure, too. Take care of yourself.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:11 AM on July 16, 2010

We're all mature adults here and understand that friendship isn't a freaking contract that say we won't flirt or have any attraction or hold out hope for something more. It's just two people hanging out.

Yes! I am baffled by posters who say they'd be "furious" or creeped out to learn that a friend has some "more than" feelings, and would cut off contact... Friends should be frank about "we are in agreement that we won't go in that direction, K?", and I could understand needing to end a friendship if the other party tries to make a move on you after having that kind of discussion... but to punish someone for having FEELINGS?? I don't get it.

The important thing is communication. Though relatively rare, "friendships" sometimes do move on to something more, but it MUST be discussed, and very carefully, to see if the other party is receptive to the idea. Suddenly trying to kiss or grope a person who has been established as a "friend" is definitely creepazoid.
posted by RRgal at 8:24 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I won't speak for any other women, but I know the reason why the OP's proposed scenario (pretend to be friends, try to make it into something more) sounded creepy to me (and: good on you, OP, for being able to hear that) is because I've had a handful of male friends who I thought were good friends, but who absolutely snapped when they realized I really, truly was not ever going to sleep with them.

I'd thought the boundaries were pretty clear--one of them was married after all--and it really hurt to find out that someone I'd liked and trusted hated me for not doing something I'd never promised in the first place. So what worries me is not the initial attempt to be friends, but the fact that becoming friends means that you then stay friends, and that raises the possibility--based on my own experience--that someone won't be able to handle the long-term friendship and will end up resorting to nasty behavior.

So, OP, I'm glad you're thinking about this beforehand. The real test of friendship, I think, is not whether you can become friends, but whether you can stay friends without getting nasty if she dates someone else, etc. If you don't think you can do that, it's perfectly acceptable to just bow out now.
posted by colfax at 1:01 AM on July 17, 2010

Response by poster: It's encouraging that there's so many views from the hive, but that's obviously why we like it. Thank you :)
I was surprised at how many ladies here are thinking I'm rolling down creep road just from the thought of this, but now I understand it. I've got female friends where our trust is intact because of respect for each others boundaries. Other's I've had to lose because they were insincere and couldn't act right when I was in a relationship with a woman, so I get what that's like and wouldn't pursue a friendship if I couldn't handle the reverse. On the other hand, you debby-downers, that doesn't mean there's never any attraction. I don't surround myself with "ugly" people, in all manners of the word, and less importantly appearance-wise. So I think its obvious that when you really love a friend, it stems from thinking they are "attractive" in many ways (not necessarily "being attracted to" them however!) The friends I've made with the opposite sex, whether they started as platonic or failed romantic levels, remain friends because of communication and honesty.
Of course, I could've posted as anon. but decided that I'd rather be honest and open here, if not everywhere in my life. So as the diligent hive brought up my last big relationship dilemma, I will explain that I don't feel this to be a sign of a pattern of mine to hold on to what's already left port. For one, I've followed one of my biggest dreams and two, that chick was crazy and did a number on my confidence and hope for finding new love. Yes, by the way, I have begun to feel a bit of coupling pressure, from various angles.
My take on this post's topic is that, if I want to get to know this chick (and possibly end up just acquaintances, or maybe have a great new hot friend to socialize further with) then I'll go into it understanding that she'll make some other dude feel lucky and meanwhile I'll gain the confidence of having the respect and admiration of a woman who I'd be happy to be around in whatever capacity.
Posters that put in bold that she's not into me, or attracted to me, and saying "move on" don't really help my confidence and is something the hive loves to encourage it seems. I don't mind. If I couldn't handle rejection I'd be a hermit somewhere reading my book by myself. The online dating thing has gotten me out there, meeting women and getting up to bat in a situation where its accepted that we're looking for a connection from the outset. This to me seems better than numerous awkward attempts in what I perceive women to think are not "pick up" situations.
What I'm happy about now is that all the pressure to impress her is gone, in a way. I can really be myself, and if we don't have much in common then c'est la vie.
posted by talljamal at 5:21 AM on July 17, 2010

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