I can’t believe I have to ask this age-old question, but…is he interested or am I spending time thinking about him/this situation for nothing?
October 11, 2011 7:45 PM   Subscribe

I can’t believe I have to ask this age-old question, but…is he interested or am I spending time thinking about him/this situation for nothing?

This is a long story, but I’ll try to keep it as simple and brief as possible. So, I met a guy while on a business trip (we live on opposite sides of the US at this point). We are in connected lines of work and our businesses do have a partnership, however, our positions in our respective workplaces do not require us to work together or interact in any way and we live far away from one another.

I didn’t really notice this guy until a party that occurred during this trip. After I danced with others a bit, he asked me to dance… and then kept asking me (despite the fact that he had little skills in the dance department :) ). At the end of the night, some colleagues/friends of mine planned to go out, so I said he was welcome to come along. He couldn’t come right away since he had to wrap up some business, but asked for my number so he could call when he was done and meet us.

I end up getting a migraine that night, so when he called, I was on my way back to the hotel to get some sleep. He asked repeatedly if I couldn’t just meet him for a minute or two at the hotel bar and I said no. The next day he left, but surprisingly, he continued to contact me via phone and text. I start to get a bit interested. Then 3 weeks later, he announces he is coming to my city on business and asks if I want to get together.

During his visit, I learn he’s a workaholic… or at least, he’s very much in demand at his job and very devoted to doing a good job since he is ambitious, smart, and dedicated. For me, this is very attractive, but it’s a double-edged sword. The first night we are supposed to get together, he cancels because he ends up having to take a client to dinner. The second night, I’m set to meet him and get a call that his boss (who incidentally, IS someone I have to deal with regularly for my job) has asked him to join some colleagues and special clients for dinner. Instead of bowing out, he asks if I will join him at this dinner. I decide to go, but inevitably, I spend 90% of the night caught in conversation with the boss about work-related issues and don’t really talk with him.

After this incident, communication with guy slows down. But, randomly I hear that he is moving to his company’s German office (he is German, but had been in the US for 2 years), so I drop him a line saying I heard the news and I wish him the best. This prompts new correspondence from him. A few weeks (and texts) later, he announces he’s coming back into town for work, so would I be willing to take him on a tour of my city and then go out for drinks/dinner. I find out later that he’s purposely flown in two days early and he’s staying at a different hotel than his colleagues are so we can get together without the “risk” of being interrupted by work like the last time.

The day of our planned meet-up, we end up spending about 10 hours together and have a ton of fun. We have so much in common, think similarly, have similar senses of humor, and never run out of things to talk about. Throughout the day, he insists on paying for everything and in the 8th hour of our day together, he asked me if I he can take me to dinner a few nights later at this nice restaurant he checked out. It also seems like we’re flirting as the day goes on. The evening ends at his hotel bar. After a drink, I decide to leave; he walks me to my car… but he only hugs me goodbye. Yes, there were people around at the time, but it still left me a little confused. Anyway, by the time I get home that night, he’s texted to say he had a great time and is excited to see me again for dinner.

Ok, so two nights later, he has to bow out of our planned dinner for work reasons. I’m completely annoyed. Also confused. Before he leaves town, we talk and he tells me how sorry he is and that he plans to come back in Oct for work and hopes he can make it up to me then. Of note- he is moving back to Germany five weeks from this point.

We talk a few times after that in between some crazy work schedules on both sides and a trip to Australia on his end (note- we Skype while he is on this trip). Two weeks later, he calls to say, "Surprise!" he’s unexpectedly coming back to my city for a cocktail party being held by one of his company’s partners. He wants to know if I will go with him and then go out for dinner and drinks afterwards. This time, we actually do meet up and I definitely feel a surprising level of comfort with him right away. During our car ride, I ask him about how things are going with packing and the impending move and he starts talking about how he’s starting to regret the move, keeps emphasizing that he’ll be back in the U.S. a lot, and that he could move back at any point because he still owns his house in the States. At one point, he also talks about how his parents are harassing him about not settling down and having a family yet, so I say, “I bet they are excited to have you back, so they can set you up with an eligible German woman” and all of a sudden, he gets really quiet. In addition, I mention that I may go on a 3 month overseas assignment through my company and he perks up and wants to know right away is Germany is one of the locations I could go to. Also of note- he was extremely clear that he is still coming back to my city in Oct and that he is coming so we can spend the entire weekend hanging out. Apparently he has back- to- back work assignments in the U.S. - neither assignment is in my city or close to my city. However, he plans to fly in and out or my city during the weekend between these two assignments just to hang out with me.

Anyway, that night we go to the cocktail party, but after 45 mins, he wants to leave. OK… so he flew across country for work and only spends 45 mins at the work event? So, we leave, go to dinner then to drinks, have a great time, and flirt quite a bit. Strangely though, on the way back to his hotel, he started to get really quiet. Then we pull up to his hotel, talk for a bit, I lean in for the hug. He hugs back...and nothing else.

Again, I go home and have a text message waiting for me already about how he had a great time, etc. The next night, I send him a friendly text saying I hope he got home alright, etc. He writes back right away saying, he’s been thinking about me and glad I wrote, reiterates that he had a great time, teases me about some things from the night before, etc.

After that, we talked a few more times- nothing too extensive. But once he moved, things started to dry up. In the limited communications I have received he stated that the move back was a bit more hectic in terms of all the things he was required to do to set up residency and then his company was acquired, so there were a lot of changes and things to do. In addition, he’s still doing a lot of international travel. Bottom line is, I’ve sent him 2 emails, but I’ve barely heard from him. His first email (in response to my first email) was fairly short and just said that things were absolutely insanely busy, but he would call me in a couple of days. He didn’t. Then I went out of the country for business for awhile. While I was gone, I sent him another email. I don’t hear from him for a week and half, so I decide this is so over. But then he calls me (of course, I miss the call, but get the vm). I call him back a couple of days later and then a few days after that, he texts saying he’s on another international trip for work (this is on a weekend), it’s really late and he has to give a speech in the morning, things are still really hectic and he wants to tell me the full story, so when can he call me during the week. I tell him that it’s pretty difficult to call during the week given the time difference, but give him some not-great options.

At this point, I assume he is not interested in me. If he was, he wouldn’t have made other plans to see me on nights he cancelled, and he would be calling or emailing me, even if things were hectic. He also would have kissed me. However, a few things give me pause:
1) Culturally, German men are not used to making first moves, apparently. Guys wait for women to be explicit about their interest. A quick internet search yields quite a bit of discussions about this, and I have also heard this from a friend who is living there. Unfortunately, I am very shy when it comes to dating (although very outgoing in every other situation) so being explicit about my feelings is pretty difficult.
2) The times we went out really felt like dates, honestly. However, there was no “action,” which is why I’m confused.
3) He’s still flying here this month for a whole weekend to hang out with me? I mean, honestly, it’s not like we are old friends or best friends at this point. It just seems odd, but then maybe he’s just trying to find a way to make his work trips more fun and less devoid of social interaction.

I’ve spent way too much time mulling this over and, due to a fragile heart from previous experiences, I’m pretty reluctant to make a move. I just can’t deal with any more rejection. Should I just try to cut my feelings off now or is there a chance he’s actually interested in being more than a friend?

P.S. I’m sure some people may be wondering why I would want to start a long distance deal with someone who just moved out of the country. While not ideal, this guy and I both have jobs that require a lot of international travel. Because of this, I have started to see the world differently (as in, the world seems smaller, any flight under 12 hours is not that big of a deal, and I have plenty of frequent flier miles to go to far flung places at will. Also, both of our jobs are likely to take us to places close to where the other lives). Plus, I’ve never interacted with a guy that I had such a fun, easy, effortless time with that was also smart, interesting, and attractive. And then there are the butterflies...So, if there is any possibility this could be something, I would like to pursue it.

P.P.S. He is straight- or at least, he has mentioned past girlfriends.
posted by superfille to Human Relations (33 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You should just email him and ask if he wants to date you.

I bet he does. But if he doesn't, who cares, he lives in Germany! And if he does, cool, go hang out in Germany. Berlin's really hip right now!
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:59 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

is he interested or am I spending time thinking about him/this situation for nothing?


He's obviously interested.

And spending time sitting around thinking about the situation does nobody any good. Do something.

I say, “I bet they are excited to have you back, so they can set you up with an eligible German woman” and all of a sudden, he gets really quiet.

If I were the guy and you said this to me, I'd think you were telling me you weren't interested in a relationship. If you are interested, maybe stop with the mixed messages. Maybe also stop with the waiting around and hoping he can read your mind.

I’m pretty reluctant to make a move. I just can’t deal with any more rejection. Should I just try to cut my feelings off now

Just in general, this is an excellent strategy for missing out on a lot of happiness in life.
posted by ook at 8:06 PM on October 11, 2011 [26 favorites]

Are you ready to sleep with him? Because I don't know if this dude is interested in more than sex (maybe, maybe not), but if he's flying to see you for a weekend, he's probably hoping sex will be involved. Would you be sad if you slept with him and then the relationship stayed at this level or petered out? Think about this topic BEFORE you sleep with him.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:06 PM on October 11, 2011 [12 favorites]

Maybe he has something going on physically that he's insecure about. So he skipped out on the physicality despite many openings. Maybe he wanted you to initiate? Maybe again, there is something that needs to be discussed before getting involved- I keep wanting to say an STD or a physical hangup or something else that makes him put the brakes on. Maybe the moving? Maybe the crazy schedules you both have? Who the heck knows. IF he has gone, can't one of you send the 'i wish we kissed' sort of email? Or can't you make that the first thing you do when he visits?? Obviously there is something there. Who knows if he is the ONE or whatever but he definitely wants to spend time with you. I guess it is up to you to initiate either through conversation or otherwise how that time is going to be spent!:)
posted by bquarters at 8:15 PM on October 11, 2011

I was coming in to say exactly what ook said. Send him an email letting him know you're interested. Because he is, he's just thrown off by your mixed messages. If you need help wording the email, Mefites are very good at that sort of thing.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:22 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nthing ook and MexicanYenta. He really likes you but he's busy and now he's a bit confused.

“I bet they are excited to have you back, so they can set you up with an eligible German woman”

ook is so right. I would have thought exactly the same if you'd say that to me. Oh. She's not interested.

Talk to the guy. Really. Life's too bloody short.
posted by Chairboy at 8:33 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

It definitely sounds like he's interested, but just hesitant. Interested in what specifically, I couldn't say, as I'm not too familiar with how quickly long-distance relationships move. But he keeps flying out and puts time aside to spend with you. Not his work buddies, not his bosses - you. That speaks volumes.
As for making the next move, I think it's based on a preference thing. I usually like to let the woman make the next step in anything more intimate than hugging, and I'd be willing to bet this guy does too.
I also agree with the others that you sent a huge, HUGE mixed signal with the "set you up with an eligible bachelorette" thing. I wouldn't be surprised if that made him throw the brakes on hard.

The good news is that there is definitely something you can do about the situation. Initiate things yourself! Talk to him straight, kiss him, sleep with him, whatever. Just don't wait around for him to do it first.
posted by TheMidnightHobo at 11:03 PM on October 11, 2011

Best answer: I know I'm nthing here, but sometimes it's helpful and motivating to hear a chorus. So consider me another voice, and one who's going to expand on the topic a little, to justify the nthing, provide a little insight and hey, I'm having a little case of insomnia right now.

My job comes with a fair bit of business travel; this year alone, I've done 15 round-trip flights on the company dime. All this travel has given me extra exposure to two things: cosmic radiation and opportunities to get into situations like the one you're in. Like your German gentleman friend, I've also done the "foreign worker living in the U.S." thing; I was in San Francisco during "the bubble" because that's where the action was. So while my situation isn't necessarily the same as your guy's, I'd like to think I have some insight into his mindset.

Speaking from experience, "meeting people" feels a little different when you're travelling for business than when you're on vacation or doing one of those "spend six months backpacking across someplace far away" things. This is especially true if you're dedicated to your work and feel that 9-to-5 is "part-time". In such a case, "business mode" is always in the back of your head, even when you're off the clock, and it just might inhibit you -- especially if you meet someone in a setting that's related to the business reason for the trip. This may seem tiny and inconsequential, but as one of the best parts of life, romance is often built on certain singular now-or-never moments. A moment's hesitation, brought about by that extra bit of inhibition -- and remember, it can already be tricky enough when you're not on your own home turf -- can easily turn "now" into "never". Trust me: I've done both "now" and "never" ("Never's" worse, by the way).

He invited you, last-minute, to a work-related dinner with his boss. While there's a good excuse for you to attend -- your connected lines of work, you knowing his boss -- he added you to an expensed meal where his boss would be present. He wouldn't do that unless he really wanted you around, even if he was going to get pulled away by business conversations. I'll admit that I've done this.

He padded a work trip with some extra days so you could hang out. Without any set plan, you end up spending 10 hours together, and in the latter part of that day, he invited you out to dinner, insisted on paying and followed up with drinks at a bar right by where he's staying. He even walked you to you car. He did all that because he wanted to get as much time as possible with you, even if it meant seeing you leave, because having that extra sixty seconds was better than not having it.

I will even bet good money that the goodbye hug he gave you, even though it was just a hug, was a second or two longer and the slightest bit tighter than the typical goodbye hug between buddies. You even had a text message by the time you got home from that day out.

He was just waiting for the right moment to heat things up, but as we all-too-often forget, these moments don't just appear, they're made.

He Skyped with you on a business trip to Australia, 12-ish timezones away. He makes it a point to see you whenever he's in town for business. He reassured you that he still has lots of reasons for coming to the U.S. even though he's moving back to Germany. The "I bet they are excited to have you back, so they can set you up with an eligible German woman" line shuts him up. He's still coming over for a visit this month.

Let me make this crystal clear: he's into you. You just can't see these patently obvious signs because you're in the middle of the whole thing. He can't see your interest, despite what you might think are obvious signs on your part for the exact same reason. Once again, I know all this because I've been there.

He's looking for a slightly more obvious sign of your interest in him, some kind of proof that it's not just his imagination or wishful thinking. You don't have to suddenly shove him up against a wall and plant a deep kiss on him -- although he might like that -- but you're at going to have to be at least a little more overt than you have been in your previous outings with him.

If the visit is relatively soon, start it off right. Take him someplace relatively quiet. Someplace where there won't be distractions, yet not too removed so he doesn't feel like he's being led into a trap. Tell him how you feel, in words and body language (look right into his eyes, put your hand reeeeally close to his, and all that).

If the visit's a little farther away or if you can't wait, contact him beforehand. I know some of the other folks have suggested email, but for this one, you might want to go with voice. Trsut me on this one.

Best of luck, and what the hey: if you need another pep talk, MeMail me.
posted by AccordionGuy at 12:52 AM on October 12, 2011 [6 favorites]

More chorus nthing here. Boy, does he like you. Jeez, does he like you. Wow, does he like you.

All of your doubts are very easily explained. You know he's a super-busy go-getter, you've SEEN him be super-busy, He SAYS he's insanely busy, so I think the reason that he hasn't talked to you more isn't because he's not into you, but because he's been busy.

Also, he sounds like he may have some small-scale doubts and insecurities, and fear of rejection, just like you do (and most everybody does). That's one possible reason he hasn't tried to kiss you (or more).

So what we may have here is the beginnings of a great relationship with two parties too afraid to make the first put-your-neck-on-the-line move. The person who does that might as well be you.

It'd be heartbreaking if the reason that nothing ever comes of this is because neither of the people involved, both of whom like the other one very, very much, was bold enough to really initiate something. Please keep us posted!
posted by mreleganza at 4:42 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seems pretty clear that you don't really know what's happening - which is great; life should be an adventure, not a script. I'd suggest, try not to make things happen, just let the situation develop naturally - sure you could end up with a broken heart; you could end up winning the state lottery, you could . . . . you get my meaning. Just go for it. All of it. Always.
posted by nickji at 5:39 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

It sounds like he's totally into you (AccordionGuy explains it better than I would).

You don't ever get a guarantee that you won't get your heart broken, and if you never let yourself be open to possibility then you won't ever have that joy of having it really work out and *not* getting your heart broken.

And if you go out and take this opportunity, which it sounds to me like you should, then remember that you'll make yourself crazy if you analyze too much - I know how it is, believe me, but I also know that you've got to look at the whole picture and believe what your gut says.

Make your move.
posted by mrs. taters at 7:11 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

This guy sounds pretty fun to me. Kiss him if you want to!
posted by amodelcitizen at 12:47 PM on October 12, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the insights, everyone. All of you were extremely helpful- I think I really needed some unbiased feedback (and a kick in the pants) from intelligent people. I have to admit- I'm pretty surprised that so many people have drawn the same conclusion. I was pretty sure I would hear that I should forget about it because this behavior goes against some universal signs of interest and it's apparent that "he's just not that into me." I'm also more surprised than I should be that the comment about his parents setting him up was a mixed signal. I can see now how it was- even if I meant it as a joke. Anyway, it's good to know that I might still have a chance.

Now I just have to figure out what to say and when to say it. I agree with AccordianGuy that in-person is probably best. He'll be here in less than 3 weeks, so I will likely wait until then and see how things go. It's so funny because I am very outgoing in my normal social interactions and express myself pretty freely, but when it comes to expressing romantic interest in people, I have no voice at all. So, I guess I have 3 weeks to get my courage together...
posted by superfille at 8:50 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Keep us updated! :) You don't even have to make a speech to him, you can just flirt and flirt and flirt and generally most people get the hint.
posted by moiraine at 1:57 PM on October 13, 2011

Response by poster: Mini-update: Not sure if anyone is still looking at this thread, but here's a mini-update. I spoke to the guy about two weeks ago. I happened to be free during a weekday, so I text him to let him know (since he was asking when he could call me on a weekday). He called a couple of hours later and we chatted for about 30 mins. During the call, he seemed tired, but also a bit frustrated as he recounted the things that had been going on with him (lots of nonsense/bureacracy/paperwork/errands to get settled). However, he was warmer after about 10 minutes when he started asking about me and was teasing me about a few things by the end of the conversation.

Here's the problem: at the end of this chat, we talked about his impending visit and he said that he was probably coming to the US a few times before the end of the year, but that the Oct visit may be pushed to the weekend following. Apparently he was supposed to get his itinerary together the following week.

Well, he's supposed to come and visit beginning this coming Friday (unless its shifted), but I haven't heard from him. Sooooo, now I'm wondering, is this a blow off? I mean, would someone really wait that long to confirm an arrival date? I'm guessing he's not coming, but I don't want to call/email and be the harasser and/or desperate woman. So, do you all think he's over it or am I just being paranoid?
posted by superfille at 2:54 PM on October 24, 2011

You think too much.

Stop driving yourself crazy trying to read his mind. Direct communication is much more effective.

Just send the guy an email -- hey, looking forward to seeing you, has your itinerary firmed up? Done.
posted by ook at 10:30 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Agree with ook, and yes, we still want updates as they occur. :)
posted by mreleganza at 11:22 AM on October 25, 2011

Thirding ook.
posted by moiraine at 12:52 PM on October 25, 2011

Nthing ook. Keep us posted.
posted by Chairboy at 5:27 AM on October 27, 2011

Yep- send an email, and keep us posted!
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:07 AM on October 27, 2011

Response by poster: Another mini-update (which may be my last update on this situation?):

So, I didn't end up having to call this guy because he texted first. He texted to say he had arrived in the States and (this was a few hours after his arrival) wanted to know if I was still awake so he could call. By the time I got the message and responded (over an hour later), he was leaving his hotel to go out with some business contacts. I tell him to "let me know whether his plans are bringing him to my city" and he says he'll, "fill me in when he calls me this weekend." Which obviously means he's not coming this weekend when he was originally planning to.

He called today and we spoke for about 30 mins. The conversation was fine, but I just feel like I'm not getting to another level of getting to know him. It was more about giving updates to one another. And as for coming for a visit, he will be criss crossing the US for the next couple of weeks, but it doesn't work out that he can come here (he just wrapped a conference this morning (Sun) and next weekend, he's at another conference).

As for me, I failed in not bringing myself to ask him what is going on. Part of this is my lack of guts, but the other part is that, frankly, I'm just annoyed/frustrated by the situation and his lack of consideration in not telling me what he was doing for this weekend. Maybe this means we are both avoidant.

The not coming and not being considerate and lack of more in-depth conversation seemed like indicators that he was not interested anyways, but, I was suprised be these points of the conversation: (1) he finally found time to find a place to live in Germany, but he decided to rent because he "may move back to the US soon if the circumstances were favorable" (2) if he moved back to the US, he would move to the eastern side of the country (I'm in the eastern side) (3) he would call me in a couple of days because it's much easier to call me when he's in US and that he expected to hear updates on X and Y the next time we talk.

So, I guess I have to make a decision at this point. The decisions are (1) whether I actually want this given that, although I don't mind LDR, I think LDR is impossible if someone isn't available to communicate with. (2) if I want it, whether I can handle communicating my feelings over the phone, which for me, is not optimal. I would prefer the whole process were a little more organic. Maybe that means that, despite my years, I'm still not able to suck it up and risk embarassment when it comes to dating/relationships. And really, I hear the message from all of you that that communication is the answer here.

Anyway, if I decide to move this forward, I'll definitely keep updating you all. If not, consider this a case of a could of been with just too many complications and a woman who needs to get more balls!

Thanks to all of you for your insights and support!
posted by superfille at 3:17 PM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's a risk/ reward calculation. How much risk is there, and what is the reward? What is your expected payoff? Is he an amazing reward? Then you should be willing to take a lot more risk with him than with someone who is a so-so reward.
posted by moiraine at 3:25 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So, I decided what I want and was ready to take the risk (by telling him how I felt), but I think the moment is gone. Essentially, the guy and I have haven't been talking all that much since his cancelled visit (about every week and a half to two weeks), which I don't think is much if someone is interested. Further, conversations have been pretty update-y- not as flirty or in-depth/personal as they have been in the past. Generally, I just feel like the moment has never come up during these oh-so-friendly conversations. So, it just seems bizarre and ill-timed to bring up my feelings as he seems to be drifting. And I guess I'm drifting too because I don't want to pine over someone who doesn't think I'm worth his time.

So, I have no problem being friends/staying in touch, but I guess this is where the story ends...at least for now. Thanks to all of you for helping me get my courage up though. Generally, I don't have much luck with relationships, so I'm extremely gun shy. However, your encouragement really did help me a lot. I wish things were different... just once... but that's life. I'm just sorry I didn't get to follow through and make you all proud ;)

Thanks again.
posted by superfille at 4:48 PM on November 13, 2011

Are you sure the reason he's drifting isn't that he never got a clear signal from you that you were interested?

Why did you wait until it was "too late" to tell him to decide that you were going to tell him?
posted by ook at 7:10 AM on November 14, 2011

Response by poster: So, after posting the original question here, my plan was to tell him when he came to visit in October. Honestly, I thought it would be better to have that kind of talk face to face if at all possible.

Then, he ended up cancelling that trip (see above) because his work schedule changed such that he had no free weekends while he was in the US (he went to a conference one weekend and a meeting/conference another in cities that are not near to mine). Further, the way the trip was cancelled (so last minute, which seemed inconsiderate). It actually made me a bit annoyed and frustrated- the cancellation couldn't be avoided, of course, but the manner in which is was handled left a lot to be desired. Anyway, when that happened, it threw off the plan. Since cancelling, he hasn't mentioned future specific plans to come here (just general ones about coming back to the country at some point soon) and I have no trips to Europe until March.

So, that left the phone. However, his adjusted demeanor during our phone conversations just hasn't made me feel all that confident that things are the same. I'm not saying he isn't nice or friendly, however, as I mentioned, the conversations seem more... shallow? Also, they are less regular and there was also a time when I called and it took 5 days for him to get back to me. It just doesn't suggest interest to me. I always thought that friend zone stuff was bollocks, but perhaps it isn't.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I didn't think it was going to be "too late" to tell him when I decided to tell him my feelings during his weekend visit. However, since it never happened, I was kinda left floundering, I guess. As for the reason for his drifting, I guess I don't have an answer to that. Your suggestion is one possibility.

I'll admit that I guess I'm trying to read the tea leaves here. Essentially, I know nothing is certain until I am definitively told, however, I do think that most people give signs of their romantic interest (or change of interest) through actions so they can avoid awkward situations. And I guess, I'm just trying to read the signs so that if things have changed, I can avoid ending the friendship by creating an awkward situation. I really think a lot of him, find him very interesting and intelligent, and enjoy our interactions; I would like to be friends even if nothing else is meant to be. If his actions continued to be what they were a few months ago, I prepared myself to take that risk, but now I just wonder if it's best to avoid it.
posted by superfille at 7:56 AM on November 14, 2011

I'll admit that I guess I'm trying to read the tea leaves here.

Yeah, that's basically been the problem all along, hasn't it? Too much pondering and attempted mind-reading, too little actual communication.

I really don't understand your reluctance to just give the guy a straightforward indication of your interest. You're over here letting the chance at a relationship trail off because you're not getting clear signals from him; he could just as well be over there doing exactly the same thing because he's never gotten a clear signal from you. Or maybe there's some other reason, sure... but if we're looking at this as a risk/reward calculation, this sounds like a pretty darn safe bet: the only "risk" is that he's flattered but one or more of uninterested/unavailable/unreliable. Nothing I'm seeing here indicates that he'd be in any way offended or would be mean or hurtful in rejecting you or that it need end or even change the friendship.

Which is not to say that you must drop everything and call the guy right now with a big dramatic soliloquy. Save it until March if you like, or until he's next in the US, or some other moment that feels right, whatever; just maybe you ought not to preemptively decide that the moment is never going to be right.

You seem in general awfully ready to declare bridges burned before ever setting foot on them, and maybe that's a pattern you want to think about changing.
posted by ook at 11:10 AM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: ook, thanks for your very honest feedback. Seriously. WHat you said is the truth and I'm honestly too old to be walking on tiptoes instead of being honest.

I'm going to think constructively about whether this is something I can create a moment to talk about over the phone or whether I need to wait. But either way, you're right, I need to do something. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
posted by superfille at 7:11 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: It feels a bit self-indulgent to post here yet again about this, but here's the latest. I've heard from this guy about once a week as of late in some way, shape, or form- nothing in-depth, but the contact has been there.

Anyway, I'm visiting my parents in another state for Thanksgiving this past weekend and was about to go out the door when get a call from the guy. It was Sat night for him and it sounded like there was conversation/noise/whatever in the background. He says he's calling to wish me Happy Thanksgiving, ask how my Thanksgiving was, etc. We talk for a bit about the holiday and other things, and then suddenly he starts to sound...rushed? agitated? Anyway, he says, "I also wanted to talk to you regarding your trip to [European country] in March."

I'll interrupt here to say that in my first post at the top, I mentioned our companies partner for certain activities. This March trip is one of those activities, however, since this guy has taken on a new position, there is absolutely no reason for him to be involved in these activities at all anymore (there was barely a reason before).

He continues, "So, the German office of [his company] will be sending a representative to attend [this event]. However, I'm sure they could be easily persuaded to send me since I have been to one before and understand [the event] if you sent me an formal invitation letter from [your company]. My travel schedule for March isn't set yet, but it will be soon, so I thought I would ask now...because I was just thinking it would be a good opportunity for us to spend some extended time together."

I happen to be in a position to send such a letter (which he knows) because of my leadership role in these events and it doesn't pose any weird ethical issues, etc. since we often write up individual invite letters for visa purposes. So, I agree. But, the funny part is, I was about to talk to him more (and I swear I was hoping it would lead to a "feelings" conversation), but it's like once this happened, he was in a rush to get off the phone. He says, "Yeah, so I know you have to go out, so thanks, I'm really excited and I can show you around [the city] because I've been there a few times, and enjoy the rest of your time with your family, and I'll call you soon." And I half suspected at this point he was calling from a bar and had had like 7 drinks before calling because he's generally not so rushed and bothered.

So, (hopefully) March it is (if not before) for getting everything on the table. I'm sure this makes this the most protracted of it's kind in recent history, but oh well. Maybe patience is a virtue. And that's the latest. Comments, suggestions, brow-beating, etc are all welcome :)
posted by superfille at 3:13 PM on November 29, 2011

posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:17 PM on November 29, 2011

Awww, this is adorable.

So pretty clear at this point that he's A) definitely, definitely, definitely interested, and B) just as afraid of making the first move as you are.

Which is saying something! :)

So by asking for this invitation he's got up the courage to have made an unambiguous move here. Now it's your turn! You don't have to keep hoping something leads to a 'feelings' conversation, you have to start leading the conversations there.

Don't wait until March before giving him any sign at all, that'd be unkind. You could take Snarl's advice (which is not without merit.) You could use the invitation itself as your opportunity. ("Hi! I'm calling to let you know I've arranged our [work activity], and I'm really looking forward to seeing you, and [this is the part where you ask him out on a date].") Drop a handkerchief, pass him a note after class, whatever, but really truly do do something; it's clear that it's not going to just "happen" unless you step outside your comfort zone a little bit.

We're rooting for you!
posted by ook at 8:53 AM on November 30, 2011

Response by poster: Snarl- I completely understand where you are coming from. This situation is a bit...drawn out, for sure.

Prior to reading what ook said, I actually sort of took his advice. Yesterday, I told him I was thinking of staying in [country where business event will be] for a day of "vacation" beyond the event. Then I asked if he would be interested in doing the same so we could have a day to have fun on our own after the work is over (note: I still plan to spend as much time with him as I can when the work days are over too). He quickly agreed and honestly seemed pretty excited about it :) So, the plan is set. He then asked if he could call me this weekend, which is also great.

Thanks again for the support! I'm finally starting to feel more convinced that he is actually interested, which, I think, will help me to be more obvious about what I'm feeling. So, I think that's progress :)
posted by superfille at 9:06 PM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Just wanted to wrap this one up too. In the end, he wasn't interested at all. :( Oh well (rest of the story is here is you would like to know what happened after this post: ) Thanks again for all the advice and feedback, everyone!
posted by superfille at 10:14 PM on April 19, 2012

Response by poster: I have a little adjustment to the end of the story. See the much better ending here. :)
posted by superfille at 11:35 AM on April 30, 2012

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