He's just not that into me, is he?
June 2, 2012 9:59 AM   Subscribe

Is this guy flaky, or just not interested? [Warning: long explanation inside]

I recently graduated. I developed a crush on one of my co-workers over the course of the semester, but I figured it wasn't worth pursuing because we worked together and because I thought I probably didn't register very high on his radar, believing that he wasn't really looking to make any new friends or start anything romantic, considering it was our final college semester. Over the past few weeks, however, a few incidents led me to believe that he at least viewed me on more positive terms than I had imagined: he came up to me and danced with me a couple of times at a senior event and the week afterward asked if I would be sticking around for the summer, because he was going to move back home (about an hour's drive away) and none of his old high school friends would be around.

This got the wheels in my head a-turnin'--particularly because at the time I was applying to a job in a town nearby, so I thought something could potentially happen. I gathered up my courage and asked if he wanted to grab lunch with me. He said yes and programmed our meeting time into his phone. But when the day for our meeting arrived, he never showed up. I saw him as I was walking back to my apartment. Unsure of how to handle the situation--since seeing him shot to hell my previous rationalizations that he had overslept due to taking finals--I felt pretty upset and tried to walk away as fast as I could, hoping he didn't see me, but he spotted me and called me over. Apparently he had just finished taking an exam (I'm assuming it was one that could be taken at any time, rather than during one set time period), and he was really apologetic--somehow he had missed the event in his phone--and asked for my number so that we could re-schedule. He later asked for my address so he could send me a "soon-to-be-mailed" apology card and invited me over to his place where some of his friends were having drinks. I went, he apologized quite a bit, and he told me to text him so that we could set another meeting up. I was slightly annoyed that he wanted me to text him, given that he was the one who forgot, but I let it slide and we eventually figured out a time during the next week.

Until we met for lunch, we ran into each other a few times, which were these stupid little moments that logically I know were nothing but friendly interactions but emotionally made me quite happy. The first time I saw him I tried to avoid him because I was dressed up for an event and embarrassed at being seen, but he called me out and waved hello with a beautiful smile, whereas before he would jokingly make a face or do some other non-smiley form of acknowledgement. The second time was in one of the dining halls where we sat at adjacent tables with our respective groups of friends. I wasn't even sure he saw me there until he got up to leave, placed some napkins on my table and said, "These are for you--in case you need them," when there was a small basket full of them on my table already.

The morning we were supposed to have lunch together, I found out that I didn't get the job that would've had me living nearby, which sent me into a temporary tizzy because I had already planned what I would say, in terms of asking my friend out. Ultimately, I ended up just telling him what my original intentions were and stating that even though we met sort of late in the game, I was still glad we met. He responded by admitting that he was in a waning relationship, but if that weren't the case, he wouldn't be opposed to going out. During the course of our conversation, I found out that like me, he enjoys writing and receiving letters, so I asked him if he would be interested in exchanging letters, and he said yes.

When we were saying our good-byes, he said he would text me when he would have people over that night for drinking--but that never happened. I texted him the next night regardless, asking if I could visit his place really quickly the next day to say goodbye before the graduation events occurred and we'd be too busy to meet up. He told me his parents would arrive before noon and asked me to just text him before I wanted to drop by, which I did--but never heard back. Later in that afternoon, though, he did call me asking to see me briefly when he was nearby my place, saying that he didn't reply to my original text because the morning was crazy with his parents' arrival and his drinking escapades from the night before. He mentioned having my address, implying that we could still keep in contact.

I definitely want to keep in contact with him, but I wonder if by doing so I'd essentially be too forgiving of his flakiness and blindly trying to convince myself that it's part of his personality, when really what I need to do is admit that he just isn't that interested in being friends with me. He never did end up sending that apology card--he brought up his failure to do so during our lunch, saying his week had been busy because he'd been out of town during the previous days. It seems like follow-through is not one of this guy's strengths, and I don't know if I should be forgiving of that, considering that some people are just naturally scattered, or if I should just move on, considering I might be fruitlessly trying to maintain a relationship with someone who might like me, but not enough to remember to follow through on certain things. It just seems like I'm much more invested in being friends than he is.

So essentially, my question is the following: "To write, or not to write?"
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do not write. "I'm so sorry (insert excuse here)" followed by none of the promised action = lack of integrity. You deserve better. And this guy knows it.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 10:03 AM on June 2, 2012 [5 favorites]

Yeah, he's not going to get better. Cut him loose - only lameness waits with this guy.
posted by OrangeDrink at 10:06 AM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

It doesn't sound like writing will lead to anything enjoyable (in the long-term/big picture when the magical powers of the crush stop smoothing over his not-great behavior) for you, so don't write.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:06 AM on June 2, 2012

Even if he's madly in love with you, this behavior won't change. This is who he is and will be with you. Since you don't enjoy this behavior, don't write to him.
posted by SMPA at 10:08 AM on June 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

All effort must come from his side now, preferably AFTER he breaks up with his girlfriend. You have done enough, so either he steps up or he disappears.
posted by bquarters at 10:15 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

He's really not interested; if he were, we would have made time to see/text/make plans with you. Don't waste your time (and emotions) on writing him.
posted by Specklet at 10:16 AM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Don't write. Move on.

This is really buried in your post, but while all this (drama, flaking, etc.) was going on, he was in a relationship with someone else. He might still be. He's not available. You can't expect to get what you want in that situation.

Honestly, I think he wanted to bang you on the side. So yeah, he liked you to that extent. But that's not enough for what you obviously want, based on this level of thinking about him.
posted by J. Wilson at 10:18 AM on June 2, 2012 [15 favorites]

- It sounds like he's already dating someone else and being sneaky about it.

- Shut him down now. Forget. Move on.

The reason is that you've shown him you will put up with the flakey, so he'll just continue to contact you or see you on HIS terms, only. You don't want or need to be treated like that.

He's likely charming, but also, he fits the profile of every player or cheater I ever dated.

It's not you, it's him. He's not a nice boy. Delete, block, and ignore him from now on.
posted by jbenben at 10:26 AM on June 2, 2012 [6 favorites]

Yeah, girl it doesn't matter if his relationship is waning. Don't do it! Even if he was available, his flake radar is out of control. There is no excuse for leaving you hanging. That was like the time I was seeing this guy. We made plans to head into the city at a specific time, he said he was going to call, he never did cause he was sleeping. I waited all morning. I finally called and he just woke up saying "oh, hey, if you were getting so upset, why didn't you call me?" I should have canceled the date, but I didn't. So, really. He's garbage. I don't care how nice he is. He's gonna end up breaking your heart.
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 10:28 AM on June 2, 2012

Nope, nope, nope. A guy who is intersted in you will crawl through broken glass to catch a glimpse of you. This guy, nah.

You had a fun flirt and crush and now it's over.

Concentrate on your job hunt and file this away as a nice diversion at the end of your school years. I promise you, in 4 months you won't remember his name.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:30 AM on June 2, 2012 [7 favorites]

You are fooling yourself. He knows you are open to liking him and he's flattered and he wants it to continue.

Seriously, quit analyzing it. Let him figure out how he feels. He probably thinks you have hook up potential. He's not even trying. The whole napkin thing was him trying to be funny because he took too many and didn't want to throw them away.
posted by discopolo at 10:31 AM on June 2, 2012

Also, he's super shady. He likes your attention because he's in a relationship. You aren't special to him. Find someone worth your energy.
posted by discopolo at 10:35 AM on June 2, 2012

Is this guy flaky, or just not interested?

I doesn't matter! Both options = do not date. Don't waste your time trying to figure out what's going on in his head. All you need to know is that his objective behavior is unacceptable.
posted by Ragged Richard at 10:36 AM on June 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

Not Interested.

I will freely admit that I have twice acted in a fashion very similar to the way this guy is acting now. I was just out of college, immature, selfish, and going through a period in my life where I was, frankly, a shitty person. Both times I did this, it was because I really wasn't interested in the person, but was stringing them along because it made me feel better about myself. On one occasion, I was dating two people and stringing the second one along even though I was more attracted to & interested in the first. I would frequently blow off his calls, texts, etc. because the second person was a back-up plan if I didn't have anything better going on. I ended up deeply hurting that person and I know without a doubt he would have gained absolutely nothing by continuing contact with me. He blocked me from MySpace (wow, I'm showing my age), Facebook, etc. and we haven't spoken or interacted since that time.

Take it from someone who used to be that guy: he's not interested. You have nothing to gain by staying in contact with him. If you do decide to stay in contact with him, you need to prepare yourself for feeling frustrated and used.
posted by pecanpies at 10:46 AM on June 2, 2012 [6 favorites]

Also, I'm a girl, if it matters at all, but one who used to act much like the guy you're describing.
posted by pecanpies at 10:48 AM on June 2, 2012

he apologized quite a bit, and he told me to text him so that we could set another meeting up. I was slightly annoyed that he wanted me to text him, given that he was the one who forgot

He's a self-absorbed flake. Listen to your gut.

I tried to avoid him because I was dressed up for an event and embarrassed at being seen

And work on your self-esteem so you're not so self-conscious in all of these perfectly-normal situations. You're putting yourself at the mercy of other people way too much.
posted by rhizome at 10:59 AM on June 2, 2012 [6 favorites]

As others have said, his behavior is allllllllll about him, so try not to internalize it and wonder if it was something you did wrong, or if there is something about you that's unattractive. Nope.

What he was doing is called "managing down your expectations." He was giving you juuuust enough attention to keep you interested, and then withdrawing from you, so that when you got another bit of weak attention from him, it felt like a bigger deal than it was. I'm explaining it poorly. But it's a really good thing to learn to look out for, because you'll save yourself so much angst as you continue to date -- if you catch someone pulling that move, you can bounce early before you get too hooked.

Congrats on graduating, have a great summer, date good guys, have fun!
posted by quivering_fantods at 11:20 AM on June 2, 2012 [5 favorites]

(And of course, there is the not insignificant fact that he has a girlfriend. No dating attached dudes! Thar be dragons, lass.)
posted by quivering_fantods at 11:24 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

What else are you getting out of this friendship? Think of your least attractive-to-you platonic friend. Imagine that they were a) hitting on you even though they had a relationship and b) flaking on your meetings because they were too immature and disrespectful to change their plans with you. Would you respect them? Would you be going out of your way like this to make time for them?

I've dated a couple of flaky charmers. Trust me, you hit a point where you get so familiar with them that the charm and good looks stop working on you. You just see them as people, the way you do with family and really old friends. And unlike with really old friends, you come to the sinking realization that you don't respect them, because they aren't good to other people. The flakiness gets Really Old, really fast, and you wonder why you're dropping everything to spend time with someone who gets away with being an ass.

You're obviously cute or you wouldn't have gotten his attention. Go find someone who is as sweet, respectful and thoughtful as you are. He can text you or write you when he pulls his act together, not before.
posted by sockomatic at 11:47 AM on June 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

admitting that he was in a waning relationship,

This is what he thinks of you. That you are totally fine being ignored, brushed off, and playing second fiddle to his real girlfriend. You're better than this.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:54 AM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I used to think that someone liking you was an on/off thing. But really, someone being just that bit of extra sweet to you can mean so many things:
- Nothing at all - you like them and are completely projecting
- They are just a person who enjoys being sweet and even mildly flirtatious with no intent behind it
- They like your attention and enjoy it but don't actually like you
- They like you and it shows but they have no intention of actually doing anything because
- they don't like you quite that much
- they're in a relationship
- they don't think they want the same kind of relationship you do and don't even want to bother making a bid
- some other thing that really doesn't matter anyway
- They'd like it if you pursued them and then they could enjoy your attention and even sleep with you, but they don't like you enough to actually pursue you
- They're shy or timid, and will respond with enthusiasm and follow through when you clearly guide the way. This guy has not done that.

So it's not really an on/off at all, and the bottom like isn't about what's going on in his head, but what behavior he's giving you to work with. The message I'm hearing from his behavior is that he enjoys your company and attention when it's convenient for him, but he isn't at all interested in actually dating you, and he doesn't care too much about being considerate of your time and feelings, a characteristic that is objectionable in platonic friendships, let alone relationships.

He clearly puts himself first, and you should put yourself first. Interact with him exactly as much as is gratifying for you in the present, without any expectations of him, because there's nothing to be counted on.

Good for you for asking him out! Truly. It takes guts and was exactly the right thing to do and being able to do that will serve you well in the future. Now you just have to accept his answer and move on.
posted by Salamandrous at 12:00 PM on June 2, 2012 [8 favorites]

Is this guy flaky, or just not interested?

What's the difference?
posted by cmoj at 1:08 PM on June 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

he said he would text me when he would have people over that night for drinking--but that never happened

Regarding this, I would bet my next paycheck that this is exactly what happened:
He invited a girl he was more interested in (the subject of his "waning relationship" or perhaps someone else entirely) to his night of drinking/party, but mentioned it to you just in case she didn't show. That way, he could send you a last minute invite if she blew him off. Maybe she's doing to him the same thing he's doing to you - stringing him along as a backup plan. In any event, when she did show, he never got back in touch with you about the get-together and ignored your texts, because she was already there.

I know this because I have done this exact thing back when I was acting like a selfish, immature jerk.

You know the old saying that goes: when someone tells you who they are, believe them? This guy is telling you loud and clear that he really does not care about your friendship and will only respond to you when it's convenient for him. Like when he told you he couldn't respond to your text because his parents were over and he was a little hungover - that doesn't even make sense! If my parents were at my house and I was dealing with a hangover, here are the things that would prevent me from doing:
- Baking a cake
- Cleaning my house
- Going grocery shopping

That situation would not prevent me from taking 30 seconds to respond to a text message.

Then you go on to say he called you later that day when he was near your place, i.e., when it was convenient for him. So, he couldn't be bothered to take 30 seconds to respond to a text message, but when he happened to be in your neighborhood, he called you, expecting you to drop everything and hang out. He's not even bothering to try to meet you halfway; he's expecting you to be at his beck and call. Not cool, not worth your time or emotional energy.
posted by pecanpies at 4:00 PM on June 2, 2012 [6 favorites]

He didn't show up for your first date, and it wasn't because he was in the hospital in a coma or had a tragic thumb accident such that he couldn't text you "oh shit I forgot about that exam, can we do X:00 instead?"

He didn't even take the initiative to stump up a lame excuse. He saw you walking by.

Guy who does not show up for your first date, does not get a second chance, unless he has a truly magnificent excuse, which he didn't.

Ain't I ruthless and inflexible? Yes. Now, you can be ruthless and inflexible too. It will save you ever such a lot of time, as will paying attention to that particle of information deeply embedded in your text:


"waning"? He's not into you, and he's not into his girlfriend, either, so it's nothing personal. Or, to put it more accurately, he behaves like an entitled asshole who does whatever he wants, therefore, it doesn't matter if he's into you or not. You shouldn't be into him. Nobody should be into him.

Sorry, it sucks.
posted by tel3path at 5:15 PM on June 2, 2012 [7 favorites]

He's not that mature. Your life is just getting going. Move on and forget about him, honestly - you have a lot better out there ahead of you.
posted by Miko at 8:40 PM on June 2, 2012

he got up to leave, placed some napkins on my table and said, "These are for you--in case you need them," when there was a small basket full of them on my table already.

That's creepy as hell. This sounds like manipulative behavior to me. He could have just said hi, but instead he came up with some faux-considerate gesture that meant he didn't have to look like he wanted to make contact with you. That plus "calling you over" and your noted annoyance at him "telling" you to text him. Oh yeah, and his girlfriend (!) in the "waning" relationship that if it really is "waning" means he's dragging THAT relationship out for some reason of his own.

posted by cmoj at 10:04 PM on June 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

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