Followed Ask Metafilter advice, asked a girl out, now what's going on?
March 30, 2014 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Hi everyone, about a month ago, I asked metafilter whether this girls likes me and whether we were going on a date. I followed everyone's advice and straight up asked her on a date, but now I'm not sure what's going on. Sorry for the wall of text, but I'd like to give you all the details of what happened. Please be aware that this is from my perspective.

Original post

We ended up not going to rockwall at all. Instead, I took up all the courage I had one morning, made sure that she will have no exams the next week, and asked her,

"So next Thursday, do you want to go on a date?"

She froze, then quickly said, "Sure."

I was beyond happy, and she seemed to too, because she flustered and waved her arms around in the air (nervously) and said something about it has to be after some event. But I wasn't paying attention to anything she said after the first word. We smiled at each other dumbly, and I thought it was quite an adorable moment.

Then, I noticed behavior changes the next week. I see her on Wednesday and Friday mornings when I go and buy snacks from the stockroom, where she works. No one else works that early, so we usually talk alone for quite a while on those days. On Wednesday, the morning before the date, when I went to see her, she was sooo nervous. Normally, she would say "hi" immediately and smile at me. But when I saw her then, she glanced over at me, said "hi," immediately went back to what she was doing. She quietly asked me how my day was and, throughout the next few minutes, walked around the room, looked down, did random things, and avoided any eye contact. At one point, she was writing something, and the broom stick fell. She said slowly, "and there goes the broom." But as we talked more, she started smiling at me. Later, we talked over the details about the date. And she told me to have a nice day before we departed.

Originally we were going bowling, but the place was too crowded, so we went and watched a movie instead (I know, bad for first date, but I had to come up with something on spot). Nothing happened between us during the date, no hand holding, etc. When we drove back, we had a good conversation, and she told me about her passion for rocks. Before we departed for the night, she gave me a hug.

The next day was Friday before spring break. I had wanted to ask her for a date during spring break, but learned that she's going home (an hour or so away) the entire week. So that morning, I asked her if she wanted to go out again when she comes back. She said sure.

The following Thursday, midway through spring break, I called and asked if she wanted to go rollerskating the next Tuesday. She hesitated, said sure, but then said she had to check her schedule because she might have an exam the next day. Then, she asked how my spring break was, and we talked for a bit. She never called me back. On Monday, I texted her to make sure Tuesday wasn't a good day, she texted back and said she just had too much going on that week. Then, I called, and we talked on the phone for quite a good bit about classes. On Thursday, I left for a national convention and didn't get back until Sunday. I thought it would give her some space.

I know she always have lots of school related things going on even before asking her on a date. She has lots of exams and papers and often stay up till 2 or 3 in the morning studying/writing. She doesn't party and is fairly quiet around people. However, she knows when to speak up (she did when running for an officer in a club) and will speak to you one on one. She's a terrible texter, often texting only the essential information. She doesn't know how to flirt with body language, at all. Verbal teasing seems to be the best she can do.

I didn't think much of the cancellation and let things go naturally. On Wednesday morning when we came back, she was still only glancing at me and going back to what she was doing when she saw me. But as we talked, we held gaze longer and smiled more. Later in the day, we were in the same room with my good friend (married), and she kept asking him questions and ignored me and was unable to sit still the entire time. She would make loud noises with the computer and tap her feet, while me and my friend talked about a class project. At one point, she asked him a question and said my name instead, but quickly corrected herself. I felt that's just another sign of her being nervous.

On Friday, I told her that I know her schedule is hectic and asked her to a coffee on the following Friday. She said yes and seemed really happy. She teased me about some school work, and we had a good conversation. However, the next Wednesday, she said Friday isn't working but quickly suggested Sunday afternoon. This is probably because she goes home with her brother on some Fridays and come back on Sundays. I didn't think much of it.

On Thursday afternoon, I saw her at the stockroom, and asked if she wanted to get something at the school cafe. She said sure. We met at the cafe, but she didn't eat anything (she's allergic to flour and generally doesn't eat at the cafe). So instead, she sat down across from me and talked with me as I ate. We talked for over an hour about lots of things (childhood games, poems, books, school) and smiled and joked. We both love The Great Gatsby a lot. At one point, she attempted a joke so badly that we both laughed at how horrible it was. Throughout the conversation, we would often pause the conversation and hold gaze for a few seconds longer than normal and smile at each other. I tried to see if her pupils dilated, but it was too hard to tell.

I did notice that she stopped asking me to tutor her in organic. When I asked her if she needed help, it was either "I think I got it" or "not even started looking over the chapter." This might just be because she already has a solid B in the class and doesn't really need help or she had a lot of other things going on. It could be a million reasons. On the other hand, she literally begged me to do another film for her (we had done one before with a group of people) for bonus points. I didn't really want to and said "maybe." She begged and said "maybe means yes." She also mentioned many times that she just wanted this last month of school to be over.

At the end of the dinner, as we walked out, she said that with so much going on, she's not sure if Sunday will work. I told her "so that means no." She nodded and then said, "but I'll see you around often." Then she gave me a hug. I asked her if she needed a ride back to my dorm, but she said "no, it's fine." But I insisted and dropped her off since it was a fairly lengthy walk. At this point, I was pretty bummed out, but I felt that she thinks eating at the cafe had just fulfilled the purpose of the coffee date, and that she could spend the time Sunday studying for her four exams instead.

The next morning, it rained hard. And I walked through the rain to work (research in same building as her) with no umbrella. I was feeling pretty down. When I went to buy snacks, I was pretty quiet and looked down as I walked. She looked at me and joked, "getting a little wet?" I smiled and we talked more.

It's amazing how her body language changes as we progress through the conversation. The neutral body language would quickly turn into a more open one, and this happens quicker each time I see her. At one point, she held a stick in her hand and waved it forward and backward as she talked. I had to gesture her to stop because she might be hitting something. She laughed and hid it behind her back. We would talk for 20 minutes or so, until we are basically staring at each other and smiling when I was leaving.

So that's all that has happened up until now. My own conclusion and gut instinct tell me that she just have so much going on this last month of class and want to get that over with before going on dates with me. My close friends are positive and tell me the samething. Her body language has been all positive. When I stop talking in a conversation, she extends it with stories and questions instead of capping it with short phrases. However, that uncertaintly is always there. And I've read many online article, and people say that flaking out 2 or 3 times is a very bad thing. But I just feel that this is such a special case, with her putting her priority on school. The fact she mentioned so many times that this last month of class is hectic and that she can't wait for it to be over seemed to be an invitation for me to ask her during the summer. What do you think? Thanks!
posted by Thisispiggy to Human Relations (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Damn man. Take a deep breath. Relax. It'll either happen or it won't. I know this is probably going to be really hard advice to take, but stop obsessing about it, keep busy and keep living your life. Don't build up this potential relationship into the most important thing in your life. She's going to feel that pressure and not be comfortable with it.
posted by empath at 7:23 AM on March 30, 2014 [16 favorites]

She is stringing you along. Maybe not intentionally, but she does not currently see you as a romantic partner but either A) likes having you as a friend and thinks that flat-out rejecting you romantically will break that friendship, or B) wants to keep you in her back pocket as a possible romantic partner if you improve somehow or she finds herself lonely some day.

So figure out for yourself: Are you okay with just being her friend? Not having a friendship with her that might possible someday develop into something more, just being someone she hangs out with and hugs. If you are, then that's fine. Be her friend. But don't ever try to make a move, because if A is true, then she thinks it'll break the friendship, so it will; and if B is true, then you're this guy, and you don't want that either.

If you're not okay with just being her friend, then break it off. If she pursues you, reassess whether she changed her mind about seeing you as a romantic partner (in which case, tentative Yay!) or whether she just wants you in her back pocket.
posted by Etrigan at 7:29 AM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not into you. Move on.
In the future, stop obsessing and reading articles about how to read body-language. Learn to develop a sense of intuition instead of chronicling and trying to analyze a bunch of data.
posted by greta simone at 7:32 AM on March 30, 2014 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Next time you talk, end it with, "so let me know if you want to do something together again when you get the time." This puts the ball squarely in her court. After that, you can be friendly with her, but don't assume she wants to date you unless and until she asks you on a date. I am sorry that you seem to be feeling mixed signals, but this is the only way to know.

My instinct here is that she likes hanging out and talking to you, but isn't interested in you romantically. But the only way to know for sure is for her to make a move or lack of a move.
posted by Night_owl at 7:33 AM on March 30, 2014 [24 favorites]

"So that means no" coupled with "but I'll see you around often" means she doesn't want to date you, but wants to be friends or friendly. I really don't think there's a lot of ambiguity here.

In the future, if someone starts to look like they're flaking, it's okay to put it back on them. Okay well let me know when you're free! If they want to go out again, they will contact you. If someone wants to date you they will find time.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:37 AM on March 30, 2014 [16 favorites]

It's tough to tell. I disagree with Etrigan a bit because it can be hella tough for this type of girl to make any sort of move even if they really really want to (speaking from experience here). Even if she does like you she might not be able to screw up the courage to indicate that.

I'm assuming that you want to keep hanging out either way but would like a clearer sign.

When I was in high school I had a friend who I liked-liked but also didn't actually want to date, and he wanted to date me but also didn't want to break the friendship if I said no. So he asked me to the movies (ambiguous) and when I said yes, he said, "So... Is this a date movie thing or a friends hanging out movie thing?" And I said "a friends hanging out thing" and he was nice about it and we had fun at the movie. It was a nice way of letting me say it without saying "no, friend who I don't want to hurt, I don't want to date you". Maybe try something like that. (Next month.)
posted by heatherann at 7:39 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sounds like she enjoys your company but doesn't want to date you. Honestly, if you're trying to see if her pupils dilate when she talks to you, that's kind of creepy. While she may not realize that's what you're doing, I bet she senses how into her you are, and it's turning her off.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 7:41 AM on March 30, 2014 [11 favorites]

I think she's interested, but her education is her first priority.
posted by brujita at 7:43 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Her "flaking" is her trying nicely to tell you she doesn't want to date you.
posted by Requiax at 7:45 AM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

When I was younger and just starting to date, I would act just like this for two very different reasons:

I really liked the guy but was so overwhelmed with feelings, nerves, trying to read signals, worrying that I wasn't acting right, etc, that I probably seemed sort of nuts.

Or, I didn't really like the guy as a boyfriend, but as a friend, and I couldn't figure out how to say no to the dates but yes to hanging out platonically.

Not sending mixed signals and knowing how to say no came with experience, but it wasn't possible when I first started dating. So, if she is like how I was, you need to back off a bit. All of this pressure isn't going to help with either situation. Keep talking to her, stop bringing up the word date, and be her friend. Gently flirt. Be present and supportive in her life. Ask her to non threatening things - like movies or coffee or hikes.

In the summer, start doing more datey things - nice restaurants, taking fun classes together, etc. Hold her hand. Say things like "i'd like to take you out to xxxxx." Tell her she's really pretty. If she's not interested, you'll figure it out before long.

Yes, this is slow and possibly maddening. This is also not the way probably 90% of people work. But, I saw so much of teenaged me in your depiction that I wanted to throw my two cents in, in case she and I are cut from the same cloth.
posted by umwhat at 7:50 AM on March 30, 2014 [5 favorites]

It sounds like she was okay with giving a try to dating you, but doesn't quite know how to break it off. I'm sorry. It's not the best way to do it, but I think she'd appreciate it if you let her off the hook.
posted by xingcat at 7:53 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: yeah I think you guys are absolutely right. I'll stop asking for dates. I'll still talk to her, but it'll just be friendly talks.

If she likes me back, she will initiate everything.

This sucks and hurts a lot, but I'll recover.
posted by Thisispiggy at 8:15 AM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

I realize you are looking for direction and not every possible direction but that's how people are. We are all different not just from each other but even from our selves moment to moment. I related very much to what umwhat had to say. I was insanely uncomfortable around people when I was younger and the greater my attraction toward someone the weirder I was. It would be a cycle like, lonely lonely lonely , very excited about meeting someone, uncomfortable to the point where I would miss dates and not answer the phone, lonely again. Repeat as needed. So even when all signs seem to say not interested, maybe something else is going on. I think backing off is a reasonable move and then reach out one more time maybe a month later. If she has regretted how she handled things she might do better the second time around, if not, move on.
posted by InkaLomax at 8:18 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think any of us can read the tea leaves and tell you how this woman feels about you, but reading your question makes me feel kind of tense and keyed up in an "anxiety by osmosis" sort of way. You sound like you're fixating on tiny details and obsessively trying to interpret all sorts of things that may or may not actually mean anything, and I don't think you're doing yourself any favors by that - for one, if she senses that you're doing this it's going to make her feel uncomfortable even if she was originally interested in you (would YOU want to feel so intensely scrutinized by a potential romantic partner?), and for another, this just can't be healthy for you. If you aren't already, maybe think about checking out your university's counseling services; it sounds like you could benefit from at least talking to a counselor a few times to see what's going on.

Beyond that, I think the people suggesting that you put the ball in her court are spot on, but even more than that, I hope you'll listen to empath's suggestion that you try to focus on keeping busy and concentrate on other areas of your life. Things will either happen or they won't, but you're going to be just fine either way. Take care of yourself, and good luck.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:24 AM on March 30, 2014 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for everyone's response. I do have to say that I am incredibly busy myself, probably as busy as what she says she is.

I have lots of paper due and also work every day. It's just that once I care about something, I get really obsessed with it. I know it's not healthy, and I will try hard to improve that.

Thanks again for the help.
posted by Thisispiggy at 8:37 AM on March 30, 2014

It's possible that she just doesn't want to make dating a priority in her life at this time. It's also possible that she just doesn't want a romantic relationship with you, specifically. Either way, my advice is to back off and remain friendly. I'd also advise you to be very careful about making her feel cornered at her workplace, because it's possible that you're misreading things. There are going to be many opportunities to meet somebody you're compatible with and who also wants to be actively dating. Be open to it, don't over-think it, and let it happen naturally.
posted by gimli at 8:40 AM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mod note: Hey, thisispiggy, moderator here. No problem, but just to let you know, it's not really customary here for the poster to reply to all the responses or to do any ongoing processing in the thread. Unless something needs clarification, you can sit back, read the responses, choose the ones that seem most useful to you and just ignore anything that doesn't ring true/seem useful. Thanks.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:45 AM on March 30, 2014

not enough information to determine whether she sees romantic possibility in you or not, she could just be shy and new at this. could you dial up your confidence level a notch? this would mean, inter alia, not asking the internet to script your dates.

she has a passion for rocks, so, ask her to go rockhounding with you. bring a picnic basket and an ice chest with a 6-pack of good beer. at the end of the afternoon when you have all the interesting rocks you can carry, lean in for a kiss. that's how you find out if you have any kind of future together.
posted by bruce at 9:28 AM on March 30, 2014

I think it's really impossible to tell here what's going on, especially when you're talking about a couple of bookish introverts. I had interactions just like this in high school with guys who I was crazy about, and also with guys I didn't like that way at all. However, sticking too closely to any piece of advice here--pursue her! let her pursue you!--is probably a little foolish. Why not just enjoy your interactions with her, while also keeping your other romantic options open? I wish that had been my attitude early in my dating career. I would have missed far fewer opportunities to make out with people.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:35 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dude. DUDE. Stop paying attention to this woman’s “body language” and start paying attention to the words that come out of her mouth. You know, what she says? Her actual, logical, brain-thoughts that she puts out into the world for you to hear? The sentences and phrases and so on?

Waaaaaay too much gazing into eyes, reading pupils, laughing, and hugging and not enough paying attention to the things that she actually says and to her life.

“because she flustered and waved her arms around in the air (nervously) and said something about it has to be after some event. But I wasn't paying attention to anything she said after the first word. We smiled at each other dumbly, and I thought it was quite an adorable moment.”


“She doesn't know how to flirt with body language, at all. Verbal teasing seems to be the best she can do.”


Dude, human beings invented language for a reason. It's a step up from grunting and so on.
posted by quincunx at 10:21 AM on March 30, 2014 [19 favorites]

It appears that this person enjoys having a friendly person to talk to at work, but has no interest in you outside of the workplace. Let her know (once) "Call me if you want to go do something sometime." and then never bring it up again. The balls is then in her court for her to pick up or ignore--without her having to feel that she has to avoid anyone at her workplace.
I tried to see if her pupils dilated, but it was too hard to tell.
Don't do this (ever again). You are not a detective on some cheesy '80s cop show. In real life, this is going to be creepy/crazy to the person you are staring at.
...she said "no, it's fine." But I insisted and dropped her off since it was a fairly lengthy walk. At this point, I was pretty bummed out
You need to listen when someone tells you "no". You do NOT get to "insist" that someone do something they don't want to do.

Few people are going to want to get into a car alone with someone who wants something from them that they can't give, someone who is visibly "bummed out" that they've just been rejected
--that is how far too many women "disappear".
posted by blueberry at 11:25 AM on March 30, 2014 [17 favorites]

So he asked me to the movies (ambiguous) and when I said yes, he said, "So... Is this a date movie thing or a friends hanging out movie thing?"


On, and for your own sanity I would give all but the grossest level of body language reading a miss. As awkward as it can be, direct communication is much more impressive than remote guessing.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:44 AM on March 31, 2014

On the up side - you are now that much more skilled at asking a girl for a date.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:04 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I tried to see if her pupils dilated, but it was too hard to tell.

This line was pretty disturbing. I wasn't even there and the behavior you describe sounds creepy. Honestly, it seems to me that you make her nervous (by your own admission), that she probably feels flattered by your attention but simultaneously creeped out by you and isn't sure how to be direct in expressing her non-interest.

For future reference, "sure" isn't an enthusiastic response after you've asked them out .. And none of her reactions after that signal genuine interest. Kudos to you for having the courage to ask her out. Now have the courage to move on. Other fish in the sea, my friend ..
posted by Gray Skies at 9:40 AM on March 31, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm sorry, but when I really like a dude, I will make time to see him no matter what.

I, too, think she's stringing you long 'cuz she's too chicken to say she's not interested.
posted by Jess the Mess at 3:35 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

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