Go through with this first date or not even bother...?
June 20, 2015 1:38 PM   Subscribe

While dating online I am planning on meeting a man tomorrow for a first date. He proposes his city. At the same time I am trying actively to progress in making better choices in men, being assertive, trusting my gut, realistically doubting myself, and am afraid of being too negative ("cutting off my head because of a toothache", or an English equivalent).

(btw not being a native English speaker, here's hoping I'm making myself clear) We haven't had much contact yet, just a couple of texts (he never replies the same day, so I haven't done that either, I believe). Not a great connection-feel (yet) but I don't want to be to quick to judge. We (both postmaster, single, different cultures, same age) live in different cities, about 60mins door to door apart. He asked me about a week ago to meet tomorrow. Today he texted me the following: Are you in (his city) tomorrow, if so we can meet at (square, not a restaurant or cafe). I haven't replied yet.
Before this, he asked me my plans for the weekend, but that he knew that my plans for Sunday were going to be awesome (meaning meeting him). I replied proposing a tea/drink in the afternoon (I think this was a way for me to kind of tone it down and not leave it so open).
I've noticed I feel annoyed by this, but not sure if that is reasonable. There might also be some cultural differences. But he is assuming/proposing first that I will come to him, and I find it remarkable that even in his own city he's not very specific and not making much of an effort to choose a place convenient for me (not at all close to a train station, etc). I have identified him online (work publications), so he's not a catfish.

What do you make of this? It may seem very basic (and it is!) and maybe even trivial (making a big thing out of nothing) but it feels like this is right where I tend to go wrong all-the-time. I think I am already somewhat confused.

Any and all of your (gut)reactions or insights will likely help me a lot. Thanks in advance!!
posted by Dutchmeisje to Human Relations (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If it were me, I would not want to spend over two hours of travel time to meet someone for a drink that didn't seem that willing to make a reciporical effort. At this point, you can cancel with no excuses if you want - "sorry, my plans changed. I won't be able to go to your city after all." If he replies in way that makes you think you underestimated him, you can always reschedule. Otherwise, just walk away.
posted by metahawk at 1:43 PM on June 20, 2015 [6 favorites]

If you're getting any kind of off feeling about a person before you date them, maaaaan, don't date them! Even if it's minor, even if it's trivial, if something a person does irks you (enough to ask the whole internet about it!) then that's plenty enough reason to decide ok, never mind, no thank you. You have 100% complete and total agency here.

Do you live out in the middle of nowhere or something? Surely there's a viable dating pool in your own city that you can tap first and render this entire situation moot. I know people who won't even consider dating anyone who doesn't live on the same train line, let alone in another city an hour away.

To give my personal opinion on this very specific situation, charitably I think what could have happened here is that you had planned to meet tomorrow, but location hadn't been decided yet. Then today (the day before the date) he tries to cement down a plan, asking if you're in town, which you don't respond to. So then, because you're not giving him anything to work with here, he figures ok, let me just pick a thing and if they're still interested then they'll say so. I mean, come on, dude is trying to make plans with you for 24 hours from now and you're not responding to him! If I were in his shoes I would likewise throw a hail mary pass and just name a date/time/location to see what sticks. You've given me nothing to work with, so rather than just blow you off (and potentially leave you disappointed) I try one more time to nail the thing down.
posted by phunniemee at 1:50 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

It would help to know if he happens to live in a major city and you are out in the suburbs. I have a small tendency to think people would want to come downtown to hang out and just wondered if you had ruled that out. He might not know any places near where you live and he might be thinking you would know that area. If he's not in a downtown, then I would see these as red flags. Also, it is of concern that he didn't mention transit or anything.

However, you seem to have a lot of hesitations and I think you should go with your gut. If this is not feeling right, listen to that. Always listen to that.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 1:52 PM on June 20, 2015

Best answer: He should at least offer to meet you halfway!
posted by Jacqueline at 1:54 PM on June 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

Unless you are looking for a casual fling or are considering moving in the near future, I would not advise starting a relationship at that kind of distance, even if it seems like a great connection. As tepid as you both seem on each other, I would strongly suggest you just decline.
posted by Candleman at 2:14 PM on June 20, 2015

Response by poster: @phunniemee

Thanks for the fresh point of view, but I think I started 'cementing'. Let me know what you think (verbatim):

He yesterday: .... Nice plans for the weekend? I know your Sunday plan is awesome ;)
(we had made no plans yet, just the date/day)
Me today: ... What is my Sunday plan?? How about a tea/drink in the afternoon sometime?
He today: Sounds good. Will you be in x? In that case, around x time, square.

@ Chaussette and the Pussy Cats

His is a big city. But I live in a different and smaller one, but no suburb (that would be an insult, haha), and he has said that he knows my city. He has been in this country for +8 years.


Yes! I feel like it's a strange way to solve an open situation. Why would I be in his city when I live where I do? I haven't given him any reason to think I am often in his city, at all. He's not offering anything, really.
posted by Dutchmeisje at 2:19 PM on June 20, 2015

He today: Sounds good. Will you be in x? In that case, around x time, square.

Couldn't you then reply "no, I won't be in x. How about we meet in y at cafe z?"

I'm not saying you should bother with this guy, I'm just saying that would be the next logical step I would take with this situation if I were pursuing it.
posted by phunniemee at 2:30 PM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

I basically agree that you should not date someone where you have bad feelings before even meeting, but in this case it seems like your bad feelings are disproportionate and probably not actually related to him.

He has proposed that you meet at a location inconvenient to you. Probably was just not being conscientiousness and aware enough to have realized that this location is inconvenient. This tells you something about him, but by no means does it need to be a dealbreaker.

Why would you not just counterpropose a more convenient location?

And he proposed that you meet tomorrow in the first place. I think that implicit in that proposal was that you come to his city. If you are this put out by the idea of going to his city before he comes to yours, then maybe you need to reconsider whether or not you're really okay with a potential relationship over that distance.

Again though, I think the issues are in your head. He has, at worst, been somewhat poor at communicating.
posted by 256 at 3:20 PM on June 20, 2015

He might just be super inexperienced with online dating and a bit clueless, not considering that you would have to come to him. I'd ask him to suggest somewhere near the main train station. If he keeps being annoying, feel free to cancel. Dating is stressful enough as it is. However, as mentioned above, consider whether you're actually prepared to date someone who lives in a different city.

(The English idiom for that is "to cut off your nose to spite your face". It's funny how there are phrases in different languages that are so similar yet different at the same time.)
posted by kinddieserzeit at 4:55 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Go with your gut. Skip this one.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 6:33 PM on June 20, 2015

Can you call him on the phone and just figure out together a good place to meet that is half way between your two locations?
posted by Dragonness at 8:51 PM on June 20, 2015

Best answer: Was this communication in English? Because if it was, I wonder if you have misunderstood.

"Will you be in x? In that case, around x time, square. "

If didn't have a plan, it sounds like he was trying to make a plan. If you WANTED to go to his city, he was suggesting where and when to meet. It would usually be your responsibility to propose a meeting spot in your city.
Try cancelling this meetup, suggest somewhere closer to you, and see how he responds?

I would not make any judgements about his considerateness, just based on this conversation.

But maybe you are worried about this because you just don't feel ready to date?
If so, you don't have to push yourself, but meeting someone is just the first step, it doesn't mean you have to go out with someone, it is just the getting to know you part. If you aren't REALLY, REALLY enthusiastic after the getting to know you stage, you don't have to go any further.

[Sorry, meant to send this 9 hours ago]
posted by Elysum at 5:53 AM on June 21, 2015

I don't think there's any good way to guess his intentions or worthiness of dating from these interactions. But I think you should only date in ways that are convenient to you. (Which is probably what he is doing... not wasting a lot of time by traveling to meet someone he may or may not click with.) Have potential dates meet you at times and places that are convenient to you. Only consider making exceptions if you have had online interactions that lead you to believe that someone is an especially great prospect. Which is not the case in this situation.
posted by metasarah at 9:23 AM on June 21, 2015

Best answer: Do you like going to that city? If so, plan a visit to the museum, shopping, whatever, so the trip isn't just to meet him.

Or, propose an alternate location that is at a midpoint.

Or, are you really going to want to date someone an hour away? Me, I'd go because I need dating practice.
posted by theora55 at 1:18 PM on June 21, 2015

I experienced a similar thing back when I was dating. I realised that 2 hours of driving is a lot just to get laid. That's what it boiled down to, for me. The guy in question was nice, but he wasn't that nice.

He's not putting much effort in, but he's expecting you to put a lot in. If you do respond, play the same trick - suggest meeting somewhere in your home town and see how he responds.

Dating is all about finding someone you click with. It's OK to have any value of "click with", and "someone near enough" is, to my mind, a reasonable value.
posted by Solomon at 1:52 AM on June 22, 2015

Geez, just call him on the phone (or email him to join a free conference call service so you dont have to give out your phone number) and just hash it out. If you both want to be equally annoyed and equally inconvenienced just meet halfway. If there is something else in his city that you would enjoy by yourself, then that is a good enough reason to go, meeting him would either be a bonus or not, either way the travel would not be a sunk cost.

Or just tell him "It would make me happy to meet you at Place in my town at Time. If we decide to have a second date I would be happy to have it in your city". If he doesn't want to make you happy then what's the point of dating him?
posted by Sophont at 12:48 PM on June 22, 2015

Response by poster: A very late update from me, thanks for the great answers. I actually marked quite a few "best" because they all tell me to start with me, listen to my gut but also to not be judging too fast or too much at all.

So I called off the first meeting, he (we) did keep in contact, so I proposed a new option in my city (for a certain event with a specific time of beginning). He texted before that he really wanted to be there for that event, asked specifically about the times involved, then arrived superlate (us both almost missing it) and gave no warning beforehand (like taking a later train) and made no excuse at all. During the afternoon we spent, with drinks somewhere quiet after the event was over, he seemed too moody for my taste, and annoyed when I didn't want to kiss him when saying goodbye... I think my impression that he mostly took himself into consideration in the way he handled the first meet, matched the way he actually was on that date.

The hivemind thinking critically with me here really helped me mentally preparing and also throughout the date itself, trying to see things from different sides but taking my gut- and other feelings seriously at the same time. Thank you all so much!
posted by Dutchmeisje at 10:16 AM on July 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

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