Lot of mixed signals from a girl. What is the meaning of it?
January 25, 2017 12:56 PM   Subscribe

I met this girl in my philosophy class and I like her ways but don’t know how she feels about me. So far the mixed signals have been getting as tight as it gets: 50% positive, 50% ignoring me. Is she just being polite (then I will stop approaching her) or is she interested but shy/playing hard to get/busy (then I will chase)?

There’s this situation I’m in and I’d like some advice. A few weeks ago university resumed and as I go to my philosophy class I try to make some new friends. I sit next to a girl and start chatting with her before the class starts. I do most of the talking and she drops in whenever I pause and… I am amazed how great a listener she is! She basically understands everything I say “in depth” and everything she says in response is very spot on! Later after class I ask her how she found the class and she says “Interesting!” with a smile! She waits for me to go out of the class together but suddenly she needs to go to her next class and just rushes away. Anyway, at that point I wasn’t too sure what to make of this mixed signal but I can understand if she needs to hurry.
Next class I sit next to her again and she puts away her readings as she notices me (this shows respect for me). I chat her up again and its nice and we even keep talking after class while walking down the street (she dropped the other class) but as I invite her for lunch just before we separate she says she needs to go study (she also responded with a lot of uncertainty in her voice). Another mixed signal. I didn’t take it personally hoping there would be more opportunities later.
But at that point I realise I’ve been doing most of the talking (although since she was listening so closely it wasn’t completely one-sided) and would like to know more about her. So to elicit more from her, in our next class I sit next to her but this time I shut up to give her the opportunity to say something. She still doesn’t talk much!! In any case, after class I wait for her again but she takes so long so I prefer to wait for her outside. But when I talk to her outside she is quite cold… I keep trying to talk to her but she is completely closed and even tells me she is going another way (unfortunately I picked up the message waaay too late and should have just let her be once I realised she was cold). Maybe she became cold because I waited for her outside without letting her know what I was doing so she assumed I left her…??
After that incident I am no longer sure what to make of this. I find her personality interesting and I like her looks and think we would be a good match, but was she only responding to me just out of politeness all that time? I really need to figure this out.
So next class I come early and as we were waiting outside I wave hi to her to see her response. She smiles but keeps looking in front of her. It actually seemed like a fake smile to me and she didn’t make any effort to bridge the gap between us, so this time I didn’t sit next to her.
And finally last class I didn’t see her at all, either she didn’t come due to the very heavy snow that day, or she tried to avoid me completely.
So… what to make of this situation? If a girl gives me 70% positive signals but keeps 30% distance, then to me it means keep chasing. But in her case it’s as if it’s 50-50. Was she polite all along? Or was she interested but then became disinterested? Or is she interested even till now but is just busy? Or are most of the effects due to shyness???
My best guess so far is that sometimes she was shy, sometimes it was a misunderstanding, sometimes it was because she was busy. But I still don’t know if fundamentally she is interested.
My male friend gave me the advice of just letting her be for now. But my female friend gave me the advice that I should keep talking to her and be patient. Who is right?
posted by iliketothinknu to Human Relations (40 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
She doesn't initiate conversation, she turned down an invite to lunch, and doesn't talk much. Her signals are not mixed-- she's not into you.

Hard-to-get is not a thing (hard-to-get is a misinterpretation of polite refusal.) I would also wonder-- why would you want to deal with someone playing hard to get? Isn't that just creating drama? What would be the point of playing that game?

Either way: give up.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:03 PM on January 25, 2017 [108 favorites]

You asked her for lunch, and she said no. Since then, she's been avoiding you. Sorry, but she's probably not interested. Backing off is a good plan.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:03 PM on January 25, 2017 [41 favorites]

Next time you see her, say to her, directly with words:

"Would you like to get dinner with me this Saturday? There's a Thai place just off campus that looks really good I've been meaning to try."

She may be about to rush off to the next class, or distracted, or any number of things. Or not interested! All of those are fine and normal. Have a pencil and a scrap of paper at the ready. If it looks like she can't talk, jot your phone number down real quick while she's standing there and give it to her. Smile and say, "here's my number, text me if you're interested," and then give her some space.

But seriously if you're interested in spending time with someone, just ask them to spend time with you.
posted by phunniemee at 1:05 PM on January 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

In any case, after class I wait for her again but she takes so long so I prefer to wait for her outside.

I keep trying to talk to her but she is completely closed and even tells me she is going another way

She smiles but keeps looking in front of her. It actually seemed like a fake smile to me and she didn’t make any effort to bridge the gap between us

To me, these all sound like pretty clear signals that she would prefer you left her alone.
posted by zebra at 1:06 PM on January 25, 2017 [48 favorites]

but as I invite her for lunch just before we separate she says she needs to go study

Whoops, I missed this. My bad.

Not a mixed signal, she's just not that into you. Sorry, man. You can still try asking her to dinner (and giving her time/space to respond) but it's probably going to be a no.
posted by phunniemee at 1:08 PM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Ok, but what do you guys make of the positive signals? You think it was just "being polite" and why did she listen me so intently?
posted by iliketothinknu at 1:10 PM on January 25, 2017

Agreed that she's not sending mixed signals.

It's not contradictory or wrong to like someone in one context (like class), enjoy talking to them, respect them, but not want any relationship beyond that. If you're not interested in talking to her unless you can sleep with her, then yeah, leave her alone. Otherwise feel free to continue being friendly and chatting in class and then going your separate ways afterwards.
posted by brainmouse at 1:12 PM on January 25, 2017 [25 favorites]

She's not interested, leave her alone.
What you're interpreting as 'positive signals' really is just 'being polite'. You know, you had a little chat, she listened, she's nice like that. Women are expected to be polite, to chat, to respond, to listen, it's both hard, and rather rude, to do otherwise. But the minute she had a chance to make a polite exit she did. None of this signals that she's interested in you, absolutely none of it. Not only do you need to let it drop, but you need to recalibrate your understanding of how women respond in social situations.
posted by AFII at 1:13 PM on January 25, 2017 [110 favorites]

Please don't ask her out on a date. She has to show up to this class, she shouldn't have to keep fending you off. She was purely being polite to you and now that she sees you're not getting the hint, she's actively avoiding you. She doesn't want to chat with you in class, either. Leave her alone.
posted by cakelite at 1:15 PM on January 25, 2017 [18 favorites]

Wow. Is it really that bad? You guys may be right, maybe I misunderstood things quite badly... It's hard to admit it but it's true she did make a polite exit as soon as she could.
But if that's the case, then I've got my answer!
posted by iliketothinknu at 1:19 PM on January 25, 2017 [12 favorites]

The positive signals are possibly her being polite or at that time & in that place she did enjoy talking to you, it doesn't mean that she wishes to continue the contact. She's giving you a nice polite way for you to back off & save face & not be embarrassed, take it now before it gets embarrassing.
posted by wwax at 1:19 PM on January 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

Gently, I think you're reading way too much into what you're perceiving as "positive signals." The first day of class, she talks to you - as a fellow shy person, I can tell you that when someone starts talking to me I can certainly listen well and respond well - I've been socialized to do that! - but that truly doesn't mean I'm "interested." It's just chatting with a person who is actively talking to you. Putting a book down when you approach and start talking to her is just being polite. Everything else you're reading as being into you just sounds like politeness to me. Please be polite back by leaving her alone.

And on a side note, also speaking as a fellow shy person (and a married one at that!), I have to say that I am still quite capable of indicating interest in someone. Not speaking for every shy person ever, but a lot of us can and will say "yes" to things like lunch when we're actually interested, or else suggest a different time/event if we truly can't make a spur-of-the-moment get-together. I think oftentimes people want to read clear signs of disinterest as simple "shyness," but personally I think that's a mistake. Shy people can show clear interest, too; a shut-down signal is a shut-down signal, even from a shy person.
posted by DingoMutt at 1:21 PM on January 25, 2017 [14 favorites]

I'm afraid I agree that her signals weren't positive. Among other things, I think if she liked you, she would've been happy to find that you'd waited for her outside when she thought you'd left, rather than closed off. Sorry to be another bearer of bad news.
posted by ferret branca at 1:24 PM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Part of the "misunderstanding" is in thinking that anyone who talks to you is personally interested. People can and do make polite conversation, it's extremely common. One really shouldn't be fishing for signs of personal interest until after you've become acquaintances. And that's what you tried to do, which is completely fine--but she refused. She doesn't want to get to know you better.

You'll have a much better chance of "figuring out signals" when you know someone well enough to interpret their body language and subtext. If you're still guessing, then you don't know them well enough, and no, there's no "if someone makes this gesture, it means this" common rule that covers everyone. You have to know *that* person well enough to understand how they behave when they're thinking or feeling something they don't want to say. Until then, you need to stick with words.

And you did. You asked if she wanted to join you or walk with you. And she said "No". There you have it. That's all the "signal" you need.
posted by Autumnheart at 1:28 PM on January 25, 2017 [25 favorites]

A lot of girls are raised with pretty high expectations that they will know how to be a good conversationalist and keeping a conversation going. It's part of teaching a girl to be "ladylike." I can really identify with the girl in your story, because as someone who was raised to know how to make small talk and prevent conversations from getting awkward, I tend to feel like I have a duty to talk back, with interest and animation, to anyone who talks to me.

But yeah, if people are interested, they will meet you halfway. She's been pleasant when she's with you, but she hasn't sought you out. Sorry.
posted by ostro at 1:39 PM on January 25, 2017 [30 favorites]

I agree with the chorus that you should not ask her out any more. Reading your descriptions of the first conversation you described, I'd like to offer a tip: Noticing that someone is "a good listener" often means you yourself are not being one. Communication is a two way information exchange and observing and listening is more valuable than guessing and extrapolating.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 1:40 PM on January 25, 2017 [33 favorites]

Additional, important info: when a woman who is being chatted up does NOT listen with an interested look on her face, does not put down her book but tells you she isn't interested very clearly, she is often treated very badly by the man.
She is called a bitch or an ice queen, and even threatened. Every woman knows this.
Women are being subtle not to obfuscate but because they have to, to protect themselves. Keep that in mind when watching out for signals that a woman's interested. Her safety depends on NOT rejecting you in an obvious manner. Her safety depends on letting you save face.
That's why lack of a "no" does not mean a "yes".
posted by Omnomnom at 1:43 PM on January 25, 2017 [104 favorites]

You also need to pay attention to how things change overtime. She went from waiting to walk with you after class (which could have meant she was interested in being friendly or just being polite, nothing more) to avoiding you. That's not mixed. That's pointing in a very clear direction.

Also this was painfully familiar:

I do most of the talking and she drops in whenever I pause and… I am amazed how great a listener she is! She basically understands everything I say “in depth” and everything she says in response is very spot on!

I'm a good listener and good at engaging in conversation. That has never meant anything more than I'm enjoying the conversation. It was always disappointing when it was interpreted to mean more and then be accused of a mixed signal. Talking to you is not a coded signal. Especially in a classroom environment where you'd expect to engage in intellectual discussions. You've essentially left her with the choice of "giving off mixed signals" or isolating herself to conversations with...Only those she may want to date? People who wouldn't want to date her? No one?
posted by ghost phoneme at 1:46 PM on January 25, 2017 [43 favorites]

Just for future reference, if you ask someone to have coffee/lunch/dinner and they are legitimately busy, but actually want to hang out with you in a potentially romantic context, they don't just say "no, sorry, I'm busy". They say "oh, that sounds cool, but I can't tomorrow, maybe some other time?" Or something to that effect. Sometimes shy people or people who aren't comfortable with dating rituals might not be forward and suggest an alternative time/activity--but they will express interest in the general idea of hanging out, or at the very least, present you with further opportunities to ask them out.

Basically, if someone wants to go out with you and they are forced by circumstance to turn down an invitation, they will do something about that, either directly or indirectly. When their conduct makes it harder to ask them out, they are telling you that they don't want to date.
posted by skewed at 1:54 PM on January 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

I agree with the other posters that this person has not displayed any signs of interest in you. A good way to proceed from here is to show the same kind of friendliness and interest in the other members of the class, regardless of whether you find them sexually appealing. The more social interactions that you have, the easier it will be for you to tell the difference between politeness and interest.

Quisp Lover's advice on this matter is as fine a blueprint as I have ever read on your topic.

She can probably feel an inappropriate imbalance in the amount of attention that you are paying to her versus the amount that you are paying to others. Learning to show interest in as many people as possible is in my opinion the most important life skill. It is its own reward, but it will also make you more attractive and enable you to get the most out of all interpersonal relationships.
posted by Kwine at 2:00 PM on January 25, 2017 [21 favorites]

There's another element that I think is important here:

What you're interpreting as positive signals of romantic interest are just her being willing to engage with you in conversation. Being nice and friendly is not a positive sign of romantic interest. It's a positive sign of being nice and friendly. It doesn't negate any possibility of romantic interest, but it doesn't imply any either.

As soon as you ask her out to lunch, and it becomes fairly clear you're not just someone who wants to be friends, she shuts you down pretty much completely. She's no longer being nice and friendly, because she has suddenly realized that you aren't trying to be her friend.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:04 PM on January 25, 2017 [15 favorites]

If a girl gives me 70% positive signals but keeps 30% distance, then to me it means keep chasing. But in her case it’s as if it’s 50-50. Was she polite all along? Or was she interested but then became disinterested? Or is she interested even till now but is just busy? Or are most of the effects due to shyness???
My best guess so far is that sometimes she was shy, sometimes it was a misunderstanding, sometimes it was because she was busy. But I still don’t know if fundamentally she is interested.

With all kindness: your response indicates that you think women are mysterious tricksters who you need to chase and decode.

You indicate that you believe there are objective interpretations of her behavior, but that is not true. You also indicate that she must be aware of the impression she is trying to make on you, which is also wildly unlikely. Maybe she is shy. Maybe she is distracted. Maybe you did something that set off a red flag and so her behavior changed. Maybe she was flirting but then she started dating someone so her behavior changed.

But you are an extremely unreliable narrator, because of the way you keep trying to ascribe romantic or secretive motives to very boring, meaningless behavior.

Maybe she smiled because she liked you. Maybe she smiled because she is afraid strange men will become violent if women do not smile at them. I am a woman, and I have smiled for both of those reasons in different settings.

I think you have been given good advice about this person. But I urge you to re-evaluate the way you think about women and interpret their actions and motives. Women are people.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 2:05 PM on January 25, 2017 [58 favorites]

I can't tell if this is a cultural difference issue because I don't know your country and culture of origin, but in mainstream US not-red-pill country, the language that you are using to describe this woman and your interactions with her raises some red flags for me. I would never advise a friend to date someone who described her interactions as "respectful." That's the big one, but admiring someone for how "spot on" their responses are to you, and how well they listen also makes me itchy. So, hey, I guess if you're not in the US, or are operating in a different cultural context, you do you (assuming mutual agreement on cultural context between the two of you). If you're in the US, maybe be aware of how you're coming across to at least some subsection of the female population.

Also, she's gone from being casually friendly, to awkwardly avoiding you, to possibly skipping class. This is a really big sign she's uncomfortable. I might be wrong, sure. If so, there's nothing that says you can't be the one to play hard to get, and let her ask you to lunch.
posted by instamatic at 2:14 PM on January 25, 2017 [39 favorites]

To be honest, as soon as I read that your take on your attempt to break the ice -- sitting down next to her and talking at her; her remaining silent save for your occasional pauses; you not asking her any questions or caring at all what she was saying as long as it showed she was paying close attention to what you were saying -- was wow, she's a great listener, I knew any other "positive" signals you felt you had received were going to be a figment of your imagination. That you have continued to pursue her even as she has continued to back off in more and more explicit ways is another sign that you have not been picking up what she is putting down.

On behalf of all women everywhere who let interactions like this fester because we have to worry about being derided as "bitchy" or "cold" for not responding in kind: Let it drop, and let her get her education in peace.
posted by amnesia and magnets at 2:27 PM on January 25, 2017 [35 favorites]

She has to go to this class. It's like she has to go to work. And there's a coworker who hits on her everyday, no matter how much distance she tries to put between you.

Can you imagine how unpleasant that is for her? How that makes her feel?

She is not giving you mixed signals. Maybe the first day. But since then, all her signals have been to please kindly take the hint that she's not interested but she has to take this class and this is growing more unpleasant each day.

Yes, it is that bad.

And you might not be the only guy in her class doing this. We deal with this every single day. All the time.

Please be the guy who stops.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 2:40 PM on January 25, 2017 [15 favorites]

Maybe she became cold because I waited for her outside without letting her know what I was doing so she assumed I left her…??

Women don't start off presumed to be interested in you and then "become cold". She doesn't need to have a reason to not want to go out with you. You need to start off with the assumption that women are probably only interested in platonic interaction with you, at best, and then pursue more when you get active signals that there's more there than just friendly classmate.

There's no affirmative sign of romantic or sexual interest here. There's not even much sign of platonic interest. You describe a bunch of times you sat down next to her to talk. Did she ever voluntarily come sit with you? Initiate conversations with you? Did you ever catch her looking in your direction when you hadn't yet tried to catch her attention? Did she ever smile at you without you having yet initiated contact? Did she ever wait for you so you could walk together, when she could have left more quickly?

Even those things aren't signs of romantic interest, they'd just be signs that she actually enjoys your company, but you seem thin on even those. What you have is someone who tolerated you, until she didn't. Don't put women in a position where you're trying to ask someone out who hasn't yet offered more than basic manners. This girl had no chance to ever start caring about whether you were leaving without her--that's light years ahead of the point you were actually at. She can't have stopped liking you because you never had any sign she liked you to start with.
posted by Sequence at 2:41 PM on January 25, 2017 [11 favorites]

I agree with everyone else that she is almost certainly not interested in you. The only thing she did that could be reasonably interpreted as a sign of interest was wait for you after class that one time, but there are numerous other possible explanations for that (perhaps she just felt like chatting with someone on the way to her next class) and everything else she has done quite clearly points towards "not interested." Be polite if you do interact with her again, but really just leave her alone.

However, I take it from this question that you are in college, and of college age? Meeting people in college is hard, much harder than pop culture would have you believe. Most folks in college haven't really figured this stuff out yet, and are kind of feeling their way around uncertainly and without confidence, and with a lot of weird, often-harmful, messages swirling around in their heads.

So perhaps consider:

a) Don't get too worked up about misinterpreting this. Just file it away and move on. It doesn't mean you are a bad person, or a creep.

b) Consider that you liked her because you felt she listened to you. People like people who listen! This goes for women, too. Next time you are interacting with someone new - and I'm not even saying necessarily in a romantic sense, though that, too - err on the side of listening. Don't act like it's an interview, but relax, and ask questions.
posted by breakin' the law at 2:52 PM on January 25, 2017 [23 favorites]

The thing that stood out to me here is the speed in which you proceeded- I am not saying that this girl is interested just go slower, at all- but three classes in and you asked her to lunch, and now she is avoiding you.

Not all women (people) can pick up that a man (other person) is interested in them- I have definitely been in the situation where I suddenly realized that my offer of friendship was being interpreted as more (by being asked to lunch!) and having to distance myself to avoid leading him on. (I didn't feel comfortable with "sorry I'm not interested in dating you". :) )
posted by freethefeet at 2:58 PM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

If you meet a guy and make idle chit-chat with him, and he seems nice and you get along with him, do you assume he is romantically interested in you? Even if he seems interested in the conversation? Even if he continues to be nice to you the next time you see him?

"Being nice to a person" is lightyears away from "expressing romantic and sexual interest in a person."

Women are not aliens. We're not bafflingly confusing puzzles. We are regular-ass people, just like dudes are. Bear this in mind the next time you decide that "being nice to you" automatically implies that a girl is super into you.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:01 PM on January 25, 2017 [31 favorites]

I kind of feel like you're getting piled on here. I don't think you're a bad person for temporarily thinking someone was interested in you when they were in fact just being friendly. It seemed like you were already catching onto that before we weighed in; otherwise you wouldn't have asked this question.

If you continue to pursue her, that would be problematic; I would advise you to just chalk it up to a lesson learned about human behavior.
posted by delight at 3:12 PM on January 25, 2017 [29 favorites]

I'm a woman and I've gotten similarly confused over men's signals, usually when I had a significant crush on them and they liked me but didn't reciprocate the crush. Crushes can really destroy your perspective.

I agree with the above comments that she's probably not into you - sorry, I know how painful that can be to hear. Give her (and yourself) some space. Sit in a different area of the class from where you normally sit and chat with other people in the class, both to show that you are moving on and to actually perform the moving on. If she does warm up a bit in time, don't assume that this means she's decided she wants to date, in my experience of being in her shoes, this usually means I think the guy has moved on and it's not necessary to avoid him anymore. Be polite if you do interact but make friend with and ask out other people.
posted by bunderful at 7:37 PM on January 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

Just as a general thing as a former college student (and probably not too much older than you but I did graduate 5 years ago.) If I have this right, you chatted a couple times, then asked to hang out?

Even for making plutonic (possibly same-sex) friends, this would be rushing really fast for me, and for most people I've seen form classmate friendships. I only saw people really make friendships over the entire semester with study groups, etc. OR I think you have to really automatically click - like you have a similar interest and there's mutual talking. I can't recall a time where me or anyone else made fast-friendships beyond "the classmate friend" (like the work best-friend. You guys are buddies in class and maybe for homework but don't hang out otherwise.)Sames goes for couples. If I saw a couple come out of the class it was the entire semester casually getting to know each other.

So again, even just for making friends I think "Let's hang out" after seeing each other a couple times in class is moving really, really fast. Let alone a date situation. As others have said, she has to attend that class and what if she does date you and it doesn't work out? She wants to be polite so she can feel safe in your class.

So yeah, you're getting a pile on but I think it's because you don't see how your actions are actually affecting her and you're not reading her properly.

My practical advice is to take friendships slowly, especially in class. Don't try to meet dates in an active class. If you like someone you can be mildly friendly then ask them out nearer the end of the semester (barring some really insane attraction on both sides, but I worry that you're not reading signals properly.) One way to meet classmates is if there's events that everyone is going to. Connecting outside of class at an event is much easier.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:00 AM on January 26, 2017 [7 favorites]

I think you've gotten the message - and thanks for taking it gracefully since it probably sucks to hear - but this is worth addressing:

In any case, after class I wait for her again but she takes so long so I prefer to wait for her outside.

In the future, the kind, good, respectful thing for you to do is to allow someone the chance to exit, both physically and mentally. If you wait in a room or outside the door for someone, you make it difficult for them to go their own way without engaging you - and they might feel trapped, which means they're less likely to want to talk to you. That's why, for example, it's bad to ask out servers, baristas, and other people on the job - they have to be nice to everyone and they can't leave the scene.

When you're interested in someone and trying to engage them, think about where their exits are, and don't block them.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:47 AM on January 26, 2017 [8 favorites]

I'm encouraged that you seem to be listening to folks' advice on this. I mentioned your question to my partner and she told me a story about a college class she had with a guy she was helping because he struggled with the material. He unfortunately interpreted her kindness as interest and subtly kept asking her out, and she kept making polite excuses until he got the hint (besides being taken, she's not into dudes). Why didn't she shut him down outright? He was a big dude and she didn't know how he'd react to rejection, so she was trying to be safe by hedging. And she had months of class left with him so she knew she'd have to endure the awkwardness (and fear) if he reacted poorly. Meanwhile he was interpreting her managing the situation as interest. I tell this story to illustrate how two people can be having a similar interaction to what you're describing, but feeling very differently about it.
posted by lieber hair at 5:51 AM on January 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Everyone has basically covered most of what I wanted to say in response. I just want you to pay attention to one thing:

I find her personality interesting

She hasn't really spoken to you properly or revealed anything about herself. Which aspect of her personality do you believe she has shown you? What are you reading into?

Otherwise, I respect that you asked the question and that you've responded to the answers maturely.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 6:06 AM on January 26, 2017 [7 favorites]

It sounds to me like she liked you, but not romantically, and when she clocked that you liked her, she backed off because it made her feel awkward and/or she didn't want to lead you on.
posted by intensitymultiply at 10:06 AM on January 26, 2017

Hey, this is coming kind of late and you sound like someone who doesn't really need this input. But I had a pretty miserable time in college because of a (tiny, but ever-present) number of guys who refused to take either hints or, eventually, outright refusals as an answer (because everyone knows women love to play hard to get and that "nice guys" win out eventually). So I just wanted to say:

As you go through life, you'll meet many people who don't respond to you in the way you wish they would. Many of them will be women. Some will be polite but not amorous, some might give you a chance and realized you're not what they need, and some will be cold - or even ignore you - right off the bat. Being human, you'll probably feel confused or insulted by at least some of these responses. The point I'm writing this comment to make is: please don't impose your own narrative on these kinds of interactions, and please don't fall into the trap of taking out your frustrations on women as a whole, whether in your actions towards them or, especially, in your beliefs about them. A woman might be nice to you for any of the reasons mentioned in this thread. Or maybe she'll run warm and, later, cold, because she's realized you're not a good match for her (and she does know better than you on this specific point; everybody, regardless of gender, has had the experience of coming to like a person more or less over time). And a woman might be cold to you right off the bat because she's had too many awful experiences with guys who refuse to accept that they don't actually appeal to her. It sucks, but - it can be even worse going through life being told you're a bitch for not being warm and welcoming to whatever degree some random person wants you to be; having people you don't even like, or want in your life at all, explain to anyone they can that you're "friend-zoning them" and they'll eventually wear you down; being harassed down the street/hall/internet for the crime of not liking someone enough; and knowing that various guys you need to interact with on a daily basis actually believe they have the right to take their anger out on you or any other woman, because they say such things outright.

Sorry if this is harsh; it turns out having a president who'll attack you for not liking him is pushing some buttons of mine.
posted by trig at 6:02 AM on January 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

I don't know if someone else has said this already, but what's with breaking her cues up into percentages and trying to analyze the makeup of each set of data? That's not a realistic way to look at human behavior. Plus it assumes that you're judging accurately when, as many here have pointed out, her "positive signals" were just being polite.

Please leave her alone and let her focus on the class. That is why she is there.
posted by mermaidcafe at 11:43 AM on January 28, 2017

Stop overthinking this. Ask her out. Then you will know. Nobody here can read her mind, and nobody here can ask her out for you. Good luck!
posted by Mr. Fig at 12:53 PM on January 29, 2017

Since it is getting to that time of year, why not watch/re-watch Groundhog Day. Major plot spoilers follow:-

Phil becomes stuck in an ever repeating day. Fairly early on he goes through a stage of trying to sleep with any woman who is easily winnable over. But Rita is not - because she starts each day with a strong antagonism to him. With infinite trial and error he can come up with the perfect chat-up lines - Rita is delighted but picks up on Phil's sense of manipulativeness and keeps her distance. In the end he is able to win her over only by his efforts to reach out to understand, interact with and help the others in the world that they share together. I think this is an important lesson in your quest to win over a classmate: shine light on the people around you. I don't say that glibly because this can be a truly hard thing to do. The pay off is that it will make you appealing not just (potentially) to her but to everybody else.
posted by rongorongo at 9:12 AM on January 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

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