I'm living a Meg Ryan film. Kill me.
June 21, 2007 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I like him. I think he likes me. How do I find out for sure?

I'm female, and we're both in our mid- to late twenties. We met over a social networking site a few years back, in a friendship context - it's not a dedicated dating site and I was in a relationship at the time. We bonded over some common interests and as time has gone by, we have become very close.

As the title of the post says, I like him. A lot. We talk very frequently and know all about each other, and I feel we're generally very compatible. We live quite far apart right now but we are both in times of transition and could end up any number of places in the future because of school, work, etc. We've even discussed before how we might end up in the same place at the same time, either to hang out, or even permanently. Because we both have hectic lives, this has been more of an idle discussion rather than a planned event.

Sometimes it feels like there's a distance we purposely keep between us, due to the fear of the dreaded long distance relationship - we stay friends rather than be "together" but apart. I've never been in an LDR, but I tend to be pragmatic when it comes to relationships - he is the same and has remained single the entire time I've known him. But I think I might be getting to the point where the LDR is preferable to the non-relationship. I would like to talk to him about this, as I find myself avoiding even casual dating because I want to be with him. Before I put open up and put myself "out there" - how can I tell if it's the right decision? I know a few people who have met their partners online but usually in a dating context or else it seems like they became a couple nearly instantly after meeting.

If you've met someone online, were you ever in that "non-relationship" gray area? How did you realize you liked each other? What did you do to show them or tell them how you felt? I don't want to ruin a perfectly good friendship if my feelings aren't returned. Sorry for the neurotic "does he like me" question, but I would appreciate some advice, particularly from those who've lived it.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Before I put open up and put myself "out there" - how can I tell if it's the right decision?

You can't. Sometimes you have to do something that just might make you look like a fool.
posted by Benjy at 10:02 AM on June 21, 2007 [3 favorites]

I'm confused as to whether you have actually met him IN PERSON. Your question doesn't specify.
posted by hermitosis at 10:03 AM on June 21, 2007

Yup. There's no safe way to find out. You need to spend some time face-to-face to know if it's going to be a risk worth taking. What are you waiting for!?!!
posted by loiseau at 10:05 AM on June 21, 2007

I cannot tell, based on reading this, whether you two have met in real life yet or not. I'm thinking you have not, but I'm not completely sure.

Long-distance internet relationships can be romantic, but you really need to meet in real life to see if the chemistry carries over, before deciding to move things to the next step. Sometimes chemistry will be there, and sometimes it will not, and unfortunately, there's no way to tell until you get out there and see what happens. But you should definitely tell him you'd love to meet him in person, and see if you two can plan a visit somewhere, somehow. If he refuses for reasons that are less than clear, it's probably a good idea to think of him as no more than a good friend and devote your energy to dating men willing to devote themselves to you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:08 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ask him.

Any other way would be playing games or tricking him into admitting it.
posted by Ookseer at 10:10 AM on June 21, 2007

Be mature, step up to the plate, and ask him.
posted by agregoli at 10:12 AM on June 21, 2007

Suggest an in-person meeting in an innocuous, public location. Talk to him across a table. See if the common interests extend to a physical chemistry between you. If he doesn't want to meet you in person...well, there's your answer.
posted by misha at 10:15 AM on June 21, 2007

Good question, short and unique:
I'll leave it to someone else to post the "I've been dumped, how do I get over it and move on" threads--you know, for future reference.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 10:19 AM on June 21, 2007 [3 favorites]

I wish I had known this in my early twenties:

Mostly, men who are interested in women are not masters of subtlety. They don't usually pine in silence for several years. Instead, they call you and ask you to go see a movie on Friday.

Yes, yes, there are exceptions but not actually that many, and if you can internalize this concept, man, it saves you a LOT of hassle.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:21 AM on June 21, 2007 [7 favorites]

It really is this simple.






You're, uh, Violet, right?


That's me.


See you, Vi.


You look different.


I feel different. Is different okay?


Hey, different is...[clears throat] Different is great.
[stammering] Would you wanna...




Do you think maybe...[stammering]...you and I...you know...




Do you...


Shh. I like movies. I'll buy the popcorn. Okay?


[stammering] A movie. There you go. Yeah...yeah! Wait,
wait...so Friday?



posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:25 AM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]

Speaking as a guy, so sorry if this is banal: Don't make him feel trapped. Don't objectify the relationship or make him feel like it's bigger than you two are. You want you two to be close, not to join a club with roles.

Ask him on a date, but so that it doesn't feel formal like a date. Ask him to brunch on a weekend or something. If it feels natural, you probably won't have to say anything at all; if you have to force it, then it probably couldn't work out anyway. You can't plan much about it, so take the first tiny step and only then figure out what to do next.
posted by cmiller at 10:35 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

I agree with thehmsbeagle. If he was interested in a romantic relationship with you, chances are that he would have done something about it already. Sorry to be so blunt.

In my experience, often I enjoy the experience of crushing on someone so much that I don't want to ask the question in case I get an answer I don't want to hear, hence the maxim "Don't ask a question you don't want to know the answer to." In this case, I think you need to ask the question so you can move on with your romantic life, preferably with a guy in your city. As long as your relationship remains in this gray area, you can fantasize about what might be there, which can be fun but isn't ultimately very productive.
posted by alicetiara at 11:27 AM on June 21, 2007

Oh hell, some women are more likely to pursue, and some men are more likely to pursue. thehmsbeagle's point might be right, but I can openly admit that I've had female friends that I've grown to really like and would have jumped at the opportunity to risk turning it into something more, but I was too scared to screw up a good thing. You're too scared to screw up a good thing.

Just choose one path or the other and never regret the decision or look back.
posted by mikeh at 12:27 PM on June 21, 2007

Cowboy up, girl!
posted by wafaa at 12:41 PM on June 21, 2007

Cool papa bell, that is almost exactly how me and the hubs got together-no movie, but the gist was the same.

I don't think you can assume that he doesn't like you "that way"- if both of you were in the same place perhaps, but the fact that right now it would be long distance means it's possible he likes you but that he figures the distance matters-or would matter, to you.

You might want to gently hint just a bit and see if he takes a nibble, so to speak. No one minds when they are told how awesome they are, or that you really, really like them. You don't have to go overboard, just give enough info to be encouraging, keeping in mind that men aren't usually good at subtlety.
posted by konolia at 12:53 PM on June 21, 2007

posted by violetk at 12:55 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Dude, ask him out. I asked my fiancé out (face to face). If I had followed hmsbeagle's advice I would never be marrying this guy who I had an inkling would be perfect for me and my inkling was right about.

If I only dated guys who asked me out...god...I shudder to think.
posted by Jess the Mess at 5:34 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Stop overthinking it and just jump him.
posted by Lucie at 6:10 PM on June 21, 2007

I agree with Cool Papa Bell and The Incredibles...
posted by robcorr at 7:11 PM on June 21, 2007

Wait... if you haven't met face-to-face yet, I would say definitely do that first before considering a friendship makeover.

If there weren't that pesky physical attraction/compatibility issue to deal with, people would be hooking up left and right with the ideal mates suited to their interests and circumstances. In fact, a good dating database could pretty much do all the footwork for you, and you'd never even have to negotiate these kinds of emotional minefields.

The reason that great romantic relationships are so valued is that they aren't really that common, and the reason they are so elusive is that finding someone who lights your fire intellectually, emotionally, and physically, who feels the same way about you - and is also available is... rather difficult.

So, meet as friends first, and if the attraction is as strong in real life as it is electronically, I think your question will probably resolve itself. (Also, um... if he's resistant to this idea, there's probably a wife or girlfriend he's failed to mention. Keep in mind that internet friendships can be a lot more opaque or compartmentalized than real-life relationships.)
posted by taz at 11:51 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you've met someone online, were you ever in that "non-relationship" gray area? How did you realize you liked each other? What did you do to show them or tell them how you felt?

I met my fiancé online, though it was on a dating site. Due to some bad experiences, I really wasn't looking to date, just to be friends, but I hadn't gotten around to taking my profile down. We talked on the phone for a few weeks (not YEARS, omg!) and then he asked me out to dinner. I initiated a kiss at the end of the evening. I knew he liked me when he called me the next day to ask when he could see me again. I would have never made up my mind about how I felt without meeting him. taz is right, the physical chemistry is important.
posted by desjardins at 3:15 PM on June 22, 2007

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