I was reading a story yesterday about a date that ended abruptly. I read the post a few times and couldn’t figure out what had transpired. Normally, the signs are pretty clear to me, having had my share of not so successful first dates. According to the author, the date was going well. There was some flirting and hand touching. At some point the guy said he was hungry but didn’t want to eat at the bar where they had met for the date.
So they head outside and begin to walk. A couple minutes goes by and the guy says that he’s going to go meet up with a friend that had texted him earlier and leaves.
I shared the author’s feeling of confusion. Wait. What just happened there?
I read the post again. And again. Then I saw it.
He said he wanted to go get something to eat.
Not “he suggested we go get something to eat.”
If I had to guess, and it’s merely speculation, the guy was trying to end the date while they were at the bar. Unfortunately, he didn’t communicate his intentions very clearly, because his date probably assumed (as many would, I suppose) that he was inviting her to go get something to eat. When really he was just trying to get her up and out of the bar so he could leave. It wasn’t the most graceful of closings, from what I read. But he tried. To be fair, there may have been other signs that he was looking to bolt that weren’t included in the post. The woman in the story was sure the man was attracted to her and was flirting with her, thus compounding her confusion. In any case, it ended with someone’s feelings getting hurt and that sucks.
So, this story got me to thinking about the obvious and not so obvious ways people try to communicate their lack of interest. It also got me to thinking about how far off our instincts can be. Take this letter:
Story: I started talking to this girl online and within 1 day we had a 90 minute instant msg conversation in which she initiated. We met about 11 days later, after she had to reschedule due to her “busy tutoring schedule.” She is currently a math teacher, and claims she has very little time. According to her she goes to work, comes home, goes to the gym and does lesson plans and grades things at night. Then on Saturday she normally tutors for 2-4 hours. She tells me after date #1, which I thought went fairly well..that she’d talk to me mid-week. We went out on a Friday night, so I figure mid week is Wednesday…Anyways I texted after the date I had a good time, etc…I called her on Monday evening and ended up leaving a msg. She texted me back how she was super busy etc with grading, and we had also exchanged a text on tues and I also texted her on Wednesday and no response from her…Now it’s Friday and nothing…I’m assuming she’s not interested….I’m not going to chase these girls, shes 25 and I’m 28. From what I’ve seen that most girls in their lower and mid 20s seem to be lacking interest in the whole dating scene and seem to play the field more. People closer to my age or a little older seem more interested in getting to know someone and less likely to play games. Any advice on this girl?
Now, to me, it seems pretty obvious that this woman was always unavailable. The frequent talk of her job, the IMing, the detailing of her schedule, it taking 11 days for them to meet. The signs were all there. Weren’t they?
I firmly believe the signs are always there and we choose to ignore them. We say we’re trying to give people a chance or be more open and flexible. But we inherently know when a date isn’t going to go anywhere. Yet we go anyway, because why not? Not that there is anything wrong with giving it a go. There isn’t. But even when we see the flashing red or yellow lights, why don’t we proceed with caution? It’s kind of like that joke in Scream about how the woman home alone hears a noise upstairs and, instead of running out of the house, she goes upstairs.
Why do we do that?
We all have a bunch of indicators that we rely upon when determining signs of interest or lack of interest. Sometimes they’re rational and make sense. Other times – many actually – they’re not.
What are yours? What are your red flags? What signs do you look for when trying to determine if someone is interested or not?