How Sharp Are Your Dating Skills?

Name: Jeannie
State: Maryland
Age:49
Comment: When to give an explanation vs when to keep silent and let it go.

Long story short, I met a guy at gas station .We exchanged phone numbers , had met for coffee within one week.  So far so good.  We talked about another date possibly after the Holidays.  What starts getting weird is the text messaging.  He had texted “hi” or something innocuous in the morning, then by 5Pm another text appeared,” Oh, I am sorry, you haven’t answered my text, am I bothering you?”   I called ( it was about 9PM) and left voice mail ( he didn’t pick up) explaining about hectic day.

We talk again on phone next night.  After hanging up , he sent a text stating,” Very nice conversation, good night.”  or something like that.  So I didn’t answer, figuring we just got off the phone after 45 minutes of talking.  Wouldn’t you  know it, another angry text awaited me the next afternoon,” Oh I was wondering when you were going to answer my text!” I call him that night, to find out what the prob is with the texts. Sometimes I can’t get back to him right away but would within 24 hours.  He proceeded to talk down to me like a father would ( he’s in his  50′s I am 49) ,” Oh so it normally takes you 2 days to respond to a text?”  Then, backing off ” Oh, you are making a big deal out of this” ,  First of all, not true- I do respond back in timely manner, second of all, tone and his being argumentative? Third of all ,I am feeling defensive and angry and we only had one date !!He said he’d call the next day. Didn’t. I am through.  However, he has sent a couple of “joke” texts  since then which I didn’t answer. So.  He’s not asking me out ( not that I would go at this point) and he’s acting weird with the texting.  I am puzzled as to why he is still contacting me  ? Do I tell him via text to take a hike and leave me alone or do I just keep ignoring and he’ll get the hint?  Don’t want to be child like but I feel I don’t owe him an explanation.
Thanks

 

I should start off by saying that you and I have spoken on the phone so I have a bit of a sense of your personality. You don’t come off unavailable or distant. You do, however, come across as though you have limited social interaction. The result is that you have two people who don’t know what is socially expected or appropriate when it comes to dating.

He had texted “hi” or something innocuous in the morning, then by 5Pm another text appeared,” Oh, I am sorry, you haven’t answered my text, am I bothering you?”   I called ( it was about 9PM) and left voice mail ( he didn’t pick up) explaining about hectic day.

What he was really asking, in a round about way, is why you hadn’t replied. I have to admit that I would be wondering the same thing. It was a simple text saying hello. You didn’t have to respond right away, but you could have responded sooner. There’s just no excuse now for people not reply to a text or email within a few hours. He was demonstrating interest and you weren’t responding. That made him a bit insecure. I don’t think that should be held against him, as we all fall prey to that from time to time.

We talk again on phone next night.  After hanging up , he sent a text stating,” Very nice conversation, good night.”  or something like that. So I didn’t answer, figuring we just got off the phone after 45 minutes of talking.

Let’s look at this another way. If a friend sent you a text after you and she were on the phone or had met for a drink and told you how great it was to talk to you, wouldn’t you reply and say, “Same here!”  You should have replied and told him you enjoyed the conversation as well. You didn’t. In his mind, you left him hanging. I’m sure that’s not what you meant to do, nor do I think you were playing a game. I just think your social and dating skills are a little rusty. If someone shows interest, and you like them, return the interest. Very simple. No games, no waiting X amount of hours before replying. Just go with it. Dating really isn’t as complicated as many people make it out to be. We choose to make it more of an arduous task than need be.

Wouldn’t you  know it, another angry text awaited me the next afternoon,” Oh I was wondering when you were going to answer my text!” I call him that night, to find out what the prob is with the texts. Sometimes I can’t get back to him right away but would within 24 hours.  He proceeded to talk down to me like a father would ( he’s in his  50′s I am 49) ,” Oh so it normally takes you 2 days to respond to a text?”  Then, backing off ” Oh, you are making a big deal out of this” ,

Well, you kind of put him on the spot with the call. He’s got his own issues that are impeding his ability to conduct himself appropriately. He’s being passive aggressive and “joking” when he should just relax and wait things out. That’s his insecurity rearing its head. I can assure you that you are probably not the first woman to pull away from him. That’s why he seems so testy. This must keep happening to him and he can’t figure out why. Since he seems so sensitive, nobody is telling him the real reason they aren’t as responsive as he’d like them to be.  He said you were making  a big deal of the whole thing because he was embarrassed. He knew he was overreacting.

I am puzzled as to why he is still contacting me? Do I tell him via text to take a hike and leave me alone or do I just keep ignoring and he’ll get the hint?

The reason he keeps contacting you is because you haven’t asked him not to. From the sounds of it, this guy has some pretty limited social skills and social aptitude. He’s not reading the signs. His experience with you is that you don’t reply right away. So, in his mind, he’s assuming it’s a case of you just taking a while to get back to him. He also probably has a need to make the situation work, so he’s likely going to continue contacting you until he gets the response that makes him feel less at fault. Side note….people really underestimate how possible issues with anxiety or compulsive issues play a part in this kind of behavior. It’s far more common than some people think.

This guy is either incapable of reading the signs or intentionally choosing not to read them. We’ve spoken about the importance of experience and how the more we date, the more we learn and the better we become at handling certain situations. This guy has either been out of the game for awhile or never picked up the appropriate skills and tools that we all need to navigate this particular terrain. The main thing that gets in the way of such progress is that we spend more time analyzing the other person’s behavior than we do our own. This was just not a workable dynamic because you both are somewhat socially stunted. The best course of action for this is to socialize more and go on more dates.

If you know you’re not going to go out with him again, then you need to be direct and ask him to no longer contact you. He’ll probably try to engage you in a debate. All you’re responsible for is being direct and honest. If he can’t accept that that’s on him.

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24 Responses to “How Sharp Are Your Dating Skills?”

  1. dimplz Says:

    You don’t seem like you’re really into him. If you were, you would be a little more enthusiastic about the texts. It’s nice when someone sends you a text or email or calls you. Obviously, it shows they are thinking of you and making an effort to let you know they are. Even when you are comfortable and in a relationship, it’s nice to hear from the person. I get that him nagging you about not answering is a turnoff, but he probably wouldn’t have done that if he had gotten a timely response.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    • Howard Says:

      I get the feeling of desperation from both parties. He has probably not got his poker attitude going right. She seems to not have too much going on in terms of a lot of interested parties, so she is stringing along the limited interest she has, so as not to be engulfed by despair.

      As much as we may wish to avoid the blame game, it has to be done. If she is clearer about her take on him and communicating well from the beginning, we wouldn’t be at this impasse. It’s the typical selfish behavior we get when people do the play with what you get, until you get what you really want.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Amy Says:

    I think that older people (and society in general, really) are still figuring out how to use these new forms of communication. If I got a text that said “Hi” – I would not know what to make of it. There isn’t much there, you know? (Like he typed TWO letters.) So does she say “Hi” back or is it up to her to put effort into really starting a conversation, expanding it such as “Hi, nice to hear from you. How are you doing today?” when she really wasn’t into having this conversation in the first place. Also, people who do not have smart phones, and even some people with them, have trouble texting, and a long sentence is time consuming and challenging for them and not a pleasant way to communicate.
    It seems a shame to make the METHOD of communication a determining factor in the possibility of a relationship. If it were me, I might have said to him, “I’m not really much of a text-er. Please don’t take it personally. I’m a lot better on the phone or in email” (or whatever is the truth).

    The fact that he got testy is a bad sign to me though. THAT reflects on his personality in general, and that whole snarky comeback thing is something I would run from.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

    • dimplz Says:

      I don’t think she had to come back with anything witty, what you wrote above would explain a lot. My bf doesn’t text because his phone is not equipped with it and he doesn’t have a texting plan. She could have said she’s not much of a texter, but I don’t think it’s necessary to leave him hanging like that and then say it was a hectic day. Texting doesn’t require that much effort. The man is trying to put himself out there. He may not be her cup of tea, but she should at least give him a chance so she can assess that and be more confident about her inclinations.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

      • dimplz Says:

        Clarification: The phone obviously is capable of texting, but it’s a flip phone so it’s a pain in the ass for him. I’m not a big texter either, despite having an iPhone so we stick to IM or talking on the phone.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

    • DC Phil Says:

      Agreed with your texting comment. It took me a while to (1) get used to it in general, and (2) to use it effectively for dating. My rule of thumb now is: text only to set up logistics, reschedule if necessary, and engage in very light flirting with someone who’s receptive. So far, it seems to be working, but there’s always room for improvement.

      One thing I’ve not been able to understand is why many women feel the need, in both emails and texts, so say “hi, ____” or “hey, _____” with some messages. Men generally don’t do this. Is this social conditioning that women are manifesting, or something else?

      Also, more troublesome than texting is trying to make one’s way in the deregulated dating market, where everyone seems to have their own rules and strategies that, obviously, conflict with the people they’re trying to get to know. For example, it took me a litlte while to become inured to flaking, which I still, to this day, take to be rude and inconsiderate. I realize that men do it, too, but it seems much more common with women. I’ve read all kinds of explanations as to why this happens (e.g., lack of attraction = meh social interaction), but I still find it rude. Then again, I was raised to say “please” and “thank you” and to keep my appointments if I made them.

      I think that women closer to my own age still do some of this. Younger women, on the other hand, are much more likely to flake. No social skills and a culture that doesn’t penalize them for being flakey.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. Selena Says:

    Are you comfortable communicating by text? Not everyone is, and some people find replying to frequent mundane texts a nuisance. If you don’t like it, you can always tell someone you are dating you aren’t into texting. Shouldn’t be too much of a problem for men in their 50′s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. LaLa Says:

    He sounds like someone who is passive-aggressive, potentially clingy, and quick to anger over little things. Maybe he is just socially akward, but he’s really going to call you out on not answering simple texts even though you still call the same day? I feel like with a guy like that, if he became your boyfriend, would also get mad if you went out with your girls and didn’t answer his texts right away. Or would be passive-aggressive if you had to cancel a date and not talk to you for two days. This letter just screams red flags to me. He seems like the type of man you need to coddle. I know this comes off harsh, but I think you made the right decision in dropping him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    • dimplz Says:

      If the situation were reverse, you would say the man wasn’t that into her and to move on. She is clearly not into him so she can just stop communication, which again, I’m sure if the situation were reverse the man would be excoriated for it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

      • LaLa Says:

        If a woman was acting that way, getting so mad over texts, I would say the same thing. Him getting so mad even though she still calls him the same day, seems over the top to me, and a sign of how he would be in a relationship.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

        • dimplz Says:

          I don’t think he was mad. There is nothing angry in the texts, and remember she is conveying how she interpreted his tone in the call.
          ” Oh I was wondering when you were going to answer my text!” – That’s angry?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

          • LaLa Says:

            True, it might just be her interpretation. It seems weird that he is even asking and hasseling her though. It obviously bothers him, and after one date, seems excessive to bring it up to her.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

            • dimplz Says:

              I agree, there seems to be a little anxiety on his end. However, I’m finding anxiety to be very common in my everyday travels.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

              • LaLa Says:

                I mean aren’t we all sometimes when in the early stages of dating someone? The difference is healthy people learn to deal with it and keep it in check and not show it to someone we have only had a date with. If he can’t do that, he’s just going to get worse as the relationship progresses.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    • LaLa Says:

      Oh and to answer the question, if he sends another text, I would just text him back and explain why you aren’t interested anymore. Basically he seems to quick to anger or whatever and you guys don’t seem to be a good fit. He should get an honest answer so he is at least aware of the way he comes off. After that if he responds in anger, you have a right to ignore the texts and not bait him further. I’ve dealt with guys like him and they continually try to bait you and engage you in the argument of why you won’t go out with them again. So be nice but firm.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • DC Phil Says:

        This is something I’ve tried to impress upon my female friends. That is, men understand direct and clear communication. If you’re not into him, tell him in a gentle and dignified way. You might have to repeat if he doesn’t get it the first time, and be firmer with each repeat. Best to tell him in person, then on the phone — but never via text or email, at least at first. Yes, he might piss and moan, be belligerent, call you a bitch, etc., but still be firm. If he starts becoming psycho, then tell him you’re blocking his number and that you’ll call the police if he keeps it up.

        I know that, personally, I’d rather a woman tell me up front that she’s no longer interested and then that’s that. At least I can go on my merry way to women that DO want me.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Jeannie Says:

    I did explain to him in the first phone call (before we even started texting) about my getting used to texting and he laughed and said he was too. Answering texts right away is still new, I figured by the day’s end was good enough, especially as it was in the middle of the work day. I am especially glad I don’t come off as emotionally unavailable, that is an issue I’ve been working on for a while now. Thank you for the feedback and I will keep getting out there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “Answering texts right away is still new, I figured by the day’s end was good enough” Texting is so popular because it lets you respond to people when it is convenient rather than demanding your attention immediately as a phone call does. A few hours to reply is fine, if you’re busy with something else at the moment; it’ll still be waiting for you when you’re done. If he can’t deal with that, he needs to learn to–or learn to call when he wants an immediate response.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    • Kay Says:

      In the future, set the expectation. If you’re busy during the day, don’t check/respond to text until late in the afternoon or evening, let people know. I text often and usually respond quickly. If I send a text, i expect a response within 2 hours, unless of course I know the person is currently unavailable. Most people are on their phones all day, it doesnt take much effort to respond to a text. If I get a ‘hi’ text when I’m busy and unable to chat via text, I send a quick ‘hey, really busy, will make contact later’.

      I dated a man (I’m 30, he was 45), who took days to respond to text; we’d see each other in between his responses. We had a conversation and decided on a response window. We’d respond within 3 hours of receiving a text from each other. It worked out great! Obviously, this may not work if you’ve
      just started dating someone. Communication is the pillar of a relationship. For me, the lack of a response is the same as a negative one.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Craig Says:

    In my opinion, whether one or both of these people is comfortable with texting or has sharp dating skills is not the main issue in this particular instance. The main issue is this dude is wound a bit too tight for my tastes. Anyone who gets so bent out of shape because someone they just met doesn’t respond to them instantly has some deeper issues. The kicker is after giving Jeannie shit for not responding fast enough, he tells her he’s going to call her but doesn’t! What a hypocrite. Imagine if she had done that to him. I say if you’re seeing personalitiy issues after just one date, it’s a sign of worse things to come and it’s time to bow out if you know what’s good for you. Jeannie – consider yourself warned.

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    • D Says:

      I’m with Craig. I know what it’s like to have a little anxiety around texting, but I also know that people like this tend to be ticking bombs.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  7. Christina Says:

    I guess to me, the issue isn’t quite so much about texting and etiquette, as it is around this guy’s super-touchiness. He just seems way too sensitive and passive-aggressive with someone he’s met only once. I’ve had a few texting “misunderstandings” with guys, but once we talked about it, there really weren’t any more problems. Unless we really weren’t into each other, which I suspect is what’s really going on here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    • fuzzilla Says:

      I agree. Also I thought the OP’s behavior was fine. I’m not really seeing what about it seemed “off” or questionable or evident of a lack of social skills (unless Moxie is referring to firsthand knowledge of the OP not included in the letter). Was it just not knowing how to proceed with the situation (the reason for the question/writing in)?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. mari Says:

    I’m confused why you didn’t text back “morning” to his first text, and “me too” or something along those lines to his second. He is trying to keep things going between your first and second date – sounds like there were holidays in between. Take a second to send a quick text that can say, “crazy day tlk ltr” and save yourself some drama. That said, it does make a difference what sort of phone you have (flip phone’s harder to text on)..so if you want to see him again, I would apologize for not responding and explain your issue with texting ..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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