Is He a Douche or Is She Being Petty?

 

Name: Tired of games
:
Question: I’m a 45 year-old single man and I’ve always had decent success meeting women, online and offline. However, over the past few months a similar situation occurred with three different women, and I’d like to know if my actions and expectations were unreasonable.

Here’s the most recent scenario: I matched with a 30-something, attractive woman on Tinder. I messaged first and we started a texting conversation. She was traveling, so I suggested meeting when she returned and she agreed. We exchanged phone numbers, but didn’t communicate any further while she was out of town. She sent a message to let me know she returned (that was a Monday). We texted back and forth a bit that day, then I suggested meeting for after-work drinks, indicating I was available Tuesday and possibly Thursday. She chose Thursday, so I messaged that we should ‘pencil Thursday in’ and confirm that morning. She messaged back ‘Sounds good!’.

On Thursday I messaged her around 12:30pm (a little late) with ‘Hey, hope youre having a great week. Does tonight still work for you?’ I didn’t receive a reply until ~4pm, when she messaged something like ‘Sorry, when I didn’t hear from you this morning I made plans with a girlfriend. Can we meet another time?’ I’ll admit that I was a bit annoyed, but didn’t let on.

I texted back, ‘Sure, no problem. Let’s talk next week.’ We haven’t communicated since (that was a week ago).

Should I have called her out on her message ‘…when I didn’t hear from you I made plans with a girlfriend’ by replying ‘Hey, you could have messaged me before making other plans’? Since she was the one who broke our tentative plans, is it unreasonable to now expect her to reach out first to suggest drinks?

I know I’m being stubborn but, had the situation been reversed, wouldn’t she expect me to reach out first since I was the one who broke plans?

Thank you!
Age: 45
City: New York
State: NY

 

Christ. Just listening to this exhausts me.

For starters, if a guy said he’d “pencil me in” I would assume that means our plans were tentative. I would also assume the guy is kind of a douche. Nothing says, “You are one of many options” than telling a woman you’ll pencil her into your dance card. Bite me.  Going forward, just say, “Tuesday it is. I’ll confirm with you Tuesday by noon in case anything changes.” Be specific and set clear expectations.Don’t be wishy-washy.

That being said, she sounds draining. She could have followed up with you but chose to sit back and wait for you to fuck up so she could reject you. I seriously doubt she made plans with her friends, and if she did, good riddance. Not only was she going to try and force your hand by choosing the day you were less likely available, she was going to be rigid about window of time you had to confirm with her. On top of that, she decided she was going to wait until later in the day to let you know she wasn’t available.  That’s classic Hoop Jumping 101. She always had the option of following up with you to find out if your date was still on but refused to make that move.

No, please. Tell me more about how dating is so hard for you.

 

She was being petty, which is a little alarming considering you and she were virtual strangers. Dating in 2018 requires people to be as proactive as possible. Remove the chip from your shoulder, suck it up, and confirm/initiate/what have you. There is so much room for mis-communication in these sceanrios that you can’t afford to do nothing.

In the moment, it feels super powerful to reject someone in the manner she rejected you, but then when that person you blew off doesn’t follow up to reschedule and the high wears off, you realize you probably shot yourself in the foot. More than likely, this woman will send you a coy message and pretend like nothing happened. If you want to deal with her high maintenance drama, go for it. Personally, I’d just ignore her. Yes, she probably would expect you to reach out and set up a new date. This is one of those situations where, when you get an obnoxious response like the one she gave you, you don’t even bother to respond. If she’s this much work before you even meet her, imagine the nightmare she’s going to be if you actually date her.

I keep trying to reiterate the fact that there is simply no time for this kind of nonsense anymore. People have far too many avenues that they can use to meet people. If you’re going to stand on principle and expect people to make you a priority before they’ve even met you,  plan on spending a lot of nights home alone.

Should you call her out? No, because you’ll just be opoening yourself up to be insulted. If you tell her she should have let you know earlier, she’ll come back at you with the exact same response.  Unless you can prove why it took you until 12:30 to confirm with her, you’re better off saying nothing, as she won’t believe you.

Thoughts?

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38 Responses to “Is He a Douche or Is She Being Petty?”

  1. Coffeestop Says:

    If somebody says I will pencil you in it does sounds like hey girl I can erase you for somebody better. But yah she was petty they were both playing games trying to vet interest level and it backfired and they are both hutthurt. Just agree to touch base day of and be civil if something really does come up.we are all adults things happen, I am willing to do a flake nod once and if theycancel again either they are not interested or they are not managing life well and they are not a suitable date potential. It does not have to be complicated we often make it that way.

    Reply

  2. Selena Says:

    Both parties sound petty to me.

    “…so I messaged that we should ‘pencil Thursday in’ and confirm that morning.”

    It’s unclear who is going to confirm. Since the man suggested the date and confirming the morning of, as a woman I would expect he would. If I didn’t hear from him by noon, I’d message “Are we still on for later?” simply because I wouldn’t want to wait around the rest of the afternoon to hear from him. I would also be wondering if that quaint little phrase about penciling in was some kind of code for Maybe, Maybe Not! Lol.

    It was a little petty to wait until 12:30 to confirm – why do that? Equally petty for her not to just pick up her phone and type a line if she wanted to know if they were still on or not. Super petty to wait until 4 pm and deliver a reprimand and perhaps phony suggestion to meet another time.

    To which he responds, “‘Sure, no problem. Let’s talk next week.’ It’s Thursday. If I got a text like that I’d interpret next week as not gonna hear from him.

    He thinks she should reach out since she was the one who broke their tentative plans. Perhaps she didn’t know the plans were tentative in his mind until he let the morning slip by without confirming?

    If this situation has played out similarly with 3 different women in as many months, I pick the fellow as the common denominator. I hope he follows Moxie’s advice to “Be specific and set clear expectations.Don’t be wishy-washy.” And follow through in the timeline you set yourself.

    Reply

    • Parenting Says:

      She was probably butthurt that he wasnt “eager” to meet her. Sounds like something straight out of a womens self help book.

      Reply

      • Selena Says:

        And he waits till afternoon to confirm so he won’t appear too eager? To have the “upper hand”?

        Sounds like something straight out of PUA’s playbook. Ha.

        Reply

        • Parenting Says:

          Right?! Someone needs to write a reference on how to hedge your PUA bet against He’s Just Not That Into You risk.

          Reply

  3. Parenting Says:

    Yep both petty I agree. If a guy wasnt sure what his plans were until 12:30 the day of, I would just assume its because whatever better option he was hoping for fell through and he needed me to stroke his ego. So I would assume his date was operating under that assumption and decided to punish him for it. Like “biotch, i got options too”. In this case I would say it keeps happening to the OP because he is acting like a flake and probably pursuing petty women.

    In the online dating world people act like they have the social calendar of a Rothchild or something. I dont know, I’ll have to pencil you in for a thursday night because oh theres the Kennedy charity ball and you know the president may call and then there are all of those models that want to date me…I just dont know if I’ll be available.

    Reply

  4. Zaire Says:

    While she was in the wrong for being so rigid about your confirmation and waiting to respond at 4pm I think was the problem is ultimately the OP. If you want a date set a time and commit to it. Most women find it annoying to be “penciled” while having to wait until the morning of to get specific time or place. (Not to mention, even then you could be bothered to confirm in the morning ie before noon, lol). It’s screams “I’m not taking this seriously”, and people will only take you as seriously as you take yourself/commitments.

    Reply

  5. jaclyn Says:

    If she decided that she’s not interested in you, then her not going not the date is perfectly fine (although she should have texted you back sooner and just said she was sorry but she was busy). If this is some passive aggressive game she’s playing, then that sucks and you should not engage her further since she’s going to be a pain in the neck. I once had a guy tell me he wanted to meet me on Saturday but would call me to set up a plan on the day of. He called me the day of, and then while we were on the phone told me he needed to take another phone call prior to our setting plans. I didn’t want to fight with him, so I politely and kindly told him “no problem” and just screened his calls. I didn’t know if he was a flake or just wasn’t all that interested in me, but I didn’t have time for this nonsense. If you’re interested in a girl, make an actual plan.

    Reply

  6. fuzzilla Says:

    Sure, you don’t “owe anything” to someone you’ve never met, but if you’re really interested, you make it happen. Would you “pencil in” a job interview, or be crystal clear about the date, time, and location? They both seem petty and not all that interested in the other. Perhaps jaded from disappointment and needing a break.

    Reply

  7. Beta Male Says:

    Yes, you could state a day when you are able to have a date but you have to be firm about the day and not “pencil it in”. If you are unsure about the location that’s acceptable as long as you follow up with a firm location at least a day before the date. If you come off as unsure about wanting to meet then you are assumed to be flake and you open up yourself to your date suddenly being “unavailable” (let’s face it, adults don’t generally make plans with their friends with a couple hours notice as anyone who tries to plan any type of get-together could attest). The days of assuming that your date will show up without a confirmation text/call a day or so before the date are over since everyone is assumed to be a flake unless proven otherwise (I’ve learned this from personal experience). No confirmation text the day before practically guarantees the date won’t happen.

    Move on from this one because it is doubtful the two of you will ever meet and any further contact will prove to be frustrating.

    Reply

  8. Selena Says:

    Why the assumption they never picked a time or place? To agree to meeting for drinks ‘after work’ wouldn’t you have to pick a time, given you might not get off work at the same time? Also in a large city, wouldn’t you pick a location ahead of time because you would each have to factor in the time spent in transit, the commute home?

    It seems odd to me to leave these pertinent details to be worked out the morning of the date. Is that common?

    Reply

    • fuzzilla Says:

      I guess he never said he didn’t, and he never said he did (re: picking a place). Eh, the important part was that he didn’t make a firm plan that it was actually happening. Sure, a little wiggle room in case work is running late or something is normal, but don’t sound so wishy washy right outta the gate.

      Reply

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Now that I read it again, he did say “possibly Thursday” and that Tuesday probably would’ve been better for him, but she was still settling back from her trip. So, it’s not surprising she didn’t wait around for him.

      Reply

      • Selena Says:

        I had read it as he agreed to Thursday even though he would have preferred Tuesday. If he let her know Thursday would be tentative, then no, it’s not surprising she didn’t wait around for him.

        His question: “Since she was the one who broke our tentative plans, is it unreasonable to now expect her to reach out first to suggest drinks?”

        It wouldn’t occur to me that it was my responsibility to make concrete plans with a man who only made tentative plans with me. I’d figure if he really wanted to meet me, he’d re-schedule with a plan he was sure he could keep.

        Reply

        • fuzzilla Says:

          **It wouldn’t occur to me that it was my responsibility to make concrete plans with a man who only made tentative plans with me. I’d figure if he really wanted to meet me, he’d re-schedule with a plan he was sure he could keep.**

          Yup. I’d assume he’d just be thinking about how he could get a date with her to happen, not getting all butthurt about who owes whom or whatever. So, either he’s not that interested or he’s kinda burnt out on dating and quick to throw in the towel/see problems where there aren’t any.

          Reply

          • Parenting Says:

            If he was actually interested in dating this woman but still unsure of his availability thursday morning, he should have pinged her, apologized about the delay and asked if its ok if he lets her know by 1 o’clock or whatever. Or told her he needs to reschedule.

            I cant understand if he is a total flake or he was truly not all that interested and was dragging his feet and is now all butthurt because women are rejecting him lately whereas they used to put up with this type of behavior. Im assuming flake considering his total bafflement at what could possibly be going on here.

            Reply

            • ATWYSingle Says:

              If he was actually interested in dating this woman but still unsure of his availability thursday morning, he should have pinged her, apologized about the delay and asked if its ok if he lets her know by 1 o’clock or whatever.

              Oh my God.

              She chose Thursday knowing he might not be available. Please stop with this, “If he was *really* interested*…” stuff. If you are going to use that, then be even-handed about it and say the same about her, because it applies. How interested should someone who has never met you before be? Not only that, but he contacted her at 12:30. In what world is that late?

              She. Fucked. Up. Too.

              Reply

              • Parenting Says:

                I completely agree and said exactly that in an earlier comment above. Punishing a complete stranger for not meeting your etiquette expectations with your own bad behavior is beyond childish. Dont want to meet? Dont meet. Whats with the game playing?!

                I could be mistake but my read on it is that both seem to be acting very lukewarm about meeting but are insulted that the other person is not more excited about it.

                Reply

                • ATWYSingle Says:

                  She sent a message to let me know she returned (that was a Monday).

                  If she were lukewarm about him she probably wouldn’t have followed up after her trip.

                  Reply

                  • Parenting Says:

                    You may be right. Just seems to me that if she was more than passively interested she would have responded with something other than, “Since you were late, I made other plans in the subsequent 30 minutes that I cant possible cancel.” Maybe she is just temperamental.

                    Reply

    • ATWYSingle Says:

      She knew going in that Thursday was tentative for him but she chose that night anyway. That’s on her. He was upfront that he was not sure of his schedule for that day. I’m not sure what her trip has to do with any of this. He reached out on the appointed day as he promised and she took almost 5 hours to respond, which is a blatant fuck you to him, even though he did exactly what he said he would do and she chose the night she knew he might not be available. Pro tip: if someone says they’re uncertain about meeting on a particular night but can do a different night choose the different night or make new plans. If you choose to meet on a night where your date clearly states they are unsure of their availability, you don’t get to be pissed if they don’t confirm with you at the exact time you think they should.

      Also? She canceled, which means she reschedules. Pretty simple.

      Reply

  9. Myron Says:

    If she was really interested in going out with him or was really concerned that he was late in responding back to her she would have texted him Thursday morning asking him, “Are we still on?”. She didn’t. People who work 9-5 or thereabouts are not going to go out of their way to text a someone until about lunchtime when you have some time to yourself. 12:30 is generally around lunchtime for many who work during the day.

    Reply

  10. Yvonne Says:

    First off, the OP writes that this is the 3rd time he’s had this issue come up in the past few months, so it’s not an isolated occurrence. Second, he expects clarity when he’s not providing any himself. In other words, if you want to meet someone, make firm plans. Get back to someone when you say you will, if not SOONER. A firm plans builds some excitement and anticipation into the date too.

    An explanation would have gone a long way in this situation. If you might have to work late, say that is why you won’t know until Thursday morning. If it’s a plan with a another friend, say that you will find that out asap. Don’t expect a stranger to sit around waiting for you, wondering if you are angling to get a date with someone you like better, or if you’re simply not all that interested.

    “Since she was the one who broke our tentative plans…’

    If they were tentative, then it wasn’t really a confirmed plan, and she didn’t “break” anything.

    No one wants to meet someone who seems iffy about meeting them. Yeah, she waited 3 1/2 hours (not 5) to get back to him, but at that point she might have felt iffy about the whole thing herself.

    Reply

    • Selena Says:

      I the winner of best, most sensible comment is…Yvonne!

      I really miss the thumbs up button. :-)

      *Get back to someone when you say you will, if not SOONER. Don’t expect a stranger to sit around waiting for you, wondering if you are angling to get a date with someone you like better, or if you’re simply not all that interested.*

      I’ll add: the longer you take to confirm, the more time you’ve given the other person to wonder if you are leaving them hanging or blowing them off altogether. By the time you send your confirmation text, even if it’s only a little late in your mind, they may have formed a negative impression of you.

      Reply

  11. ATWYSingle Says:

    “An explanation would have gone a long way in this situation”

    He doesn’t owe her anything beyond, “Thursday is iffy for me.”

    If they were tentative, then it wasn’t really a confirmed plan, and she didn’t “break” anything.

    If it wasn’t a confirmed plan, then he did nothing wrong, either.

    Yeah, she waited 3 1/2 hours (not 5) to get back to him

    If we’re doing that, then she waited four and half hours. He texted at 12:30, she replied at 5.

    but at that point she might have felt iffy about the whole thing herself.

    I see. So, if she gets back to him late, it’s ok, because she’s iffy about him. But he can’t text her 30 minutes after what’s technicially considered the end of the morning because, why again?

    The total lack of objectivity some of you people possess is fucking tragic.

    Reply

    • Yvonne Says:

      “I didn’t receive a reply until ~4pm”. I read that as around 4pm.

      He was the one who initiated the date, but also said that he needed to confirm with her. He was the one who said he’d let her know by Thursday morning. Many women aren’t all that thrilled about last-minute first dates, nor do they want to find out that a guy is blowing them off entirely.

      Since he wrote saying he’d already had similar problems twice before, my post was to give some insight on why he might be running into this issue. His dates aren’t writing in for advice.

      Reply

      • ATWYSingle Says:

        No, but he is asking if it’s on him to reschedule the date – which it’s not- and I’m explaining why.

        Oh, and thanks for correcting me. That one hour totally changes everything.
        +

        Reply

      • Rob Says:

        “Many women aren’t all that thrilled about last-minute first dates”

        Yes I had someone straight off tell me once when I said, “Do you have plans tonight? We live in the same neighborhood, let’s meet up for a drink,” that they don’t do ‘spot dates.’ Same woman wrote that she loved spontaneity on her dating profile!

        But I don’t get it. Most don’t want to text and chat a bit anymore. They’d rather just meet up for a quick drink. But if we all make plans several nights out, who is going to plan around meeting up for a quick drink? Quick drinks are something that happens when you surprisingly have free time.

        Reply

  12. fuzzilla Says:

    Even if she is a totally rude asshole, he’s the one asking for advice and he can only control his own behavior. If he thinks she sucks, he can just move on, so what is even the question? Seeking validation that he’s being reasonable? If it’s reasonable or unreasonable to expect her to reach out first, she isn’t doing it, so…either reach out yourself or just move on.

    Reply

    • Selena Says:

      What about the two previous women? Presumably they didn’t reach out to re-schedule either. Petty as she was, woman #3 gave him the reason she canceled – when she didn’t hear from him in the morning she made other plans.

      If he delayed confirming with the other two, they may have decided he wasn’t that interested and pro-actively canceled rather than wait for him to do it. It’s not unreasonable to not reach out to someone you’ve concluded isn’t interested enough to meet you the first time.

      Why isn’t the OP curious about why these women are canceling in the first place instead of focusing on why they should reach out after they’ve cancelled?

      Reply

      • Mike Says:

        I’ve had women do the exact same thing to me that the woman in this letter did to the writer. It’s not rare at all. I think most men with a reasonable amount of options have experienced this.

        Reply

  13. Annabelle Says:

    Here’s another perspective: As an attractive 30-something woman, she has lots of options. If she’s considering dating a 45-year-old man (someone six years to 15 years older than she), she possibly thinks he might be a little more stable and reliable than men closer to her own age. Once he shows that not to be true by “penciling” her in and then texting to confirm later than agreed to, maybe he lost that appeal. After all, if she wants to date a flake and just get laid/have some fun, she can date one younger and hotter. Also, I agree with those who commented that HE is the one seeking advice because this has happened three times in recent months. Sure, we could tell the woman not to be so petty (and she is), but she’s not asking what we think. So, from a woman’s perspective, I would encourage this guy to set firm plans, confirm early (especially if plans are tentative) and show up. Not so hard when you think about it.

    Reply

    • Rob Says:

      I found that when I hit 45 suddenly I was subjected to flakier behavior by the 30-somethings that were interested in dating me, and even more so when I hit 46. And you can’t tell me that there isn’t a decent crowd of people that searches to 44 (I only want to date a man in his low 40s) or 45 (I want to date someone who is 45 or under) where suddenly the remainder has a different dating style.

      Reply

      • Parenting Says:

        Its not about dating a guy who is in his low 40s rather than mid 40s. Its that for younger women with options, the size of the age gap is inversely proportionate to their interest. Many of those same women will be thrilled to date 45 year old you when they hit 40.

        Reply

  14. Laura Says:

    I don’t see anything flaky about the OP. He set up a date and followed up. He said he’d pencil her in because he couldn’t confirm at the time. If he had sent the text a half an hour earlier it would have qualified as morning. She was being unreasonable.

    Reply

  15. Older Good Looking Guy Says:

    I liked your answer a lot, and think you nailed it. But I would point out that I thought that she was more an issue than the guy. I learned something too, as I sometimes say to people “I’ve got you on my calendar”. I agree it would be better to say something more clear and no need to mention a calendar or schedule.

    Off topic, but I don’t date anymore as I don’t want to deal with any online crap, so I’m now a monk who is told I’m too cute and smart to be single. Whatever.

    Reply

  16. Rob Says:

    So, I think the OP is trying to write a story that sounds more positive than it really is, but I really do think things go both ways here.

    On the one hand, they texted back and forth, both before and after her travels. This sort of implies that if she were really into him then she probably would have texted before noon on Thursday. And at the same time, if he only penciled her in and didn’t follow up until lunch time, he was likely keeping options open as well, either because who knows he works late or had another date Tuesday evening when she didn’t choose Tuesday.

    She didn’t respond at noon (yet they texted back and forth on previous occasions) so either she made other plans (I don’t buy the idea that she made plans with her girlfriends) and was trying to figure out what to say about it, or her interest was lukewarm at best.

    But yeah, this is the sort of thing that happens to me now – when I let it happen. Fortunately, my availability (or lack thereof) is such that I’m pretty firm on when I want to meet someone and I tend to only make dates a couple of days out. This prevents interest from waning, and if someone isn’t proactively reaching out to me I don’t waste my time, just as I would hope they wouldn’t waste their time with me if I wasn’t expressing an interest.

    Case in point – when someone texts me a whole bunch expressing strong interest when it’s pretty clear that we cannot form a relationship. There’s nothing worse than “I’m looking to settle down again” combined with “I’m getting assigned overseas in nine months.” I have kids, I’m not moving, I know if I go out with you, you’ll likely decide the chemistry isn’t strong enough after one date and won’t want to actually go on a real date, so if you say, “Let’s pencil in Thursday,” I’ll probably just blow you off and get annoyed if you persuade me to meet up anyway.

    I call them dance card fillers. For him and her, likely on both sides.

    Reply

  17. Bree Says:

    Annabelle understands. A 45 year old dad is in no position to behave even remotely casual if he wants to date women his own age and younger (I’m guessing the woman in her “thirties” was like 30-33). Women who date much older men are looking for a serious long term relationship and/or financial security. Personally I don’t tolerate casual treatment from men my own age or older, as there are much better looking younger men available if I’m going to be used for casual sex.

    I’m not saying the LW was just trying to get laid, only that his much younger date might have perceived that when he wasn’t completely solid on the plans. If LW wants to continue targeting younger women even though he already has two kids, then he should go above and beyond in displaying his interest and seriousness. His days of playing it cool are behind him. If he finds dating younger women too “high maintenance” then he might look at women a few years older who might be happy to hear from him and more flexible for him.

    Reply

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