Ask Dr. Nerdlove by Harris O'Malley

Is He Actually Busy, or Am I Being Ghosted

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’m having some trouble with a college crush of mine. There was some flirting towards the end of last semester that started with him coming up to hug me at a bar twice (we hadn’t really talked much before that night) to him starting more conversations in class. Later in the week, I was studying in the quiet section of the library and from nowhere he came up to say hi and ask if I’ve taken the final for our class yet. I made it a point to ask him which section of College Class he was going to be taking next semester and when he told me, I said I’d try to get in that section as well.

At this point we didn’t have each other’s numbers and then it was winter break. Fast forward to this semester, prior to the lockdown. I’m in class with him again and a week ago decided to take the initiative. During class I also realized he still remembered my favorite movie that I had mentioned during the previous semester. At the end of class, I got him alone for a moment and said that if he’s on campus so much (he’s still a commuter) we should catch up some time. He agreed enthusiastically and asked if I have a break before class. When I tried to get his number, he took mine instead and double checked that I received his missed call. He didn’t text me so when I saw him a week later, I mentioned I was going to get coffee before class the next day and that he should come with me. We agreed on a time for the next day but when I texted him to confirm he asked if we could meet next week instead because he had overslept and had to do homework.

This keeps happening. I know he’s pretty studious. He enthusiastically said he’d be in touch (exclamation points and emoticons) even tentatively suggested a day for the next week. He didn’t text during the week so I was ready to write him off but come the day we were supposed to meet he wasn’t around because of the crazy weather. I’ve definitely been doing the whole eye contact, arm touch, smiling and acting interested thing so far. I’m not particularly suave or experienced so those have been huge steps for me so far. My question is what do I do now? Do I just play it cool and see what happens? Or truly just forget about him? I don’t usually trust people easily and can’t tell whether he’s blowing me off or if I’m just assuming the worst already.

Classic Overthinking-It Girl

DEAR CLASSIC OVERTHINKING-IT GIRL: Here’s my basic rule of thumb for whether someone’s blowing you off: Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy acti…, er a message. If he’s making a sincere effort to actually meet up – such as trying to reschedule for a specific day – then I would assume that yes, he actually wants to see you. But let’s look at the evidence: asked for your number, made sure you got his by calling your phone, rescheduled for a specific day when he overslept and accidentally missed your date… Honestly, at what does it take for you to take “yes” for an answer?

You’ve had one accidental oversleep – because, dude, look at, like, everything – and one day of the Universe just f

king with everyone with the weather. I’d say be cool and assume good faith.

But before you click to another site, you might want to read the next letter, COITG because some of this is going to apply to you too.

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: How do you keep the momentum going when you get her number and contact her the next day? This happens to me a lot. I always try do an instant date when I meet a women out. But because I live in a small community, pre-pandemic, women can’t be seen going home with a stranger in front of their friends or they will be the talk of the town. So I am forced to contact them the next day and the feeling is not as hot as it was the night before. A while back, an attractive girl was flirting and talking with me all night. As I was leaving she gave me her cell number and I text her the next day for a get together but she had other plans.

I’ll text the women I met the very next day and try to arrange a meet up for later on that night. A lot of times I will get the “I am busy so can’t make it.” When that happens I see if they’ll counter offer. If not we will exchange boring senseless text messages. As time goes on I feel the relationship is dust. How do I get out of this rut and escalate the relationship to a sexual one? Should I send her a text mid week inviting her out to a drink after work — or I guess a Skype date — the following Friday?

Textually Impaired

DEAR TEXTUALLY IMPAIRED: Here’s how you keep the momentum going: you continue to flirt via text. Whenever I get somebody’s number when we’ve been vibing and flirting and bantering, I’ll text her that night to keep things going. After all: we’re having fun talking, why wouldn’t we want that to continue? This is especially true if you live in an area where people can’t mind their own goddamn business and feel the need to slut-shame their friends and neighbors for enjoying themselves. Keeping some flirting going over text is a nice and sneaky way of keeping the tension up without other people feeling like they’re allowed to get up in the middle of it. Plus: you can arrange to meet up later that night.

As a general rule, if I want to see her again, I’ll aim to make future plans that night – “Hey, ever been go-karting?” or “There’s this awesome bar I’ve been meaning to check out, you should come with me,” or the like. Then, regardless of whether I text her that night, I’ll text the next day and chat and flirt a bit – keeping the vibe we had earlier alive. If it seems like she’s less interested or cooled off… ok, got an answer. If she’s still having fun talking to me, then I bring up the date again and lock down plans – preferably for within a couple of days, by that weekend at the latest. The longer you go without actually meeting up in person — under normal, non-pandemic circumstances — the more the emotional momentum is going to stall out. Depending on the person and our vibe, I may text something silly later to say “hi” and chat during the lead-up to the date, but generally keep things low key. As long as you don’t overdo it (which God knows I’ve done many a time) it’s a way to keep the connection going.

Now the thing to keep in mind: we live in an age of universal adoption smartphones with caller ID and call blocking. Giving out a number doesn’t mean anything; a lot of women will give their numbers out in order to make a guy go away and just make sure that they never actually get his calls. Other times, they’ll give their number but legitimately not be as interested later on; just a case of situational attraction. They were genuinely into you in that moment, but later on… well, it was fun flirting, but they’re not interested in it going any further. It’s nobody’s fault, just the way the dating game goes sometimes. When that happens: well, it sucks, but now you know it wasn’t going to happen and you’re free to move on to other people.

Good luck.

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