Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Promising Conversations Turn to Empty Words in Dating Game

DEAR ABBY: I consider myself to be a nice, normal person. I know how to make interesting, intelligent conversation that can engage just about anyone. When I go out socially, I often meet people and we hit it off.

Typically, by the end of the conversation, there comes a point where it is decided -- usually by the other person -- that we exchange information, which includes phone numbers and e-mail addresses. I generally wait a few days before calling, or until an occasion arises to invite the person to participate with me.

When I call or e-mail, I always leave a message, but I almost never get a response back. Sometimes I wait to see if the person I just met calls me first, but it never happens.

Do people just pretend to be interested in me, or am I fooling myself? Or are they just too busy to make the effort to have another friend? I don't understand it. Am I missing something? -- BLOWN OFF IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR BLOWN OFF: What you have described happens frequently -- usually when someone wants to end a conversation on a positive note. The failure to follow through can be for a variety of reasons -- busy schedule, lack of interest, met someone else, changed their mind.

But if this is happening more than 90 percent of the time, it's time to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you come on too strong, or keep the people you meet involved in "interesting, intelligent conversation" so long they feel the need to get away. My advice is to ask someone you trust whether this could be a possibility.