DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I recently met this girl at a Halloween party, we hit it off and I ended up making out with her before she left the party. So far so good. The next day, not wanting to repeat the mistakes of the past of being unclear with my intentions sent the following message
So I’ll be honest, I don’t know what last night was, but I enjoyed it and I’d like to do it again. So do you wanna get coffee or see a movie sometime, see where it goes?”
She said yes and I ended up hanging out at her place to watch a movie. We talked some more, it was awkward at first but things seemed to be going well. I learned that she was 3 years older than me (she’s 24, I just turned 21) but that didn’t bother me, I’d had bad experiences dating people younger than me in the past and thought this would be a nice change of pace.
This time we hung out also seemed to go well, we made out on her couch, almost had sex but stopped cause her sister was coming over soon and she didn’t want to be caught in the act. No biggie, fair enough. We leave it with her giving me a lift home and making out in her car and agreeing to see each other again soon. So she goes away for the weekend to see her other sister and I go down to Melbourne for my birthday. I try messaging her over the weekend once or twice but she doesn’t respond. I don’t even get a text on my birthday from her which is the least i was expecting. I get back to town and send her a message to see if she wants to hang out. She says she’s babysitting her sister who is in town for work experience, also, no problem. I say “Hey, that’s ok, doesn’t mean we can’t talk right?”
Then get this message from her:
“Hey, sorry I think you might have got the wrong idea when we met, I just want to be friends, I just thought I’d let you know”
Am I right to be confused? Being ‘just friends’ is certainly not the impression I’ve gotten and I don’t know how to move forward from this. I haven’t had the best luck with women and it’s been 3 years since my last and first girlfriend.
This is the message I sent afterwards which she hasn’t responded to
“Well you can see how I might have got the wrong idea. All I know is that I’ve liked hanging out with you the few times I have, and it felt to me like you did as well. I know jumping into something, whatever that might be can seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be.”
What should I do?
Heartbroken In the Outback
DEAR HEARTBROKEN IN THE OUTBACK: I hate to be the one to say this, but you need to accept that you got rejected and move on.
Here’s what happened:
She was cool with making out with you at the party. She liked you well enough to give a shot hanging out with you and making out some more when you hung out at her place. But then once she had some time and distance… well, she decided she wasn’t so into you after all. It’s hard to say just what flipped that particular switch; maybe your messaging her over the weekend struck her as being needy or clingy. Maybe she was seeing someone else casually at the same time and decided to get serious with them. Maybe she rekindled things with an ex. Maybe you were some naughty fun on the side when she and her significant other were on the rocks. Maybe her sister went all Iago on you and changed her mind.
Or maybe she just decided out of the clear blue sky that you weren’t her type, sloppy make-outs aside. That also happens.
But regardless, it happened and she was trying to give you the wave-off. First, she didn’t respond to any of your texts. As I’m always saying: one unanswered text is happenstance. Twice is worrysome. Three times is a message. No response is a response, after all. When you were back in town and continuing to not pick up what she was laying down, she gave you a more overt “no” by giving you the LJBF speech.
Now it might have been nice if she was more upfront – it would’ve saved you some heartache and her some annoyance – but unfortunately, it happens and you can blame society for this one. As I’ve said many times before: women, even in the 21st century, are socialized to be indirect when it comes to turning men down. They’re taught that they should be as solicitous of men’s feelings – even to the point of sacrificing their own – and as a result, frequently couch rejection in softer terms like “I just want to be friends” or “I’m not in a good place for a relationship right now”. What they mean is no, but saying “no” directly is frequently a risk – occasionally a physical one when the men take things badly.
To be fair: her framing things as “I think you might have gotten the wrong idea” when you’ve had repeated make-out sessions is pretty disingenuous. It absolves her from any part she played in your hook-ups (because I’m assuming this wasn’t because one or both of you weren’t so sloppy drunk that you couldn’t consent… right?) because how could you not see that she was sucking face in a totally platonic fashion? Maybe you missed her mentioning that she wasn’t looking for a serious thing? Dunno, I wasn’t there. And in the end, it doesn’t matter.
You had some fun times, they didn’t last as long as you would’ve hoped. It sucks, but there’s really not much to do but pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on to the next make-out session.
DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: Long time reader but first time really asking a question. When do you just ask the girl out? When do you decide to ask? I’m not afraid to ask I just never know when to ask.
My example is last night, I went to my coworker’s last day karaoke party and gender imbalance is a bit high. It was only her and 6 dudes but her friend stopped by. We have a good time singing and I occasionally talk to her lady friend. Eventually we actually do start having a conversation. We flirt, we talk I even set up this whole thing where the rest of the night her goal is to get another $1 so I’ll exchange one of my $2 bills with her. It’s playful and fun.
Of course sometimes we split apart for a bit sometimes. I have to go a bathroom, I’m talking to someone else, she wants talk to my coworker who she’s friends with. Whatever. But she decides to bail early at the exit of the next bar. Now, I realize I could have just asked her for her number right here but I’m not so courageous that I could ask in front of all my coworkers. Maybe this the problem? But I’m not really sure how to ever set up the asking. Am I putting too much emphasis on the actual asking? Should I just stop giving a crap about being rejected in front of people? Should I just work it in the conversation earlier?
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Biting The Bullet
DEAR BITING THE BULLET: Don’t overthink things. If you’re having fun, tell her that you’re having fun and you’d like to see her again. When in doubt, you can always pre-seed a potential date by bringing up an event that you’re looking forward to, then inviting her to come with you later on in the evening.
As for the “asking her out in front of people” issue: don’t sweat it. Most people aren’t paying attention to your conversation, and even fewer are going to notice and/or care that you’ve asked someone out. Same applies if she turns you down; as long as you don’t make a giant production out of it, then nobody else will either.
If she says no, you smile, shrug, and say “ok, cool, thought I’d ask” and then change the subject like it’s no big deal. If you’re especially nervous about doing this in front of people – and can’t find an excuse to get some air together or get a drink or what-have-you – then just create some intimate space by physically positioning yourself with your back to the rest of the group as you talk to her. Instant social privacy.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org)