DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I recently met up with a woman in my building. I’ve known her for awhile, but she mentioned she had a divorce about a year ago. After running into her a couple of times and having some good chats, I decided the next time I saw her I would ask her to join me for a walk nearby (I go every night). She says “Sure, but this month is bad… my dad having surgery, I have to work a lot (she’s a flight attendant) and I will be staying with my folks most of the month”. She gives me her number and I text her a couple of days later….it was the weekend and I didn’t want to interfere….she was hanging out with her teenage kids. In the text, I mentioned that I would love to set up a time and she again says September won’t work. I said I completely understand, and could I text her in a couple of days to see how her dad was doing?
She didn’t respond, which bothered me a little.
I was going to text her anyway the next day to ask how her dad’s surgery went, when I saw her in the elevator that day and asked about her dad. She said he was doing well, and then we got on with our day. She always seems pleased to see me when we run into each other, and I even told her “It’s always nice to see you, except I never know when”.
I’m having trouble figuring this one out. I understand about waiting, but three more weeks… talk about running out of gas. I do hold this person in high regard, but I really don’t want to have to chase her. I have no time for that, and I’m not fond of open-ended situations.
Not sure what to do. Do I text her in a week? Wait until October when her schedule clears? I can be direct and part of me wants to tell her, “Alpha, I want to let you know why I wanted to see you.I like you, I enjoy talking to you and I think you are a person worth getting to know, so can we get together?” I’m also being quite literal. I think she’s attractive, but I don’t want to sleep with her.I just want to get to know her a little.
Any advice you give would be great. I’ve never been great at this kind of thing.
Waiting In The Wings
DEAR WAITING IN THE WINGS: I hear a lot about “the chase”, when it comes to dating. Sometimes it’s from people who talk about how they love the “thrill of the chase”. Other times it’s from people who are tired of it and don’t want to have the chase someone down for a date. But the problem with this outlook is that 9 times out of 10, if you’re chasing someone, that means they don’t want to be caught. And while yes, occasionally you’ll have situations where persistence pays off, if you’re having to struggle to get someone to respond to your texts or pin down a day and time for a date, then you’re usually being sent a message.
Here’s a truth, WitW: people who want to see you will make an effort to see you. If someone’s interested in you and genuinely wants to see you, then you very rarely have to question it or struggle to make it work. This doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be any challenges — sometimes life just gets in the way and keeps throwing roadblocks in your path. However, more often than not, those are just inconveniences and folks who want to get together with you will be making a point to try to find ways to work around them. So if it’s a case that you and Alpha were getting along like a house on fire and she would totally be down for a date with you but dammit, she is just booked solid, then in all likelihood the two of you would be going through your respective calendars and trying to find a time that works for both of you. She’d propose November 16th, you’d realize you have a soccer game that day, so how about the 17th, and so forth and so on.
She’s not doing that. That’s a message right there.
The thing to keep in mind is that for many women, saying “no” directly to a man can be risky under the best of circumstances. There’re far too many women who’ve been harassed, assaulted or even killed by men after turning them down. It’s often easier (and safer) for women to give what’s known as a “soft no” — a socially plausible reason why they can’t see you, rather than “don’t want to” — than to say “no” directly. This way it’s not that they aren’t interested, it’s that oh wouldn’t you know it, the fates just oppose us, nothing to be done about it.
Similarly, it can be easier — and safer — to just not return texts or conveniently miss them and hope that the other person gets the hint than it is to turn them down directly. Just about everyone who dates men has a story of some dude losing their shit at them because they said “no, thank you” to a date (or sex or…). This is especially true in cases where, say, they’re likely to see the same person on the regular… such as at work or when they live in the same building.
Honestly, WitW, it sounds to me like she’s just not that interested. Which sucks, don’t get me wrong… but there’s not much to be done. If it really is a case of “right person, wrong time”, then all there is to do is simply wait. You’ve let Alpha know you’re into her and would like to see her. The ball’s in her court. If she wants to see you again, she’ll let you know. In the meantime, the best thing that you can do is continue being polite and friendly, but let this one go.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org)