Dating Diaries: We Couldn’t Break Out Of The Friend-zone -Valerie’s story

Valerie is a 27-year-old event planner. She says “I love clothes, food, socializing, entertaining, speaking French, gardening, and watching reality television, even though I’m ashamed of it.” She says “I love being an entrepreneur. I’m more of an ‘A’ type. I’m hard on the outside, and soft on the inside. I cry way too much when I’m watching movies.” Valerie says she is competitive, “boldly outgoing,” but also “caring, sensitive and very affected by the feelings of others.”

Sameer messaged me on Facebook out of nowhere. We hadn’t seen each other in a while, and it was nice to hear from him. The conversation ended as quickly as it started, but I thought about him for a few weeks, thinking, does he like me? He’s handsome, and athletic, but when we originally met we were both in relationships, and I didn’t really think of him at any point as dating material. A few weeks passed, and I decided I was 100 per cent ready to date after a recent breakup, and messaged him to suggest that we go for drinks.

His response was, “Are you asking me on a date? If so, I’m in.” We made a date for drinks later that week. I thought the date and time we’d landed on was perfect, because Sameer was leaving early the next morning on a business trip, so any decisions about what to “do” after the date were made for me.

That day was a day from hell, work-wise. I ended up being downtown much later than I expected, setting up for an event, and it was going to take me forever to get back to where I live. I had planned to meet Sameer close to my place, and it looked like I was going to be really late.

I texted him with an update and he said that it was fine, and we could delay our meeting time. I ended up being delayed almost two hours. I felt so bad! I kept in touch with him and suggested that we reschedule if that night wasn’t convenient for him anymore, especially with his morning flight to consider. He told me that he was good with it, and that he hadn’t eaten, so we should make it work.

I was vacillating between excitement and dread. I liked how easygoing he was about my lateness – it suggested to me that he was really into the date. But, we were friends, and I didn’t want a date to negatively affect our relationship. It’s happened to me before.

It was great to see him. He looked really good. The conversation was great, as we had a lot to talk about, as we share a lot of common ground. Two or three hours passed easily. Was I attracted to him? I’m not sure. He is undoubtedly very attractive, but I think I felt some awkwardness due to knowing him as a friend first – I didn’t think I was attracted to him in a very meaningful way. I did feel happy that for once I was out with someone who I was confident was not a Criminal Minds-type suspect.

As the date went on, however, the awkwardness grew. Usually, the opposite happens. I started to feel like we were both in the friend zone. Then, he said to me “Hey, why didn’t you bring Nina tonight?”

Nina is a good friend of mine, and in the past we’ve socialized with Sameer in groups, butwhy would I bring Nina on a date? I was so confused. I also felt kind of gross, like he was insinuating something. I wondered if he was so awkward with the situation that he suddenly didn’t want this to be an actual date, even though he had confirmed that it was before we went out. Or maybe he picked up on the fact that I wasn’t completely feeling it, so he pivoted to save face.

I said that she was probably at home, and let it go. That was that – neither of us mentioned it, or her, again. I was immediately mad at myself for not addressing the elephant in the room, and asking the question: are we on a date or not?! I’m not shy – this is certainly something that I would normally do. And it was such a strange thing for him to say! But, again, I didn’t want to affect our friendship.

The date ended quickly after that. We hugged goodbye. I texted him the next day to say it was nice to see him, and he texted back the same. I don’t think there will be any more dates, or non-dates, with Sameer.

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