It’s been a long time since I was tempted to slip a boy a note that says, “Do you like me? Check box yes or no.” After 10 years of dating, you sort of get the feel for when someone is at least a little interested in you romantically. But lately, I’ve been getting a lot of mixed messages and Jesus, I do not know what I’m doing.
An acquaintance of mine—who has a Facebook girlfriend—recently messaged me saying he’d like to buy me a birthday drink. I figured it was just a verbal gesture and he didn’t really mean it, but when he asked again I thought he must want to talk about his new restaurant so that I could write about it. We exchanged numbers and failed to get our schedules to line up a few times and he said, “I REALLY want to hang out with you. But since we can’t, maybe we can just text a little?”
That’s kind of weird, right? You wouldn’t really text that to someone you are trying to network with. Honestly, I wondered if he was looking to set up some kind of three-way situation more than I thought he was just trying to be friends. Who is that aggressive about friendship? If that’s he wants, I want to be nice and encourage it. If it’s something gross—I don’t even know what to say.
Then there is a guy from work who I’ve known for about 9 months now, and a month or so ago he started texting me on a daily basis. Usually bitter jokes about our jobs, but sometimes to share music or talk about books. I thought it was a little odd that he would text me so much if he wasn’t interested in me romantically, but work buddies do make the 40 hours a week go by faster so I just carried on with that assumption.
Last weekend, he finally invited me to hang out outside of work. We went to see his favorite band play a set at a record store and afterwards, he suggested we get a beer next door. By the end, he told me, “You can come to the concert tonight too, if you want.” I thanked him for his permission and he said I could even stand next to him if I wanted.
If I really thought he wanted me to go with him and he had sounded more inviting, I probably would have gone. But as it stood, I had been looking forward to doing nothing that night and watching my Netflix and sleeping a full 8 hours so that’s what I did instead. I like him, but not enough to stand next to him for two hours wondering if we were on a date. And I’m not missing Netflix night to make a platonic work friend.
Then there is another friend of mine I have been wondering about for a long time. When we first started hanging out I thought there was some clearly present flirtation but for whatever reason we were both hesitant. I was stuck on my ex-boyfriend seemingly into eternity and who knows about him, men are a mystery. A couple times he invited me to dinner and we never found the time to go. To me, dinner is a clear dating activity. If you’re just trying to hang out as friends, you say, “Hey wanna get blitzed?” or suggest some kind of more casual, daytime activity. Yet if he really wanted to get with me, he would have tried harder.
A pattern you may notice here is that I am basically waiting around for the men to make clear their intentions without much thought as to what mine are. This seems sexist and not the way to get what I want. What I want: I would be willing to at least go on a first date with either my coworker or my friend. I don’t have to know right now if I want to be with them indefinitely, right? I’m interested in seeing what’s between us.
In theory, I totally support women making a move. But the last two guys who I’ve had feelings for were the ones to end things so I’m emotionally delicate and more importantly, they also jerked me around. They built up my expectations with false promises then called it off. So this time around, I am looking for a man who definitely knows what he wants and is able to show me through actions.
If I don’t know what the guy wants with me, I am assuming he doesn’t either. And I know I am not interested in that at all.