Dear Captain Awkward–
I’ve been doing pretty well in the online dating world. Guys initiate things with me, I initiate things with girls (apparently that’s how bisexuality plays out on OkCupid! Gender stereotypes! I have them!) and I’ve been on several good dates. But it’s my first OkCupid date that sticks with me. An artist at a nearby college, in the process of coming out, short, funny…but I felt that I was much more into her than vice versa.
It’s been a couple of weeks and we haven’t hung out since that first awkward/fun but clearly-not-happening-again date, and our texting petered out after about a day. I’m a bit disappointed by this, but not, I think, overly invested. I’ve even dated other people!
Here’s the question: I’d kinda like to text her. I’m not sure why–or even what to say–but I’d like to know her better. Talking to her is fun! And on the profile she said she wanted friends! But. Have I been rejected? How can I open up a friendly conversation with her? Should I?
Not A Deep Question. But I’d Like To Know!
Hello, Not A Deep Question!
Thank you for a question to ease me back into posting after a break to wallow in freakish misery with a sinus infection this past week.
First, my hang-ups: I’m a bad person to ask about texting, because I am prickly about it. It’s an incredibly useful timesaver, but if you’re texting me, it had better be “about” something and/or you had better be inside my inner circle. When online dating, I will often provide my phone number when the first date has been scheduled as a “Ok, call or text me that day if plans change or you’re running late” safety measure, but woe betide the person who takes that as an invitation to become my Shiny New Texting Buddy. Negative 1,000 points if you text me with the word “Hey” and nothing else. It’s not my Chief Flirting Medium, in other words, and I find it kind of intrusive when it’s someone I don’t know all that well. So when I encounter an Exuberant Texter (or the constant IM-er) I sometimes have to say “Thanks for the texts, but can we save it for the date?” or “Sorry, I can’t talk now – can you email me instead?” and if they don’t listen to me and keep texting they get pre-dumped before I even meet them for being a person who can’t hear a no. Negative one million points if they text me things like “Was just trying to show that I liked u, what’s wrong? U need 2 loosen up.”
I realize that that’s just me! I am old, prickly, and uptight! I need 2 loosen up! It’s also a “gut” thing – if the attention feels intrusive and annoying vs. exciting and easy that’s telling me something and I pay attention to it. Edited to Add: For me, switching from email to texting is like going from the vous to the tu in French (or usted to tu in Spanish) – you need to be at a certain comfort level to be invited! [/edit] So this is why I will argue that if the date didn’t really spark and texts petered out, texting her is not the way to go. Use email to reset the relationship and ask the question you really want to ask. And if you want to hang out, find some specific event that you think she would like.
“Dear ____, it was really fun to meet you the other day. I couldn’t really tell if we hit it off romantically, but you are so cool and I liked talking with you so much – would you be interested in hanging out again sometime? There is this ___(event/place) I think you would really like. Let me know.”
And then you wait. If you don’t get an answer, that IS an answer. If she was into you (keep in mind, she’s only newly coming out and maybe new at any kind of dating) you give her an opportunity to speak up, and if you’re meant to be friends making the transition will be fun and effortless.
Finally, if you’re into dating men as well, consider making the first move with men you find interesting. Make it a less gender-stereotyped world, ok? This most recent dating experience put you in the “dude” role of making the first move and making the followup moves and trying to read the signals and figure out whether someone likes you or is blowing you off and wanting to contact her without setting off her personal tripwires. How do you like it? It’s awkward and weird, right?
Ok, good talk. Go forth and send a short, friendly email.