Thanks as always for your tireless service! You are definitely still the best purveyor of dating advice on the internet. I think I have an issue that I haven’t seen you talk about before…
I (30, cis, straight, F) have been single for a *long* time, and in general I find that when I meet someone cool whom I’m interested in, I tend to be the one who does most of the heavy lifting (i.e. suggesting meetups, initiating contact, etc). That may or may not be a sign that I’m just setting my sights on people who aren’t actually interested – definitely a topic for my therapist but that’s not really what I’m writing to you about. The point is that I’m not shy to make the first move as a woman but am having zero success so far.
The issue is that I’m living in an area where people in general are quite restrained and well-behaved; everyone is friendly and kind and welcoming, but it rarely goes beyond that. People don’t really flirt or open up to you unless you really make an effort to get to know them properly, and even then it is borderline impossible to tell if someone likes you or *likes you’-likes you. There also isn’t really much of a vocabulary surrounding dating (the people here don’t speak English); there are no phrases for saying “Want to go out sometime?” or “I’d love to invite you on a date if you’re free next week” and so on. I asked a friend what they might think if someone up-front asked them on a date, and they said that sounded “way too direct”.
Generally this therefore means that I am in a pattern of inviting cool people for ‘drinks’ or ‘dinner’, only for them to interpret that as a literal invitation to go and consume food or liquid as acquaintances and then go home. I can’t think of an elegant way to make clear that I mean ‘drinks’ like ‘romantic flirty drinks’ rather than ‘two people ingesting beer in the same general area’. And because men here are very respectful of women’s boundaries, they sit politely on the other side of the table and keep their hands to themselves regardless of what kind of signals I try to send over. I think they are often quite nervous about potentially offending women by overstepping. I don’t want to violate their boundaries either so I don’t push it. We have a nice drink or dinner, go home, and nothing *ever* happens. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I guess I am wondering how I can make it clearer in my communication and body language that I am interested in these people so that things don’t just end up stuck in neutral like this. If anything, it would be good to get to a point where I can get an honest rejection from them so I at least know that I can move on and stop wondering. As it is, because I never get the up-front rejection, these things tend to stretch on for months and it can be quite emotionally draining.
Some people say that part of the problem is that guys don’t pick up on subtle signals like hair-touching and all that other stuff that women are told to do to show someone that they are interested. Is this true or is this just part of the usual ‘lol men are so oblivious’ genre of crap dating advice?
Ultimately the questions are:
– how do I make it crystal clear to someone that my invitation to meet up is a romantic move and that therefore they should say no if they’re not romantically interested?
– what are some things I can do as a female human to signal my interest, clearly enough that someone would get the message, without coming across as creepy or desperate? Or – worst of all – *intimidating*?
– what are some things I can do on these meetups to loosen up the vibe and encourage the other person to sit closer/reciprocate a touch/relax a bit and possibly even engage in some light flirting?
Thanks so much!
Why Don’t They Get It