Dear Dr. NerdLove,
I don’t date much … at all … but read your page regularly as it’s helped give me some perspective on many of my dating frustrations. About a year ago when I met this very attractive and very interesting woman through work, but didn’t think too much of it. For the record, we don’t work at the same company, but our respective jobs require us to be in contact regularly.
Around Christmas time, I was trying to put together an unofficial Holiday get-together and invited her, along with some other people we do work with. She couldn’t make it, but did mention she’d like to get together for drinks sometime. Not “get together with all of you” … “get together with you”.
This sort of jogged my memory about all the other times she seemed to get a little flirty that I didn’t pay too much attention and came to the conclusion that she might be into me a little. Because I have always been kind of bad at judging interest I ran the scenario past a female friend, who agreed I wasn’t being crazy. So I asked this woman out and she said yes.
What happened next was a complete clusterf—k of scheduling. The only time I had available she was busy and vice versa. We finally settled on a lunch meeting which had to be canceled for weather reasons.
Last week she indicated she had some time available this week, I e-mailed her some times that worked for me. 9 days later she writes back to apologize for not writing sooner, but her boyfriend was in town, and now she’s heading out of town for a work thing.
I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll say this … maybe the boyfriend is real, maybe he isn’t. Maybe she understood I was asking her out on a date, maybe she didn’t. Maybe she was into me when I was oblivious and not so much when I was interested. I accept all of this. I completely accept that she has a right to change her mind and act accordingly. I still have contact with her through work, and am eager to maintain a courteous relationship as the work she does with us is great and I don’t want to jeopardize that.
But here’s the thing. She still wants to “get together” for a lunch thing or something like that, and I have no interest whatsoever it that anymore. The scheduling rigmarole, the boyfriend that seemed to come out of nowhere, I’m done.
So the problem is I don’t know how to tell her “no” without looking or feeling like a pouty, spoiled brat. Right now my plan is to simply tell her “Sorry, way too busy” if and when she brings it up. But that kind of feels like the coward’s way out.
I am very open to better ideas on how to get out and stay out of this, should you have one.