Q. Dear Alannah,
First let me say that I really enjoy your column here. Your advice is sage, and thus, I am hoping you could advise me on a particularly difficult issue.
I’ve recently reunited with a woman who was very significant in my past. We became close well over a decade ago when we were but 17, but time and fate brought us our own separate ways until now. I ran into her profile by chance on an online dating site, and, stunned as by lightning, contacted her. It took us a lot of time to meet, but we finally did last week, just for a light conversation over coffee and a short walk on a beautiful day. We really hit it off, laughing and jesting as through that long span of absence had never taken place.
A few days later, I called her, just to thank her for the pleasure of her company and to chat a little about a public event which we both planned to attend. Well, we wound up getting a few drinks that night. The jests and the laughter continued; eye contact was intense; hands just seemed to find one another across the table; embraces were warm and lengthy; her smile was radiant, and no doubt there was quite a twinkle in my eye. The only thing that didn’t quite go my way was that when I went in for the kiss upon parting, she presented her cheek. But I held her for a while after that, and when we finally parted, I felt like a king.
The day of the public event arrived, one put on by a friend of mine, who, I should add, is a man of 75. I had volunteered to assist him if needs be. I called my woman friend earlier in the day, just to inquire if she wanted to carpool, but she replied that she had double-booked with another friend of hers (another woman), but that she would prevail upon her to go to this event. And so they both did. I should note that her friend had just return from a long journey, and thus appeared quite exhausted over the course of the night. We were rather focused on the event, and thus did not talk as much as we had. Some of my friend’s preoccupation rubbed off on me as well, I think, and I wasn’t quite my usual charming self—my wit was less quick, there was less mischief in my eyes, my compliments were more muted, and so forth. But the event ended, and they invited me over to another tavern for a couple of drinks. I went along, (my desire to talk to her more perhaps foolishly outweighing my better judgment to remain somewhat aloof) and much the same thing transpired there: more conversation, with both her and her friend, but just less enchantment. When we departed, I asked her if she wanted to get together on my coming day off, and she replied that she wasn’t sure of her schedule. All in all, it was a friendly time, but not so charming a time as our past meetings.
Now, I have a little trouble taking the fact that she had double-booked and that she wasn’t sure of her schedule at face value, particularly we really hit it off at our first couple meetings. Moreover, I could see that it was a great exertion on behalf of her loyal friend to be there. So I’m wondering, what happened? These three meetings all transpired within the space of a week; perhaps she thinks we should slow down, and the presence of her friend and the general vibe being off were signs of that. Perhaps I was just off. I’m not exactly sure. She called me on the day after the event just to say hi; I decided to rescind the offer on my day off—I really do have a lot to do after all—which is just as well, as she has plans.
So, I guess I’m asking, what happened here? And how should I best conduct myself to move this forward and to avoid the dreaded “friend zone?”
Thank you in advance.
Mystified in Massachusetts
A. Dear Mystified,
Sorry to hear about your current situation! There's nothing quite like reconnecting with someone from your past who you may have had strong feelings for at one point, so I can only imagine how frustrated you must feel. From what you've told me, it sounds like there may be one of two things happening here:
1) Your friend was initially interested and now has changed her mind or isn't sure what she wants,
2) she was only viewing this as a friendly reunion and nothing more.
From what you said about your first two outings, it sounds like she did enjoy your company, but her turning her cheek when you moved in for a kiss on your second outing could mean either that: a) you misread her signals and she was only looking for friendship, or b) she may not be sure just how interested she is in you.
If she was interested to begin with, things may potentially be saved. First, hold off on calling or contacting her in any way for a few days - you don't want to appear clingy. This will also give her the chance (if she's interested) to miss you and/or think about you again. Then, after a few days (about 3 or 4), reach out to her and ask her if she wants to meet up for drinks or dinner. If she accepts your invitation, try a different setting from before, and don't be afraid to take the lead; flirt with her, tease her with playful banter; and make it clear that you're not wanting to be her friend, but rather, you're looking for something romantic. (Check out my previous article for some tips on how to effectively tease her when flirting, as well as my article on moves that will make her swoon!) If she is/was interested, this boldness will help reignite that interest again; if she wasn't, at least you'll be clear on where she stands and can move on.
Good luck, and keep me updated on what happens! ;)