not interested, or inexperienced and shy?

Discussion in 'Does She Like Me?' started by missadventure, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. missadventure

    missadventure New Member

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    Alright. So I find myself puzzling big time over this girl...

    The story (sorry for length):

    We met a little over two years ago. I had just moved here and started doing some volunteer work in order to meet new people. She seemed really interesting and about my age (we're both in our early 30s), so I tried chatting her up a bit. Never got a good read on her – she’s really shy, introverted, reserved, and I could never tell if she was interested in even having a conversation. After a few weeks I stopped volunteering there because I found a job that conflicted, scheduling wise, and I assumed I'd never see her again.

    8 months later I found a new better job, and to my complete surprise she was the first person I was introduced to, and the only person I had to interact with on a daily basis, tho we worked in different departments and her shift only partially overlapped with mine. Kinda felt like life was giving me a second chance to get to know her, so I tried again, and still didn't get a good read. Finally after 6 weeks I just decided to ask her out for coffee anyway. I expected her to say no, and then I could say I tried and move on. She said yes.

    So we went out. Both of us were a little nervous, but we both seemed to have a good time. She revealed that she had remembered me from when I had met her at the volunteer organization. Even remembered some of my attempts at conversation. After we finished our coffee she suggested we go check out a local street festival. And at the end of the day she left it open for us to see each other again in the future, so that seemed optimistic.

    But back at work she shut down. We basically went back to being complete strangers. So I gave up and moved on.

    Fast forward three months and she started becoming more friendly with me again, so I asked her out on a second date. Dinner and the symphony. She again said yes. We again went, were a little nervous and awkward, but we both seemed to have a good time, and afterwards she asked me to take a walk with her, which was also fun.

    But after the date she again shut down and we went back to being complete strangers. This time I asked for a third date anyway. She said she'd have to check her schedule then a week later sent me a friend request on facebook and a message saying she would love to go. This date was dinner and the ballet.

    Again we go out, we're both nervous and awkward, but we have fun. I started dropping hints that I was interested in her, and started trying to find out if she was too. She said her last relationship was a boyfriend in highschool, and she's never really given dating much thought - boy or girl. Didn't seem like a good sign, but not a bad one either.


    I ended up backing away for a couple of weeks, and when I reapproached her it was 6 weeks before Valentines Day, so I asked her if she wanted to come over to my house and have dinner and watch movies that night. She again said yes. And started being really flirty to the point that I was starting to suspect that she was interested in me.

    On Valentines Day she cames over and we have a good time. I wanted to escalate things, but I didn't want to come on real strong, so I told her I had a bit of a crush on her. Her response was "thank you" and nothing more. But she continued enjoying the evening anyway.

    The next time I saw her at work I asked her on a 5th date. She said she'd think about it and then she completely shut down and avoided me for two weeks. I finally sent her a message on facebook apologizing if I made her feel awkward, but that I thought she knew that I was interested and I had hoped she was too. She responded that she didn't realize we had been going on dates and was feeling awkward, and that she doesn't react well when anyone tries to get close to her.

    So I backed off, and we began a period of uneasy awkward friendliness. Which lasted 8 months in total.

    In the meantime, I started volunteering for that organization again. She was still there. We gave each other a wide berth. But, in the process of being a volunteer I ended up befriending most of her friends, amongst whom I was something of a celebrety as the only person they know of who she's actually been on a date with. And her friends ended up really liking me, and I ended up becoming part of their social circle.

    At first she was uneasy about that, but I let her have her space, and slowly, very slowly, she started warming up to me, and becoming more friendly towards me. And eventually we got to the point where I thought she had put me in the friend zone. And I was okay with that. Anyone cool enough to date is cool enough to be friends with. in my opinion. But, that didn't last long.

    Three months ago she randomly admitted that she had grown fond of me. "fond" is the word she used, and it's pretty ambiguous, so I just assumed she was being friendly. She also apologized to me for how she reacted to my feelings, and said "I'm still learning about these things", whatever that means. Then a few days later she turned around and asked me on a date to take place a month later. Dinner and an opera she really wanted to see. A week after that a good friend of mine came into town for the weekend and she played the jealousy card over my friend, and then the day after my friend left she grilled me about her until I mentioned that my friend was anxious to leave and get back to her boyfriend, at which point she said "Good. That's how it should be", then smiled and gave me a candy bar. After that she started randomly slipping me candy at work and being really flirty and coy about it, as well as paying me a crap ton of random complements - both to me and to others, but whenever I questioned her about it she always came up with some copout evasive excuse for doing it. And she also started facebook stalking me - she never likes or comments on any of my posts online, but she typically will work them into conversations in person.

    At the end of that month the date happened. It was a group date to dinner and the opera - two mutual friends joined us. But we paired off the whole time, and her attention was mostly focused on me. And it was the first of our dates where there was no awkwardness or nervousness. We both totally relaxed, and it was an awesome time.

    She wasn't at work the following day, but one of her coworkers asked me "So how was your date?" Caught me by surprise, because I hadn't mentioned it to anyone at work, so clearly she had told her coworker about it. And after that she remained friendly towards me. Although she started acting really nervous and shy around me whenever we we're alone.

    A few days after that she, in the most adorably awkward invitation I've seen since high school, asked me to have thanksgiving with her and her friends. And that was a lot of fun, so the day after thanksgiving I sent her a message on facebook asking her to go see a stage performance of her favorite musical in mid January. She waited four days until we were alone together in person and then blurted out that she'd love to go. The following week we spent a lot of time together just hanging out. Mostly with other people, but her focus always remained on me. So, that was fun. But on the last day of that week she asked me if I could invite one of her friends to the musical with us.

    So I assumed she was trying to shut down romance. She may have done a lot of things indicative of interest. But she's never ever flat out said she's interested. She doesn't use any labels regarding our relationship, and she's never called our dates "dates". So, really, I just accepted that there would be no romance and invited her friend.

    But later that night she, myself, and two of our friends went out for dinner. And at one point one of them started talking to me about a guy he wants to date, and she started spitting out all these random comments, like "I always get really awkward on dates" and "Whenever I try to define a relationship things end up weird." No context or elaboration. She just spat 'em out and let 'em dangle. So naturally our friends were looking at me, since I'm the only person they know of that she's been on a date with, and I'm sitting there looking at her like "I'm sitting right across the table from you... Is this something you're trying to tell me?" So after that I started thinking that maybe her friend coming along on our date is less about shutting down the romance, and more about taking pressure off so she could relax and not be nervous and awkward. But, really, I don't know.

    So this date will be next friday... And it's turned into a double date, which is fine. But, I called her on Monday to get her feedback on restaurants, and at one point she asked me "So, is my friend coming with us on the.... ummm.... excursion?" That's the closest she's ever come to labeling anything, and that's a really awkward word choice that I'm not sure what to make of, although I'm slightly amused that she had to pause mid sentence to come up with it. I also on that phone call asked her if she wanted to do an activity this friday (tomorrow) and she said she was out of the state visiting family and didn't know if she'd be back by then. I left the invitation open and said if she does find her way back and is interested to let me know. And she apparently got her in car an hour later and drove home. But I have yet to hear from her about doing anything tomorrow (though we have talked about other things since she got back).

    So, in conclusion. I have no idea where I stand. There's a fine line between not interested but awkwardly friendly, and interested but inexperience/shy/scared... And I'm kind of curious how other people would handle this. My options as I know them are to straight up ask her what's going on, with the risk that asking point blank may cause her to shy away, or to continue circling each other like awkward high school freshman who don't know what to do, until she decides to make her interest known, if she is in fact interested.
     
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  2. aussie_gabby

    aussie_gabby Well-Known Member

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    I can't believe you spent so much time trying to date this girl. Do you even known if she is actually interested in girls?

    Inexperienced or not, be friends with her and move on. Don't waste another year trying to figure out if she likes you. You've gave her plenty of opportunities to tell you if she's into you.

    You should be glad you've found a friend who you have fun going out with and enjoying the same interests But romantically, let it go. Find someone who can actually use the word date.

    As someone who is also in their early 30s, I wouldn't spend months just trying to figure out if my crush is into women.

    The time you've spent trying to date this girl and figure out if she's into you, you could of found someone who want to date you, be with you and even just call it a date.
     
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  3. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    It is also possible that she was hurt in some way - bad childhood, sexual assault, etc.. That leaves people struggling to feel their own feelings, struggling to let anyone in in an intimate way. And either wanting to go super fast, or super slow.

    Why don't you just talk to her? C'mon, you are 30ish years old. Straight up - take the bull by the horns and say you want to go to coffee, just the two of you. Just coffee. And ask her straight up - that you don't want to do anything she doesn't want. If she just wants fun platonic double dates, you are ok with that. And if she wants more, you are willing to go slow. Then deal with whatever her answer is.

    But she doesn't get to keep you in the platonic zone, then get jealous that you might have an actual romantic date with someone else. You need to set some damn boundaries for yourself and not just have everything be her (not very healthy) way.
     
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  4. Spygirl

    Spygirl Well-Known Member

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    First of all, operating under assumptions always will get you into trouble. You assumed the first "coffee" date was a date and not just two friends hanging out. You went on to make those assumptions, and by doing so you put certain expectations inside of your head.

    When you finally got around realizing that she knew your "get togethers" were dates, things got weird because (1) she seems to have anxiety over the situation and (2) you're still making decisions and reacting based on assumptions. She's all over the place and is hot and cold some days...she's "fond" of you but gets jealous when you have someone come into town.

    The problem with all of this is that you're the one reacting to her, letting her set the tone for things, which is leaving you in a world of confusion. The only way you're going to figure out whether there's a chance here (and for the life of me, this situation is so long and drawn out that this girl must be something special for you to be hanging on) is to talk to her. Once you get both of you on the same page, you can figure out where she stands. If she equivocates, then you should find someone who's willing to admit being into you in more than a friend way.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
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  5. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    I have trouble with giving advice on co-worker dating because I hate encouraging people in that situation and getting them in trouble. I do want to give some perspective from being a shy person and I am assuming that she is really shy. First off, when a shy person does pipe up to say something, it is very important to really listen to her. When I got to the part of your narration where she said she didn't know about dating someone, boy or girl, I would have thought it was her way of saying no. But she has not given you a flat no, and in her ways, she has given you some overtures. So it is confusing. Life would be easier if you would only fall for people who are perfectly straight forward and not your co-workers, but given your patience in this thing, maybe you have it bad enough for her or you are simply not just out there looking for someone and you are just going with the flow.

    Well, again, giving some thoughts from a shy person, and we are all different, I am sure, but maybe some of the following would help. First, get her to talk. Ask her a lot about herself, and when she gets on a subject, respond to it like you really want to hear the rest. When she blurted all that out about dating, I would have kept her going. Second, and this can get you in trouble as she is a co-worker, it would be to slowly introduce affections, like small physical touches. Like gently touching her arm and giving light hugs when you meet up, if you are not doing so already. When you do get to some point where you feel comfortable, kiss her on the cheek when you part. The touching will give you more clues about where she is at as long as it is sincere and you are confident with it. I know as a shy person even though attention can mortify me, I do like them and enjoy that someone is interested in me just for me. So, again, spend some time listening and asking her about her interests. She is probably very passionate inside about something, maybe her volunteer work, maybe also to find a good companion. See if you and her are really a match.

    Edit: I read more on the advice above and I agree with them, especially on the straight up talking about it. But I thought from your narration you had tried to straight up tell her that you liked her. She just seems like she is not sure on that. I maybe shy but I do give straight forward answers, so maybe she is sincere about not being sure at all in dating. It does sound like inexperience to me and her shyness is getting her no where in getting more experience in dating, relationships and what she really wants.
     
    #5
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
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  6. rainydaze

    rainydaze Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmmm.....this is a tough one. You are being very kind and patient. You must really like her, huh?

    Based on theory and probability, I have to whole-heartedly agree with the other responses! It is taking a long time to get a real reading on her, you are being incredibly patient, and it is (generally) not a good idea to date co-workers.

    HOWEVER, I am going to self-disclose here: I can give you a different take on all of that, based on personal experience. I don't want to give you false hope, please understand. But I definitely was not certain i was interested, completely inexperienced (with women), and very shy, when I met my Big Love at work! LOL!

    She courted me for nearly a year, without me realizing it. Of course, she was quite a Romeo at the time, so she kept her options open and was dating other women that whole time (very smart)! I knew about this and I was very interested in the tales of her adventures in the dating world. My straight-girl twenty-something dating life was not nearly as exciting as her new-girl-every-few-weeks-because-she-got-bored-so-easily-and-had-so-many-offers social life:) We became very good friends while working together, had great respect for each other's work ethics, and had some mutual acquaintances in our social worlds in and outside of work. We gradually grew to know each other well and become very "fond" of each other. Later, she admitted that she had her eye on me from the start because I was cute at the time! ha! (Not very wise, though, to get caught up on a "straight" co-worker. I strongly advise against it on principle and statistics, but I would be a hypocrite if acted like it was never, ever possible.)

    We went on a few dates before I fully acknowledged that was what we were doing. She considered them dates from the start! She was very patient with me, my questions/confusion, and she asked me clearly, directly for permission before she ever made a move on me. By that point, I was ready to be all over her! I had fallen in love with her and I was crazy about her! and I wanted her...badly! We kept our relationship quiet (not secret) for a little while until we were sure it wasn't just an infatuation for both of us, and until we were ready to be exclusive and less private. We also had to figure out who was willing to move on from work, because co-worker relationships are very messy (and we both had other career goals anyway). I also went through a big, shocking process of coming out to family, friends, and self, almost simultaneously. But I have never looked back, and have never considered another. We married, raised children together, supported each other while starting our grown-up professions. Still madly and passionately in love with each other to this day. Next month, we celebrate 20 years together!

    So, there you have it....they say there is an exception to every rule! Love is strange! Best wishes to you! Keep us posted:)
     
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  7. Spygirl

    Spygirl Well-Known Member

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    20 Years.....!!!!!!!!!!!

    In awe :)
     
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  8. rac

    rac Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure she's not as confused as you are? It sounded to me like she isn't sure too, if you guys are dating or just hanging out. When she asked you about that uhm, excursion, are you sure she wasn't trying to verify if it's a date? You told her you have a crush on her but did you ever mention your intention of turning that into something romantic? When my gf and I were still friends, she knew I had a crush on her but she never thought I wanted to date her nor it was anything more than a friendly crush (if there's such a thing :)) because according to her, I did not give her enough indication that it was more than that. My point is, she is "still learning about these things" and you didn't exactly tell her anything beyond that bit of a crush so the way I look at it, you contributed a little to that confusion. I am not blaming you, I am simply giving you another perspective.

    The best advice I got from this forum is to go and tell her already so that's my advice to you as well. But if you do, make sure she understands that you want to date her and all your intentions. Just one thing, be ready that it may go either way.

    About her awkwardness when you guys go out... When my gf and I started dating, she wasn't out. So I took her to places I know the possibility of bumping into someone she knows was slim. Just like @rainydaze said, it wasn't to keep it a secret but just one less thing for her to worry about when we go out. She later admitted it made things a bit easier. So that may help you guys, too.

    I hope I did not add to your confusion. I wish you luck. Please keep us posted.
     
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  9. missadventure

    missadventure New Member

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    There was a character limit, so some details were left out. We aren't coworkers anymore. She quit her job a month ago. Although I have primarily met all of my former girlfriends through work, and with one exception it's never been an issue. And even that one exception it didn't become an issue until I started dating someone new three years after we broke up.

    As for me not getting out and dating other people. I do. I haven't pinned all my hopes and dreams on this one girl. However, small town, and the number of available in my desired age range is rather slim. Pretty much everyone I've tried to pursue in the time I've known this girl has pretty much gone nowhere, and at the end of the day there she is, still interesting in all the right ways, and still a part of my life.

    I am reacting to her, primarily because she's the one who has the decision to make about what she wants to do here, and I'm really not interested in pressuring her into anything. I want her to be with me because she wants to be with me, end of story. And that's not something I get to decide for her. I also think it's a lot of pressure on her if I straight up say "So what's going on here?" Maybe there's a more elegant way of saying it, I dunno. I tend to be a pretty awkward person all on my own, and when courting someone I have a tendency to get even more awkward.

    I will, however, start dropping less than subtle hints about what I want. This morning I pulled a good natured prank on her. I knew she'd appreciate it, and I wasn't wrong, but I left it up to her to figure out who was responsible. It took her a few hours to figure out it was me, then she gushed to me about how hilarious it was and how creative I am, and then she asked why. My response was "Well, I'm too old to pull your hair on the playground and not so old that I've forgotten the way to your heart is laughter." And her response to that was "You should've wrote that on a note and signed it." So, I dunno.

    As for her being weary of going places where she'll be seen while not out, I don't think that's an issue for her. She's volunteered at our local LGBT festival for the past 4 years, we work in an industry that's pretty much 80% lesbian women, and all of her friends know there's something going on between us.

    I did hear back from her about doing something together tonight... She again used the word "excursion"... But ultimately her answer was puzzling because it was dark - "other than buying groceries I have little interest in doing anything in this dreary world." So we obviously didn't go out. But, not sure what to make of that. She's generally an upbeat optimistic person. Kinda wanted to ask her what was up, but she went back to gushing about how awesome my prank was, so I let her continue talking about something that clearly made her happy.
     
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  10. rac

    rac Well-Known Member

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    My gf's best friend is gay, half of her close friends are lesbians and she was (is) active with lgbt causes. But she, and I really don't like labelling her this way, was straight. When we hung out as friends, it didn't matter where we went or who saw us. We did not care because we were friends just hanging out. When we started dating, I chose to do that because I wanted to make it easier for her. Because even if she insisted it would have been ok, I knew it would have been uncomfortable.

    Anyway... There is no easy or elegant way to tell anyone how you feel about them. Especially in this case. You do it when you are ready. I did it when I thought I was ready to accept whatever her answer would be. (She actually said she couldn't when I first told her how I feel. We tried to stay friends but I couldn't deal with my feelings so we stopped for a while. Then couple of twists later and long story short, she's now my gf.)

    One thing though, until you can tell her what you really want, maybe treat your interactions as something friends do. I know that is hard but trying to figure out what her every word or action mean will be harder on you and will mess you up. Treat her as a special friend that you'd want to go an extra mile but nothing more than that until you are ready to face her, ask her once and for all, if she feels the same way. For your sanity's sake.

    One last note, I think I'm gonna stay with my personal observation that she is also not sure what's going on and is waiting for you to start the conversation. I still think she used the word 'excursion' because she wasn't exactly sure if you guys are dating.
     
    #10
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  11. rainydaze

    rainydaze Well-Known Member

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    Missadventure - I am rooting for the two of you. It really sounds as if you like each other in a deep, meaningful way that has grown over time. I am just going to add a few random thoughts that have popped up in my head.

    I think it is great that you have kept your options open, but continue to keep an interest in her. I know you say that you are awkward, but you are quite articulate here about how you feel. It is smart that you are concerned about her feeling pressure, but honesty and clarity are not the same as pressure. If she is confused/questioning, she may take great comfort in your certainty. If you know that you like her and want to date her, I think it is ok to let her know that without making it an ultimatum. It sounds like your heart is already at risk with her, so would saying it out loud to her make it more so? Would it help you to be as honest with her as you are being here with us? Awkwardness is endearing and humor also helps to smooth the scariness, so don't worry about that. It sounds like you both have those traits in common. Honesty is really refreshing; it's ok to talk about not wanting to create pressure but also not wanting to be confusing to her. She sounds invested in you and she is certainly bright enough to get what you are saying, even if it makes her nervous. I guess (like Rac stated), you want to be prepared for her response either way. Could that be more of what you are concerned about? That the courting could end if her answer is that she is not interested in a romantic way?

    Also, being comfortable around gay people and having gay best friends are not the same as being comfortable being gay. Interestingly enough, (although admittedly it was a long time ago, and things may have changed since then), both my spouse and I had gay friends when we were getting together, but neither of us received a great deal of support from them. Her friends cautioned her to stay away from a "straight girl" with a lot of disgust and judgement. And some of my lesbian friends responded in a few ways: 1) offended that I didn't choose my lesbian friend instead 2) upset that a "straight girl" took an available lesbian off the market, and 3) made insults that my future wife was "braver than (her), because (she) wouldn't touch (me) with a 10 foot pole" because I had been with men in my past. yeah, that was a real quote. It was a tough start to actually joining the LGBT community, honestly, even though I had been gay-friendly for a long time. Hopefully, it has become warmer and more welcoming these days. But it is still scary to wrestle with one's orientation/identification and acceptance of one's self, even if her feelings are really strong for you and she has gay friends.

    Lastly, don't be too hesitant to go deeper with her. If she is pausing and saying words like "excursion" rather than "date," she is very likely looking for a reaction from you. Who says excursion? She knows that would get your attention and has used it more than once. Is she looking for you to clarify your intentions or is she trying to be sure you know it is not a date? I think you have the right to ask? In fact, she has sort of set you up to ask, don't you think? It's sort of the same with the negative comment about leaving the house? As a friend or a potential date, you would ask what is up, because she is usually so optimistic that is unlike her, right? Or was she possibly suggesting she wanted to stay in with you? Hmm? She is throwing some stuff at you that seems like she wants you to ask a little bit more about what she is thinking and feeling about what you two are doing and how you are relating to each other. I don't know, I could be wrong, but it feels like she may be trying to get you to say or ask more. It feels like you are both dancing around the issues a bit, waiting for the other to state something more clearly?

    Anyway, as I said, these are just thoughts, realizing that any advice or observations I/we have are all through our own filters too, so there is that. You both seem to be patient people, so that is a nice quality to share :)
     
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  12. missadventure

    missadventure New Member

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    Hmm... I think you're probably right, rainydaze, that we are both dancing around and hoping the other will take the lead.. And there's really no reason why I shouldn't. We do have the "excursion" coming up on friday, so that should present a few options to talk to her about what's up with us.
     
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