Sunlit Water

June 21, 2006

Speaking Practically

Filed under: Personal — by teofilo @ 11:21 pm

The style of the previous post was not chosen purely for aesthetic purposes; I also wanted to abstract away from the details of the situation because this has happened to me more than once.  One of the times it happened was yesterday, hence the timing of the post, but my concern is not so much with that situation (which is pretty stable and, indeed, comfortable) as with the general pattern.

My main impression of these experiences is that it sure seems odd that on multiple occasions girls that I find attractive will start talking to me and actively seeking to spend time with me and generally doing things that, to me, seem to indicate interest, only to casually indicate that no, they are definitely not interested.  The conclusion I am increasingly drawing, however, is that these are really just friendly people doing what they consider normal, friendly things, and I'm the one who's reading too much into it.

The problem, then, is that I don't seem to be able to tell which signals indicate interest and which don't.  I've long had the problem of assuming interest where there is none, but I had thought I had largely overcome it.  I guess not.

(By the way, the comment thread to that post was great.  Thanks to everyone who contributed.) 



  1. I don’t know why I’m so sure about this, but I think you might be wrong about the girl not meaning to flirt. I can think of guys I’m friendly with but am not flirting with, and we don’t do things together alone or talk about personal stuff in non-analytical ways. We talk about work or movies, and things stay very, “I appreciate what you have to say on that matter”-ish. I have a few very old guy friends who I do serious palling around with, but most of the guys I know (esp in NYC) would be led on extremely quickly if I asked them to hang out with me alone.

    I think these ladies like the attention and are yanking your chain a little, probably semi-unconsciously. And I’ve been in your shoes a lot with guys who come on strong and then pull out the girlfriend card when they realize they’re flirting. No one plans to flirt, they just can’t help themselves.

    Take it as a compliment and move on?

    Comment by A White Bear — June 22, 2006 @ 8:33 am |Reply

  2. Right. Lots of people do actually flirt when they just want to be friendly — I think it’s a combination of wanting to convey “I’d be interested if it were practical”, and just not having a pattern for friendly male/female interaction that isn’t flirting. I say just let up on worrying about whether you’re reading signals correctly — you might be, you might not be, the signals you think you’re getting may be there but not seriously meant… who can tell. If you want to know something concrete, make it explicit.

    Comment by LizardBreath — June 22, 2006 @ 12:14 pm |Reply

  3. Yeah, it’s quite possible that you guys are right and I’m worrying too much about this. I’m pretty sure, though, that whether this is flirting or not it doesn’t really signal interest. I like LB’s “not having a pattern that isn’t flirting” as an explanation–they do tend to behave like this with most people, not just me.

    Comment by teofilo — June 22, 2006 @ 12:52 pm |Reply

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