Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: LadyL on May 06, 2013, 03:32:37 PM

Title: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: LadyL on May 06, 2013, 03:32:37 PM
LordL and I have a friend, Ted, who was in a LTR for about 3 years. After being broken up for nearly a year, he decided a month or so ago that he is definitely ready to date again.  I think because he hasn't been on the dating scene in a few years his perceptions of the behavior of some of the women he interacts with are a bit off. He is a good enough friend that I feel like I could give him some feedback but his ego is a bit fragile (being single is hard!) so I want to tread lightly.

The situation that came up this weekend was that we introduced Ted to a friend of ours, Amy, who was at a backyard bbq with her boyfriend. Amy is pretty much Ted's ideal physical type, and they also got along well and were conversing both alone and as part of a group  (that included Amy's boyfriend) for most of the bbq. When we left, Ted asked me if that was definitely her boyfriend and I said yes and asked why. He felt that if Amy was there with someone, she should not have spent so much time talking to him, especially one on one. Amy was not being overly flirtatious from what I could tell but simply enjoying the conversation as they share musical and other interests. Ted basically felt led on by the amount of attention Amy paid to him.

I think this is unfair to Amy - I know sometimes at a party I don't talk to LordL as much because I live with him and talk to him all day, and it's nice to socialize with other people. I would hate for this to be seen as some sort of amorous advance. I also think Ted was disappointed because he was hoping for an opportunity to talk to another girl, Lisa, who is also his "type" but whether it was due to lack of opportunity or courage, he didn't end up talking to her. I think he feels like he "wasted" time talking to Amy when it wasn't going to go anywhere.

Is there a nice way to say "no, I don't think she was trying to lead you on"? At the time I mostly said non-committal things like "that sounds frustrating."
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Twik on May 06, 2013, 03:37:30 PM
Basically, he's saying that time spent with a woman who's not going to let him get intimate (either physically or emotionally) is wasted time. Maybe next time he should try speed-dating. I'm not sure it this attitude is because he's been out of the dating circuit, or because that's the way he is.

It's not rude for one adult to converse with another, even without the intent of going to bed with them in the foreseeable future.

If he liked Lisa, why doesn't he ask for her number, and call her?
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: TootsNYC on May 06, 2013, 03:52:01 PM
just say it right in the moment.

When he says, "she shouldn't have been talking to me so much if she wasn't interested," you say "What? Dude, you're a little warped here. It's not all about sex and flirting. Sometimes women are just people."

And then do whatever it was you were doing.

You don't need to give him a big lecture or "fix" his basic perception. Just react naturally yourself, right in the moment.

Even if it's just giving him a weird look ("where'd that extra head come from?"). Or chuckling a little and saying, "Not how I'd look at it!"

Immediate feedback, specific only to the situation that has arisen and the comment he just said.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Allyson on May 06, 2013, 04:00:27 PM
Ugh. This attitude is really toxic, the idea that if a man and a woman have a conversation, the only reason the man would be doing such a thing is for potential romantic escapades. It's often part of the whole 'nice guy' wail, of 'my female friends don't want to date me, they date jerks but always talk to me about their problems'. Well, yes. Friends. I have far more friends than romantic interests, as I believe most do.

Had Amy been Andy and they'd chatted about music and such, I doubt he'd have felt it was 'wasted'. And if Andy had turned out to be gay, then turned around and complained about how Ted was leading him on, I think Ted would be rightly shocked by this. The idea that the only reason a guy would make friends with a woman is if he wanted to date her is pretty obnoxious.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: sweetonsno on May 06, 2013, 04:33:00 PM
I'm less concerned about thinking that he "wasted" his time having a lovely conversation ( ???) than I am that he might feel that a woman who wants to converse with him owes him somehow. I suppose the two are similar, but the latter is more sinister.

You mention that his ego is a bit fragile, so perhaps humor would be a good way to go. ("Not all conversations are flirtations. You don't think that the guy at the record store is trying to hit on you, so why assume it about a person at a party?") I agree with Toots about bringing it up only if he expresses this sort of sentiment again.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: cutecupcake on May 06, 2013, 04:55:25 PM
I agree with some of the other posters, this guy's sense of flirting/behavior is pretty warped.

He's basically blaming Amy for not speaking with Lisa, which is really just a cop out. It's easier to blame her and keep talking to the woman that's taken than go out on a limb and try to hit it off with a single lady and face rejection. That type of mindset is not healthy and quite frankly pretty immature. If I were you I'd just sort of avoid trying to play matchmaker.

Also I'm not sure what you could tell him other than "Dude just because a woman speaks with you doesn't mean she's flirting. And maybe you should focus on just enjoying yourself at a party not honing in on "your type" of ladies and then circling them like gazelles."

Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: TootsNYC on May 06, 2013, 05:23:12 PM
Also--three years?

Seriously, three years is not so long that he'd completely lose any sense of how romantic relationships are supposed to go.

If this is how he thinks things work, that's not a function of the three years he was in a long-term relationship. It's a function of how his brain has ALWAYS worked.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: TootsNYC on May 06, 2013, 05:24:25 PM

He's basically blaming Amy for not speaking with Lisa, which is really just a cop out. It's easier to blame her and keep talking to the woman that's taken than go out on a limb and try to hit it off with a single lady and face rejection. That type of mindset is not healthy and quite frankly pretty immature. If I were you I'd just sort of avoid trying to play matchmaker.


Yeah--it's not like he had NO CLUE that Amy had a boyfriend. If he didn't want to waste his time, he should have gone to talk to Lisa right away.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: WillyNilly on May 06, 2013, 05:51:03 PM
It sounds to me like he's having a hard time realizing that he's in "grown up" dating world now. IME dating at 22 is a whole different world then dating at 32 for example.

When people are teens, and even in their young adult stages of dating, lots of people are single, and they flirt and are looking to meet new dating prospects. The coupled people are either super into only each other, or they are very casual about being a couple. But as we grow up, the scene shifts a bit. More and more people couple up and stay that way, seriously. The pool of single people is much smaller. And the people who are coupled up, are comfortable and therefore don't need to be constantly super into their partner at parties.

It seems like maybe the shift happened in your group over the last 5 years or so. So 4 years ago when Ted was single, there were more singles in general, and parties were more about meeting a prospective date, and now where less people are single and so parties are more about catching up with someone other then the person you see every day. And the problem is, because he is single and that's how things were when he was last single, he expects things to be skewed towards singles and flirting... only they're not.

When you become single mid-adulthood after initially coupling up during young adulthood its not so much about getting out there and dating again, but learning a different way to get dates (and different types of dating) then what you last participated in.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: katycoo on May 06, 2013, 06:32:23 PM
He's throwing the blame.

He knew Amy wasn't available.  He wanted to talk to Lisa (who I assume is available?).  Ted is a big boy now.  If he needs to extract himself from a conversation, he needs to learn how to do so.  It isn't Amy's fault in any way shape or form.  She's not to know Ted's only mission in life right now is finding a new partner.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Hmmmmm on May 06, 2013, 06:40:52 PM
I agree that you should address these comments in the moment. If you still want to address it maybe the next time you are around him point out the absurdity of his comment through humor.

Friend:  LadyL, your quiet tonight.
LadyL: Well, I don't want to talk to you too much or you might think I'm leading you on or planning to dump LordL for you. Wouldn't want to give that impression.

or if humor is not good with him, maybe open up the discussion as defending Amy.

LadyL: You know friend, I'm still a little ticked at you for thinking Amy was leading you on. She is a really sweet girl and a good friend. You don't really think women in relationships shouldn't develop friendships with men do you?
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: NyaChan on May 06, 2013, 06:47:25 PM
It sounds to me like he's having a hard time realizing that he's in "grown up" dating world now. IME dating at 22 is a whole different world then dating at 32 for example.

When people are teens, and even in their young adult stages of dating, lots of people are single, and they flirt and are looking to meet new dating prospects. The coupled people are either super into only each other, or they are very casual about being a couple. But as we grow up, the scene shifts a bit. More and more people couple up and stay that way, seriously. The pool of single people is much smaller. And the people who are coupled up, are comfortable and therefore don't need to be constantly super into their partner at parties.

It seems like maybe the shift happened in your group over the last 5 years or so. So 4 years ago when Ted was single, there were more singles in general, and parties were more about meeting a prospective date, and now where less people are single and so parties are more about catching up with someone other then the person you see every day. And the problem is, because he is single and that's how things were when he was last single, he expects things to be skewed towards singles and flirting... only they're not.

When you become single mid-adulthood after initially coupling up during young adulthood its not so much about getting out there and dating again, but learning a different way to get dates (and different types of dating) then what you last participated in.

I think you really hit on the underlying problem here.  There comes a point when the social gathering isn't a boy-girl party anymore where everyone who stops to talk with you is a potential date or crush. 
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Surianne on May 06, 2013, 06:49:01 PM
just say it right in the moment.

When he says, "she shouldn't have been talking to me so much if she wasn't interested," you say "What? Dude, you're a little warped here. It's not all about sex and flirting. Sometimes women are just people."

And then do whatever it was you were doing.

You don't need to give him a big lecture or "fix" his basic perception. Just react naturally yourself, right in the moment.

Even if it's just giving him a weird look ("where'd that extra head come from?"). Or chuckling a little and saying, "Not how I'd look at it!"

Immediate feedback, specific only to the situation that has arisen and the comment he just said.

I agree.  Don't make it a lecture or about trying to fix him (which won't go well -- if he's anything like me he'll tune you out!), just respond as a regular friend would in the moment. 
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: TootsNYC on May 06, 2013, 07:00:59 PM

Is there a nice way to say "no, I don't think she was trying to lead you on"? At the time I mostly said non-committal things like "that sounds frustrating."

In answer to your question, yes there is. You say, "No, I don't think she was trying to lead you on." Right away.

and you *don't* say non-committal things; you say, "Dude, the world doesn't work that way. Why do you think it does?"
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Daydream on May 06, 2013, 08:13:46 PM

Is there a nice way to say "no, I don't think she was trying to lead you on"? At the time I mostly said non-committal things like "that sounds frustrating."

Please say the first part above to him sometime soon, if possible.  By making the second statement, it sounded like you were agreeing with him.  I know that's already been done, but maybe you can "undo" it a bit by saying what you really feel now.

I'd also tell him, "If you're interested in another woman who's single, just tell her that and ask for her phone number.  She wouldn't be 'leading you on' just by talking to you, though, and if you're interested, you have to tell her."
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: blarg314 on May 06, 2013, 08:15:48 PM

It sounds to me like he's having a hard time realizing that he's in "grown up" dating world now. IME dating at 22 is a whole different world then dating at 32 for example.

When people are teens, and even in their young adult stages of dating, lots of people are single, and they flirt and are looking to meet new dating prospects. The coupled people are either super into only each other, or they are very casual about being a couple. But as we grow up, the scene shifts a bit. More and more people couple up and stay that way, seriously. The pool of single people is much smaller. And the people who are coupled up, are comfortable and therefore don't need to be constantly super into their partner at parties.


That sounds like a good theory. Young adult single with a pack of friends style, if you're at a party and talking one-on-one to someone outside of your pack for a long time, the odds are good that it's a flirtation.  Mid 30s, mix of couples and singles, you can just talk to someone at a social event because you think their conversation is interesting.

Or, he could be the kind of jerk who figures the only reason to talk to a woman for an extended period of time is because he might get to have sex with her.

I do think that if you're partnered, and in a potentially flirtatious situation (like a big party, or at the bar), then briefly mentioning your SO in conversation is polite. Then the other person knows that you're not available, and if that's all they're interested in, they can move on to someone else.


Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: blarg314 on May 06, 2013, 08:16:24 PM

Is there a nice way to say "no, I don't think she was trying to lead you on"? At the time I mostly said non-committal things like "that sounds frustrating."

In answer to your question, yes there is. You say, "No, I don't think she was trying to lead you on." Right away.

and you *don't* say non-committal things; you say, "Dude, the world doesn't work that way. Why do you think it does?"

Oh, and I like this one. It's straight, to the point, and casual enough to get away with in conversation.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Mr Wigglybones on May 06, 2013, 09:20:10 PM
If he's a friend then you can just be honest with him. Tell him 'no, she wasn't leading you on'. Maybe also throw in that women can talk to men without their being an agenda to it.
This guy needs to wise up.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: thedudeabides on May 06, 2013, 09:44:16 PM
Tell him to pull his head out of his butt and playing to the "friendzone" stereotype crap.  He needs to learn that conversation between two people, regardless of gender, isn't "leading someone on."  Don't beat around the bush.  Just tell him.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: LadyR on May 06, 2013, 10:23:38 PM
It sounds to me like he's having a hard time realizing that he's in "grown up" dating world now. IME dating at 22 is a whole different world then dating at 32 for example.

When people are teens, and even in their young adult stages of dating, lots of people are single, and they flirt and are looking to meet new dating prospects. The coupled people are either super into only each other, or they are very casual about being a couple. But as we grow up, the scene shifts a bit. More and more people couple up and stay that way, seriously. The pool of single people is much smaller. And the people who are coupled up, are comfortable and therefore don't need to be constantly super into their partner at parties.

It seems like maybe the shift happened in your group over the last 5 years or so. So 4 years ago when Ted was single, there were more singles in general, and parties were more about meeting a prospective date, and now where less people are single and so parties are more about catching up with someone other then the person you see every day. And the problem is, because he is single and that's how things were when he was last single, he expects things to be skewed towards singles and flirting... only they're not.

When you become single mid-adulthood after initially coupling up during young adulthood its not so much about getting out there and dating again, but learning a different way to get dates (and different types of dating) then what you last participated in.

This, I have a friend who is navigating the dating scene for the first time in several years (he had three long-term relationships with women in our social circle right in a row) and he's been commenting how different it is trying to navigate it at 30 than at 20, partially because he has differnet goals and just because the norms of dating are different and now he's one of the few single people in the group.

I have another friend who who sounds very similar to your friend Tom. My friend Greg has had a crush on my friend Anne for years, very one-sided. Recently we were at a party and the two of them were talking for a while (with other friends) and Greg insisted the fact that she was talking to him for a long time meant that her feeling towards him had to be changing, I pointed out that he initated the conversation, it was about her favourite subject and other people joined in. In no way did Anne show anything other than friendly interaction with Greg, but he didn't get it.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: LifeOnPluto on May 06, 2013, 10:29:21 PM
This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion, but I do see where Ted is coming from.

No, I don't think that Amy was deliberately leading him on. And no, she certainly didn't "owe" him anything for the conversation. But if she was prepared to spend hours talking with Ted (including a significant amount of time one-on-one) the polite thing to do would be to casually mention her boyfriend in conversation. Just so that Ted doesn't get the wrong idea.

As for the advice I'd give Ted, I'd tell him:

1. If you're interested in a girl, and you aren't sure if she has a boyfriend or not, just ask her straight-out; and

2. If you fancy another girl (eg Lisa) you need to excuse yourself from your current conversation and go over and talk to her. If you're shy about going over to her, ask the host(ess) to introduce you.   
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: cross_patch on May 06, 2013, 11:20:53 PM
This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion, but I do see where Ted is coming from.

No, I don't think that Amy was deliberately leading him on. And no, she certainly didn't "owe" him anything for the conversation. But if she was prepared to spend hours talking with Ted (including a significant amount of time one-on-one) the polite thing to do would be to casually mention her boyfriend in conversation. Just so that Ted doesn't get the wrong idea.

As for the advice I'd give Ted, I'd tell him:

1. If you're interested in a girl, and you aren't sure if she has a boyfriend or not, just ask her straight-out; and

2. If you fancy another girl (eg Lisa) you need to excuse yourself from your current conversation and go over and talk to her. If you're shy about going over to her, ask the host(ess) to introduce you.

She was at the BBQ with her boyfriend. Ted asked after the fact whether that was really her boyfriend- he obviously knew. Why are you shifting the blame back to her? If you spend hours talking to someone and you don't have a boyfriend, but you don't fancy them, are you obligated to mention that so they don't get the wrong idea? This is definitely all on Ted.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Onyx_TKD on May 07, 2013, 01:57:50 AM
This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion, but I do see where Ted is coming from.

No, I don't think that Amy was deliberately leading him on. And no, she certainly didn't "owe" him anything for the conversation. But if she was prepared to spend hours talking with Ted (including a significant amount of time one-on-one) the polite thing to do would be to casually mention her boyfriend in conversation. Just so that Ted doesn't get the wrong idea.

As for the advice I'd give Ted, I'd tell him:

1. If you're interested in a girl, and you aren't sure if she has a boyfriend or not, just ask her straight-out; and

2. If you fancy another girl (eg Lisa) you need to excuse yourself from your current conversation and go over and talk to her. If you're shy about going over to her, ask the host(ess) to introduce you.

She was at the BBQ with her boyfriend. Ted asked after the fact whether that was really her boyfriend- he obviously knew. Why are you shifting the blame back to her? If you spend hours talking to someone and you don't have a boyfriend, but you don't fancy them, are you obligated to mention that so they don't get the wrong idea? This is definitely all on Ted.

That's what I was wondering. I'm single and I chat with guys all the time, sometimes for extended periods if we're having an interesting conversation. It doesn't mean that I'm flirting with them, or leading them on. All it means is that I'm having an interesting conversation with another human being. If I couldn't have an in-depth chat with a guy without either showing that I'm "taken" or being assumed to be flirting, then I'd be in trouble. I would rarely be able to chat in depth about my field or one of my major hobbies, since they're quite male-dominated. Conversation at ballroom dance events would be severely curtailed, since I'm usually dancing with guys. Not to mention the awkwardness in talking to my male apartment-mate...

Plus, as PPs have mentioned, there are homosexual people out there, too. Do we have to identify our sexual orientations and availability up front if we want to talk to anyone in depth lest they "get the wrong idea"?
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Raintree on May 07, 2013, 03:42:25 AM
Quote
Do we have to identify our sexual orientations and availability up front if we want to talk to anyone in depth lest they "get the wrong idea"?

Exactly. Sometimes people just talk to other people.

I had a guy get annoyed with me for being at a gathering at all once he found out I had a boyfriend. It was actually an organized activity, followed by beverages in the pub. In the pub, he started talking to me, and after a while I might have mentioned my boyfriend just as part of normal conversation. He then demanded to know why I was there without my boyfriend (reason: because boyfriend doesn't enjoy/do the particular activity this outing was for). Then my relationship was questioned: "Well I just don't get why you'd date someone that doesn't have the same interests." Then came, "Well if I had a girlfriend I wouldn't like her coming out to these events without me." Yeah, a real catch he would have been.

Sorry, but sometimes people are just out to interact and enjoy common interests, not to date. I think the guy needs it spelled out for him. ie that at a party, people mingle, and some are single, some are not, but most people find it worthwhile to have conversations with others that they are NOT evaluating for date-worthiness.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: LifeOnPluto on May 07, 2013, 06:33:00 AM
Raintree, I think the key word is "mingle". Generally, at parties and other social events, people move around, and talk to various people. The OP states here that Amy and Ted spent "most of the BBQ" talking with each other. Assuming the BBQ lasted several hours, this is a significant amount of time.

A half hour chat at a party? Sure, no need to mention your significant other. But to spend several hours at a social event, talking one-on-one (rather than moving about, talking with a variety of people, as one normally does at a social event) to me indicates a level of interest that MAY go beyond "having a friendly chat with a random person at a BBQ".

So to answer cross_patch's question, I'd say that if you are going to spend several hours having an in-depth conversation with an eligible member of the opposite sex, then yes, you do need to slip into the conversation that you're taken. It doesn't need to be a major production. It can simply be something like "Oh, you like art? So do I! My boyfriend and I happened to see the recent Monet exhibition at the National Gallery the other week and it was wonderful. What do you think of the Impressionists?" etc.

Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Hmmmmm on May 07, 2013, 06:45:37 AM
The OP said they were conversing alone and as part of a group for most of the BBQ and that the boyfriend was part of the group. I think you are invisioning something different than most of us.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: cross_patch on May 07, 2013, 08:12:29 AM
Raintree, I think the key word is "mingle". Generally, at parties and other social events, people move around, and talk to various people. The OP states here that Amy and Ted spent "most of the BBQ" talking with each other. Assuming the BBQ lasted several hours, this is a significant amount of time.

A half hour chat at a party? Sure, no need to mention your significant other. But to spend several hours at a social event, talking one-on-one (rather than moving about, talking with a variety of people, as one normally does at a social event) to me indicates a level of interest that MAY go beyond "having a friendly chat with a random person at a BBQ".

So to answer cross_patch's question, I'd say that if you are going to spend several hours having an in-depth conversation with an eligible member of the opposite sex, then yes, you do need to slip into the conversation that you're taken. It doesn't need to be a major production. It can simply be something like "Oh, you like art? So do I! My boyfriend and I happened to see the recent Monet exhibition at the National Gallery the other week and it was wonderful. What do you think of the Impressionists?" etc.

Actually, my question was what do you do if you are, to use your terminology, 'eligible' and you *don't* fancy them- should I be saying, sorry, I'm single but no chance, so if you're looking for something else you'd better move on? Because I cannot emphasise enough how much I disagree with the concept that you appear to be espousing, which is namely that if you are partnered and you don't mention that to someone you are conversing with you are somehow leading them on.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: LadyL on May 07, 2013, 08:18:45 AM
Raintree, I think the key word is "mingle". Generally, at parties and other social events, people move around, and talk to various people. The OP states here that Amy and Ted spent "most of the BBQ" talking with each other. Assuming the BBQ lasted several hours, this is a significant amount of time.

A half hour chat at a party? Sure, no need to mention your significant other. But to spend several hours at a social event, talking one-on-one (rather than moving about, talking with a variety of people, as one normally does at a social event) to me indicates a level of interest that MAY go beyond "having a friendly chat with a random person at a BBQ".

So to answer cross_patch's question, I'd say that if you are going to spend several hours having an in-depth conversation with an eligible member of the opposite sex, then yes, you do need to slip into the conversation that you're taken. It doesn't need to be a major production. It can simply be something like "Oh, you like art? So do I! My boyfriend and I happened to see the recent Monet exhibition at the National Gallery the other week and it was wonderful. What do you think of the Impressionists?" etc.

Actually, my question was what do you do if you are, to use your terminology, 'eligible' and you *don't* fancy them- should I be saying, sorry, I'm single but no chance, so if you're looking for something else you'd better move on? Because I cannot emphasise enough how much I disagree with the concept that you appear to be espousing, which is namely that if you are partnered and you don't mention that to someone you are conversing with you are somehow leading them on.

This is relevant to the current situation as well, because an acquaintance seems to have a crush on Ted and he does not feel similarly, and he tries to avoid talking to her completely (even just passing small talk). He seems to think that if he is seen chatting with her people will think he is interested, or she will think that and then get jealous if he talks to other women. I think that it is rude to avoid basic social niceties like small talk unless you are making some sort of cut direct (and this girl hasn't done anything wrong). But his view seems to be that he is not looking for friends, he is looking for dating partners, and any other interaction is not a good use of his time.

Honestly he is living with his parents in an isolated suburb and I think it's getting to him, that he only interacts with people his own age when he hangs out with us. It makes the stakes seem really high. He is planning to move closer to our city, and I think that will help, if he can socialize more than just once a week. But there are also some underlying attitudes with him that might be partly cultural (his family is pretty socially conservative).

I am starting to think my friendship with Ted was a lot simpler when he wasn't trying to date....
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: thedudeabides on May 07, 2013, 08:19:40 AM
This line of reasoning is offensive to many people, LifeOnPluto, because it treats members of the opposite sex as sexual objects and not as people in their own right who are interesting enough to have a conversation with.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Twik on May 07, 2013, 08:31:55 AM
It's also desperate, and desperation turns off potential partners.

I understand how it has suddenly hit him - once you're out of school/university/first few years on your own, you discover that your social group no longer presents you with an unlimited supply of unpartnered people of your own age. I was joking originally about speed-dating, but I think Ted should look into dating services. That way, he can meet lots of people who *are* interested in finding a partner, and not hope that the "right one" will one day show up at his friends' gatherings.

Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Zilla on May 07, 2013, 08:37:18 AM
I don't understand why didn't you just answer his question instead of saying, "That's frustrating" which leads credence to his beliefs.  I would have spoken on the spot and said, "Oh I don't think she was leading you on but rather just being friendly.  Women are allowed to be friendly to men that aren't their boyfriends you know." with a smile.  If he is receptive to further conversation then ask gently why didn't he just excuse himself? Etc.


Now going after the fact seems redundant and busybody like.  I would instead wait till it comes up again in conversation on HIS part and then talk about it in a natural conversation and not over think it.  But it is rather alarming that he views this as a waste of time in not achieving his goals whatever they may be rather than a nice friendly conversation.  The fact that he expects a payoff for his "time" is unsettling.  I also agree with others that this isn't from his LTR and instead this is how he always has been.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: cross_patch on May 07, 2013, 08:42:23 AM
Raintree, I think the key word is "mingle". Generally, at parties and other social events, people move around, and talk to various people. The OP states here that Amy and Ted spent "most of the BBQ" talking with each other. Assuming the BBQ lasted several hours, this is a significant amount of time.

A half hour chat at a party? Sure, no need to mention your significant other. But to spend several hours at a social event, talking one-on-one (rather than moving about, talking with a variety of people, as one normally does at a social event) to me indicates a level of interest that MAY go beyond "having a friendly chat with a random person at a BBQ".

So to answer cross_patch's question, I'd say that if you are going to spend several hours having an in-depth conversation with an eligible member of the opposite sex, then yes, you do need to slip into the conversation that you're taken. It doesn't need to be a major production. It can simply be something like "Oh, you like art? So do I! My boyfriend and I happened to see the recent Monet exhibition at the National Gallery the other week and it was wonderful. What do you think of the Impressionists?" etc.

Actually, my question was what do you do if you are, to use your terminology, 'eligible' and you *don't* fancy them- should I be saying, sorry, I'm single but no chance, so if you're looking for something else you'd better move on? Because I cannot emphasise enough how much I disagree with the concept that you appear to be espousing, which is namely that if you are partnered and you don't mention that to someone you are conversing with you are somehow leading them on.

This is relevant to the current situation as well, because an acquaintance seems to have a crush on Ted and he does not feel similarly, and he tries to avoid talking to her completely (even just passing small talk). He seems to think that if he is seen chatting with her people will think he is interested, or she will think that and then get jealous if he talks to other women. I think that it is rude to avoid basic social niceties like small talk unless you are making some sort of cut direct (and this girl hasn't done anything wrong). But his view seems to be that he is not looking for friends, he is looking for dating partners, and any other interaction is not a good use of his time.

Honestly he is living with his parents in an isolated suburb and I think it's getting to him, that he only interacts with people his own age when he hangs out with us. It makes the stakes seem really high. He is planning to move closer to our city, and I think that will help, if he can socialize more than just once a week. But there are also some underlying attitudes with him that might be partly cultural (his family is pretty socially conservative).

I am starting to think my friendship with Ted was a lot simpler when he wasn't trying to date....

To be honest, if he hasn't grasped that by now, it's not your job to teach him. He's an adult. Not everything is a teachable moment- sometimes people just need to learn for themselves if they act in a certain way, they'll reap the rewards- in this instance, ted will not have much in the way of success. I think in the first instance you would have been well within the bounds of friendship to put across what the dude was saying about friend zones and that sort of thing. But you can't sit him down and give him a 'dating talk'.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Yvaine on May 07, 2013, 08:44:59 AM
This line of reasoning is offensive to many people, LifeOnPluto, because it treats members of the opposite sex as sexual objects and not as people in their own right who are interesting enough to have a conversation with.

This. Sometimes you just get caught up in a conversation because it's interesting, whatever the gender of the person you're talking to. Last party I went to, I got involved in about an hour-long side conversation about rock concerts without really noticing the passage of time. But wait, it was with a woman, so that's OK! But wait II, I'm b!sexual, I must have been leading her on, and by lifeonpluto's reasoning, I suppose I can't have a random conversational tangent with anyone without making sure to shoehorn in an obvious reference to my boyfriend. Lifeonpluto, I couldn't disagree more. Sometimes talking is just talking, and the woman doesn't owe him sex or a speech about being taken.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: TurtleDove on May 07, 2013, 09:17:26 AM
But his view seems to be that he is not looking for friends, he is looking for dating partners, and any other interaction is not a good use of his time.

Honestly he is living with his parents in an isolated suburb and I think it's getting to him, that he only interacts with people his own age when he hangs out with us. It makes the stakes seem really high. He is planning to move closer to our city, and I think that will help, if he can socialize more than just once a week. But there are also some underlying attitudes with him that might be partly cultural (his family is pretty socially conservative).

These statements make me think that Ted has no business trying to date.  He has little to offer a woman, and his attitudes are coming across as offensive to many.  It would make sense for him to get back on his feet, live independently from his parents (I am assuming he is not a caregiver to them), and learn to view women as people.  This isn't the OP's problem to solve, but if she wants to help I think bluntly explainig how offensive his attitudes are would be helpful to him overall.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: rashea on May 07, 2013, 11:49:22 AM
But his view seems to be that he is not looking for friends, he is looking for dating partners, and any other interaction is not a good use of his time.

Honestly he is living with his parents in an isolated suburb and I think it's getting to him, that he only interacts with people his own age when he hangs out with us. It makes the stakes seem really high. He is planning to move closer to our city, and I think that will help, if he can socialize more than just once a week. But there are also some underlying attitudes with him that might be partly cultural (his family is pretty socially conservative).

These statements make me think that Ted has no business trying to date.  He has little to offer a woman, and his attitudes are coming across as offensive to many.  It would make sense for him to get back on his feet, live independently from his parents (I am assuming he is not a caregiver to them), and learn to view women as people.  This isn't the OP's problem to solve, but if she wants to help I think bluntly explainig how offensive his attitudes are would be helpful to him overall.

POD. Ted needs to figure out how to be friends without the pressure. If he's feeling pressure to date, then he needs to address that. Maybe he should try speed dating or some other activity where pairing up is the objective. But doing it this way is hijacking every other activity by turning other attendees into his personal dating pool.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Eeep! on May 07, 2013, 11:57:42 AM
I don't understand why didn't you just answer his question instead of saying, "That's frustrating" which leads credence to his beliefs.  I would have spoken on the spot and said, "Oh I don't think she was leading you on but rather just being friendly.  Women are allowed to be friendly to men that aren't their boyfriends you know." with a smile.  If he is receptive to further conversation then ask gently why didn't he just excuse himself? Etc.


Now going after the fact seems redundant and busybody like.  I would instead wait till it comes up again in conversation on HIS part and then talk about it in a natural conversation and not over think it.  But it is rather alarming that he views this as a waste of time in not achieving his goals whatever they may be rather than a nice friendly conversation.  The fact that he expects a payoff for his "time" is unsettling.  I also agree with others that this isn't from his LTR and instead this is how he always has been.

I too don't really understand why you felt this was a bean-dipping situation.  Seems very simple to just say something at the time.  But hind-sight and all that. ;)
If the same situation comes up, I would definitley say something.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Allyson on May 07, 2013, 12:00:54 PM
I understand why the OP didn't say something in the moment--we often have moments of either being taken aback at the time and not knowing what to say, or else not realizing till later that you really wish you'd spoken up. It's not always easy, when in the moment, to figure out what it is you want to say and then phrase it in an effective way.

I think LifeonPluto makes a reasonable point about mentioning a significant other--to be honest if I were chatting with someone for several hours and they *never* mentioned their partner even casually in passing, I would probably find that a little unusual. Not that they were trying to do something sketchy, but just..it generally will come up, especially in a serious relationship. But, it doesn't sound as though this is the case here, as Ted's 'is he really her boyfriend' suggests perhaps she *did* mention she was seeing him.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: LadyL on May 07, 2013, 12:07:20 PM
I don't understand why didn't you just answer his question instead of saying, "That's frustrating" which leads credence to his beliefs.  I would have spoken on the spot and said, "Oh I don't think she was leading you on but rather just being friendly.  Women are allowed to be friendly to men that aren't their boyfriends you know." with a smile.  If he is receptive to further conversation then ask gently why didn't he just excuse himself? Etc.


Now going after the fact seems redundant and busybody like.  I would instead wait till it comes up again in conversation on HIS part and then talk about it in a natural conversation and not over think it.  But it is rather alarming that he views this as a waste of time in not achieving his goals whatever they may be rather than a nice friendly conversation.  The fact that he expects a payoff for his "time" is unsettling.  I also agree with others that this isn't from his LTR and instead this is how he always has been.

I too don't really understand why you felt this was a bean-dipping situation.  Seems very simple to just say something at the time.  But hind-sight and all that. ;)
If the same situation comes up, I would definitley say something.

Well I'd been drinking beer in the sun all day and was pretty tired.I also didn't directly witness all of Amy's behavior towards Ted and wanted to confirm with LordL that she definitely wasn't being flirtatious before I said anything either way. She could have been hanging all over him for the last hour and I wouldn't have noticed - I was engrossed in my own separate conversation in a different part of the yard. But LordL confirmed she was not being flirtatious or inappropriate.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: DavidH on May 07, 2013, 12:22:54 PM
I'm not sure how old you are, but I'm assuming early or mid 20's.  Since the rules of dating do change from school and early 20s to 30s, it might have been helpful in hindsight to say that you disagree with him on the wasting time comment.

Since he knew she had a BF, it's 100% his fault if he feels he wasted his time.  The idea that she is about to break up and that's why she's talking to him seems very presumptuous. 

On the other hand, it you spend the majority of a party talking to one person, who you know is single and are getting interested in you vibes and manage never to bring up your SO, that seems a bit off to me too.  In that case, I can see why the person would feel led on. 

It sound like a mix of him being awkward, not understanding that the rules have changed, and interpreting her behavior based on different social norms.  It's hard not having seen the interaction to know why he managed to interpret this so incorrectly.  For example there is a difference between having a long conversation and having a conversation, moving on, and then finding that the other person seems to always come back to you to pick up the conversation.  The latter does suggest an increased level of interest and may be more prone to misinterpretation. 

He also needs to learn how to graciously extricate himself from an overly long conversation at a party. 

If he really wants to meet others interested in dating, he may need to find other venues to try.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: LifeOnPluto on May 07, 2013, 10:14:00 PM
Raintree, I think the key word is "mingle". Generally, at parties and other social events, people move around, and talk to various people. The OP states here that Amy and Ted spent "most of the BBQ" talking with each other. Assuming the BBQ lasted several hours, this is a significant amount of time.

A half hour chat at a party? Sure, no need to mention your significant other. But to spend several hours at a social event, talking one-on-one (rather than moving about, talking with a variety of people, as one normally does at a social event) to me indicates a level of interest that MAY go beyond "having a friendly chat with a random person at a BBQ".

So to answer cross_patch's question, I'd say that if you are going to spend several hours having an in-depth conversation with an eligible member of the opposite sex, then yes, you do need to slip into the conversation that you're taken. It doesn't need to be a major production. It can simply be something like "Oh, you like art? So do I! My boyfriend and I happened to see the recent Monet exhibition at the National Gallery the other week and it was wonderful. What do you think of the Impressionists?" etc.

Actually, my question was what do you do if you are, to use your terminology, 'eligible' and you *don't* fancy them- should I be saying, sorry, I'm single but no chance, so if you're looking for something else you'd better move on? Because I cannot emphasise enough how much I disagree with the concept that you appear to be espousing, which is namely that if you are partnered and you don't mention that to someone you are conversing with you are somehow leading them on.

Apologies cross_patch, I misread your question.

If you are single, and you don't fancy the person you're talking with, I do think it's not the best idea to spend nearly all of the party talking with them. You don't have to say anything specifically (as that would be rather presumptuous) but you can - after a while - excuse yourself from the conversation and move on to mingle with other people.

I will also add that often, it's not hard to tell if someone is "interested". For example, they might ask lots of questions about your personal life and interests, pay you compliments, laugh loudly at your (unfunny) jokes, etc.


On the other hand, it you spend the majority of a party talking to one person, who you know is single and are getting interested in you vibes and manage never to bring up your SO, that seems a bit off to me too.  In that case, I can see why the person would feel led on. 

It sound like a mix of him being awkward, not understanding that the rules have changed, and interpreting her behavior based on different social norms.  It's hard not having seen the interaction to know why he managed to interpret this so incorrectly.  For example there is a difference between having a long conversation and having a conversation, moving on, and then finding that the other person seems to always come back to you to pick up the conversation.  The latter does suggest an increased level of interest and may be more prone to misinterpretation. 


Thank you DavidH - this is what I was trying to convey in my earlier posts.

You also make a good point about different social norms. If Ted comes from a socially conservative background, he may think that the only times that men and women have (or should have) long conversations is when they are looking for a partner. (Of course, it's not Amy's fault that Ted believes this, but it does go some way towards explaining his attitude).
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: cross_patch on May 07, 2013, 11:21:23 PM
Really? So even if I find the person I'm talking to fascinating, and we have a lot in common, if I don't want to sleep with him I shouldn't talk to him got an extended period of time. What if i dont want to mingle with other people? That seems frankly offensive- like I owe him a chance at sex simply by virtue of being single and being interested in the same thing. The position you are adopting is just hugely problematic, and I think the dude and yvaine explained why very well.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: blarg314 on May 08, 2013, 12:39:55 AM

I think it depends strongly on where you are chatting with someone, and how the interaction started.

There are some places that are understood to be pick up places, where people go to meet potential partners - some types of bars and clubs, for example. Large mixer parties at college age can have a similar function.  If someone chats you up there, it's a reasonable guess that they are interested in more than a platonic discussion, so in that case, spending hours talking to one person could easily and logically send the wrong message. Or if a random person comes up and strikes up a conversation on a flimsy pretext  - yeah, there's a good chance they're trying to pick you up, and it shouldn't come as a huge surprise.

On the other hand, if you're talking to someone at after church coffee, or at a casual social event at a friend's house, or at a club or organization arranged around a hobby, then you can assume most of the people there are not participating as a way to find partners, and a conversation can be taken as just that. If you are trying to hit on someone there, you have to recognize that they might not realize this.

There are subtle things you can to if you think someone might be hitting on you, but you're not sure, and you don't want them to get the wrong idea. Mentioning your boyfriend is one of them. Drawing other people into the conversation is another - if you're trying to hit on someone conversationally, enlarging the conversational pool is counter productive, so it gives more of a friend vibe.


In Ted's case, it sounds like he's pretty clueless. He knew she had a boyfriend, the conversation involved her boyfriend and other people at various points, but he still though she was leading him on by talking to him. With the extra details, I think his approach is pretty unbalanced, if you're his main social contact, and his exposure to single women is solely through meeting people through you. How many single female friends do you actually have for him to try to pick up?



Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: zyrs on May 08, 2013, 03:29:41 AM
Amy is pretty much Ted's ideal physical type, and they also got along well and were conversing both alone and as part of a group  (that included Amy's boyfriend) for most of the bbq.

I read this and I don't see anywhere where it was mentioned that Amy never brought up her boyfriend in conversation.  In fact, her boyfriend was part of the conversation some of the evening.

Ted's thinking on Amy talking to him could hurt his dating chances, so it might be a kindness to help him get past that.  I'm having a hard time putting it into words, so I will use an example instead:

Ted talks to Sarah (who is single)  who finds him interesting, but she isn't interested in a romantic/physical relationship with him.  However, she knows 15 woman,  of which 7 are single. 

If he acts entitled and slightly angry that Sarah isn't into him, she will not think of him the next time she has a party, so he won't get invited.  So he will miss out on meeting the 7 single women Sarah invited to the party.

If instead, he's an interesting conversationalist, treats Sarah with respect and is courteous, etc.  Then Sarah will not only think about an invite him to the party, she may make a point of mentioning him to her 7 single friends as this great guy she met.  But that's only if he's genuinely interesting and respectful.




 

Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: WillyNilly on May 08, 2013, 09:09:39 AM
Really? So even if I find the person I'm talking to fascinating, and we have a lot in common, if I don't want to sleep with him I shouldn't talk to him got an extended period of time. What if i dont want to mingle with other people? That seems frankly offensive- like I owe him a chance at sex simply by virtue of being single and being interested in the same thing. The position you are adopting is just hugely problematic, and I think the dude and yvaine explained why very well.

Then you shouldn't be at a party. Parties are for mingling and seeing many people and catching up with many people and keeping conversations light and open. Deep, one on one, personal conversations should be reserved for when its just a small group.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Yvaine on May 08, 2013, 09:26:03 AM
Really? So even if I find the person I'm talking to fascinating, and we have a lot in common, if I don't want to sleep with him I shouldn't talk to him got an extended period of time. What if i dont want to mingle with other people? That seems frankly offensive- like I owe him a chance at sex simply by virtue of being single and being interested in the same thing. The position you are adopting is just hugely problematic, and I think the dude and yvaine explained why very well.

Then you shouldn't be at a party. Parties are for mingling and seeing many people and catching up with many people and keeping conversations light and open. Deep, one on one, personal conversations should be reserved for when its just a small group.

But this is exactly what the woman in the OP did. The topics were things like music, not deep personal secrets or anything, and for a large part of the party was talking in a big group. I don't think I've ever been to a party that didn't evolve into longer conversations here and there--mostly about lighter topics like pop culture, but long. There'll be a group in the basement discussing politics and a knot of people on the back porch telling funny work stories and a crowd in the kitchen talking about food and a group in the living room talking about movies. I see a lot of ehell posts about a style of mingling where people just flit all night and don't talk to anyone for more than two minutes, and I've rarely seen that in real life. Maybe right at the beginning when you're saying hi to people, and right at the end when you're saying good night. But conversations longer than small talk almost always happen. Light and open, yes--anyone can wander in and put in their two cents--but longer.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Winterlight on May 08, 2013, 10:13:05 AM
Tell him to pull his head out of his butt and playing to the "friendzone" stereotype crap.  He needs to learn that conversation between two people, regardless of gender, isn't "leading someone on."  Don't beat around the bush.  Just tell him.

Agreed. If he wanted to talk to Lisa, he could have done so. If he decided to use the event as a chance to meet people in general, he could have done that. Now he's pouting because Amy wasn't single? He needs to grow up.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: DavidH on May 08, 2013, 10:29:00 AM
I'm not sure how we got to

Really? So even if I find the person I'm talking to fascinating, and we have a lot in common, if I don't want to sleep with him I shouldn't talk to him got an extended period of time. What if i don't want to mingle with other people? That seems frankly offensive- like I owe him a chance at sex simply by virtue of being single and being interested in the same thing.

I don't think anyone was saying that if you talk to someone too long at a party you owe them sex.  I think the point is that it is not unreasonable to think someone is flirting if both people are single and they spend most if not all of a party talking to eachother and not as part of the general mingling at the party. 

I don't think the concensus is that he had the right expectations or should be angry, since if she introduces him to her BF, that's as strong a signal as possible that she's taken. 

On the other hand, this type of thing isn't black and white and there are times where one could reasonably feel led on.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Onyx_TKD on May 08, 2013, 12:15:30 PM
I'm not sure how we got to

Really? So even if I find the person I'm talking to fascinating, and we have a lot in common, if I don't want to sleep with him I shouldn't talk to him got an extended period of time. What if i don't want to mingle with other people? That seems frankly offensive- like I owe him a chance at sex simply by virtue of being single and being interested in the same thing.

I don't think anyone was saying that if you talk to someone too long at a party you owe them sex.  I think the point is that it is not unreasonable to think someone is flirting if both people are single and they spend most if not all of a party talking to eachother and not as part of the general mingling at the party. 

I don't think the concensus is that he had the right expectations or should be angry, since if she introduces him to her BF, that's as strong a signal as possible that she's taken. 

On the other hand, this type of thing isn't black and white and there are times where one could reasonably feel led on.


If the two single people were of the same gender, would you still consider it "leading on"? I haven't seen any posts in this thread that suggest that having a conversation of that length, in itself, inappropriate. Instead, posters seem to be saying that it only becomes inappropriate and "leading him on" if A) the people are of opposite genders, B) there isn't mutual romantic interest, and C) the person not interested in romance hasn't established that they're "unavailable."

For example:
[snip]
So to answer cross_patch's question, I'd say that if you are going to spend several hours having an in-depth conversation with an eligible member of the opposite sex, then yes, you do need to slip into the conversation that you're taken. It doesn't need to be a major production. It can simply be something like "Oh, you like art? So do I! My boyfriend and I happened to see the recent Monet exhibition at the National Gallery the other week and it was wonderful. What do you think of the Impressionists?" etc.

I'm a single woman in a male-dominated field with no particular interest in starting a romantic relationship. Does that mean I can never have in-depth chats with like-minded guys just because we happen to have different plumbing? If I made up and mentioned a fictitious boyfriend to protect the fragile egos of guys like Ted, does it then become ok to converse? Is it ok if they think I'm gay? Or would that just make it wrong to chat at length with people of my own gender? Thedudeabides summed up the problem with this line of reasoning very succinctly:

This line of reasoning is offensive to many people, LifeOnPluto, because it treats members of the opposite sex as sexual objects and not as people in their own right who are interesting enough to have a conversation with.

My romantic "status" is not a primary consideration in my life. Hence, I don't shape my social interactions around figuring out who's available to form a couple with. I shape my social life around interacting with people whose company I enjoy. If other single people (like Ted) want to limit their interactions to either romantic prospects or people of the same gender, then that's fine--I can't imagine wanting to do that, but it's their choice. It's not ok to force others into those same limitations. People here are saying that to chat with someone of the opposite gender without either being open to romance or establishing one's "ineligibility" is leading them on. To me that implies that it's wrong to treat a new acquaintance as a potential friend first, rather than a potential romantic partner--completely backwards from my perspective.

gay folks can apparently manage to find romantic prospects without assuming that everyone person of the same gender and talking to them at length is flirting. I'm sure the straight folks can manage this, too.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: siamesecat2965 on May 08, 2013, 12:50:05 PM
   My romantic "status" is not a primary consideration in my life. Hence, I don't shape my social interactions around figuring out who's available to form a couple with. I shape my social life around interacting with people whose company I enjoy. If other single people (like Ted) want to limit their interactions to either romantic prospects or people of the same gender, then that's fine--I can't imagine wanting to do that, but it's their choice. It's not ok to force others into those same limitations. People here are saying that to chat with someone of the opposite gender without either being open to romance or establishing one's "ineligibility" is leading them on. To me that implies that it's wrong to treat a new acquaintance as a potential friend first, rather than a potential romantic partner--completely backwards from my perspective.

 

I too am single, and feel the same way. I sometimes am in social gatherings and will end up chatting with the guys about sports, since many of my female friends could care less about them. Not the whole time, but some of it.  If I were in a r*lationship, and had spent a portion of time at a social gathering chatting with another guy about something, and came to find out he thought I spent too much time talking to him and that wasn't right because I was attached, and he thought I was leading him on, I'd be pretty offended. 

I had a similar situation back in college; freshman year two friends threw a NYE party, and all guests, but one, were friends from HS. One of the hosts, one of my closest friends, I thought, had invited someone from college, who, unbeknownst to me, she had a "thing" for. Well, everyone else was catching up, etc. and he ws kind of off on his own. So I started talking to him. I felt badly that he didn't know anyone, and my friend was off doing something else. Word got back to me she was mad at me for spending time talking to him, as she had a "thing" for him. Ok, fine, but if you invited him, perhaps maybe you should have made sure he wasn't sitting by himself! I had no romantic interest, I was just trying to make him feel a bit more comfortable. Since I had been in that position where I knew very few, and everyone ignored me.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: DavidH on May 08, 2013, 01:46:32 PM
The point I was trying to make is that at a party the expectation is to mingle and talk to multiple people there.  If you are single and talking to another single person for the entire party to the exclusion of others, it is likely to come across as more than the usual amount of interest, particularly if you repeatedly seek them out to continue the conversation.  In that case, it is not unreasonable for the person to have concluded that there might be a romantic interest there, particularly if there is one on their part and they have been or think they have been giving any signal to that effect.

It's not that you can't have in depth conversations, since life would be rather boring without those, but it is a good idea to at least be conscious of how you come across to others.  If you don't have lots of misunderstandings around this, then you are navigating the situations well.  If you have a line of people who have mistakenly thought you were interested in them, then maybe resconsider the signals you are giving them.

Note:  All are mean to be the generic you, not a particular individual.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Onyx_TKD on May 08, 2013, 02:01:49 PM
The point I was trying to make is that at a party the expectation is to mingle and talk to multiple people there.  If you are single and talking to another single person for the entire party to the exclusion of others, it is likely to come across as more than the usual amount of interest, particularly if you repeatedly seek them out to continue the conversation.  In that case, it is not unreasonable for the person to have concluded that there might be a romantic interest there, particularly if there is one on their part and they have been or think they have been giving any signal to that effect.

It's not that you can't have in depth conversations, since life would be rather boring without those, but it is a good idea to at least be conscious of how you come across to others.  If you don't have lots of misunderstandings around this, then you are navigating the situations well.  If you have a line of people who have mistakenly thought you were interested in them, then maybe resconsider the signals you are giving them.

Note:  All are mean to be the generic you, not a particular individual.

How did we get to the bolded? In the OP, it said
Quote
they also got along well and were conversing both alone and as part of a group  (that included Amy's boyfriend) for most of the bbq.
I didn't see any mention that anyone (neither Ted nor Amy) was repeatedly seeking the other out to continue the conversation. Instead, it sounded like they were having a comfortable conversation, welcoming other participants, and neither made an effort to end the conversation and walk away.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: DavidH on May 08, 2013, 03:25:16 PM
I was responding to other posts, I think everyone agrees that the person in the original post was being unreasonable.  I was trying to say that there are degrees to this.  One extreme being the intense private conversation for most of the party and that as one gets closer to that extreme then the chances of the person interpreting things wrong go up. 
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Deetee on May 08, 2013, 03:51:23 PM
I spent a while thinking about this because I find this man's attitude so disturbing. He extremely quick to blame another party for his own actions and feelings. He meets a girl at a party and talks to her. He knows she has a boyfriend because he checks afterwards that the guy "is really her boyfriend".

He then blames her for "leading him on" for talking when she was not interested in him as a potential romantic partner. Nope, she was interested in him as a human being that she enjoyed conversing with. Somehow he is unable to return that favour. And he also manages to blame her for his inability to connect another girl. This is especially egregious. If he wanted to talk to the other girl, he should have gone and talked to her.

I'm not going to hold it against him that he went to a party to meet a romantic interest (It's a not a trait I find very appealing personally, as I find such people can be a bit black and white in terms of relationships) But if he wanted to meet romantic interests and there are two girls at a party that you find attractive and you only talk to the one who is there with her boyfriend, that's your own fault.

He was disappointed that the girl he "wasted" time with wasn't available. But that's not her fault the time was wasted. It's his. because only he wanted something that wasn't available and he couldn't or wouldn't accept that.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: ClaireC79 on May 08, 2013, 04:15:52 PM
He knows she has a boyfriend because he checks afterwards that the guy "is really her boyfriend".

or he didn't know and then later on saw her kiss him/hold his hand and suddenly it dawned on him?
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Black Delphinium on May 08, 2013, 05:25:03 PM
He knows she has a boyfriend because he checks afterwards that the guy "is really her boyfriend".

or he didn't know and then later on saw her kiss him/hold his hand and suddenly it dawned on him?
If he didn't know at all, wouldn't he have asked "who was that guy?" instead?
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: peach2play on May 08, 2013, 06:17:16 PM
The next time you talk to him, bring up the incident and say:

Dude, you're not that special.  Not every woman who speaks to you, glances at you, happens to sit next to you at a sporting event etc is even remotely interested in you as anything more than a human being they will interact with for a short while and may or may not talk to again.  Grow up.  Hearing you speak like this about a good friend of mine just brings to light how emotionally immature you are and it is a much bigger reflection on your character than anything else.  I know you are feeling really lost and hurt suddenly finding yourself single and it can be a tough world out there, but you shouldn't make up scenes in your head just to make yourself feel better.  If you need a boost there are plenty of cute puppy pics on the internet.  Honestly if this continues, I don't think we can hang out.  It's not fair of you to attack someone's character just because you're feeling insecure.

Then see where it goes.  Either he's the kind of guy who will internalize, figure it out and change or...well, do you really need friends like that in your life?
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: blarg314 on May 08, 2013, 07:49:44 PM

Ted talks to Sarah (who is single)  who finds him interesting, but she isn't interested in a romantic/physical relationship with him.  However, she knows 15 woman,  of which 7 are single. 

If he acts entitled and slightly angry that Sarah isn't into him, she will not think of him the next time she has a party, so he won't get invited.  So he will miss out on meeting the 7 single women Sarah invited to the party.

If instead, he's an interesting conversationalist, treats Sarah with respect and is courteous, etc.  Then Sarah will not only think about an invite him to the party, she may make a point of mentioning him to her 7 single friends as this great guy she met.  But that's only if he's genuinely interesting and respectful.
 

This may be a good way to put it for things like parties - he's expanding his social circle, rather than trying to pick up that particular woman.  If Ted really does think that the only reason to have a long conversation with a woman is the hope she will date him, he really is hindering his chances in todays dating world.

I find that with younger people (compared to their parents or grandparents), the male/female dynamic has changed a lot. A few generations ago you had a society where men and women's social and work spheres were much more separated, and any interaction between men and women tended to be hedged around with rules and expectations, mostly to do with sexual/romantic behaviour. Now, men and women work together and socialize together, there are lots of male-female platonic friends, and you can no longer automatically assume that people you meet are even heterosexual (and as others have said, dropping that into a conversation is a lot less simply than dropping a mention of an SO).

I'm a female in a male dominated industry, and I didn't even really think all that much about flirting at a social gathering even when I was single. If I stopped to evaluate whether every guy I talked to was interested in conversation or flirtation, then I'd be exhausted at the end of every social event - I'm used to thinking of guys first as people rather than as potential romantic partners.

It sounds like Ted's background is more conservative, with more rigid definitions of how men and women behave. That's fine if it's what he wants, but he'll be better off looking for dates in an environment where he'll meet women with the same idea. But if he's going to try to meet women through the OP and her friends, he'll have to adjust his attitudes, or he'll get a reputation that will make him undatable.






Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: LifeOnPluto on May 08, 2013, 10:17:50 PM
I'm not sure how we got to

Really? So even if I find the person I'm talking to fascinating, and we have a lot in common, if I don't want to sleep with him I shouldn't talk to him got an extended period of time. What if i don't want to mingle with other people? That seems frankly offensive- like I owe him a chance at sex simply by virtue of being single and being interested in the same thing.

I don't think anyone was saying that if you talk to someone too long at a party you owe them sex.  I think the point is that it is not unreasonable to think someone is flirting if both people are single and they spend most if not all of a party talking to eachother and not as part of the general mingling at the party. 

I don't think the concensus is that he had the right expectations or should be angry, since if she introduces him to her BF, that's as strong a signal as possible that she's taken. 

On the other hand, this type of thing isn't black and white and there are times where one could reasonably feel led on.


If the two single people were of the same gender, would you still consider it "leading on"? I haven't seen any posts in this thread that suggest that having a conversation of that length, in itself, inappropriate. Instead, posters seem to be saying that it only becomes inappropriate and "leading him on" if A) the people are of opposite genders, B) there isn't mutual romantic interest, and C) the person not interested in romance hasn't established that they're "unavailable."



If two people were of the same gender, and preferred relationships of the same gender (and each one knew the other was inclined to the same gender), then yes, it could potentially be "leading them on".

It is a bit tricky though, since the majority of people prefer partners of the opposite gender. So in most cases, having a long, exclusive conversation with someone of the same gender at a BBQ might be a tad anti-social (to the rest of the guests) but wouldn't constitute "leading them on" in a romantic sense.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: cross_patch on May 08, 2013, 11:26:50 PM
I'm not sure how we got to

Really? So even if I find the person I'm talking to fascinating, and we have a lot in common, if I don't want to sleep with him I shouldn't talk to him got an extended period of time. What if i don't want to mingle with other people? That seems frankly offensive- like I owe him a chance at sex simply by virtue of being single and being interested in the same thing.

I don't think anyone was saying that if you talk to someone too long at a party you owe them sex.  I think the point is that it is not unreasonable to think someone is flirting if both people are single and they spend most if not all of a party talking to eachother and not as part of the general mingling at the party. 

I don't think the concensus is that he had the right expectations or should be angry, since if she introduces him to her BF, that's as strong a signal as possible that she's taken. 

On the other hand, this type of thing isn't black and white and there are times where one could reasonably feel led on.

We got there because I was responding to LifeOnPlutos original post.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: artk2002 on May 08, 2013, 11:32:14 PM
I don't think anyone was saying that if you talk to someone too long at a party you owe them sex.  I think the point is that it is not unreasonable to think someone is flirting if both people are single and they spend most if not all of a party talking to eachother and not as part of the general mingling at the party. 

Where's the cutoff? 15 minutes? 17 minutes 30.5 seconds? I'm being sarcastic because I find the idea of some time of "too long" to be ridiculous. I talk to people, not dating statuses. It's possible to have an interesting, 1:1 conversation with someone for hours and there not be one bit of flirting at all. And then, it's possible to be flirtatious in 15 seconds or less. Thinking that time is the sole, or even major, indicator is just silly.

Flirting, or expressing sexual interest in someone is more than about the duration of the conversation, or even whether it's 1:1 or in a group.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: blarg314 on May 09, 2013, 03:23:12 AM

Flirting, or expressing sexual interest in someone is more than about the duration of the conversation, or even whether it's 1:1 or in a group.

That is very important.  Simply talking to someone, and enjoying an extended, interesting conversation, is not by itself flirting or trying to pick someone up - if someone is interested, there's generally other body language, conversational clues, etc. If you feel that the encounter is going that way and you're not interested, then yes, backing off is polite. But I agree that you don't have a timer ticking  - "Gee, I've been talking to them for 9.5 minutes. I have to run away now, or be willing to go out with them," or "Wow, a 20 minute conversation about the adaptation of the Hobbit movie!  She wants me!"

Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: NyaChan on May 09, 2013, 08:20:14 AM
If a guy, even at my age (24), came up to me and then kept coming back over and over to talk again of stayed talking with me for most of a party, I know my friends would notice and would ask if there was something going on - that seems reasonable to me as long as it was a question not an assumption.  My answer however, wouldn't depend on the length of the conversation, but on the content and body language as blarg mentioned. 

For example, I met up with a few friends and acquaintances from school.  One of them is married and we got caught up in a very interesting conversation and did spend over an hour conversing with one another separately.  No one watching would know that a great deal of that conversation was actually about how he met with his wife, her unique career, and him advising me about an interpersonal work problem I was having with his friend.  Since we were meeting in a bar and everyone was drinking, it wouldn't surprise me if others did think there was flirtation happening just based on that, but neither him nor I walked away from that conversation thinking that it was more than a surprisingly interesting conversation with someone you previously only spoke with about super technical school information.   
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: DavidH on May 09, 2013, 11:28:10 AM
I agree it's not just the duration of the conversation, but in my mind that is one component of the whole picture.  It's all about the verbal and non-verbal cues.  If you are getting intersted or flirtatious vibes, then at the minimum they shouldn't be returned if there is no interest, but that also might suggest it's time to take a break from the conversation and mingle for a while.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: TurtleDove on May 09, 2013, 11:32:14 AM
I wanted to also add that some forms of "flirting" are not sexual at all and are neither intended nor typically interpreted as a signal that a person wants a romantic relationship. Some people are naturally flirtatious with nearly everyone.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: DollyPond on May 09, 2013, 11:44:39 AM
I was recently "accused" by one of our secretaries of flirting with a sales rep who visited our department.  The rep and I sat down to have about a 20 minute conversation in the office that mostly involved business and scientific topics.  There was no personal aspect to it.  Sales rep and I have known each other for about 5 years and are very comfortable with each other.

Secretary comes by afterwards with a sing-songy "Ooohh I saw you making eyes at him".  My response was a confused "We were talking about [scientific thing].  Besides he's married and has grandchildren, I'm not interested."  I guess I really didn't need to justify to her but it annoyed me nonetheless.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: Oh Joy on May 09, 2013, 12:13:34 PM
I agree it's not just the duration of the conversation, but in my mind that is one component of the whole picture.  It's all about the verbal and non-verbal cues.  If you are getting intersted or flirtatious vibes, then at the minimum they shouldn't be returned if there is no interest, but that also might suggest it's time to take a break from the conversation and mingle for a while.

Yup.  If I'm happily engaged in a fun conversation with a new friend (especially if they seem well-intentioned but not entirely socially savvy) and I feel there's a question in their mind about the type of connection, I feel it's my responsibility to make sure to change the type of eye contact/shift body language/make a casual positive mention of DH/bring someone else into the conversation/etc. to clarify for them without needing to end our discussion.  If they seem incapable of understanding the subtle cues, then I should be more directly proactive in redirecting.

Of course, a creep is a creep, but I'm not likely to catch myself sending signals that could easily be misinterpreted - such as an animated one-on-one discussion - to someone who I don't want to be around.
Title: Re: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.
Post by: SleepyKitty on May 09, 2013, 04:26:15 PM
I agree it's not just the duration of the conversation, but in my mind that is one component of the whole picture.  It's all about the verbal and non-verbal cues.  If you are getting intersted or flirtatious vibes, then at the minimum they shouldn't be returned if there is no interest, but that also might suggest it's time to take a break from the conversation and mingle for a while.

Yup.  If I'm happily engaged in a fun conversation with a new friend (especially if they seem well-intentioned but not entirely socially savvy) and I feel there's a question in their mind about the type of connection, I feel it's my responsibility to make sure to change the type of eye contact/shift body language/make a casual positive mention of DH/bring someone else into the conversation/etc. to clarify for them without needing to end our discussion.  If they seem incapable of understanding the subtle cues, then I should be more directly proactive in redirecting.

Of course, a creep is a creep, but I'm not likely to catch myself sending signals that could easily be misinterpreted - such as an animated one-on-one discussion - to someone who I don't want to be around.

This has articulated everything I've wanted to say about this thread, but couldn't. Obviously, Ted was a creep and completely out of line for thinking a woman talking to him inherently implies sexual or romantic interest. And it's clear that Amy was not flirting with him.

However, I think it is wise to be aware of the signals others are sending you. So no, a long conversation with the opposite sex doesn't immediately signal interest. But it is one important component of signalling interest. So when one is in that situation, as Amy was, if you pick up on other components of flirtation or interest, I think it is a good idea to casually drop either one's boyfriend or lack of interest into the conversation, or to find someone else to chat with.

I think it's a little hyperbolic to suggest shock and outrage that someone of the opposite sex might think a long conversation would signal interest. I know that if a guy who was single spent an extended amount of time talking to me, I would probably wonder. Not feel that he was leading me on, obviously, but it would cross my mind that maybe he had an interest in me. And if I did not return that interest, I would signal it in some way. That is, in fact, exactly how I started dating the guy that I am seeing right now. We were at a group event, we spent most of the night talking, and that's how I knew he was interested. Spending long amounts of time talking to one person is a pretty common way when single of testing the waters, so to speak, of attraction.