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."