Author Topic: Giving single friends feedback on da[color=black]ting[/color] expectations.  (Read 8788 times)

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Zilla

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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.

cross_patch

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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'.

Yvaine

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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.

TurtleDove

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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.

rashea

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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.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont

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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.
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Allyson

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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.

LadyL

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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.

DavidH

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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.

LifeOnPluto

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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).

cross_patch

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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.

blarg314

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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?




zyrs

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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.




 


WillyNilly

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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.

Yvaine

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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.