Etiquette School is in session! > Complete Silence

What should I have done here?

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clg763:
This past year I have gotten to know some lovely new people in college, last month, I planned a dinner party for them to help deepen our friendships (I had only spent time with them in very large, casual settings before, nothing this intimate). The dinner was a huge success, I love to cook and I pulled all the stops I could safely afford for them (being a college student) however, there was one rather uncomfortable incident that took place. Upon presenting one of the courses, one of the ladies there asked:

"So, are you looking for a girlfriend? I'm just sayin' because you can totally cook, and I love to do dishes!"

Now, in a very casual setting, this might have slipped through the cracks as flirtatious banter, but in the context of a formal dinner, it seemed highly inappropriate. The remark just thudded in dead air and I couldn't come up with a response before things got very awkward. I eventually bean dipped but it could hardly be called that, it was more like the conversation just had to shift because that one ended. I may have been able to come up with something, but in the heat of the moment, silence just seemed to be the appropriate treatment to me. Part of what made it awkward to me was that in all honesty, I am interested in finding a girl, which is a big reason for why I started investing time with them. Even more ironic is that I found her attractive, the whole moment seemed to catch me with my hand in the cookie jar so to speak.

I hoped that the awkward silence would have been enough to inform her that it was inappropriate, but she made the remark two more times that week in different settings. She is a pretty spunky girl, which is part of why I like her, so part of me is wondering if she just said it to get a rise out of me (not that that rationalizes it). I quickly bean dipped out of the second and third offenses and she just might have picked up by now that she shouldn't have made the remarks. The issue seems to be over with now, seeing how a month has passed, but I would like some input into how to handle these situations better, they were painfully awkward.

PitBullMom:
It sounds like she might be interested in you and that was her way of figuring out if you feel the same way! 

The first time might be construed as an off-the-cuff remark, but two more times after that?  Those were deliberate. :D 

If you are interested in her, get her alone and ask her out for lunch/coffee.

As for the dinner party, I think bean-dipping would have been the best way to go:

Her:  Are you looking for a GF?  I love doing dishes!
You:  Make sure you get some bean-dip!  It's my mom's recipe and a family favorite.

Don't worry about the "whys" of hanging out with this group of people...it's all about networking!  Most relationships, business or romantic, stem from friendship in the beginning.

guihong:
Well, she gets right to the point ;).  She's attracted to you and was fishing to see if you were single.  Since silence and bean dipping seems to have worked (she hasn't asked you out/made inappropriate passes at you), then you handled it well.

If there is a next time, with her or anyone else, maybe pulling her aside and saying "I felt completely awkward when you said ______".

gui

Jocelyn:
If you're interested in her...follow up. If you don't, you'll regret it: maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life. <G> Speaking from experience here.
If you aren't interested in her, modify one of Etiquette Hell's famous phrases, 'What an interesting offer! I'll keep that in mind.' She doesn't have to know that the rest of the second sentence is 'while running as fast as I can to elude your clutches.' :)

CrayonOutlines:
I don't see how what she said was offensive or inappropriate.   ???

She was both complimenting you and showing interest in you.  By ignoring it three times, you pretty much told her you're not interested.  I wouldn't pursue it if I was you -- if she's bold and you found it offensive, there's a good chance that exchanges like that would happen again in the future and it doesn't bode well for long-term compatibility, IMO.

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