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Author Topic: What should I have done here?  (Read 7131 times)

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What should I have done here?
« on: July 02, 2009, 06:26:34 AM »
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.


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Re: What should I have done here?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2009, 07:23:29 AM »
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's all about networking!  Most relationships, business or romantic, stem from friendship in the beginning.


Don't breed or buy while homeless pets die.  Adopt your soul pet at your local animal shelter.


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Re: What should I have done here?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2009, 07:24:01 AM »
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 ______".



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Re: What should I have done here?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2009, 11:43:46 AM »
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.' :)


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Re: What should I have done here?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2009, 01:27:40 PM »
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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Re: What should I have done here?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2009, 06:19:34 PM »
I can't for the life of me figure out how to reply to that though, I mean, lets say I was really really into her, ought I have said in front of 8 people that I am just getting to know, "funny you should ask that, I am looking for a girlfriend, what do you say?" maybe some people do that, but it certainly isn't my personality. Don't get me wrong, I was very flattered by the compliment, it was just so very forthcoming that I wasn't really expecting it, the fact that she said it in a formal dinner made it more awkward. The other big problem was that I was trying to figure out if she just REALLY liked my food, or was seriously romantically interested, since I actually was/am romantically interested in her. Like I said earlier, this sort of "spunkiness" is part of why I find her attractive, it was just that in this instance, she struck WAY too close to home without realizing it and I had a very hard time dealing with it publicly. I mean if she is really interested in a relationship, such an issue ought to be discussed privately.


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Re: What should I have done here?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2009, 09:27:27 PM »
I can't for the life of me figure out how to reply to that though

With a joke...

"Well, I'm taking applications -- I'll get you one after dinner."   ;)


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Re: What should I have done here?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2009, 11:32:33 PM »

A joke, as suggested above, would be a wonderful response if it is something you have the ability to pull off under such pressure.  If this type of response is really not your style, maybe you could try a more direct approach.  Since she has shown interest (several times) and you've not reciprocated, it's likely she'll assume you're not interested.  (Even the bold and sassy will give up eventually...)  I would suggest that you speak with her privately, in an arena where you would be comfortable discussing such matters.  Perhaps you could start with an apology (NOT that you did anything wrong, btw, I'm just suggesting it as a way to broach the subject and show that you've been thinking about the party and the awkwardness you observed).  You could say that you're sorry if she was embarrassed or if she thought you were ignoring her.  Maybe tell her that the reason it unsettled you was that you have been interested in her, and that you'd love to take her up on the dinner/dishes offer.   :)

(And if you do begin a relationship with this, or some other bold and sassy, woman, maybe you could discuss the differences in what you find comfortable/appropriate in public and what she does!  Such fundamental issues are likely to cause friction if they are not dealt with.) 


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Re: What should I have done here?
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2009, 01:27:47 AM »
Bean dip or joke back.  Whether she has feelings for you or not I still think she was joking.  It sounds like the kind of joke I might make to a male friend (and I'm happily in a great relationship with my BF).

Anyway, you said she is a spunky girl and you like her yeah?  So what is the problem?  Why is it so inappropriate?


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Re: What should I have done here?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2009, 01:42:20 PM »
> " I can't for the life of me figure out how to reply to that "

Well this could have been a good answer especially if you wished to show her how uncomfortable you were with the question.

But I can't figure out why you think this question was out of place at a dinner party when the guests were other college students.  You obviously have a certain set of manners you expect at your dinner parties but hopefully you're mature enough to realize that not all college students are at the same maturity or manners level that you expect. 

It happened that a guest tried to make a joke or interest overture that fell flat. You had a chance as a host to smooth over that moment with a mild joke of your own, a 'thank you!" or even just a smile. Next time I try one of these replies.

While silence is best when you don't know what to sat, the deadly freeze out, complete silence at a remark or question that is so awful that it does not deserve a reply should be saved for a really rude person not a guest who was a bit clumsy in a compliment or come-on.  PB