I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

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I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by DazedAndConfused on Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:30 pm

So I've been focusing a lot on dating these last few days and I'm getting some pretty lousy results.

I can talk to girls just fine, I have no problem asking them out, and sometimes I get some results which could be interpreted as signs of interest, but usually fizzle very soon (to the point where I'm wondering if I'm actually simply delusional).

What hapened was:

-a girl added me on Facebook, gave me her number and acted flirty and fun, but then became cold and awkward the second time I saw her (I decided to wish her luck and leave her alone);

-I had a terrible, terrible date with a girl who looked bored most of the time despite all my best efforts to start conversations and keep it light and fun (again, I wish her luck but left her alone);

-girls who give me their number but never answer when I message them (I stop after the second time they don't answer me);

-girls who give me their number, answer to my messages but flaked out on dates, or find excuses to say that they don't have time (I stop chasing them after the second time they bring up excuses or flake on me).

The only successes I've had in the past (far and few between, and only the great total of one -short lived - sexual relationship) happened when I didn't do anything and it was the person interested in me who started getting physical. And I mean really getting physical: kissing me or touching me in a sexual way.

So I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong. Why do things seem to be great at the beginning but then all too often they turn cold and awkward after a while? Why do I seem to mess up my chances all the time? Are the girl who I think are interested in me really interested in me or only accepting my flirting and requests for dates out of politeness? Should I just give up on flirting and dating and just wait for women to do the first move?

The frustration at not knowing why I'm making mistakes is the worst part. I'd prefer if people told me "you're terrible at dating because of this and that and that" because at least I could work on those issues, but of course that's not what people do to each other (it's considered rude).

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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by Enail on Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:41 pm

Hmm. This is the kind of thing that's tough to get advice on through text, we can't see how you're interacting or form our own impressions of their reactions. But maybe a little more information can help: What context are you meeting these women in? Is it cold approaches on the street? At a club? People in your social circle? How long do you know/talk with them before asking them out? Also, do you have female friends?
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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by BasedBuzzed on Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:16 pm

You make the first moves, but find ways to filter out the flakes. This can be not asking people out unless they are explicitly enthusiastic from the get-go, ensuring her beforehand that something will be casual and low-key to counter coming across as too intense, going out in a group if you sense that she's lukewarm, and also never feel bad for cutting a date short if it is a complete shitshow (coffee with options for an extension).

Assume that these people are getting bombarded with messages if they're on dating sites, know for a fact that you're getting phone numbers and responses you're already better than 50% of the clueless 'hi!' crowd.

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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by DazedAndConfused on Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:28 am

Enail wrote:Hmm. This is the kind of thing that's tough to get advice on through text, we can't see how you're interacting or form our own impressions of their reactions. But maybe a little more information can help: What context are you meeting these women in? Is it cold approaches on the street? At a club? People in your social circle? How long do you know/talk with them before asking them out?

I usually meet women at parties/in bars. I go there with my friends and get social with all the people I meet (friends of friends, acquaintances of friends, groups of people who are having fun). I have no problems approaching people in this context: I usually either meet them through my friends or stick around, listen and watch what's going on and wait for the right time to add a funny/witty comment. I talk to lots of people, men and women, just having fun and shooting the breeze. I make jokes, ask them questions, listen to their stories, tell a few on my own.

In short I socialize. Luckily I don't find that hard. I love talking to people, I love listening to what people have to say, and light banter isn't an issue. At this point I'm not deliberately looking for dates, I'm just having fun.

What happens next is that through these light, fun interaction I end up talking to several women, either individually or as a part of a group. If I see some signs of interests (i.e. they smile to me a lot, they laugh at my jokes, they're engaged in the conversation) I decide to move on (according to how it's going) and focus the conversation a little bit more on them. I'm not saying that I isolate them from the other people: I simply tease them or flirt with them a little bit more playfully, I make the (light, fun) jokes about them and allow them to flirt/joke back. If they seem to be a touchy-feely person (i.e. they get closer to me, don't mind touching their friends, et.) I give them high-fives and try to touch them of in playful ways.

After ten to thirty minutes of this teasing/interaction game usually the party/their stay in the bar looks about to end (people are getting out, their friends look about to leave, my friends seem about to leave,etc). At this point, if the women I'm talking to have shown signs of interests and we're still having a conversation I usually find a way to ask them for their number/Facebook account. I play it off like it's no big deal, and it usually isn't: if they're still talking to me at this point they don't mind giving me their number or adding me as a Facebook friend.

It's at this point when things get a little tougher. I usually message them the day after at a time when they might be checking out their phones (i.e. lunch, late afternoon, evening). The first message I send is usually some kind of joke or comment about what we talked about. If they don't answer I wait for a few hours before I send another message. If after a few other hours they're still not answering I chalk it up as them not really wanting to carry on the conversation, and move on.

If I get a response we usually exchange some messages (two or three) where we joke/flirt for a while before I ask them out. We sometimes send each other pictures/links. I try to keep the invitation funny and/or lighthearted ("Oh, you're blushing? I'd love to see your face right now" or "That's great new haircut, but I can only really judged it if I can see it in person"). They usually seem eager or not against the idea of seeing each other again. At this point I usually tell them that there's something going on which they might enjoy (based on our interactions: it could be a concert which I think they might like, or an event that they seem to be interested to, or a party they might like) and tell them that I'm going there and I'd love for them to come, too.

At this point I either get a positive response ("Sounds like a lot of fun. Count me in!" "Sure, why not?", etc.) or they say that they'd love to but they're busy. If they're busy I offer them an option to reschedule for another event/party/concert. If they refuse again and if they don't seem too disappointed I take it as a "soft no" and I play it off as no big deal. If at this point they don't seem to eager to meet me again or to go out we usually stop messaging after a while. If they seem to like the idea we discuss the details and tell each other we can't wait for the event.

If they agreed to a date I prepare myself for the date, I show up there five to ten minutes before the time when we agreed to meet each other (usually half an hour before the start of the event) and wait for them. If after a twenty to thirty minutes wait they still haven't showed up I usually send them a message asking (always in a not too serious, not too eager way) if everything is OK. Many times they just don't answer me and after a ten to fifteen minutes of more waiting I understand that they're not coming and I try to enjoy the event on my own (as much as I can, since I can't deny that I feel rather disappointed).

If they do show up I try to start flirting again. This can either work or not. If it doesn't work it's usually a really bad sign. The woman I'm seeing seems to be bored, or distracted, or just not really into me. I won't lie, this hurts me a little. I wonder what's going on, if I did something wrong, and why the "spark" of the light/fun conversation is gone. I try to start the conversation again but it usually doesn't work. Everything is awkward, the conversation stops or goes nowhere, and worst of all it seems like they're getting bored. This makes for a pretty terrible date.

At the end of such a lousy date I usually decide that it's not worth it. I try to enjoy the event (it's not easy in these situations) and I wish the person I'm seeing goodbye. I feel pretty miserable in these cases and I usually don't contact them again.

A couple of times the flirting worked. Everything seems to go well, the "spark" is still there, so that's when (after a while) I decide to make my sexual interest explicit. I tried to put an arm around their shoulders or waist when the time seem right, or to go in for a kiss at the end of the date. Inevitably what happened is that they pushed away my arm, or stepped back from the kiss. I feel terrible in these cases. I feel like I've creeped them out, and I'm pretty disappointed in myself. I hide this disappointment and I try to get back to the fun, flirting stage, but at this point the date is pretty much ruined. I wish them goodbye but I steer away from them (I don't want to creep them out some more).

I really don't get why I seem to creep them out when everything seemed right. As I wrote, this feels pretty awful.

Also, do you have female friends?

Yes, more than a few. They're all women I'm not sexually attracted to for one reason or another. I usually see them as almost relatives (as if they were my sisters or cousins) or as friends who happen to women. I can't see myself being only a friend to someone I'm attracted to. Friendship and romantic interest are very different things to me, and I keep them very separate.

BaseBuzzed wrote:Assume that these people are getting bombarded with messages if they're on dating sites, know for a fact that you're getting phone numbers and responses you're already better than 50% of the clueless 'hi!' crowd.

I don't use online dating sites. I think that they're too anonymous. I like to meet people face to face before I decide that I'm interested in flirting with them. Messages are fine for someone you've met before, but chatting with romantic intentions with a complete stranger who you know only from pictures seems fake and awkward to me.

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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by reboot on Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:34 am

Hang on. I am a bit confused. Was this all in a couple of days? Or have you been reflecting on your dating life over the past few days? My advice will vary based on the situation
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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by DazedAndConfused on Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:30 am

reboot wrote:Hang on. I am a bit confused. Was this all in a couple of days? Or have you been reflecting on your dating life over the past few days? My advice will vary based on the situation

I've been thinking about and evaluating my dating life in the last few days. I've turned 25 two days ago and I realized that my dating life isn't going well. I used to think that things would get better in time but they didn't so I've been doing some soul-searching in the last week. Sorry if I didn't make this clear.

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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by Wondering on Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:35 pm

So, there's a couple things here that would make me think "no" if I were one of the women involved. The first is that you Facebook message a second time after only a few hours if you haven't heard back. That would come off as pushy to me. I'd give her more time than that, like a day.

The second is, are you telling the women that you invite to an event that it's a date when you ask? Because it sounds like maybe you're not, but your description is that you're totally behaving at the event as if it's a date. If she wasn't expecting it to be a date, just a casual thing, that could really throw her off and might account for the awkwardness you're experiencing.


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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by DazedAndConfused on Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:08 pm

Wondering wrote:So, there's a couple things here that would make me think "no" if I were one of the women involved. The first is that you Facebook message a second time after only a few hours if you haven't heard back. That would come off as pushy to me. I'd give her more time than that, like a day.

OK. Thanks for the tip, I'll try to keep that in mind. I definitely don't want to come off as too overeager and pushy.

The second is, are you telling the women that you invite to an event that it's a date when you ask? Because it sounds like maybe you're not, but your description is that you're totally behaving at the event as if it's a date. If she wasn't expecting it to be a date, just a casual thing, that could really throw her off and might account for the awkwardness you're experiencing.

Isn't inviting someone you've talked about only a few times and have shown some flirting interest to an event implicitly asking them out on a date? Especially since I'm saying "I'm going to event X, do you want to come?". I can understand some confusion if I said "There's an event, are you going there?" which could be interpreted as implying that you're going to be there, possibly with other people. But a request for one on one meeting should be clearly enough a date, shouldn't it?

But anyway, if that's not explicit enough, what do you suggest to make it more clear? "Do you want to go out on a date?" sounds a bit desperate and condescending to me (though I could be wrong), a bit like the "do you want to be my boyfriend/girlfriend" notes you pass around when you're a kid.

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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by Enail on Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:20 pm

Yeah, it sounds to me like it might be that a lot of these women aren't realizing it's a date right away and things get awkward when they do realize. My guess is that you're tending to over-read flirting out of platonic enthusiasm on their parts, which could make your flirting and date-appropriate behavior come across as coming on too strong when they're assuming just friendliness and non-date meetings, making them uncomfortable or unsure how to let you down gracefully.

So I second Wondering on using the word 'date' up front and slowing your roll on second messages, and I'd also suggest dialing back the flirtation after the first meeting until you've explicitly asked them out (it sounds like your initial flirty behavior is fine in terms of appropriateness and welcomed-ness). Lean more towards assuming that they're thinking things are platonic so far, to avoid making what may be seeming like attempts to sneakily push into dating territory without saying so, when to you it's just a natural continuation of your previous interactions.

From your descriptions of the initial interactions, it sounds like you're clearly flirting, but it doesn't seem like it's being perceived that way by others, so you might actually be being more subtle than you think. If you can, check with friends who would have seen you flirting whether they think it's actually coming through that way.
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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by DazedAndConfused on Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:34 pm

Enail wrote:Yeah, it sounds to me like it might be that a lot of these women aren't realizing it's a date right away and things get awkward when they do realize. My guess is that you're tending to over-read flirting out of platonic enthusiasm on their parts, which could make your flirting and date-appropriate behavior come across as coming on too strong when they're assuming just friendliness and non-date meetings, making them uncomfortable or unsure how to let you down gracefully.

You could be right. The problem is: how do I make it obvious that my interest isn't just platonic? To me if a man asks out a woman he doesn't know very well (not a close friend) to an event when it's clear that it's just the two of them the intent is clearly not platonic, though I could be wrong.

So I second Wondering on using the word 'date' up front and slowing your roll on second messages, and I'd also suggest dialing back the flirtation after the first meeting until you've explicitly asked them out (it sounds like your initial flirty behavior is fine in terms of appropriateness and welcomed-ness). Lean more towards assuming that they're thinking things are platonic so far, to avoid making what may be seeming like attempts to sneakily push into dating territory without saying so, when to you it's just a natural continuation of your previous interactions.

Yeah, the matter is finding the balance. I definitely want to give the message that my interest isn't just platonic, and I don't want to be "sneaky" about it, but I also don't want to look desperate (and give the message "Date me date me date me").

From your descriptions of the initial interactions, it sounds like you're clearly flirting, but it doesn't seem like it's being perceived that way by others, so you might actually be being more subtle than you think. If you can, check with friends who would have seen you flirting whether they think it's actually coming through that way.

I'll do it. Can I also post some kind of flirting diary here? I'll copy the conversations I'm doing (and I change or remove names and other details of course) and you can tell me what you think about it.

Thanks for the advice to all who have replied. You've definitely given me some food for thoughts.

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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by Enail on Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:03 pm

DazedAndConfused wrote:
Enail wrote:Yeah, it sounds to me like it might be that a lot of these women aren't realizing it's a date right away and things get awkward when they do realize. My guess is that you're tending to over-read flirting out of platonic enthusiasm on their parts, which could make your flirting and date-appropriate behavior come across as coming on too strong when they're assuming just friendliness and non-date meetings, making them uncomfortable or unsure how to let you down gracefully.

You could be right. The problem is: how do I make it obvious that my interest isn't just platonic? To me if a man asks out a woman he doesn't know very well (not a close friend) to an event when it's clear that it's just the two of them the intent is clearly not platonic, though I could be wrong.

You are wrong Razz  Asking someone to an event with you is the same way many people would try to start up a friendship with someone they met and were enjoying talking to, even if it's a man and a woman, so you can't just assume they'll know based on that.


Yeah, the matter is finding the balance. I definitely want to give the message that my interest isn't just platonic, and I don't want to be "sneaky" about it, but I also don't want to look desperate (and give the message "Date me date me date me").

Just say "date me" once, not three times! Razz (Or rather, ask if they want to, because "date me" does sound kind of weird Laughing ). Being upfront about what you'd like but casual is the way to be clear without looking desperate. There's no way to hide the fact that you would like them to go on a date with you but also be clear about your intention, you've just got to say it. Just don't treat it like it's a big thing, and if you get a no, take it gracefully.


I'll do it. Can I also post some kind of flirting diary here? I'll copy the conversations I'm doing (and I change or remove names and other details of course) and you can tell me what you think about it.

Of course - though I think body language and tone are probably playing a big part here, so if you can get some real life feedback, that will help you more!
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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by eselle28 on Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:14 pm

A diary sounds like a good idea, though I agree that some things don't necessarily come across in writing!

In addition to the possibility of you doing something wrong, I do think it's good to remember that meeting women at bars and parties probably comes with the highest rate of receiving genuine interest followed by genuine lack of interest. Cold approaches in other places tend to get shot down right away, while warm approaches have more easily predictable results. When you meet someone at a bar, sometimes they'll have been drinking or just generally be more impulsive because they're having fun. That can lead to giving out numbers when the person in question is only marginally interested, or not really up for dating anyone right now, or even numbers that a person doesn't remember giving out. That doesn't mean that you should change where you meet women or that there aren't some ways you could improve your results, but I do think you should remind yourself that this is a common outcome and that you're not necessarily doing anything wrong if it happens at least sometimes.
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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by Wondering on Fri Mar 11, 2016 5:00 pm

Yeah, it's totally not obvious if you ask someone to an event that it means a date. In fact, I would be less inclined to think it's a date the way you phrased it: As an event you're already going to, and hey, wanna come along? That would read Friend, not Date to me.

So, my suggestion for a script would be "I'm going to event X, do you want to come, you know, as a date?"

That keeps to the wording you're familiar with but makes it explicit. I think it's even more important for you to be explicit than some other people since you've stated you have no interest in being platonic friends with these women, only in dating them. This isn't a "Hey, let's hang out and see where it leads" situation. You definitely have romantic/sexual interest in them, so you want to make the fact that it's only a date clear.

I agree with Enail's suggestion of asking your friends about your flirting. I would especially ask your women friends.

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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by kath on Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:17 am

I agree that someone saying "I'm going to Y, want to come too?" sounds very let's-be-buds vs. let's be romantic. Especially because the focus seems to be on the event vs the person. An alternate script could be like "hey, I'm super enjoying our conversation right now, and there's X relevant event coming up - want to make it a date and get to know each other better?" that makes it clear the interaction between the two of you is the point more than enjoying a mutual interest in what happens to be each other's company. And it uses the word date.

Also, since not everyone divides friends / romance as much, they might be feeling the spark but expecting things to be platonic for a while and getting confused at a perceived switch from platonic to romance mode when they were expecting more of an evolution.

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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by DazedAndConfused on Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:26 am

kath wrote:I agree that someone saying "I'm going to Y, want to come too?" sounds very let's-be-buds vs. let's be romantic. Especially because the focus seems to be on the event vs the person. An alternate script could be like "hey, I'm super enjoying our conversation right now, and there's X relevant event coming up - want to make it a date and get to know each other better?" that makes it clear the interaction between the two of you is the point more than enjoying a mutual interest in what happens to be each other's company. And it uses the word date.

Also, since not everyone divides friends / romance as much, they might be feeling the spark but expecting things to be platonic for a while and getting confused at a perceived switch from platonic to romance mode  when they were expecting more of an evolution.


That's a good script, thank you!

I divide friends from romance very sharply because I want to be honest and direct. The last thing I want is to deceive someone by claiming to be "just a friend" when I'm interested in dating them.

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Re: I keep getting "soft nos" and rejections. There MUST be something I have to change!

Post by kath on Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:18 am

Oh yeah, that wasn't meant as a criticism - you are free to navigate that however you like!

I just meant that there are people who don't see it that way - who will want to get to know someone on a genuinely friendly level before they would even consider them as a romantic prospect. Your "hey, this cool thing, let's both go to it" date proposals may sounds really awesome to someone who is like "I'm maybe seeing some potential but I want to be buds for a bit first," so you may just, by happenstance, be presenting a way that seems like an ideal road to a relationship for a segment with a different attachment style than you.

(I'm one of those people - I have only ever been interested in becoming romantically involved in any particular way with people I know well, because romance is more intimate than friendship to me, and I like just don't feel very comfortable skipping friendship-level intimacy with someone. But I would be comfortable meeting up with someone I met very recently at an event we would probably both like just as potential buds.)
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