Post-Date Analysis?

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Post by meeperson on Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:34 am

Hi guys, I'm hoping some outside observers might be able to offer me a sense of where I went wrong, and how I should handle these kinds of situations in the future. I met someone I was interested in through a physical activity group, was given her contact information after a few sessions, and after a few texts, I asked her out to dinner. She said sure, and all was well. Then, later on, she came back with the suggestion that we go rockclimbing instead, having seen in my chat app photos that I have done that before. I said sure, and I jumped through a few hoops to make it happen in my busy work and study schedule, and there we were, at the WALL. It started off okay, but there was no real conversational momentum, in part because I was nervous though trying my best with an awareness that I needed to avoid coming off as pushy or needy, in part because she was offering no conversation on her end (at all), and in part because rock climbing and belaying means you spend a lot of time outside of conversational distance. She let drop that she'd been dating but had broken with a mutual acquaintance I know through the same activity group by which we met. Then, lo and behold, the ex is there on the climbing route next over. She doesn't acknowledge him, he and I acknowledge each other in a sort of awkward, do we acknowledge the awkwardness? kind of way. Weird, but I keep my calm and just try to be a decent and friendly person. Then, after a few rounds of climbing, she starts going off on her own, climbing with other people, chatting with other guys. Clearly this signaled to me that whatever veneer of a date this encounter formerly had was now lost, if it hadn't already been lost by the arrival of her ex or even before the date itself. I felt a slight sting of rejection, and sort of calmly went up to her and said, hey, I'm going to call it a night, but then I saw some other acquaintances and hung out with them for a bit before leaving. I told my "date" thanks, then followed through.

To add the final element to this sordid tale, I have to admit that I am not a great conversationalist when I'm nervous, since I'm not my relaxed and my usually clever and funny self. I also have to admit that I probably appeared over-eager to get to know her, asking getting-to-know-you questions when possible, though she never once reciprocated. Clearly the cards were stacked against me before I even got there. But, having read all this, can anyone suggest what I might have done differently, or if there was some way to salvage this situation?

(Side rant: It is really annoying having to try to be the one worried about "having to salvage a situation"--female readers, please tell me if you've ever had to be the one to "salvage the situation", that you are the one who has to "keep the guy interested", as DNL so often advises us guys to do? He basically suggests many times over that it is on us to master the "art of meeting women and keeping them interested in us, showing we have 'value'" , and that it is our fault if we don't find ways to overcome such difficulties. Should I continue to bother with this notion that I have drastically limited chances of finding meaningful romance if I don't develop this DNL skill set of being a master conversationalist and man of confidence? Is the whole concept tainted past a basic minimum common to most mentally sound people, and should I really just "be myself" and see what happens?)

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Post by UristMcBunny on Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:50 am

Hmmm... I don't think you did anything wrong. I'm curious how things went down when her ex turned up. I wonder - did he keep hanging around you two after you first acknowledged him?

I think the one thing that might help something like this in the future is to plan to do some other small, low key but talking-friendly thing before you go climbing. Maybe meet in a nearby park and have a leisurely walk to the place you go climbing, so you've had time to have a bit more of a conversation before you get there. That and, when she started edging away - which potentially may have been related to the ex turning up - it might've helped to make some excuse for you and her to take a break "hey, want to take a moment and grab some water?" and move away from the wall where he is.

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Post by Guest on Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:57 am

Two part answer:

1. On the date part, it looks like she just wasn't that into you. I've been there, as a woman: a guy shows interest, and I'm not really sold, but I figure I'll try it out. The rock-climbing suggestion even sounds very much like a thing I'd do: "Oh, man," I'm thinking, "what if we get out to dinner and there's nothing to say? Let's do something active, so it won't just be awkward-staring-at-our-wine-glasses time." I think you handled it well, and that there wasn't really anything "wrong", per se. This just... wasn't meant to be. I think maybe she was a bit rude, with the chatting-with-other-guys thing, but I think it sounds like a successful date in that you went out and you learned something, namely that she's just not into you.

2. On the side rant, I will say that I pretty much always, 100% of the time, feel like it's my job to be witty and clever and interesting, to keep the guy interested in me. I walk this balancing act between worrying that I'm talking too much and not talking enough, trying to draw information out of guys, and signaling my interest without being desperate or over the top. I also used to feel (I'm getting better at this) that having any standards was being needy and picky and having unrealistic romance-novel fantasy expectations, so every issue I had with a guy got filed into a "how do I work with/around this?" pile, even if it was really just a total deal-breaker in theory.

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Post by kleenestar on Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:02 pm

Hmm, it's hard to tell what's going on. I think one of two things could be going on. First possibility: she decided she wasn't interested before the date, so she asked to change it from something intimate (dinner) to something much more distant. You probably couldn't do anything about the situation once she'd made that decision, because if it was made before the date, it likely has almost nothing to do with you. The second possibility is that you jumped the gun - that instead of tolerating the discomfort of her talking to other people on the date, you decided it meant she wasn't interested and prematurely ejected. I don't know how rock climbing works, but your best move at that point would have actually been to ask her to join you for (say) ice cream. That lets you tell if she's deliberately ditching you, or if she's just enjoying being part of a group activity as part of your date.

As for "having to salvage a situation," as a woman I've been trained since a very young age to make sure that everyone around me is having a socially comfortable experience, no matter how I'm feeling or what I'd prefer to be doing. It's part of why I find most social interaction dreadfully costly. It's not that I'm such a strong introvert, but given my mild introvert tendencies I do get exhausted very quickly by the enormous amount of social perceptiveness and effort I'm expected to exert. (Once someone has showed that they don't actually expect that from me, it gets a lot easier, but that takes both time and trust.)
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Post by meeperson on Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:32 pm

Thank you, one and all, for giving me your observations, and for bearing with my annoyance and overall rantiness. I'm happy to be able to talk to women in particular about this, to get a perspective outside my narrow and easily burnished man-goggles (though I know no one person can claim to speak for or fully understand another). Thank you especially for leaving some of the meaner things in my rant unpounced upon (in particular, the blanket statement about "mental soundness" and basal confidence--I'm skeptical that I am so "sound" myself, given how easy it is for me to feel like the last kid chosen for kickball during recess--many young experiences cast me in that role and have made it second-nature for far too long).

To answer some of the questions--the ex didn't lurk around us, though he occasionally cast me overlong glances. But he didn't do anything to interfere with our time together, and he had a girl he was climbing with besides (though I couldn't tell their status).

As for asking her to do something else, I did, though not in strong terms. I asked if she'd like to go out and have a single beer after some climbing--she said she'd like to, but had late dinner plans with a friend. She seemed pretty sincere (this was earlier in the date, before she started spending more time with other people than with me).

I thought briefly about telling her she confused me via a after-date text, but decided against it (hooray for self-restraint!). Instead, I said thanks for the evening, oh, and check out this band I think you'll like (based on a snippet of convo). I don't think I would even be that interested in this person already, if more women I'm interested in showed interest in me, or if they didn't (the majority thus far) already have boyfriends :( and despite all DNL claims to the contrary, in any given locale, if you have a set of standards (mine are pretty basic--show an interest in your health and fitness, be fairly close to my age, have an interest in doing things outside the domicile, have some interests in common with me--but I live abroad so the pool is pretty small), there are only so many partners who can fit that category and whom you can hope to meet even with the aid of the intranet.

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Post by kleenestar on Mon Oct 13, 2014 2:01 pm

Ah, if you asked her for a beer and she said she already had plans, that sounds like a clear case of not being all that into you. It's good news and bad news, I think: it means there's not much you could have done, though it also means you have no data about what you might do differently next time.

Thanking her politely for the evening was totally the right move. You never know who she'll talk to about you.

I think it's good to recognize that you're mostly interested in her because you're feeling worried about your dating pool. I'm not sure what one does about that but it's good self-knowledge to recognize it in the first place.
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Post by reboot on Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:08 pm

Correct me if I am wrong, but it does not seem like you felt much of a spark for her during this date? If so I am a bit curious about what you would have wanted to come out differently? This seems like one of those dates where neither party is too into it and there is no fault to be had.

Or I am totally missing something?
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Post by meeperson on Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:43 pm

I can't say with certainty, since we didn't really get to know one another. I was attracted to her initially because she is my type when it comes to interests, language abilities, and outward demeanor.

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