How to reply to common questions [adv]

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How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Thu May 21, 2015 12:51 pm

Got an OLD message today (yay) from someone who looks cool, and is coming to my town, and she asks if I know of any good places to hang out. And the replies that come to mind are, for some reason, very wordy and winding. Like "well, I don't go out that much, but the area where I live is generally considered to have good cafés, since around the end of the 1990-ies. And there's [name of place] where I go regularly for coffee, of course, don't know if it's cool but I like it, and then [another place] which is outdoors, that has been there all my life, so I'm sort of a regular customer there".

And yeah, I know that's not quite the kind of answer people look for with questions like this, and I'm not sure where all the words come from, if it's insecurity or comfusion or something else... It's maybe, I know there's a communicative intent to it, besides a simple request for information, but I don't know exactly what, and at he same time it's also a request for information, and somehow the beams get crossed in my head.

Chewing on the question for a while has made some better answers come up, but still: Do anyone understand better than I do what has me so confused about this? Can someone put some words to that communicative intent I suspect is there? Or say something about how they would reply? Do anyone else have some common introductory message questions they don't quite know how to reply to, that they would like to ask advice about in this thread?
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by PintsizeBro on Thu May 21, 2015 1:09 pm

She does want information, that part is correct. But she does also want more than information: she think you are interesting enough to talk to/spend time with, and asking for information is a great way to begin a conversation.

I think your last sentence is actually on the right track. My own response would be something like, "Well, there's [name of coffee place] that I like to go, I'm not exactly an expert on 'cool' but I like it. There's also [outdoor place] where I've been going all my life, I'd love to show you around." Or something like that.

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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by eselle28 on Thu May 21, 2015 1:14 pm

It looks like you tend to include a lot of qualifiers in your descriptions. That's a common writing habit a lot of people have period, and I wouldn't be surprised if it amplifies when people are insecure or confused. Sometimes it's a good thing, or at least I've found that it can be useful to soften arguments about controversial topics. Here, though, I think you'd be better to delete some of that language. Things like "well, I don't go out that much," and "don't know if it's cool but I like it," don't really add anything to the conversation. It sounds like she's both looking for some practical suggestions and to learn a little more about what kind of person you are and what you like.

What about something like this? "And there's [name of place] where I go regularly for coffee. [Something specific and enjoyable about the place, like it plays great indie music and has a relaxing atmosphere, or it has a great selection of beans, or sells amazing muffins.] And then there's [another place] which is outdoors. I'm sort of a regular customer there and like to [do whatever you do there, like go there with your friends after work for their specialty dish or grab a book and read it outside in the sun on weekends or stop in to say hello to the staff because you know them well."

EDIT: Oh, and definitely add in PintsizeBro's offer to show her around.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Enail on Thu May 21, 2015 3:00 pm

I'd say the non-explicit communicative component there is "what do you like doing/what sorts of places do you appreciate and what kinds of things do you notice or care about /how might you envision us spending some time together?" And yeah, also an opening for you to meet up.

ETA: oops, this is pretty much what Eselle already said.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Thu May 21, 2015 4:06 pm

So, messaged sent, managed to be a lot less hesitant and qualified. And qualifiers is a thing with me, yes. I'm so afraid of passing myself off as something I'm not (and not really convinced that there are a lot of things I am). Improving on that area though.

Chickened out on offering to show her around... felt a bit early for that in the first message? Will get around to it if communication continues.

Thanks for advice, and for decoding subtext. A request for recommendations is also a request for self-description... that's actually very useful, and helps me eliminate even more of those qualifiers.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by gaboz on Fri May 22, 2015 3:41 am

don't hesitate Hirundo. And it looks like a good time to know your surroundings.

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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Mon May 25, 2015 11:14 am

... aaand I haven't heard any more from her since. Which is a bit disappointing because she seemed nice, but also the way these things go.

Got some good insights in subtext from you people here, though.

Maybe there should be a thread somewhere for digesting minor disappointments in dating...
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by gaboz on Tue May 26, 2015 5:42 am

Hirundo Bos wrote:... aaand I haven't heard any more from her since. Which is a bit disappointing because she seemed nice, but also the way these things go.

Got some good insights in subtext from you people here, though.

Maybe there should be a thread somewhere for digesting minor disappointments in dating...

Aw man. happened to me so many times. it sting a bit but at least you've learned a few things

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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Tue May 26, 2015 4:58 pm

Yes, and feeling the sting is in some ways a good thing. Not feeling it would mean indifference, which is not very conducive to dating.

So. Another OLD-conversation (referred to elsewhere, in what starts to look like the forum equivalent of livetweeting), another thing-with-subtext... How to respond to jokeful first date-suggestions? (That is, activity that would be fun but is probably imaginary, like watching a movie that doesn't exist.)

Because a subtext in that is that a first date may happen (yay), and it is probably also an invitation to play with imagination, but while my mind deals well with things that are either imaginary or real, I get confused about things that are both.

So, how to build on, rather than block, a playful conversation about dates?
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by reboot on Tue May 26, 2015 6:07 pm

I would reply with something equally playful and then add a real date suggestion. For example:

"Ah yes, and after [whatever playful thing the other person suggested] we can go to the banana slug races. The sport of the patient and unsqueemish. Or, if a slug race is too much of a time commitment (sometimes years!), we could $date idea on $date/time."
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed May 27, 2015 7:00 am

Good idea, and thanks once more for helping me interpret language!

(How to come up with ideas for dates, though, should be a thread if it isn't already. In the end, the best I could do was "I'll set my mind to ideas for date-mode, seeing how our written exchange is going so well.")
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed May 27, 2015 5:32 pm

I did something close to what reboot suggested – picked up the thread of fantasy date, and baked it into suggestion for real date. Although I wasn't quite so specific as to suggest date and time. Maybe I feel we need a few more message-back-and-forths first. Or maybe I'm just a little bit scared...

but it's only a little bit of scaredness, after doing something that would have scared the heart of out my ribcage before.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Dan_Brodribb on Wed May 27, 2015 5:34 pm

Nice work.

Let us know how it goes.

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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:50 am

Forgot to tell how the above went: We had a nice chat, but when she saw my pictures she thought I wasn't quite what she was looking for. Good experience, all in all.

And now for Today in making things complicated: Messaged someone on Facebook for friendly cup of coffee last week. Didn't get reply. They replied today, asking if I had time next week; I didn't. Agreed I'd get back to them when I do have time. Then, surfing Facebook, I discovered an event later today that I might go to, and then see that they've signed up for that event too.

In my head, I feel the need to tell that I came aware of the event only after I spoke to them; in another part of my head, even mentioning that would be weird; and I wouldn't know how to phrase the information anyway.

Does anyone understand what my head is trying to get at here?

(by the way, there's a small, but real chance they might be reading here, in which case: Hi Smile I'm not obsessing quite as badly about this as it seems, I'm mostly posting about it to tune my social calibration)
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by litterature on Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:25 am

You don't have much time left, but I guess you can tell them you saw they were attending the event and ask if you could meet up there.

edit: grammar


Last edited by litterature on Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:41 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by reboot on Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:34 am

litterature wrote:You don't have much time left, but I guess you can tell them you saw they were attending the event and asking if you could meet up there.

That is what would do. "Hey! I just saw we are both going to $event. Maybe we will see each other." If you think you will not be too socially drained after the event, you can suggest grabbing coffee after if they are up for it.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Guest on Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:36 am

Hirundo Bos wrote:
In my head, I feel the need to tell that I came aware of the event only after I spoke to them; in another part of my head, even mentioning that would be weird; and I wouldn't know how to phrase the information anyway.

Does anyone understand what my head is trying to get at here?
You feel the need to tell her because it feels nice to lay out the unfiltered, benign truth? And you're worried that she might think you were being...desperate(?) for wanting to meet up at this event?

Let me know if I've misunderstood.

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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:53 am

More or less... I'm afraid it will look like I'm going there to meet her, while in fact I'm going because of the event. In a way, it's coincidence, but in another way it's not, because almost all my fb friends are people with similar interests and that's how I found out about the event.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Wondering on Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:23 pm

reboot's advice is what I would say. Don't make a bigger deal of it than you need to. It's true you aren't going because of her, so it is a coincidence.

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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:31 pm

Ended up saying "Turns out we might actually run across one another tonight, because Facebook alerted me to that event, and it looked interesting, so I'm thinking about turning up."

I think what made my head spinning was that denying something out of the blue can sound suspicious, so that both saying nothing and assuring them I didn't turn up to 'coincidentally' run across them would carry subtexts that weren't really true...

I think further that that complex of equal-but-opposite subtext is what makes my head spin in a lot of similar situations.

anyway, they just said they aren't going after all, and I'll be going as soon as I have had some dinner.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by litterature on Tue Aug 11, 2015 4:36 pm

Good luck! Smile

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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by readertorider on Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:12 pm

Alternately, go to event and make your explanations in person if you see them there and get a chance to talk. There isn't a busy police--things fall through or come up or take less time then you thought and most people seem to understand that. I think same day invitations are a little too short notice on most occasions.

Edit: Sorry forgot to refresh and the conversation moved on Razz Hope you have fun!
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:17 pm

I had a lot of fun! It was my first ever LARP-event, and beginner-friendly: Didn't last very long, didn't take any preparation... we were handed out cards that described a character, and had an hour to play them out in silence, so in a way we each played our own separate stories, but in another, they had some common themes. I ended up being really socially active, making some mental observation along the way. And the people were fun too, and we had some nice conversations afterwards.

As for the how-to-comment-on-something-that-probably-doesn't-need-comment-and-it-could-be-weird-but-it-could-possibly-also-be-weird-if-I-didn't, thanks everyone for the feedback, it was useful as always.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:25 am

This thread is veering away from what the name would imply, but the answers I've gotten have been very useful... and today's social situation is: I have an aquaintance I haven't mer for a while, and we have an upcoming appointment for coffee. He used to be a regular at my birthday parties, but last year, he made some advances towards another regular, and kept sending her messages for a long time, not catching hints that she wasn't interested... so I've stopped inviting him to things after that, especially things where she's going to be.

And what I'd like to be prepared for, is what to say/how to deflect if the subject of birthday parties comes up in conversation, or if that other person comes up, or... well, I'm going to a pub quiz with her right after I'm meeting him, so that might be close to the top of my mind, and is there a way to not be so nervous about mentioning that that it becomes almost certain that I will?

This is probably one of those things that's really far less complicated than I think, but it's also the kind of thing my mind typically gets hung up on, so experiences from this will probably be handy later as well.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by reboot on Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:25 am

If he asks about her, say, "She is fine" and change the subject. If he brings her up again, like, "What has she been up to?", say, " The usual " and change the subject. Keep doing the one word answer/subject change and he should get the hint that you are not going to talk about her. If he asks specific questions about him and her (which by the way is super inappropriate), feel free to make it awkward and say, "I do not want to/feel comfortable talking about that" and change the subject. If he keeps pushing, he has crossed into boundary violation.

As for the birthday, you can say a) I decided to have something smaller (even one guest less counts as smaller); b) I do not know what I am going to do this year/next year. And change the subject.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

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