Am I being friendzoned?
Hi! I'll keep it as short as possible; I uploaded it incomplete last time.
I met a girl about a month ago in Uni. I kind of liked her since I met her, but we've become pretty good friends in a short time and now I REALLY, REALLY like her. We hang out very often, and I know from the way I act around her it's very obvious that I like her.
Almost a month ago, I invited her to come along to a night out with me and my friends and she did. Surprisingly, a week after that, she invited me to go watch a movie being played by a "society/group" with her; that got my head thinking about my possibilities. Then, a week later, she was coming over to visit some of her friends that live near my flat, and she suggested we two should cook and have dinner together in my place; this got my head thinking about my possibilities even more. After that, I decided to invite her to another movie being played by the "society/group" and she said yes. This weekend, we had diner together again and we've planned to meet again next weekend. Besides that, we also meet at least twice a week to have lunch together with other friends and we text almost every day. I'm a very pessimistic guy, but this time my gut tells me that she does like me back.
This is where it gets tricky... The only time I have ever fallen in love was a year and a half ago and I was friendzoned (I'm finally getting over it now), so now I'm VERY, VERY scared of that happening again, which makes it very hard for me to take chances unless I'm 100% sure. Problem is I'm not 100% sure about her because I don't know If she thinks we're kind of dating or she sees it only as hanging out with her friend; there's pretty much no physical contact... we don't hug even when we say goodbye. I know she's a very reserved person (as am I) but I'm not liking those signs.
Some people have been telling me I should keep it up with her and take it slow, but it's driving me crazy and I need to know if I'm just heading straight to the friendzone again, or if I should just take a chance and tell her I like her. What do you think?
Well, OBVIOUSLY she likes you back, if you're talking platonically. But if you think about it, the way she's behaving is as any good, keen friend would, making the behaviour indistinguishable on its own from interest of a higher/romantic nature. In order to know the context of her behaviour, you're going to have to put her in a position of basically deciding between just staying friends or taking it to the romantic level.
And there's the trouble, right? In order to find out how SHE feels about where things stand or where she'd like them to, now or later, you're going to have to risk the potential of hearing yourself get rejected romantically. But you aren't ready to risk rejection all over again.
Rock and hard place. But not really. Because if you were QUALIFIED to be anyone's boyfriend (which means, ready, willing & able, as in full mental strength and fitness) then you would be willing to put your ego and heart on the line again, simply because, as you'd see it, what you had to gain out-did by miles what you have to lose and because you were in a place of optimism rather than pessimism. Plus, you wouldn't expect any guarantee against hearing a No, least of all to the extent of 100%.
That percentage of certainty of positive outcome doesn't even exist. Ever. (Unless one is into necrophilia, ha-ha.) Plus, how would it even be POSSIBLE to describe a percentage that doesn't leave room for any chance-taking as, quote, you taking chances? Error, Does Not Compute.
So you're patently not ready anyway, now is not the right time. However, to use the time in which to better limber-up, you could start preparing the ground now - say, by starting to spot all appropriate opportunities to give her a platonic hug (and seeing how she responds). Alternatively, you could one evening just say, 'I don't know about you but I haven't had a cuddle for AGES and really miss it'... see what she says?
Here's the rub, though: men are greater risk-takers than women + like attracts like. If you're not ready to risk it for a biscuit (because your last biscuit got chipped or crushed) then chances are, she's in exactly the same state from the exact same recent experience(s) as you. But the gender-based onus still lies with you (as you correctly sense and have the urge to take).
Why don't you buy her a pressie (maybe to say, thanks for having been such a great friend during my progress up the recovery path from Heartbreakville), but one that's noticably that bit more personal and romantic than one would expect to receive from a mere friend, even male. I'm talking sweet little necklace or bracelet, that sort of thing, and/or something that requires more effort than a pure friend might go to, i.e. let the action speak for you. (I would recommend hand-picked flowers, but now isn't the season.) Or do it in little dribs and drabs: start to turn up at hers with a small bouquet or little pot-plant and a bottle of really nice wine, just to (old-fashioned but still used) etiquette to pre-say thank-you for having me. If she acts surprised, you can always say it's something you always USED to do (cos you woz brung up right) but which you omitted from your social repertoire due to lately not having been quite yourself.
Alternatively, you could try saying an opener like, 'Tsk, I should have been dating someone really genuinely sweet and nice like you and then I might not be so bruised by now'. If you get a 'me too!', then you can build on that.
While I was reading your reply I was thinking "wow... he's absolutely right". There's a lot of "innocent" (as in, not physical or sexual kind) flirting with a lot of eye contact; I've noticed she plays a lot with her hair when it's just the two of us talking, which also had me thinking. I was finding it very odd that she's never tried to go in for a hug or any kind of physical flirting (something I do with friends too).
However, after reading your reply I think I might have an answer... I've never tried to go in for hugs or anything physical BECAUSE she's never done it either so... what if she's thinking the exact same thing!? What if she doesn't want to do it because I don't do it? Maybe it's ME who should go for it first, not her.
So, I'm taking in what you said and I'm putting my fear of taking risks aside. I've already started saying "sweet" things to her, and I'm seeing her again this weekend. I'm definitely going to try to go in for a hug and/or touchy flirting and see how she responds. Based on how she responds, at the end of the "date" I'm going to tell her something like one of these two alternatives:
1. 'You know what? It's been a pretty long time since I've had so much fun and felt as comfortable with someone as I do with you. I would really like to continue going out with you, if that's ok with you'
2. 'Maybe you already know but I really like you and I would like to take you out on a proper date, what do you think?'
What do you think?
AND plays with her hair? YOU'RE IN! Not as in, actually pounce on her immediately. Only as in, He's definitely growing on me.
(Does she ever absent-mindedly stroke her neck or upper arm as well?)
Odd? Why do you find it odd? Is she a man too, as such, the joint Hunter-Chaser? Or are you a woman, as such, the Selector, with her, the man, doing all the chasing and wooing?
You're not, are you.
DO NOT listen to the commercially- and governmentally-led brainwashing attempts out there. Women are NOT the go-getters when it comes to THE ROMANTIC DOMAIN, FIRST PHASE (chase + woo = Caught = Honeymoon Period). They're the 'sit, watch, mark-out-of-10 until impressed enough to open their oven doors' merchants. You're the, 'impress (under myriad conditions against myriad challenges including other potential male suitors), persuade to buy and keep buying' merchants. Put more simply: you're sales, she's the customer. DURING THE CHASE AND WOO PERIOD (which means until the ring goes firmly on the finger).
That 'women acting like men' nonsense is an accidental (and very detrimental) spill-over effect for the sorts of women (and men) who lack understanding of *varying contexts* thus are themselves too susceptible to brainwashing via the media. She can be a 'ball-breaking go-getter' in the office (that way she attracts promotion and a higher salary, equals, TWICE as many tax-payers (hopefully in the higher bracket), kerching-kerchingg!). And she can be a go-getter in terms of purchasing for herself, using her own money, that new perfume that promises men and success and whatever else galore (kerching-kerchingg!). But those at the top DON'T CARE about people's longer-term considerations and happiness because their eyes stop short at the business profit margin. They're not paying any attention whatsoever to the fact that the hard-wiring our minds use for gaining ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP appointments and promotions is still the same as it was when first we began sexual reproduction (a joint exercise between male and female) and, amongst other demands (like pack unity = community = strength in numbers), to get around the fact of our VEEEERY long-term, joint rearing of our slow-to-develop and -mature offspring.
The latter requires long-lasting bond between mum and dad (18 years minimum). If, however, you put a train bound for TogetherForeverVille (penultimate stop, TogetherLongTermVille) onto the wrong track when setting off then don't expect the passengers to arrive at the intended destination or its penultimate. So it's crucial that we start as we mean to go on, i.e. get onto the right train and PUT IT on the right track to begin with, rather than shunt it even inadvertently to another. The train's called, him Tarzan, she Jane. Sorry, feminists, but - there you have it. We may have changed how our conscious sides think and operate, but not our inner animals. This is THEIR show. And the animal wins at it - every time.
So give the animals what they want, the food... wait until they're stuffed and fall asleep... and THEN take over in terms of the conscious intervening and control as meets the modern-day demand of, say, you looking after the kids (because you've sprained your wrist) while she tinkers with the car engine (because she hasn't). But if the animals ever wake UP (e.g. during fights), give them back their milk until they drop off again. And repeat.
You are two entities (animal + human) dating two entities (ditto). (And then people wonder WHY something seemingly so simple so often goes irreparably wrong!)
What this means in application is, if you let or encourage a woman to act like the man - by chasing you and trying to woo you instead of how nature intends - then, despite the commercial world gains from it, you're setting an unnatural/subversive dynamic, a wrong track to the wrong destination... leading inevitably to the rest of it continuing to travel up the wrong track as well (obviously)... a track that basically goes over a cliff onto the rocks below. SPLAT!
Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting women and men can't forgive each other and let things go if ever they tread on each others roles and toes. But preparation is key.
Neither am I saying you have to be "old-fashioned" the WHOLE journey through. But you do at this most crucial, primitive part of the proceedings. Once that's under your belts, THEN is when you can start changing the script. As long as it's done consensually, possibly involving much negotiating, swapping, taking it in turns, then it won't act like solvent towards the glue, the bond - be it the amount that's got built up or what's BEING built 'as you speak'. So, you get the glue between you applied properly and at the right strength, according to how Nature wants it, let it set, and THEN start to move more freely in terms of swapping gender rights and roles. Because, by that stage, the glue has become ELASTIC, giving you each a longer leash.
It looks as if either this woman of 'yours' was brought up as a lady, sure of and proud of her own feminine strengths hence not trying to help herself to the blokes' biz, or might well NORMALLY be more apt to play seducer. Emphasis on 'normally'. If you're a fairly-recently Once Bitten then bet your a*se so is she. She's probably not quite ready either. And/or saw it she got punished for having taken on too much of the man's role (as after the intial flattery, emasculated him), hence ain't doing THAT again (fast learner if so).
So, no, it's not 'odd'. And there's no 'maybe' about it. It's primitive and natural. As is pairbonding. *YOU* DA MAN. Do the man thangs. Berbom.
But do it when you can tell it's time to.
I know you've shown you already, eventually 'got it' yourself, but I'm just explaining WHAT you've got (and Why the What).
Anyway, back to she and you...
You'll be able to tell on this next 'date' whether she's ready and receptive, I imagine. But:
"1. 'You know what? It's been a pretty long time since I've had so much fun and felt as comfortable with someone as I do with you. I would really like to continue going out with you, if that's ok with you'
My reaction, putting my woo-ee hat on: BUUUUCK-buck-buck-buck-BUUUUUUCK!!! [feathers everywhere....and an egg]. It translates to this: I know we don't know whether we're dating or just friends but I'd really like to CONTINUE this...this, errr, undefined thing, whatever it is, that knows not where it's headed.
It doesn't make sense anyway, given how you've not had any indication whatsoever that she was secretly intending to STOP seeing you. So it's too vague to count as 'hunting' as well as too insurance-heavy/pessimistically self-protective (- 'doesn't matter that we broke up because neither of us could have said whether we were in a romantic relationship to begin with, anyway, ergo, we *haven't* broken up, ergo I feel fine (sob)").
This is the one (with just a suggestion to try if you want to, in parentheses):
2. 'Maybe you already know but I really like you [- pff, what's not to like?!] and I would like to take you out on a proper date, what do you think?'"
Fanf**kingtastic! "URRRRRR!!! ME DA BRAVE AND CONFIDENT HUNTER (in a world, now, of mostly chickens), BE IMPRESSED, BE *VERY* IMPRESSED!"
Whether she accepts (yet) or declines (on this first occasion), she'll still be impressed with how you didn't ask her from behind any sofa (that impressed-ness guaranteeing her declining in a sensitive, sweet way). And you'll impress yourself, too (up another level goes the confidence and impressiveness capability). More, and back to, the point: that impressed-ness could well subsequently, secretly...steadily... inexorably.... CHANGE HER MIND. I call it, Plant seed, Water, Retreat and let Nature do the rest, or 'slowly, slowly, catchee (nervy) monkey'.
PHEW! 10p please.
And let me know how it pans out?
So, I couldn't gather enough courage to carry out our plan... But I did enough to be confident for next time we go out, this time I kind of set the foundations and next time I'm doing it. I'll let you know how it goes!
Baby steps? That's perfectly fine, particularly as it aligns with 'slowly, slowly' AND what counts as 'wooing'. (I mean, contrary to what your, for example, Australian men seem think, 'Dya want the lights on or off, Sheila?' is not actually any self-respecting woman's idea of wooing, LOL.
Yes, please do.
So I was able to do it this time, but it didn't work. She told me "she really likes spending time with me and doesn't want to ruin it and that we should stay friends"; exactly what I was afraid of... I really thought this time it would be different.
Now that I think about it, after she said "I really like spending time with you, let's just keep it the way it is, I'm sorry", she told me "I like you too, but I'm afraid of these things and don't want to ruin it". Which is pretty much the same.
Afraid of these things. Meaning obvious.
Right, then, you HAVEN'T been friendzoned because that one means rejected on all *romantic* fronts using a flattering excuse. You've been asked to wait until she's ready to risk it for a biscuit again.
So that's a 'yes but not now'.
How do you want to respond to that? Forget that side of things and date someone else, in the hope that - seed (including of ownership) now planted in her mind - seeing you starting to wander off elsewhere with full intent to score might make her want to rear up and claim her territory? Or bide your time because "Nooooo-thing Compares...2 U"?
You know which outcome SHE wants to see happen, don't you. Is that perhaps newly her idea of a 'gauntlet run' before awarding anyone the keys to her castle?
Well... I guess so. It was very confusing for me because she said these actual words: "I like you too". Of course, after that came the "but...".
I just need to understand her and wait for her to feel ready, or if she doesn't feel like having a relationship then it's also okay. Thanks for everything!
Yes. It wasn't, 'I don't like you in that way but..', was it. The 'too' means 'in the same way as you put and meant it'. So it translates to, 'It's mutual but'. And the but got defined as 'too scared to go there again just yet', equals...
I like you that way too but I'm not ready, plus I'm enjoying going (slowly) through the Lover Door head-first (rather than heart + body first whereby the head ends up with a nasty shock).
She's basically subjecting you to a very long interviewing process to ensure her ovaries don't and can't get to vote "Yeh-yeh-yeh!" based on instant- or short-term-gratification aims (unlike last time).... albeit, she's now taking the *opposite* extreme to her prior extreme rather than the more sensible (fully recovered) middle ground.
She thinks she has full control over her animal nature and greatest drive of all. Ha ha, is my answer to that one.
But kudos to you for managing to be philosophical and patient about it all. Indeed - que sera. If you're gagging to have HER SPECIFICALLY and not "a girlfriend, any girlfriend" per se then it makes sense to allow her that...er... self-delusion, LOL. 'Trouble' is, your [scuse pun] seed's been planted and clearly already taken root (- because all this time you thought she liked you only as a friend when clearly the lover seed had already been growing and sprouting away 'behind your back'). So I'll say it again: ha ha.
You did realise this (hence why you're happy to wait a bit more), you just couldn't quite articulate it.
(You're welcome! Just send me a postcard!)