Communication, First Dates

If Our First Date Went Well, Why Is She Avoiding Me?

85 Comments 28 February 2009


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Sometimes, no matter how well a date seems to go, the last you’ll hear of her voice are the words “please leave a message”. You had fun, but she doesn’t call back. You enjoyed your meal or activity, but she doesn’t call back. She even said she liked you, but she doesn’t call back.

Why is that?

Maria and I went out for sushi then drinks at a bar overlooking the river. The weather was perfect. Our conversation was a mix of questions and comments, silence and laughter. Everything seemed to go well. 

When I dropped her off at her house, she even said “I had a really nice time. Call me!”. 

He's thrilled, she's chilled

So I did. And she never called me back. Why?

The answer is agonizingly simple: She was so concerned about being “the perfect date” that she avoided telling me when she wasn’t enjoying herself. Sound familiar? Not only does it happen on first dates, but many of us continue this practice well into relationships and especially in the bedroom. 

How do I know her reasons?

Two weeks after our date I strolled into the movie theater she managed on a Monday afternoon. Guess who was the only person available to sell me a ticket? 

As Maria ran my credit card, I made a simple statement: “You don’t even like sushi. In fact, you hate it.” 

She stopped sliding the card. Her shoulders tightened and she let out a breath through her nose. 

“You’re a persistent one, huh?” She countered.

“Not especially. I just want to know if you actually like sushi.” I ventured. 

Her shoulders dropped and she stopped trying to squeeze life into the pen she held.

“No, I don’t like sushi.” She admitted. 

Our conversation continued. The problem wasn’t just the sushi. She’d been worried about running into an ex at the bar and was exhausted from a long week. She should have called off the date and slept. Instead, we’d both wasted our time and nearly ended up as a ghost couple. You know, the ones who try to avoid each other so they don’t have to ever give an explanation?

She’d chosen to save face by being nice even though doing so filled the air with uncertainty.

I missed the first 10 minutes of Matrix Revolutions (not much lost there), but I gained insight into why the date had failed. Here’s what went wrong and how I could have avoided it:

  1. I was so thrilled that we were on a date that I missed her negative signals. You know how eye contact helps establish a connection between two people? It also helps to figure out if she’s laughing with you or at you. If she makes a down-toned humming noise at the end of her laugh and turns her head away…she’s laughing at you. If she has trouble getting her response out in coherent terms…she’s definitely laughing with you. 
  2. I failed to make it clear that my plans for the evening were flexible. All I had to say was “Hey, if you’ve been craving something other than sushi, let’s get that. I know of a couple great places.” and Maria would have been filling her face with food she enjoyed. Being flexible and paying attention to a woman’s cravings will get you more points than you planned on.
  3. I let it bother me when she never returned my call. This is the hardest part to fix because I love to over-think things. If you take all the time you spend obsessing over bad dates and spend it on being a better friend to the people around you, those friends will do everything they can to find you love. They’ll also be there for you when, like should have happened with Maria, a date calls in sick and you have free time. 

Notice I’ve been talking about friendship a lot lately? There’s a reason. The people who participate in fulfilling friendships make for better bed-mates, soul-mates, chocolate-ice-cream-and-Friends-marathon-mates, and are generally much more fun to wake up next to. 

I’m starting with the chocolate ice cream and working my way up. =)

Seth

If you’ve got a story about a date who never called back, I’d love to hear it. Leave it in a comment and we’ll talk about it!

photo credit: captain paul, kalandrakas

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- who has written 34 posts on The Dating Papers.

S drinks a lot of tea and enjoys late-night walks on the beach. He lives with his beta, Balthasar.

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