Ask Jono: This Guy Agreed to a Date, Then He Flaked!
I love your advice column, keep up the good work! This guy (yada yada, I know) and I are both juniors in college. There was flirting towards the end of last semester that started with him coming up to hug me at a bar twice (we hadn’t really talked much before that night) to him starting more conversations in class and coming up to talk in the quiet section of the library. At that point we didn’t have each other’s numbers and then it was winter break.
Fast forward to this semester. I’m in class with him again and after more positive signs (greeted me excitedly, remembered my favorite movie that I mentioned last semester, mentioned trying to watch said movie two days later), I decided to use my words and take the initiative. At the end of class, I casually said we should catch up some time. He agreed enthusiastically, asked if I have a break before class and mentioned he's usually in the library. When I said that I didn't have his number, he took mine instead and double checked that I received his missed call.
This is where things start to go downhill. He didn’t text me so when I saw him a week later, I mentioned I was going to get coffee before class the next day and that he should come with me. We agreed on a time for the next day but when I texted him to confirm the day of, he asked if we could meet next week instead (he's only on campus 3x a week) because he had overslept and had to do homework. Okay… He said he'd definitely let me know even tentatively suggested a day for the next week. That day came and went but as of yet, no reschedule and two months have passed. This wouldn't be that bad if I didn't have to see him in class, where he still makes conversation/eye contact/smiles. At least if he didn’t talk to me and ask me obvious questions about classwork I could assume he’s not interested but the mixed signals are just the worst! One day he forgot his textbook and we had to sit closer and share. We kept making eye contact and smiling and he kept initiating conversation and asking me things about myself. The following class we were in the same group for a group quiz and the shared looks/smiles continued. At one point he even said he trusted me with regards to my answers for the quiz. I’m going to be seeing him for a while because we’ll be taking another class together next semester. My question is what do I do now? Have I been friendzoned even though we aren’t friends? Is he just really friendly? I don’t have an all-consuming crush anymore but the feelings are still there and I can’t help but feel annoyed/confused/adasdlskjfhksjf!
Girl Overthinking It In College
For starters, Sparkler, congratulations are in order; you did all of the low-key flirting stuff that I could possibly suggest. You could not have set up a date more casually if I were crouching in the bushes and advising you firsthand like Cyrano de Bergerac (which would probably just have made things significantly less casual anyway). Of course, it's possible that you were so casual that this guy doesn't realize your interest is romantic (which contradicts my usual insistence that guys find any approach flirtatious, but there are actually several billion dudes in the world and I can only speak for like ten of them). But I'm getting ahead of myself here. If a guy flakes on you like this—seemingly obvious flirting, then never following up—there are generally four possible explanations.
- He liked you, but now he doesn't. If your interactions had been limited to running into him in a bar, this would be more probable, because dudes plus bars equals confused girls. There are also other, non-alcohol-related instances where a guy might change his mind like this (e.g. a he's interested, you hang out a bit, and he just decides you aren't right for each other). The thing is, if you ditch someone because you don't like her romantically, you don't keep sitting closer to her and getting up in her grill and asking her personal stuff, unless the stuff is "How did you know the victim" and you are a policeman.
- He likes you, but is stupid. Maybe he was like "Duhhh, it's too bad she only wants to get coffee, I wish she wanted to go on a date," and then he added "duhhh" and pushed heavily against a pull door for ten minutes. This isn't too likely, because I can't imagine someone managing to enroll in college while still being dense enough to not realize these are date invitations, but it's still possible.
- He doesn't like you, at least not in that way. He might be a really friendly guy; he might be gay; he might even not be friendly and just really like you, specifically, as a friend. Guys like this are sometimes just so friendly they don't realize they're giving you mixed signals. ("Hello! I am so glad to see you! I am also glad about everything else!! Oh my God a butterfly!!!!")
- He is playing it cool. In the exact opposite scenario, he might be intentionally dialing back his interest to make you pursue him harder. I really don't think this is likely either, but sleazy dudes who use pickup artist techniques like this do exist, and pretending they don't won't make them retreat back to their subterranean lairs (they literally do call them "lairs").
I think your guy is either very friendly or very dense, because everything before his "I Was Sleepy" excuse is clearly flirtatious. Some people might get suspicious about his taking your number instead of offering his own, but I have done this repeatedly, for no particular reason, and definitely not as part of a grand scheme to confuse a girl for three months. As for the followup date, I can even imagine a guy being such a doofus that he'd suggest one without ever intending to keep it. ("It would be rude to say no, so I will just keep saying yes and then stand her up! This is a good idea that I have inside of my brain.")
In short, I'm confused by this guy too, but here's the important thing: if a guy genuinely likes you, he will rarely say things like "Well, I would go on that date, but these video games aren't going to play themselves!" He'd find a way to go on the date. And if he legitimately couldn't ("they are very important video games"), he'd at least make the followup date. And if he couldn't do that, he'd apologize and explain himself ("sry had to take video games to hospital"). There are even more possible steps after that, but after a certain number of strikes, the at-bat is over. You can't just shrug confusedly at the umpire and throw Strike Five while this guy stands there with an expression of complete cluelessness on his face.
If he persists in seeming flirty, and you really do like him, you could try one last time to make it absolutely clear that you want to go on an actual date (see graphic), but that could get awkward, and besides, it's not very inspiring that it would take this much effort on your part to get him to a coffee shop. My guess is that you've got a dude who genuinely does like a lot of stuff about you; just not in the way you want him to.