Part 3: How to figure out if the friend you like actually likes you back

datingwtf

(OkCupid original post date: 4/30/12)

You know that girl you like? The one you see at work/have the same class with but you’re just friends? You want it to be more, but you’re unsure about how she feels about you, and you don’t want to wreck a good friendship if it turns out she’s not into you. Here’s a tip for finding out without making things weird between you two.

Give two options and be casual when asking her out. Her choices will give you a clearer answer.

An example of one option:

You: “Kate, the new James Bond movie is coming out this weekend. Want to go see it with me?”

Her: “Umm, I have a lot of work to do this weekend, sorry.”

[Awkward]

or

An example of two options:

You: “Kate, the new James Bond movie is coming out this weekend. We could either go together or ask Sarah, Tim and Alex to join us. What do you think?” (Note: Say this as casually as you can muster.)

Her: “I have a lot of work to do this weekend but yeah, you should definitely ask everyone else. I think Tim really wanted to see that movie.”

[Not interested, but less awkward]

Obviously Kate really could have a lot of work to do that weekend, but if you keep doing this a few times, and she ALWAYS has work, or school, or something else going on, it’s pretty clear that she doesn’t really want to do anything with just you. You guys can stay friends without directly having the weird “are we just friends or something more” talk.

Another example, if you guys don’t have mutual friends:

You: “Kate, the new James Bond movie is coming out this weekend. We could either go together or get some people we know to all see it together. What do you think?”

Her: “Yeah sounds good, I’ll ask my friend Jan is she wants to come.”

[Not interested, but less awkward]

If she’s interested, the conversation would probably look more like this:

You: “Kate, the new James Bond movie is coming out this weekend. We could either go together or get some people we know to all see it together. What do you think?”

Her: “Yeah, let’s just go together.”

Ah, so the next question is, “if she wants to go with just me, does that mean she’s into me?” No, not necessarily. It’s hard to tell from just one incident. Keep trying the same thing in different scenarios and see if it’s consistent. If she’s always responding that she always wants to just do stuff with you alone, it’s promising.

If you’ve been reading all this and think “holy fucking crap, that is incredibly complicated and convoluted and if you just ask a girl if she wants to be more than just friends why can’t you just ASK and be okay she says no?” Sure, you could. Another way to think about it is that it’s not all about you. It’s about the other person too. You are also saving THEM awkwardness, even if you don’t get why. Ever wondered why the “I have a boyfriend” line is used so often, even when it’s not true? Well, she *could* say, “No, I do not want to give you my number/I am not attracted to you/I have zero interest in going out with you,” would you prefer that? By saying she has a boyfriend, she is making things less awkward for both of you.

(Another way to figure out if the friend you like actually likes you back is in the second half of Part 10: The importance of sexual tension in “closing” or “sealing the deal”.)

Edited to add this: You can use this method in non-dating stuff too. For instance, let’s say you want a professor to write you a letter of recommendation for grad school. The best option is to obviously get to know your professors/see them in office hours/talk in class etc. But if you didn’t, and you really need a letter, you can try this. Let’s say the professor is someone you had a class with, but the class had 400 people and he has no idea who you are, only what grade you got. You don’t want him to just say yes because he feels rude saying no, so then you end up with a mediocre, generic letter that doesn’t say much about your talents. You also don’t want him to say no. But you ALSO don’t want to not ask at all, in case he’s like, “Yeah, of course I’ll write you a letter!” So then.. try this:

You: “Professor, how would you feel about writing me a letter of recommendation for grad school? I really enjoyed your class this semester. Or, I could ask James*, my TA to write it and if you’re okay with co-signing it with him, we could try that.” (The co-signing thing actually happens all the time at my school). *The person who knows you better and read all your papers.

If you don’t have a TA or you just feel really really apprehensive about asking him, you could say, “Professor, how would you feel about writing me a letter of recommendation for grad school? I could also just ask another professor if you’re more comfortable with that.”

If he doesn’t mind writing you a letter himself, or he’s happy to write you one, he’ll tell you. (“Sure I’ll write you a letter!”) If he does mind, or just doesn’t have enough time to write a good letter, he can go for the second option without feeling pressured or rude. You’ll still get a letter from someone, unless you’re a total hack. You can also still be okay/fine with the professor because you’ve avoided the “Will you please write me a letter?” / “I don’t think I’m the best person for that” conversation. Again, the deal here is to avoid awkwardness while finding out the answer to your question (Does she want to be more than just friends with me? Will he write me a letter?)

The worst case scenario is when someone says yes to writing a letter for you, then writes an unflattering/negative one. Makes you think: why didn’t they just say no?! They would seriously rather sabotage your grad school chances? That’s pretty malicious. Maybe they didn’t want to be rude. Who knows. Maybe they’re just dicks. (This has never happened to me but I’ve been on college/grad forums enough to know it does happen).

Once you get used to doing this technique, it’s effortless. It works beautifully. I do it whenever I need to ask someone something where I’m very unsure that the response will be. It’s usually with people I don’t know very well. Truthfully, I didn’t even know WHAT exactly I was doing until recently, when I consciously thought about it and pegged it as “two options”. If it comes out naturally the other person will have no idea, and even if they do realize, there is no harm done because it’s not manipulative or malicious.





4 Responses to “Part 3: How to figure out if the friend you like actually likes you back”

  • Dating for Nice Guys Series » Shakedown Lab Says:

    […] Part III: How to figure out if the friend you like actually likes you back […]

  • Steve Says:

    I thought it was attractive to *not* care what people think? These techniques make it sound like the guy cares an awful lot about what happens. Oh but it’s about saving the other person awkwardness right? did Tim think about your embarrassment when he carried un-bagged pads into a restaurant of all places?

    • OpiniatedDane Says:

      I don’t know what that Tim-incident you mention is about, but my guess is that it was fun in some way. It’s okay to make people feel awkward if it’s funny, even if it’s only funny to yourself (don’t be too evil though). But if no one will find the awkwardness funny, gently avoid it.

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