Ask Sarah – Death March?


So, in my recent singleness, I fired up the old online dating profile(s) again. I’ve gotten a few bites, and a couple of pretty promising leads. 

With one girl who I particularly fancy, we went from conversing on the site (3-4 messages each) to texting (for about 5 days). 

I’ve also been in the middle of a move this week, along with her working and in grad school. I thought, “Hey, texting will be great. We’re both super busy people, and it’ll be low pressure until we can actually meet in person in a few days.”

THIS DID NOT GO AS PLANNED! So, we texted back and forth a couple of times during the day, everything’s peachy. Then, I get a text earlier this evening saying “I look foward to meeting you, but I don’t think that with my current knowledge of you I can continue as we have been for several days by texting, as flattered as I am.

I explained how that I thought with both our busy schedules, texting seemed like a good, low-pressure way to communicate until we could meet.

So, then I said “How about I concentrate on finishing up my move, and I’ll just call you the evening before we planned to meet?” She said that she thought that was a good idea.

Is this just a death march at this point? At what point do you move from text to phone? DO I ACTUALLY HAVE TO TALK TO GIRLS TO GET THEM TO DATE ME? WHAT ARE THOSE LOUD NOISES?

Seriously, though. Help a brotha out. How can I salvage this thing (or, not make this mistake on the next one)?

Dearest brotha,
This is definitely puzzling.  I have a few clarifying questions…
1.  I wish I could see the last couple texts leading up to that one.  Did you say something that seemed distancing?  Or…did you let more time pass after one of her texts that you had up to that point?  I just wonder what the catalyst was for her text.
2.  Did you make firm plans to hang out soon?  I got the impression you had something “on the books” for the coming week… is that the case?
But, based on just what you told me, and her response, my best guess is that she’s trying to determine if you’re one of those guys who texts indefinitely and never pulls the trigger.  And trust me…there are a LOT of those guys.  That’s why I asked if you had something firm ‘on the table,’ as it were.
My advice:
a.  It’s NEVER a death march!  In today’s dating world, there are always ways to pull it back around.  It’s one of the perks of the post-modern casual methods… sometimes I get texts from guys who stopped texting me MONTHS ago… they found me in their phone/ipad and decided to go for round 2.  Who knows…maybe they were concentrating on someone else and when she didn’t work out, they went back to old connections.  Whatever…the world of dating is open and unless she has point-blank rejected you – there is still room for hope.  🙂
b.  Be painfully honest with her.  Don’t try to put a flirty tone on things (especially since that’s so hard to convey via text).  Just say what you truly want.  For example:
Your text seemed to come out of the blue… I hope I didn’t upset you somehow?  I was trying to give us both some room this week because I thought we were busy with school/moving/etc.  But, I DO want to meet you.  And I’d love to talk on the phone before that happens.  You seem really cool and I’d love the chance to keep getting to know you better.“….etc.
c.  Talk to her!  You have nothing to lose.  Plus, you get to hear if she has a weird voice or talks with an annoying upspeak or something.  😉
If you’re not great on the phone, give yourself some helpers:
     – Begin by saying that you only have a few minutes because you’re meeting a friend for coffee or you have a meeting…blah blah… point is, you have a predetermined time limit, so you don’t have to hem and haw to get out of the conversation.  I do this sometimes because, despite my extroversion and ease of talking to people, I’m bad on the phone.  I can’t use all the nonverbals of body language to help navigate the conversation, and I get nervous.
     – Go old school junior high and have a list of topics handy next to you.  She never needs to know!  Hey – if it works for teenagers, why can’t it work for us?  Think of some funny thoughts based on your texts or shared interests or things going on in Houston or something interesting from your day…and see where it takes you.  Then, if you hit a lull, you move on to the next item on your cheat sheet.  Nothing wrong with being prepared!
I have a feeling if you are honest with her by text AND you chat with her on the phone AND if you put something on the calendar to meet (even if it’s just drinks after work one day…or coffee/lunch…something simple) – you’ll be golden.
She probably just needs to know that you’re serious about moving things along.
That’s my take based on the information you wrote…
I’ll be curious to hear what happens!

Post Script:  I followed up with this reader.  He DID make a phone call which went pretty well… and they put a date on the calendar.  I asked him after the date how everything went.  Apparently is was great – she even said, “let’s do this again!” but then when he asked for the second date, she declined.  Aaargh… why do we DO that?  A topic for another post.

I suppose it’s true that we win some and we lose some.  And if he lost this one after giving it all he had, then maybe he dodged a bullet.


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