Lazy Dating

I saw something strange this week. I was at a restaurant, the type where you walk up to order the food, then you get a number and the servers bring the meal to your table. Anyway, standing in front of me was a man who seemed impatient. It didn’t seem like he was only hungry or thirsty, but really starved to get to the front. He was tapping his foot and seemed ready to order. When it was finally his turn, he suddenly flushed (I could see the back of his neck turn crimson) and started to stammer. He stalled and paused, seemingly unsure of what he wanted to eat. This was odd to me, because just moments before, he looked like he had his order memorized. I wasn’t in a rush and listened.

He somehow collected himself and I saw his shoulders rise and fall in what looked to be a deep breath. He stood straighter and ordered a sparkling water. Then, I noticed his body language shift. He leaned in and spoke in what he thought was a private tone, but his voice carried. He said he’s been coming in for months to eat at the restaurant, but also to see the woman working at the counter. Then, he said, “I know you have a couple of jobs, but I’d love to take you out one day.” He paused and I could see her wiggling from foot to foot. “Maybe you can give me a call someday,” he continued. Her face looked cloudy and confused. She gave him the sparkling water and mumbled something like, “um yeah” without asking for his number. He walked away, water in hand.

I don’t think he realized that he got denied.

So why wasn’t the interaction smoother?

He was sweet to say he’s into her, but then pulled back the compliment when suggesting that she call him. That shows laziness on his end. Most women are not going to enjoy that type of interaction. They’re going to be confused initially and then they’re not going to actually make contact with this type of man.

Truth be told, it’s challenging to hit on someone at a restaurant when they’re at work. They get this all the time and often find it embarrassing. Even if they’re interested, it’s hard to turn on the flirt switch when other customers are waiting in line and co-workers and a manager are standing by. Naturally, they’re at work to work, which can be a predicament for the people who are interested in them.

What could he have done? In a perfect situation, he would have been less tense. This would have relaxed her, too, and their interaction would have been more collegiate. Despite him saying he had gone there often, they didn’t seem to have rapport. The best advice: lighten up and try to be funnier. Maybe this sounds like a tall order, especially if you’re already nervous, but the funny/friendly angle will likely produce better results than the mission-driven determination of a goal.

Here’s another scenario.

I’ve read many of my clients’ app dating profiles and their messaging history on Tinder, OKCupid, Zoosk, etc. Here’s the common sequence of events: woman and man will each swipe right and match. Man will initiate conversation and say “hey”. Woman writes back “Hi!” It ends there. She was potentially interested in him, but the conversation didn’t go anywhere. Why not?

His initial conversation leaves much to be desired. There’s not much to talk about when someone starts with “hey.” Should she start a line of questioning? She could, but it changes the dynamic. She becomes the masculine [energy] and he flips into the role of feminine [energy]. It means he doesn’t want to lead, but wants to sit back and see what happens. And it puts her in a tricky situation. Had she wanted to open the dialogue, she probably would have (and hopefully she’d have said more than “hi”).

And now a third example.

She says to her new boyfriend in person: “I’m enjoying our time together. I feel comfortable and have fun with you. Wondering how you feel about this.” “It’s all good,” he replies. This is seemingly positive, but doesn’t give her much to work with. She can’t tell how he really feels, what’s working and what’s not. This type of communication sets a bar where she does the majority of expressing and then waits for his response or clarification. His expression feels lazy to her. Her perspective reminds us that his communication doesn’t need to be perfect, just more complete. It’s not her job to draw it out of him, but if she has more questions, she can ask. Yet, he needs to be open and available to describe how the relationship is going for him.

Another alternative is he is brushing her off because her question/comment is awkward and he doesn’t know how to reply without being sarcastic or rude. Maybe he doesn’t need as much communication as she likes to offer. She could insist he answers, but that could create a wedge between them. Or, she could let it ride a little longer and let his actions answer the question. She could tell herself a story that he’s not really as into the relationship as she is, but that may not be true either. Basically, the best option in the moment is to keep hanging out, keep having fun and they can each feel their way through their interactions. Time will help solve this inquiry.

In all three examples, I’ve seen women bang their heads against the wall in frustration that they’re doing something wrong. Really, they’re trying so diligently, but their dates probably don’t communicate in the same ways. Remember, masculine and feminine energy makes each person behave uniquely.

With the first case, he wanted her to do all the work. He was brave to put himself out there and state his interest in her, but didn’t create a plan to take her out or get her number. He flipped from showing masculine energy to feminine energy.

In the second example, very little energy is being expressed. The heart emojis and general “hey” and “hi” messages don’t give anyone enough material on which to connect. Advice to daters: use your words! When you’re on an app, that’s all you have until you meet. Decide if you want to date, and if you do, stop being lazy! You’ll get (better) dates when you commit even 10% more to the interactions prior to meeting.

Ladies, the third example is for you.  I’ve had to swallow this jagged pill myself. Let him show you through actions. When the actions fail, you’re invited to stay (in the relationship) or leave. Remember, you don’t have to be lazy! If you’re  thinking he’ll change or you’ll get accustomed to this, you’re settling for something that may not suit you. Let the actions be your guide. And men: please show her some care. Don’t half-ass it.

Are you confused about dating? Do you need help with a situation you’re currently contemplating? Please reach out. I love this stuff.

More blog posts you might like: Terrible Texts and How Long Does It Take To Fall In Love?

11 thoughts on “Lazy Dating

  1. The first guy didn’t necessarily come across to me as lazy so much as nervous and not wanting to push it in public at the workplace. It would have been maybe more rude and pushy to give a phone number or talk a lot more at a busy workplace. I agree that certainly more relaxed and pleasant energy on his part could have paved the way for an eventual good outcome.

    The ‘hey’ seemed more like a tentative attempt, maybe completely based in modern online language, and maybe if the person who replied said something like ‘hi how are you?’ it could have gone somewhere. I don’t use those apps so have no idea if there was a reason not to.

    The third example comes across as sort of awkward on the woman’s part for it being in-person, although I am guessing the woman would have used more words. If someone said to me ‘Wondering how you feel about this.’ in person, I wouldn’t take it as an actual question but more a sort of dear-diary thinking out loud–and I am even female. If the person said that and then looked at me expectantly, I would either say, “Good. It’s good.” or maybe ask more particularly what the person meant or was referring to. It feels like a really dead-end way to say, “I’m happy spending time with you and hope you are too. Are you happy too?” or whatever the woman meant. I agree with you that keeping on spending time with the person makes sense and then maybe there wouldn’t have to be awkward questions about having a good time.

    People can have such hard times understanding each other. I think having compassion and patience goes so far–

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you’re so right especially about the third example. Maybe her communication was lazy to begin with, like she wasn’t clear or asking something directly OR was fishing for an answer but putting the rod in the wrong lake. Like if she’d speak more clearly, he may have more words for reassurance or a better conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe we just all need to be clearer and more patient about communication, and even have a little compassion for ourselves and others, because it can be hard. These days with internet and smartphones everyone is so used to tiny fast efforts and way too much background stimuli to process, and then real-life talking and hanging out often get rushed through or don’t even happen. In the ‘old days’ when I was younger, our whole focus in life was having relationships or having sex or spending time with the person we liked or loved: it was what we spent all our efforts on, and sometimes we messed up or overobsessed etc. since that was pretty unbalanced too. There were still problems of communication, only at a different speed. Actions still had consequences, like breakups or pregnancies or diseases, but sometimes it worked out fine.

        It still seems like getting to know yourself honestly and what you want, and trying to get to know the other person honestly and what they want, is most helpful, even though it can be hard.

        Oh well–good luck to everyone!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Donalee, you’re spot-on. I think the minuscule obsessions are distractions from big obsessions like love! I think I prefer the olden times better. The fast pace and feeling rushed makes us reply haphazardly rather than thoughtfully. You raise great point.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Completely. Things that might have been common or accepted a few decades back just don’t happen or aren’t taken well now. Oh well. I hope people being good to each other gets popular again!


  2. Yes, great advice! I think everyone needs to stop half-assing it. LOL

    I feel bad for the restaurant guy. He should have approached her when it wasn’t busy… and simply slid her a note.


  3. I guess the problem I had with all three examples was that to me, none of them seemed focused on the person that was being communicated with. I feel that there’s no one size fits all answer for any communication, particularly with respect to dating. If you don’t know the person you’re communicating with, I think that really needs to be the first goal.

    In the first example, if the guy never spoke to the girl previously, how does he even know she’d be worth dating? In the second, I felt like the potential couple knew each other even less, because they didn’t even get that far. Finally I thought the third couple seemed to know each other well enough to be dating, but not well enough for the lady to know how to speak to her significant other in a way that would elicit a response, nor did he seem to know what kind of response she was looking for. Without getting that prior knowledge, I don’t know how any of these examples could’ve ended well.

    Again, I can only speak for myself, but my rule of thumb is to get to know myself as well as I possibly can, and then try to know the object of my interaction as well as I possibly can. That second step will usually tell me if they’re worth my time and / or if I might have a chance there. Once I’m satisfied it’s worth pursuing, then I feel it’s worth making a move.

    Now how exactly to make that move eludes me to this day. I guess I’d need a coach like Nina for that!


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