Flake, straight up

Dear Atalanta:
Recently I asked out a friend of mine. We knew each other casually for nearly a year through a mutual friend. We never hung out that much, but she worked at a bar and I’d stop in every once in a while to say hi and chat, if I was passing by. My friend agreed to “want to go out sometime?” and then never called me back. A week goes by and I stop by the bar. I let her bring up the issue, she apologies says ,”I’m sorry, I had moments when I thought of calling you…” Then says she’ll definitely call me. Another week has passed, I got the hint. (In case you are wondering, I doubt she was pretending to be my friend, one, because from how she’d interact with me, and two, I don’t drink, she’d give me free glasses of seltzer whenever I showed up.)
This reminds me of another friend I knew. We would run into each other at events on a regular basis, we’d talk often. Finally I decided to ask her out, she said yes with a smile, and never called me. Finally when I ran into later and brought it up, she gave me a reasons about being busy (which I believed since she stopped coming around as much).
Is this a typical girl way of dealing with these things? Just hoping the issue will vanish if ignored? Am I in the wrong, or is it reasonable to come out an say someone had changed their mind, for whatever reason, about a date when it’s a friend who has asked them out, and not someone random met at a party, etc?
– Left Hanging

Aha! A letter I can answer in one word:


No, wait, that needs a few more words:

Yes, it is a typical HUMAN way of dealing with these things (to hope the issue vanishes if ignored); and yes, it is reasonable for someone to say out loud that they changed his/her mind about a date. Unfortunately, the former happens more often than the latter.

Confronting the awkward moment is much harder than dodging it, and it takes discipline, maturity and intestinal fortitude to be forthright. It helps if both sides have a little grace and humor, but that’s even rarer.

From what you laid out, your behavior seems reasonable (congrats on holding back until your bartender friend brought it up, instead of pestering). It’s attractive when a man is assertive enough to ask girls out, but not so aggressive that they feel compelled to say “yes” to get him away from them, or ever makes them uncomfortable in his presence again.

If a girl dithers, then write her off. It’s a flag of inevitable trouble, be that a tendency for dramatics or worse. Let her then chase you if you want, but never forget the warning flag. The rule is the same for men or women: If s/he’s interested, sincere and mature, s/he acts interested, sincere and mature. Anything else is… well, something else.


About amywinns

Semi-snarky, semi-sincere, occasionally ranting, always paying attention. Feminist who can work a skirt and crack a joke. Grammar nerd who is also fun at parties. Mid-career writer/editor with 15 years’ experience in newspapers & magazines who now helps developers at a major media corporation communicate with the suits who write the checks. Pro-women, pro-family, pro-choice, pro-workingclass, pro-entrepreneur, pro-farmer. Like every other bourgeois Brooklynite, I choose local/organic/raw food — mostly vegetables — whenever possible/reasonable/affordable but I’m not a smug asshole about it. Hometown: Atlanta. Weird hobby: lindy hop. No pets, no kids, no thanks.
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