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Parallax - Advice

May 13, 2002

Call waiting?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I had my first date with a fellow whom I've been attracted to for quite a while. We had a wonderful time, although he apologized for several goofy little things he did. They didn't, however, make me any less fond of him. He also said things throughout the evening that indicated he was interested, including, 'We'll do this again soon, okay?' Well, it's been five weeks, and I haven't heard from him. Do I call him or do I just bow out gracefully? Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Dateless,

Hmm, he could have offered the polite, 'Let's do this again.' (I can't wait to get out of here.) Or he might have thought that perhaps you were not interested, so he did not call. Odds are, it was the former. I hope you realize that it is time to stop sitting by the phone, because he is NEVER going to call.

So, do you take the bull by the horns, dial seven digits and say, 'Hello, wanna go out?' It's a toughie, I know, filled with all sorts of potential for humiliation and rejection. If he declines, everyone will know. The local council will have you tarred and feathered, and your dry cleaner will start rejecting your clothes.

Life is hard. Be bold and suck up the risk of five minutes of humiliation. He has already rejected you—what's a little more? Let him make it perfectly clear for you.

You could even do the dabble (sometimes referred to as the hedge) which entails the hello phone call with no real point: 'Just thought I'd say hi and see how you're doing—I am not at all interested in you—in case that's not completely clear. And I certainly won't be asking you out, but of course, if you were to mention it, I would leap up and dance.'

There is always that tack; it's the humiliation softener. You really have nothing to lose. Why not take the five minutes and forget all about it after the call? That way, you won't be writing in for advice when he hasn't called you in ten weeks.

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His view:

Dear Dateless,

Bow out gracefully.

I know you've probably created a whole inventory of semi-rational reasons as to why he hasn't called. I know you think he's been really busy at work or he keeps misplacing your number or his long-lost, shipwrecked cousin just came back from the South Pacific. And wouldn't you know it? He's been dying to call you but his cell phone mysteriously died and the lousy phone company shut him down for late payment.

The sad truth is men say things like, 'I'll call you.' Then they don't. It's a mystery as to why they do this. Some think it's because they have to say something, and it's better to pretend all's well, even if it's not. Others say they do it on purpose just to hurt women. Still others believe they might actually mean it at the time, but then a day passes (or two), and they scratch their heads and decide that they won't call, after all.

Who knows? Just don't take it too personally. It's not worth it.

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