Thursday, April 26, 2007

Geeks on Dates. How to tell someone that you fancy them.

Four: How to tell someone you fancy them.
(For anyone, including the person from England who hit this blog with that as a search string, who wants to know).

Tell someone that you fancy them politely, do it with your focus on them not yourself, and do it so that they have options.

You may use words or commonly understood gestures. Some people are better at understanding words, others at understanding actions. Many people prefer words that are not a direct discussion of any internal states but instead keep them tacit.

For example:
Not "I like you and fancy you, I would like to dine and talk with you with a view to you becoming my partner. Would you like to dine and talk with me?"
or even "I really like you, would you like to go out with me?"
But instead "Do you want to come by my flat for dinner sometime?"

Other people do prefer something clearer like "You interest me strangely, want to come out for a coffee?" It's difficult to be really clear with either actions or words without being coercive. I've no objection to you being forward, but you need to leave "No, thank you" as an option.

If you use go-betweens or advisors do pick someone who's fond of you and has got it right in their own life sometimes. Reconsider on a regular basis whether you really want your advisor and not these other people you're talking about, it's such an old plot device it must happen for real sometimes.

What to do after you've told someone that you fancy them.
Stop, look, listen, and think.
  • If they tell you that they fancy you back (in actions or words)? Seizing the day and joyfully embracing the person is often appropriate, but do think because there are many circumstances or situations that make that not so.
  • If they turn you down, don't stalk them. No, really. Don't keep asking them out. Don't keep asking them why. Don't show up at their place drunk. Don't show up at their place angry. Really don't show up at their place while they're out, with a friend to tie you to the bed. This is a most important time to avoid being creepy.
If the person is already one of your friends (and who else would you want; one of your enemies?) you might think it would be nice to be able to tell them that you fancy them and yet remain friends if they don't fancy you. This is very tricky in real life.

Alcohol may help you tell a friend you fancy them without rejection repercussions (but don't be creepy). The way that works best seems to be to act like it never happened and you always were just friends. Both people have to want to remain friends, both people have to determinedly act in a merely but thoroughly friendly manner. I repeat, do not stalk people who've rejected you, it will do nothing positive.

If you rejected one of your friends in the past and you'd like another go, start at the beginning with some nice clear signals, be polite, with your focus on them not yourself and make sure that they have options. Lots of people don't want to be wanted by people who didn't want them first off.

If you were rejected by one of your friends in the past and you'd like them to reconsider I'm afraid there's really nothing you can do. I've tried being creepy (sorry), I've tried politely re-asking at intervals, I've tried being obvious, subtle, and secretly holding a torch for ages. Nothing worked.

(Though rincewindtvd said that asking someone's sister out seemed to make the rejector reconsider although he was busy with the sister by then. And now I think about it, I sort of was interested in someone and he didn't seem at all interested in me and so I went off and did other things, coincidentally one of which was his brother, and then some years later the rejector was interested in me for a week or two. But using Sibling B's desire to create desire in a Sibling A would not be treating Sibling B as an equal and therefore it is bad strategy.)

To retain a friendship after rejection both people have to want to be friends. Some rejectors think that you having had any sexual thoughts about them defiles the friendship they thought they had with you. Some rejects don't want a friend who doesn't want to jump their bones. Alas.

What to do after someone tells you that they fancy you.
Choose whether to even think about going for them in return, do you fancy them, like them, and treat them as an equal?
Work out whether you're up for a relationship at this point; they involve a bit of time and taking someone else's feelings into account in some of your decisions, they're often fun and usually interesting.
Take a moment to be grateful that you don't have to worry as much about rejection as they do.

Once you know what you want, say (or demonstrate) "Yes, please!" or "No, thank you!"



Blogger RincewindTVD said...

Re being rejected by a friend.
I think you can ask them again, but don't pester (no stalking!), and make sure a sensible interval has gone by, you may find yourself happy with your fancy not being reciprocated if you let a month or six go by.
Oh, and be prepared to risk your friendship again (on top of the time you were rejected by them), they will remember the first "no" they gave you, and may consider it gauche if you ask again.
Match your decisions to the person, and the vehemence of the original denial.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

"Though rincewindtvd said that asking someone's sister out seemed to make the rejector reconsider..."
I dunno, I've had several occasions of being asked out by someone who subsequently moved on to trying their luck with my twin sister. I didn't find it at all flattering, more "Hey, I see you two as interchangeable."

Asking someone out so that they have the option to say no gracefully is good advice, though.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Stranger Tim said...

I have been scarily forward sometimes stunningly coy at others. (have too).Take no as a real answer is a good one and be prepared to not see significant other for a while is a good way to carry on life as normal. Then pick up as if nothing had a happened.
There are as many answers as questions.
Hope you are well I should write real mail
Tanks for the book plug nice to know someone is reading
Have you seen my Fish Tank
It fires real Fish
{Moorcock,Dancers at the End of Time}

3:58 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

I see Wired has picked up on this very theme: The 10 Real Reasons Why Geeks Make Better Lovers!

8:02 PM  
Blogger RUTH said...

I can't check your blog at work anymore - our Patricia Bartlett daemon thinks this entry is porn.

9:22 PM  
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