She said “Not sure, I’ll let you know” when I asked her out. That’s a rejection, right?

 merteil asks: 

We’ve been on one-and-half dates so far. One at a bar and another just yesterday at a swing dancing class. No physical stuff yet but I’m hoping it’ll get there. After swing I brought up the possibility of getting drinks again this weekend. Her response was “I’m not sure, I’ll let you know”. I said ok and dropped her off to her place. Isn’t this what girls say when they’re not interested? Or am I being overly pessimistic? It seemed like we both really enjoyed each other’s company during these dates so I’m extra bummed about the possibility of rejection.

Also, what’s a good date idea for this weekend? I figure I’ll ask her anyway even if she gave off negative vibes. See what happens. I just don’t know if getting drinks will get old fast.

Demetrius says:

More often than not, I’ve found that when people talk about dating,myself included, they like to look at things in very black and white terms. Though I try to keep as open a mind as possible, I’m sure there has been some advice I’ve given that was very inflexible. Today, I’m going back to my roots of indifference and I want to give you the best piece of advice about rejection or potential rejections: Ask yourself “So what?” and go from there. It might sound like the height of indifference, but it’s so much more. It’s about power, the power of words, the power of caring, and the power you give people when you worry about rejections or potential rejections. Oscar Wilde famously said “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” and I would revise it a bit and say that “Everything in the world is about sex and dating except sex and dating. Sex and dating is about power”. The thing is, like most social constructs that are about power, you as the individual give a construct power by your thoughts and actions. A rejection only has the power you give it, so what happens when you say “So What?” about a rejection? It loses its power. When you get rejected (or maybe get rejected) I want you to sit back, remind yourself it doesn’t matter and at this point move on. If you’re right, you never have to hear from the person again nor give them a second thought. If you’re wrong, you get pleasantly surprised. Either way, even if the situation isn’t simple, you’re gaining power over yourself.

To answer your actual questions, let’s first lay them out:

  • When a someone replies “I’m not sure, I’ll let you know” to an offer for a date, is that a rejection? MAYBE
  • Am I being overly pessimistic? YES
  • BONUS QUESTION: Good date idea for the weekend? You bet, I’ll get to it last

Does that sound like a rejection to me? Yes, but just know that when it comes to dating, anything besides a “Yes, and…” sounds like a rejections. Just like in comedy improv anything less than a positive agreement can ruin a scene, or in this case your confidence that the person wants to see you.  If you ask out someone who is interested but busy next weekend, they can “Yes, and..” you by saying “I’d love to get drinks, but I’m busy this weekend. Let me see when I’m free again”. While they technically are giving you a “No” response, they do so in a way that conveys agreement, even if the timing is bad. I’m leaning toward it being a rejection, but it’s maybe a rejection because maybe she doesn’t realize how it sounds when she says “I’ll let you know“.

You are being pessimistic because you are seeing the worst outcome for your future with this woman. I’m not saying that you’re wrong, but until you get a flat-out rejection, I wouldn’t be too concerned with whether the rejection was real or just phrased poorly.  Here’s where the whole “Everything in the world is about sex and dating except sex and dating. Sex and dating is about power.” comes into play. By dwelling on whether it’s a rejection or not, you’re turning the situation around so now she has the power, and you’re responding to it. The situation when being rejected or potentially rejected should be flipped, with you in power and the other person being forced to respond (or not). Let’s pretend that this girl is rejecting you, at which point I’d tell you to ask yourself, “So what?” and then “What happens next?“. By dwelling on a rejection you give the person who rejected you power over you. You’re letting them live in your mind, while you are definitely an afterthought to them. So when you ask yourself “What happens next?” the answer has to be “Life goes on”  if you want any power over your own happiness. Because really, it does go on and you wont be lying to yourself. All rejections don’t have to be some character defining thing that happens to you, they can just be a thing that happened and now it’s time to move on, no big deal. If it were the end of a long-term relationship, or a divorce, or a separation that impacts friends, family, children, etc. fine, it’s a big deal. If you get rejected by someone you went on one and half dates with (WHAT IS A HALF DATE?) then trust me, life goes on. No matter how attractive they are, or how charming, or how compatible, life goes on. Now, let’s pretend she wasn’t rejecting you. Ask yourself “So what?” because even if she wasn’t rejecting you, the next move is on her, not you. Don’t chase after someone who gives you a tepid response like “Not sure, will let you know“. She’s either done dating you, or doesn’t really care all that much about following through, so don’t follow through for her.

You need to focus on not caring whether she rejected you or not and though you might not be used to it, you have to practice some inaction. I’m all in favor of pursuing someone, which you’ve done, but don’t put effort into pursuing, or even thinking about the people who reject you or show a lack of interest in seeing you.

With all that said, let’s talk about your potential weekend date. If not with her, then with next person. If you are going on a date with the woman you mentioned, or a woman you meet in a swing class, try to do something a bit different on a weekend date. I’m not saying you should never do a swing-type date, just try to change it up a bit so all you’re associated with is not swing classes. Drinks are a great go to date, but if you want to switch it up, try going to see some live music that she might be interested in. Pick a place that is low-key and age appropriate for the vibe you’re trying to get. If you’re more chill, go for jazz, more lively go for funk (assuming you have good taste of course). If it’s a day date, go for something more focused on “Culture” (Museums, historical places, walking tour, etc.) with a low-key dinner or drinks after. These make for great 2nd or 3rd dates, and yes also 1st dates, but I caution using them as first dates because the focus is on the what you do, not who you’re with. First dates should be more focused on the interpersonal experience, not what’s going on around you.

Good Luck Out There.

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