That awkward feeling when…

… you think you might be starting to have feelings for someone who has always just been a friend.

This has happened to me so many times and has never ended well. But isn’t it inevitable, when you’re really good friends with someone? (I was going to say ‘with someone of the opposite sex’ but didn’t want to be prescriptive – although in my case, I am referring to guy friends.)

It’s quite exciting – suddenly being hyper-aware of someone you’ve until that point been very comfortable around. The person who’s always supportive, who you speak to often on the phone, who others say ‘Oooh he’s lovely’ and you respond with ‘Isn’t he? He’s like my big brother.’ The person your concerned relatives as you about, with thinly veiled hope that perhaps the scales will someday fall from both your eyes and a big fat white wedding will result.

But it’s also awful. Suddenly you’re awkward around your best buddy. You wonder if he can sense that something has changed for you. Then the despair that it’s one-sided… or the double-edged exciting possibility that maybe he feels it too – but what if taking things to a new level blow up in your face, and you end up losing a friend you adore.

Do you think a man and a woman, both single, can be ‘just friends’? And here I mean someone you’ve been friends with for years and years, not a new friend. Does attraction always come into play – from one side, or the other? Is it possible to have been friends with someone for a long time and suddenly see them differently? And can we really be truly platonic?

How long should you date for?

Is dating a means to an end (i.e. marriage) or an end in itself? Should your relationship always be ‘going somewhere’ or should you simple carpe the diem and live in the present?

Having never been in a very long term relationship, I’m not exactly speaking from a point of experience, but I do wonder about couples who’ve been coasting along for 5, 8, 10 or more years. Sure, not everyone wants to get married and for them, that’s fine. But what about those relationships where one of the people really does want to marry?

Two good friends come to mind. A lovely guy I’ve known for ever has been with his girlfriend for five years. She really wants to get married; he’s not 100% sure that things are quite right. In another relationship, the woman can’t understand why, after eight years together and trying for a baby, her partner is still so anti-marriage. It’s really important to her, but he won’t talk about it.

Tricky situations and high emotions all round. Not to mention the emotional manipulation and uncertainty.

I’d like to think that if I was dating someone, that within 18-24 months tops I’d probably know if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. And that if I didn’t, or he didn’t, we’d be brave enough to call it quits. Because I’d rather be single than with someone who is wasting my time. But that’s just me.

How long does it take you to know whether a relationship’s got legs? And does it matter to you?

I’d rather have no guy after me than…

… a guy pursuing me who I have zero interest in, specifically one whose thick skin means he Does Not Get The Message that I am not interested.

You know the deal – the guy who calls you up out of the blue after several years – long after you’d forgotten the couple of brief times you met him through a friend. Who asks you if your last name is your married name, or your maiden name*. The guy who finds you fascinating and hangs onto your every word, laughing a little too loudly at all your jokes. The guy who just doesn’t get your subtle attempts to brush him off (or spots that you’re smiling politely through GRITTED teeth). Continue reading

What to wear on a first date?

It’s been a while (OK, a looong while) since I went on a first date and although Mr T&C has yet to confirm the details for Sunday, I thought I’d get ahead with some outfit planning.

Major factor is that it’s going to be HOT – around 30 degrees. So my usual jeans and a cute top won’t be an option. I’ve just realised I have a grand total of zero little summer dresses. Panic! Continue reading

Plus ones

If I’m not dating anyone, I would always rather go to an event or function on my own, than find a suitable rent-a-friend to take as my date. Not just because it leaves me free to flirt with any single guys there, but because I find it stressful to be there with someone who is there for the sake of being my ‘plus one’ (note – I’m quite happy to go with a boyfriend).

A few years ago my old junior school was celebrating its centenary and a group of us who’ve been friends for over 25 years decided to take a table at the gala dinner. All the others are married and I thought it might be weird to go on my own, so I asked my friend S if he’d come along as my date. S and I are 100% platonic – I love him to bits as a friend, but we’d last all of 30 seconds as a couple, not to mention that neither of us has had the slightest romantic inclination to the other anyway in the 16 years we’ve known each other.

We arranged to meet outside the function venue and I was relieved to see he had made an effort to dress nicely (although to his credit, he usually does  – and no, he is not gay!). But things went downhill from there. He spent the evening either chatting up a single girl who had joined our party at the last minute (he ended up dating her for a couple of weeks) or ignoring everyone, me included, and having an intense text message exchange with one of his friends-with-benefits. It was so bad that when the evening ended, one of my other friends said, ‘Should I text message S to say goodbye?’

I know S well enough to give him a piece of my mind and not have it ruin our friendship (I think it’s like water off a duck’s back to him actually!). I was furious – I’d asked him to be my date, had paid for his dinner (which was not cheap) and he’d made no effort to ‘accompany’ me or make an effort to be friendly to and interested in the rest of our party (single girl excepted)… embarassing me instead. I would have far preferred to be there on my own instead of having to worry about my date’s behaviour!

Perhaps it’s a sign of the economic times, but I’ve noticed that it’s rare now to get an invitation to a function like a wedding and have ‘plus one / and partner’ included on the invitation. I’m quite happy about that – the pressure of finding someone to go with and the stress of wondering whether he’ll behave is something I can do without 🙂

Did you Google him?

Through my friend CS (another fabulous single woman), I met a lovely couple recently who got engaged last November – and who met on an internet dating site. What was interesting was the discussion we had about how safe internet dating (and having a lot of information about yourself online) is.

Between the four of us we had three stories about how women who’d been on internet dating sites had been in dodgy situations – either harassed over email, mildly assaulted, or in one sad case, raped by a man who turned out to have done the same thing to five other women.

Questions were posed as to when it’s ‘safe’ to go to an internet date’s home, or let him pick you up and drive you in his car – or invite him back to your place. The consensus was that you need at least three or four dates and then still need to trust your instincts.

When I piped up ‘Don’t you Google the person first?’ I was met with blank looks. None of them did! Now I know I practically live online, but really, if you’re meeting someone new, it’s common sense to check him/her out by doing an internet search. I particularly like looking up people on Facebook because if we have friends in common, I find that very reassuring, and sometimes even contact that mutual friend to find out a little more about my date.

CS said she’d met up with a guy who had Googled her and she was really disconcerted that he knew things about her that she hadn’t told him. My take is that it showed he’d been interested and done his homework. If you’re honest with each other, all that information will come out eventually anyway, so why hide it? CS reckons she can learn all she needs to know about someone within the first 10 minutes of meeting them. Personally, I reckon my instincts could use some factual backup.

It is vital to do things like apply high privacy settings to your Facebook profile, let people you don’t really know only see a limited profile – and control what sort of information you allow to be in the public domain. Not only does this protect you personally but it also prevents your boss seeing what you were up to at that tequila night last weekend…

Do you Google your dates? Is it intrusive or sensible?