Dear Harlan: I am a male, heterosexual college student, of average physical attractiveness. Lately, I’ve had very limited dating success. Over the past year, I’ve asked several people to get coffee or lunch, and we usually have a nice time. Usually after a lunch date or two, I will unambiguously ask someone out on an actual date. The pattern has been pretty consistent: She will say “yes,” I will feel great for about a day, and then when I go to follow up with her (usually only once, or at most twice, via text, always respectfully) to actually make plans, she will either phase me out (“I’m too busy”) or never reply or contact me again. After about two weeks of no contact, I’ll move on. Simply put, what’s going on here? This form of indirect rejection that I’ve encountered seems not only needlessly disingenuous, but also somewhat cruel. I understand that some people avoid rejecting others out of a misguided attempt to spare the jilted person’s feelings, but being encouraged and then ignored is a far harsher blow. The truth is, I’m more than willing to be rejected the good, old-fashioned, overt way. In the end, shouldn’t honesty win out? It seems like there’s something bizarrely selfish about avoiding the personal discomfort of saying “no.” – Misguided Rejection
Dear Misguided Rejection: Agreed, these people suck. But you can’t change how people reject you. What you can change are these get-to-know-you lunches. They’re not working. Date with even more intention. Yes, more. Stop hiding behind coffee and tea. Make it clear that you have romantic interest from the get go. Start with a date (use the word “date”). Another suggestion is to focus on dating women who have made it clear that they want to date. Find single women online, through friends (get set up), and at singles events. Then, you’ll get the clear-cut in-your-face rejection (or acceptance) you so deeply desire.