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Please Don’t Ask Me Out. June 24, 2010

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Dating, Food for Thought, Just Saying..
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No really, I mean it. It’s not only because I don’t find you attractive, or because you’re 15 years (or more?) older than me, or because starting a relationship is nowhere on my to-do list.

It’s because, when I signed up to be a member of this public hiking group, I did so specifically because it was not geared toward singles, nor did it seem to be grounded on the premise that “meeting people” really meant “finding someone to date.” I signed up because the group already had 800+ members on its roster, so I thought I would enjoy relative anonymity and wouldn’t stand out as “fresh meat.” I looked forward to meeting new and interesting people at each hike (one of whom turned out to be you), but I also liked knowing that I wouldn’t feel pressure to attend every event or make friends unless I wanted to. More than anything, all I really wanted was to enjoy the Great Outdoors with like-minded people.

I definitely wasn’t looking for a date.

So why did you ruin it by asking me out? You were not even on my radar. I mean, I had fun chatting about your solo adventures in Montana during our last hike, but I also enjoyed talking with Patricia about her attempts to grow squash and with Ryan about his career as a pathologist. I also loved the hilltop views, the setting sun, and chasing my dog down the trail when she spotted a squirrel in the distance.

But you misinterpreted my amicability for “interest,” and I must now exert valuable emotional and intellectual energy composing a difficult reply. In it, I must strike a precarious rhetorical balance that respects you and your “feelings,” keeps me from feeling uncomfortable if we hike together again, and makes it clear I’m not interested. And now the next time I see you, I will begrudge you for putting me in this position instead of laughing at your jokes.

Maybe when I met you I should have shaken your hand and said, “Hi, my name is Lisa. Please don’t ask me out.” But I didn’t, because I assumed your attention was on the forest, not on me.

— L

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