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Cutting Through Dating Confusion

Dating men is confusing. From the moment you lock eyes with someone cute to the moment you say, “I do,” (and maybe even beyond that!), nothing is cut and dry.

“There’s a lot of confusion about what’s possible,” says Ice, lead instructor at Chicago Seduction, a dating coach company for men.

Let’s imagine the possibilities here:

  • You like him… does he like you?
  • You know he likes you, it’s mutual… Do you ask him out? How?
  • He’s asking you to hang out… does he mean hang out, as friends, or do they mean hang out, as…?
  • What does he want us to be? Are we going to date? Are we going to ‘casually’ date? Are we going to get serious? How ‘serious’? What does ‘serious’ even mean?

A woman can get lost in the sea of questions. Dating is ambiguous and anxiety-inspiring. Love and lust are supposed to be fun, but the unanswered musings leave us more concerned with finding solutions than enjoying the flirtation of a new relationship.

We see a ton of unclear behavior and missed signals here at Northwestern. If we’re being honest with ourselves, we’re all a tad bit socially awkward. We see a lot of people “hanging out” with “just friends” or potential love interests, not knowing exactly what that means. Sometimes, logic, reason and everything we have ever been told about being in a functional relationship fly out of the window. Reality fades into the sunset in the hopes that we’ll ride off into it with a new love.

According to Ice, it’s safe to assume that if you suspect someone’s interested in you when he asks you to hang out, you’re right. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, they are,” he says.

Taking that into consideration, I’ve selected three steps to keep both of you happy and hopefully, friendly, if that’s what you want.

That awkward moment when a guy you thought was just a friendly acquaintance, someone you see in large groups and slightly hug, asks you to hang out. We’ve all been there. Obviously you enjoy the company, but you’re not sure you want to date. Meanwhile, he didn’t really ask you on a date necessarily. He asked you to hang out - that’s totally not a date, right? Knowing that he’s likely interested, we have to assume ‘wrong.’ And you have to let him know.

“She should make it known she’s not interested,” Ice says. “Clear communication early on is essential.”

According to Ice, the longer you lead on a guy, the less chance you have at friendship. He’ll end up resenting you and nobody wants that. Gently let him know that you like hanging out with him, but you don’t see him like that.
Read the Signs
In any type of interaction, signs clue us in to what someone is trying to say, verbally or physically. Plenty of these come into play when dating.

Guys usually don’t say what they want outright. If you’re wondering what he’s looking for from you, pay attention to what you do on the first date.

“If it’s not one-on-one, it means, personally, I’m not interested in anything more than friendship,” says Ice. He added, if a guy is taking you to a party, he’s probably looking to hook up with you.

A guy who’s interested will take the time to get to know you, Ice says. So, proceed with caution about who you’re spending time with.

Take it Slow
Time runs the show in relationships. We’re hiding from it, short on it, looking for it, spending too much of it. But when you start dating someone, minutes or hours can make all of the difference. A guy who really wants to develop a relationship with you will spend quality time getting to know who you are and what you’re about.

The timeline you follow for hooking up with your new boy can be your best defense against getting hurt. The more time you have to gauge his interest in you, the less likely you are to jump into something he’s not that invested in.

“Wait a few dates to see if he’s actually interested,” advises Ice. If a guy isn’t interested in more than tapping that, he’ll try to make it happen fast. If that’s what you want, go for it! But if you’re interested in something more, consider giving it some time to make sure he won’t get what he wants and take off and he’s what you want, too.

Naturally, there is no clear solution to dating ambiguities. Your heart will send you crazy confusing signals, your brain will boggle more than you knew it could and your actual decisions will be made at game-time. Sometimes, we have to make bad choices to find what works for us, but hopefully these steps will help you attempt to make a well-thought-out decision like the smart NU collegiette™you are!

Happy dating!

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Casey Geraldo


Casey Geraldo is a junior at Northwestern University. She is journalism major, with a broadcast concentration, and a history minor.Casey coaches gymnastics, and in her spare time, she is usually babysitting, watching TV, eating candy and ice cream or spending time with the people she loves.Follow Casey on Twitter! @caseygeraldo
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