Help me over-analyze this dating situation (Am I in the Friend Zone?)

So I met a girl online about a month ago and we finally met up for a game of pool about two weeks ago. It went really well–we started off playing pool, talked and joked a lot, then went for a walk, discovered an arcade, then walked along the local pier before finally grabbing some dessert around 1am. So she withstood me for 7 hours–that’s a pretty good sign, I think :wink:

We’ve emailed or chatted online every day since, with potential plans this weekend. But now, as anyone who’s been following my posting history knows, I do not have much experience with girls, dating, or anything along these lines. Hell, this will be the first time I’ve actually met up with a girl for a ‘second date’–so progress!

However, seeing as I have very little experience, I’m paranoid that I may have run myself into the much dreaded “friend zone” already. Unfortunately, our first date both began and concluded with a mere handshake–I’m too much of a wuss (due to complete inexperience) to have tried anything more. Furthermore, though we’ve chatted a ton since (online), there has been no sexual flirting or really anything of that nature (is that normal at this stage? Help me, I’m clueless!). Is this something girls often initiate, or is the fact that I really haven’t said anything of that nature part of the problem?

Finally, and perhaps most concerning is something she said tonight. She said something that reminded me of a funny story, but I told her it’s something that’s much too long/weird for a mere IM. She then responded “It’s on the topic list for the next time we hang out.” Hang out. Those words concern me. Though as I write this, I’m wondering how else she could have worded it–perhaps I’m making a mountain out of a molehill?

So what are your thoughts? Too early to tell? If I do see her this weekend, what can I do to figure out where I stand?

“Hang out” isn’t a big deal. Don’t sweat that. Lack of sexual flirting isn’t a big deal either, though that is something you would most likely have to initiate (if you want to, not a requirement).

It sounds like she is in to you but possibly wondering why you haven’t made a move. She clearly wants to see you again, and you don’t mention her having spoken of a boyfriend or other guys she thinks are attractive (definite red flags). If you are interested, you need to kiss her next time you go out. Make sure she is comfortable with you physically touching her (sit on the same side of the booth, touch her on the knee/arm when you say something to her), and if she is, go for it. If you don’t, you’ll just be confusing her and torturing yourself.

ETA: Nothing you’ve said indicates to me that you are in the “friend zone”. I might suggest cutting back on the chatting, though, just to help focus when you see her in person.

Yeah you are over analyzing it. “Hang out” doesn’t automatically put you in the friend zone. And it’s completely normal not to have any flirting going on yet. Different couples move at different paces.

Here’s what you’ve got to do. You have to man up and make the move to take the date to a romantic place - I mean that both literally and figuratively. Take her somewhere private where you will be just one-on-one and have a chance to make physical contact (eg, sitting side by side rather than face to face). A restaurant with a private booth, if there’s one around town, would be ideal. Steer the conversation to what you like about her, ask her what she likes about you, let her know you are thinking of her as a potential partner. If she doesn’t feel the same way, she will let you know pretty quickly.

Above all - be honest and forthright with her.

Ha - I didn’t read Algotythm’s post above mine - we have the same booth idea! Rock on :stuck_out_tongue:

My theory is that if you are wondering if you are in the friend zone, then you are, or you are going to analyze yourself into it.

I’ve learned the painful way that making your intentions very clear from the beginning is always the best way. Even though it takes a little courage, it works.

What everyone is saying. From a woman’s POV – she’s sounding you out and trying to figure out what you have in mind. Let her know what you have in mind, by being a little more romantic. And, yeah, you definitely need to kiss her.

Any chance you could get it out of the way by greeting her with a friendly kiss on the cheek at the start of the date? That way you won’t spend the evening freaking yourself out about it.

Also, next time you see her you should make it clear that you’re interested in seeing where this relationship will go. That sounds ambiguous but it clearly means that you’re hoping for more than friends. “I’d like to see where this thing goes, when can I see you again?”, could be said at the end of the next date. You don’t even need to kiss her at that point, just make it clear that you’re interested. If you scare up another date at that point you can pretty much guarantee a kiss on the third date.

Oh just kiss her! Nothing’s less romantic than someone trying to talk their way into a relationship. Much better to just kiss and then watch all the birdies start singing around your heads.

Let me put it this way and save you much grief over the course of your life:

If she finds even the littlest things about you to be endearing…

…such as a touch of shyness

… or that you are slightly intimidated by the moment even though she wants you to get close and offer up a hug…a kiss…or more,

…or how you might trip over yourself, or out think yourself…

…if she find these things endearing, she likes you and you are not in the friend zone.

If ‘‘who you are’’ is someone who gets nervous, lacks a bit of experience and has little dating quirks because of the newness and your ability to think and reflect about thingss, then you want someone who is completely flattered by that and winds up finding these little things about you to be endearing qualities. That means she likes you.

If she doesn’t appreciate or forgive anything that is surfacing and shows your inner self, move on and don’t sweat concerns over the ‘friend zone’.

I disagree. Don’t push the kiss until it feels right. there’s nothing worse than an awkward, unwanted smoocheroo. At this point she is wondering whether you are gentleman, or just uninterested. You are a gentleman.

If you want to keep it light, test the waters by making physical contact in small ways. Brush her hand with yours as you walk. Put your hand in the middle of her back to ease her through a door you are holding open for her. Gaze into her eyes and see if she gazes back or looks askance; if askance, nervously or in an annoyed fashion? (The first could still be good.) Offer your arm crossing a street or just walking down the sidewalk.

Take her to a place where there is dancing, and ask her to dance. Does she lean into you? Need a drink or a rest every time a slow song comes on?

Or if you’d like to really steer things in the romantic direction more assertively, ask if you can pick her up, and bring flowers. (Not red roses, it’s too soon for that. A single pink one would be good, NOT white! Or a bouquet of anything but carnations.)

And the whole “find out where this goes” discussion is WAYYYYYY premature. I’d run screaming if that came up on the second date. Try just telling her that you’d really like to get to know her better. Listen to her response.

In short, be yourself. If you are honest about your intentions/inclinations (within reason. . .) she’ll appreciate it.

Good luck!
ETA: I agree with Philster, disagree with the stuff above about the smooch . . .

It sounds like your first date went well, but it was more just hanging out than a romantic type date. Why haven’t you gotten back together with her since then? I think her saying “the next time we hang out” is a clear signal that she wants to see you again. Arrange to practice some of those pool skills you taught her or just get together for a drink or something mid-week. If it goes well again, at the end of the date, see if she’s available on Friday or Saturday and kick up the romance by asking her to dinner and a movie or some other activity. If you bring her flowers, make sure you arrange to pick her up a little early so she has time to put them in water. You don’t want to be pressed for time.

Thanks all for the advice–I don’t have much time for a proper response now, but just wanted to let you know I am reading everything.

Well, we live about an hour and a half apart, so the only time that works well for us is on weekends, mostly. And these past two weekends, she’s had friends from out of town staying with her.

Oh I wouldn’t worry at all about one date that ends as ‘just friends’. It’s not odd that two people who have just met for the first time in person are not suddenly acting like a couple. The online conversations only go so far, I’d at least wait until after (not during) the 2nd date before you start over-analyzing.

Maybe you should just drive the 1.5 hours and go see her during the week? Tell her you don’t mind the drive, you’ll take her out to dinner and then drop her off by 10pm or whatever her bedtime is. Then there’s no pressure for this to turn into a 10 hour movie-magical date, and you show you’re interested enough to make the effort. I mean, if you’re gonna sit and over-analyze things anyhow then may as well do it while you’re driving on the interstate.

ETA: This suggestion assumes that you actually want to see her enough that you’d drive 3 hours round trip. Otherwise, eh, then maybe it’s not worth worrying about too much on your part.

This situation calls for action, not analysis. In my opinion, the friend-zone is the default place where you get stuck if you don’t declare or otherwise show romantic intentions. Now is the best time to let her know that you are interested in dating. If you don’t, the friendship will only grow and you’ll be more reluctant to risk the rejection and losing it.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going for a kiss as long as its not a sloppy open-mouth affair. Sure, if it fails, it will be awkward, but then you’ve just saved yourself a few months of ‘analysis’ in trying to figure out if she likes you.

As a girl, my professional opinion is that you need to at least hold her hand. If I get 2 or 3 dates with a guy, and he doesn’t even hold my hand or ask for a goodnight kiss, then I don’t think he’s physically interested in me.

She definitely likes you. If you really are too nervous to kiss her, reach out and take her hand. My husband and I were together for three months before things got too physical (two of those months he was abroad, but still.). We went at our own pace. Don’t feel pressured to do anything you aren’t ready for, but DO show your interest using the excellent suggestions above. She likes you! And I bet she likes the shy, nervous, gentlemanly person you are and does not expect or want Mr. Agressive to show up on the second date. Chances are good once you hold her hand in yours, she’ll kiss you!

A handshake? :smack: Dude…

Give her a hug next time you pick her up. You want to break down the “contact barrier” and a hug is innocent enough. Then she how she reacts and take it from there.

Thanks all for the advice. Sounds like I should make some kind of physical move, even if not a kiss, at the very least next time I see her.

I guess my biggest fear is that, seeing as I am wholly inexperienced, I have no idea how to kiss. Seems like a simple concept, but I know there has to be some technique. The only foray I’ve ever had in this realm was when my roommate and I were drunkenly making out, and I had no idea what the shit I was doing.

It seems a bit weird to ask for tips on this, but is there any real basic things for me to keep in mind? I got the “keep mouth closed” message loud and clear, but anything else?

ETA (this message slipped in just after I posted):

Dude, tell me about it. I readily admit I’m an idiot! Okay, so hug you think? Check. I think I can manage that. I’ll hopefully be seeing her this Sunday, though I won’t be picking her up. Would it be weird to hug her if she met me either at my place, or in some place public (we haven’t worked out the meeting details yet)? (and yes, I’m sure I’m again over-thinking shit, but that’s the only way I can get stuff done =P )

Hugs are acceptable absolutely anywhere - feel free to do it anywhere, so long as you’re comfortable with it. Don’t worry if things get a little awkward as you try to inject a little romance into the date, that’s standard for everyone. We all at some stage in our lives find ourselves walking with someone nodding to what they are saying and the only thing you can think about is "hell! should I try and hold her hand now?!! I don’t know what to do!

This is all acceptable and she won’t think any worse of you for being nervous. Don’t start out planning too much, let it evolve naturally and you’ll do fine.

Yeah and keep mister tongue inside until she opens her mouth for it.

Good luck, we’re rooting for you!