Do you have a question about relationships and flirting?

You can email me about any of your relationship and flirtation questions, and I'll be happy to address them in my blog. Won't that be fun! Its very Dear Abby, but hey...I'm just as good as she is! Just put "Dear Ottis" in the subject. Make sure your letters are annoymous though, to protect you and me. Send all questions to

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dear Ottis-

First off, thank you for being selfless enough to solve other people's dating problems. You may remember me from a past life, the girl who thought that smiling nicely was pretty good flirting. Well, I'm happy to say that I have learned to flirt a little better. So this is my problem. I have a friend. For a long time (Fall-Winter semesters) we weren't really all that good of friends, mostly just like... "hey we are in the same ward, you are my home teacher." We did go out once, but then he got a girlfriend, and...yeah. So during the summer we (my friends and his friends) started hanging out more and his girlfriend was gone on a study abroad. We then became actual friends, rather than superficial friends. So... his girlfriend comes home, they break up, he immediately starts paying a lot more attention to me and asks me out and we start spending more time together. Ok all that being said, I really don't know how I feel about him. I definitely haven't ruled him out as someone to date, but at the same time, I'm not feeling that giddy butterfly feeling about this whole development. So... we're friends, we hang out, we went on a date, I'd like to see where this goes. So how do I show interest without showing interest?? I feel like my feelings could go either way at this point so I don't want to lead him on, but I also don't want him to give it up. Give me your opion, Ottis, please!!

-Stuck in the middle

Dear Stuck in the Middle,

Thank you for your letter. You are too kind :) You find yourself in a very common predicament, so don't feel like you are alone on this. In fact, I've had several conversations just recently with various people all with this common situation. I hope that I can offer some advice that will help you out.
The first thing I have to say is that you're response to his attention is very typical. Unlike men, women typically do take longer to really decide if they're interested in pursuing a type of relationship. Men usually know very quickly (since their judgement is based mostly on physical attraction). I think that the best way for you to decide whether or not you do, or could, have feelings for this fellow is to let things continue to unfold. Keep going out on dates with him, keep seeing him. Don't worry, you are not leading him on. This is a very normal part of dating. its all about getting to know each other on a more intimate level so that you can determine whether or not he'd make an ideal partner for you.
As to your question about showing interest without showing interest...that is a very difficult question to answer. The truth of the matter is you are interested in getting to know him better, and in seeing where things could go, even if that is not very far. So, show that! Show him that you want to be closer to him, that you want to get to know him more as an individual and that you are invested in that part of your relationship with him. I can guarantee that when a guy knows that you sincerely want to know him for him, and are invested in him as a person, he will grow in confidence and you'll get to see him become a better person, and what can be better than that! To do this, you need to show good open body language and engaged conversational cues. Be an active listener, show you're paying attention, ask questions. Don't sit with your arms crossed, expose your wrists to him (in a natural looking way). These are signs of openness. Keep up your good smiling! Hold his gaze a little longer than normal. These are all great natural things that show your attraction. Just make sure that you stay intuned with your thoughts through out this process. If throughout your dates you just think, I'm not really into this, then don't take too long to tell him. Be sincere and honest, and he'll respect you for it.
I just wanted to add that I since a small fear of being the rebound in the situation also. In my opinion, it doesn't feel that way to me. You developed a friendship well before. In the absence of his girlfriend he probably realized that he had some kind of feeling for you. Look at how quickly things ended with her when she got back. So, while it could be, it doesn't seem that way to me. So, keep on keeping on! Enjoy the fun you two can have together! I wish you the best!

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