Being Single

Dating Diaries: So That’s Why You Don’t Give Your Number To Strangers

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I should have listened when my mom told me not to talk to strangers. The consequences as a 7-year old are more potentially dangerous, but I haven’t really had great results as a dating adult, either.

It’s commonly accepted dating practice that we talk to strangers — in the gym, at the bar, on the Internet — because how else are we going to meet people? But thinking back on all the times I did, I don’t know that it ever turned out well. All of my past boyfriends I met through mutual friends, so they were pre-vetted. Talking to guys in bars often ends in getting negged or breathed on too closely (“What is your last name? I’m going to stalk you on Facebook.”). The waiter I was so proud to give my phone number to is just the most recent disaster.

First, he didn’t show up to our date because he overslept. I gave him a second chance because he seemed so sorry about it and we met for a drink, but within 10 minutes, our conversation moved from one dealbreaking fact to another. If I had been introduced to him through a mutual acquaintance, I might have known beforehand that he lives an hour outside of town, has an 8-year old daughter and oh you know, used to sell drugs (“It was a phase”). But instead, there I was, committed to at least another hour of his company knowing that I was not interested.

Related: 8 Ways to Ace The First Five Seconds Of Meeting Someone

He also had this habit of putting me on the spot. When he said, “I really had fun meeting you. Did you have fun?” I had no choice but to say yes. It’s not like I had a really bad time, he was very sweet, but by making me vocalize it like that, it sounded like I was more into him than I actually was.

This was a bad sign. Three days in a row I got multiple texts ranging from “Happy Sunday Funday” to “How is your day, pretty lady?” They were nice, but I felt suffocated. Then, he asked me to be his Valentine’s date. So I took the opportunity to explain to him as nicely as I could that things were too intense for me and that I wasn’t interested. He told me he appreciated my honesty and I thought it was over.

Related: The Follow-Up Text: Do you Send One After A Date?

Then I got a text on Valentine’s Day that said, “Happy Singles Awareness Day” and then two days later an invite to happy hour. I said, “I can’t but have fun.” Then I got, “Okay, can I lay my cards out on the table?” The voice inside my head screamed, “JESUS NO PLEASE NO.” I was pondering a response when a string of 6 more texts that I didn’t answer right away because I was driving arrived. The last message read, “No response. I guess you want nothing to do with me so I’ll just leave you alone.” Well, yeah. That is about right. But it really didn’t have to end this way.

Related: How to Lose a Guy in 57 Texts

The experience hasn’t completely scared me off talking to strangers, but it has me giving it some major reconsideration. There are a million things that can go wrong when you go on a first date with a complete stranger, but I also believe in being open-minded. Where is the middle ground?

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