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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Coffee Conundrum

Dear Mistress Maeve,

I was at a small social event last night and had a nice conversation with a man who asked if we could go out for coffee sometime. I agreed because I enjoyed talking with him, but “coffee” is so ambiguous. I feel that the non-stated invitation is really, “Would you like to go out for coffee so that we can determine how compatible we are in terms of getting into each other’s pants?”

Maybe I’m naive, but I really only want coffee and conversation with this guy. I’m not in a position to date him, and I’ve run into this problem in the past. When is the right time to mention what I am, and am not, available for romantically? Did I already miss my window of opportunity at the invitation stage?
I’m so confused!


Dear Kate,

Sometimes I think it would be easier if we all wore badges indicating our dating status, like “Ready, Willing and Able” or “Don’t Even Think About It.” Unfortunately the path to love and happiness isn't lined with easy-to-read road signs. You’re right about coffee dates. They’re a harmless way to give someone the dating once-over, and hey, they’re cheaper than buying dinner. That said, you are not responsible for this guy’s ulterior motives. If you are genuinely interested in being friends with him, go ahead and meet him for coffee. If he’s putting out the “I like you” vibe, kindly and nonchalantly interject that you’re not in a position to date anyone at the moment, but that you hope you can continue getting to know one another as friends. I know it can be uncomfortable to be straightforward — and speaking of straight, if you are, making friends with the opposite sex can be tricky; awkward moments can’t always be avoided. No matter how he reacts initially, in the end, he’ll appreciate your candor.

I must say, Kate, you've got me curious about you. You don’t say why you’re not in a position to date this guy, and as long as you’re not married or otherwise spoken for, I would offer one other bit of advice: you never know, this one-time coffee date could percolate into something more.

With two sugars,

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