Generally, I am a very friendly person.
I can strike up conversations with strangers anytime, anywhere.
Perhaps I also flirt naturally without realising it.
This has gotten me into a bit of a pickle recently.
I was out running errands at this godforsaken shopping mall near where I live one day, and decided to stop and have some lunch at the food court before my next appointment. I got a sandwich as everything else on offer was fast food and fried chicken and stuff.
I took my little sandwich and managed to find a table in the crowded food hall. A few seconds after I sat down, the table next to me was cleared and this guy sat down in the seat facing me.
We made eye contact and smiled. I felt awkward not saying anything to him, though. It’s kind of weird, in my opinion, the way people pretend they don’t see each other when they’re in public. You know? Like you’d be at a restaurant on your own and basically ignore the other person seated at the table next to you because you don’t want to get caught up in an inane conversation with someone you probably won’t ever see again.
Usually, that’s my MO, too. But this time, I felt… I don’t know. Sociable.
“Got a lot of shopping done?” I asked, nodding at his bags.
He smiled. “Yes! I bought a few things for myself – taking advantage of the massive sales that are on.”
“Awesome. What did you buy?”
And so on.
By the end of it, I found out he was an engineer, he had just moved out here a few months ago, and lived on his own. He was also from the same hometown as Phil – what a coincidence! I got excited as I conjured up images of him and Phil meeting and hanging out and becoming friends. Absolutely, and purely, innocent and well-meaning.
I told him he was from the same place as Phil and that they should meet. I was so excited I asked for his contact number so we could all “hang out”. I talked a LOT about my boyfriend Phil. When we exchanged numbers it was time for me to run to my next appointment so I said farewell and went on my way.
I received a normal text message from him (let’s call him Duncan) a couple of days later:
“Hey, how are you? Hope you have a nice day :) ”
I replied: “Hi Duncan! I’m well, just at the studio right now. How are you? How are the new shoes you bought that day?”
“I am well too. Just did a bit of grocery shopping. I am enjoying walking around in my new shoes :) What are you up to these days?”
I didn’t reply because I was occupied and have a bad habit of forgetting to answer messages.
The next day, he sends me this:
“Hey hotstuff! You never got back to me ;) I actually wanted to ask you if you might be free to catch up again one of these days? Have a very nice day today. Duncan.”
At this stage I hadn’t yet told Phil about him because I had other priorities and was planning on bringing it up and seeing what Phil had to say, if he was interested in catching up with this guy, or not.
Anyway, I decided upon seeing the word “hotstuff” that it was time to tell Phil. So I told him the story and showed him the text. I didn’t do this to a) make him jealous, or b) get Duncan in trouble, or even c) to boost my own ego. I just felt that if I wasn’t honest about this, and Phil happened to see the text message*, it would seem very fishy indeed, even if I wasn’t doing anything intentionally fishy.
* Phil and I often borrow each other’s cell phones and stuff, and I just got a new phone and often shove it in his face when I’ve got a problem with it – I’m new to super sophisticated smartphones.
When Phil saw it, he was a little gobsmacked, but remained calm. He wasn’t angry at all but we had a discussion where he asked me why I felt the need to take the guy’s number, and highlighted the fact that I had asked for it. He kept telling me he wasn’t jealous and that I was free to make friends with anyone I wanted, guy or girl, but that perhaps I inadvertently flirted with this Duncan dude, and despite the fact that I mentioned Phil in every sentence, Duncan might have taken the flirtatious signals I was sending to mean I was still game.
He has a point – a good one, too. I suppose my giant smile and friendly manner could be mistaken for flirting, or maybe I was flirting without realising it. I definitely did not mean to. I mean, at the end of the day, what part of “my boyfriend is from the same town!” and “my boyfriend this, my boyfriend that” equals “I want you”?
Anyway. Phil told me I could go and meet with Duncan for coffee or whatever I wanted, he wouldn’t stop me, he trusts me, and he’s not jealous… he’s just worried about Duncan because “you don’t really know him and you don’t know what his intentions are.”
I replied Duncan’s text message with something to this effect:
“Hi Duncan, sorry I didn’t reply you sooner, I was really busy with work. Hey listen, I don’t think you should call me ‘hotstuff’, because I have a boyfriend and it’s not appropriate. My boyfriend and I are really friendly outgoing people and enjoy making friends, which is why I asked for your contact details so we can all stay in touch as friends, since you guys are from the same town and all.”
His reply was:
“Hey there, sorry I didn’t mean anything by it, it was just a compliment because you’re really pretty and friendly and nice. I hope you didn’t think I meant it in another way. I like making friends too, we should definitely catch up for coffee or something.”
“Ok, but I really don’t think you should say that I’m really pretty and all because it gives the wrong impression.”
“Ok :) from now on I will call you by your name, S.S. Hope you’re having a wonderful day and see you soon hopefully!”
No mention of catching up with both me and Phil, but ok.
Anyway he messages on and off the next few days and I reply as seldom as is possible without seeming rude, but… I can see it sets Phil on edge a bit. Just a bit. I feel guilty. Phil and I go for our evening jog and decide to devote the whole hour of conversation to this topic. He is still incredibly diplomatic and mature and giving of the benefit of the doubt, but he also says to me, “look, I think it’s great you want to make more friends and all, but as for me, I really don’t need more friends, I know loads of people from the same town, and frankly I’m too busy to make more friends, especially someone like this guy who calls you ‘hotstuff’ and all when he should know that you’re taken… I mean maybe I’m old-school or out of touch with the latest lingo and all, but I don’t know too many guys who would call girls who are just friends ‘hotstuff’ unless it was a joke, and that goes for girls they’ve just met as well, unless they were interested they would not use words like that.”
So I decided, heck, I had a good first impression of Duncan but the follow-up has been pretty poor. Phil is more important to me, and honestly some of the messages Duncan had been sending me, while devoid of words like “hotstuff”, were creeping me out a little. I decided I will do what I used to do when I was a teenager (ok, and in my early 20s) and didn’t know how to get rid of guys – ignore him.
So far, so good. It’s been 3 days since his last text and I haven’t responded, so… fingers crossed he disappears!