Make It Stop: “Does He Like Me Or Nah?”

I have a crush on a friend of a friend, who I’ll call Kyle. He seems interested in me: we dance together, buy each other drinks, etc. But, the thing is, he just got out of a serious relationship about a month ago. To top it off, every time we have a good night together (aka I’m about to go in for the kiss) he’ll run off like Cinderella. I don’t think he’s quite ready for the next step. I imagine it’s still quite raw. And, well, I don’t want to be a rebound. What should I do? Make the move? Let it simmer for a while and play the long game? So many questions, so few answers. Until now. Hopefully.

On the contrary, I think Kyle has given you your answer. If he’s working up a light sweat jogging away from your smooches, then I promise you, he’s either not ready or not interested in dating you. 

Oh man, I know that sounds harsh. And I totally understand if you’re salty about the situation. I’m sure from where you stand, it seems like Kyle is giving you mixed signals. Why would he dance and drink with me if he isn’t down to kick it? 

Pull up a chair because I’m about to drop some serious knowledge. Sometimes people enjoy attention from the opposite sex when they go out to a club. Maybe Kyle’s self-esteem took a hit in the breakup so he wants to know that he’s still attractive. Maybe he just wants to flirt with a pretty girl and get his mind off his heartbreak for a little while. Maybe he just thinks you’re really cool and is enjoying making a new friend. It doesn’t matter what his reasons from declining a kiss are, the bottom line is that right now, he’s not going to carve a heart around your initials into a tree.  

Don’t be bummed! And do not, I repeat DO NOT, take this personally. Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and do your best to be objective here. Fact: he likes to dance with me. Fact: he likes to drink with me. Fact: he doesn’t want to kiss me. Conclusion: he’s not interested in dating me right now. It doesn’t matter why he’s not ready. He just isn’t, and that’s all the information you need to know. 

Will he be interested in dating you in the future? Who knows! It’s possible he could get struck my lightening tomorrow and realize that you were his #1 lady all along, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. The best thing you can do is to cut your losses, wish him the best (in your head), and keep it movin’. 

As you get more experience dating, you’ll learn to spot when a person is emotionally unavailable because he’ll pull away when things inch towards intimacy, just as our friend Kyle has done here. In the meantime, go out with other guys and have some fun. With a little practice and a keen eye, soon you’ll be able to discern which people are a safe place to put your heart. A valuable clue: they won’t pull away when you try to kiss them. That’s a good sign. 

Make It Stop is a weekly column in which Anna Goldfarb — author of “Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through” and the blogger behind the blog, Shmitten Kitten — tells you what’s up. Want a fresh take on a stinky dilemma? Email with the subject “Make It Stop.” She’ll make it all better, or at least make you laugh. Girl Scout’s honor.