How do you know when someone is romantically interested in you or just being kind?





 

I almost met my next ex-girlfriend at the grocery store. I did let her squeeze my avocados. So, there’s that.

I don’t go around forcing my avocados on strange women, but she asked how to tell when they were ripe for eating.

So, I gave her an impromptu lesson.

We sorted through the bins together searching out the perfect avocados.

Ripe ones were scarce.

“Wait a minute! So, now we’re both searching for the same avocado?” she said breathily, rolling her eyes, stamping her foot, and sneering.

Clearly, the honeymoon was over.

“No,” I said. “Here’s a good one.”

I handed her the ripe avocado without making eye contact and went back to looking for one for myself.

She stood next to me for a long moment, holding the fruit, absorbing what had just happened.

“Thanks,” she said quietly, walking away.

I don’t know why she was in such a bad mood. Maybe she was worried that she’d never be able to compete with my superior avocado hunting skills.

Maybe she feared that my tutorial was leading up to me hitting on her.

It wasn’t.

It was leading up to me hoping that she’d hit on me. Either that or kidnap me and take me back to her island lair to keep me as her man slave. Yeah, like a sexy Bond villain.

I’m kidding, of course.

Sort of.

I mean, it’s possible to instantly have a comfortable rapport with someone and want to spend some more time with them. That would have been fine if that happened with the avocado woman.

It didn’t, and that’s fine too.

It did get me to thinking about how people often misinterpret basic human kindness for romantic interest. I blame the Internet. With so much time spent online, I think we’re losing the ability to interact in person.

For instance, I was having lunch in a restaurant by myself and my waitress kept hanging around talking to me. It’s not odd for me to eat alone. It is odd for a waitress to pay that much attention to me.

We had an interesting conversation that lasted well over an hour and I asked her if she’d like to get together sometime.

She said, “no.”

There may have also been talk about her not having a telephone, at all.

I’m guessing that she simply saw me eating alone and decided to talk to me so I wasn’t lonely.

So what’s the answer here? How will I know when someone is romantically interested in me or just being kind or cordial?

I won’t.

And that will suck sometimes.

But I won’t forget the true gift in all of this; I’ve found that the easiest way to get rid of a pestering waitress is to ask her on a date.

James Gummer has no idea what’s going on and is learning to be okay with that. He writes in Baltimore, Maryland where he also teaches drumming, qigong, and meditation. Visit him at James-writes.com and twitter: @jamesgummer

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