Does He Like Me or Not? Are We Just Friends or Dating?

  • "He walked me to my car and we were kissing for awhile and it was great, but now I haven't heard from him this whole week."
  • "He said he's really busy and that's why he hasn't called for another date."
  • "We met for coffee and spent hours talking and he said he really likes talking to me. Does that count as a date?"
  • "I haven't heard from him in two weeks, and then he suddenly gives me a nice birthday present. I don't get it! What am I supposed to think?"

I'm sure we all have examples like these. I don't mean to pick on men here, but as a woman with many close female friends, these are the stories that I tend to hear. There is often ambiguity at the start of hanging out with someone, as to whether there is genuine interest in dating, interest in sex, or just interest in developing a friendship. How can you tell what the other person is thinking?

In some cases there will be ambiguity no matter what, because you can't always know how much you like the person and how well they match up with you. But wouldn't it be great if there was some system on which to rate what you're thinking about various potentials, and report that to the other person (and vice versa), so there is always clear communication about where you stand? For example, after each interaction, you indicate on a 1-10 scale, how you're feeling about the potential for:

  • Dating
  • Hanging out as friends
  • Kissing
  • Sex
  • Being only Facebook friends

Would this ruin the excitement, mystery, and spontaneity at the start of knowing someone? Or would it just clear up a lot of confusion, hurt, and anger? It seems perhaps it would create MORE hurt feelings at first, while also creating LESS uncertainty and annoyance. I think if this was a standard way of interacting, we would learn how to tap into and express our emotions better, and be better able to handle honest rejection. Food for thought!

Jennifer Gunsaullus, Ph.D.

Sex Therapy & Relationship Counseling in San Diego