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Date Language Defined

by Laura Gilbert

It’s no secret that the language of love isn’t always the most, well, direct.  That’s why so many single people spend hours analyzing emails and texts from dates trying to figure out if “I’m busy at work” is a brush-off, or wondering whether that invitation of “I’ll make dinner for you” indicates a desire to share a whole lot more than a favorite garlic chicken recipe.  How can you figure out what someone’s really trying to say?  To help you out, we decided to decode four common lines so you’ll spend less time scratching your head and more time communicating.

Statement:  “I’d love to stay, but I have to get up really early tomorrow.”

What it could mean: “Sorry, you just aren’t floating my boat.”  Of course, if it’s 2 a.m. or your date follows up with, “But let’s get together soon—maybe this weekend?” the fact that he or she wants to end the date is no big deal.  But if the night is young or your date mentions an aversion to staying out late in the middle of, say, appetizers, that’s not a good sign. Your date may sense there’s no connection and want to exit sooner rather than later.  At least look at the upside: This person’s also freeing you from a situation that’s not going anywhere, so just enjoy your dinner, then book.

Statement: “I’m just not ready for a relationship.”

What it means: “I’m just not in love with you.”  It’s hard when someone you like tells you he or she’s not in a place to seriously date anyone. But it also makes you hope that the problem is timing, not your personality. If you can just be patient, you think, things could percolate, right? Wrong. “This means ‘I don’t love you, so if that’s what you want, we should break up,’” says Puhn.  Don’t be fooled—when this person does meet someone who has that spark, he or she will indeed be ready for a relationship.

Statement: “I’d love to meet up, but I’m just busy with work right now.”

What it means: “I’m trying to think of a really nice way to blow you off.”   Of course, this person could very well have a full schedule that week. But if he or she doesn’t offer any alternative dates to hang out, what you’re really being told is that this person would rather work than hang out with you. (Sorry.) You can always get away long enough for dinner or a drink with someone.  It’s a matter of priorities.” So if your date isn’t trying to pencil you in, it could be time to write that person off.

Statement: “I’m meeting friends for drinks—want to come?”  

What it means: “I really like you and want to know if you get along with my friends.”    It may sound like a casual invite, but what your date is saying is that he or she is totally comfortable being seen with you as a couple—and is interested in how you’ll relate to his or her closest comrades. Meeting friends is also an approval thing.  It may seem intimidating, but it should actually boost your ego:  You’ve passed the first tests and are now on your way to becoming a full-time boyfriend or girlfriend—provided the buddies sign off.

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