I got to thinking about someone I met, but didn’t know well, this afternoon. He came into my life from who knows where— sent me a Facebook friend request a few years ago, which I accepted on the strength of mutual friendships. Several months later, he started chiming in on Facebook posts, answering random questions and offering help. I think what happened next was that I got a message from him on one of my defunct online dating profiles. I’d have had to reactivate the profile to start communicating with him, so I asked if he wouldn’t mind if we chatted on Facebook, instead. He didn’t object, but we didn’t really talk, until I threw out an open invitation to Facebook friends for a get-together around the movie “Zombieland” I had at my house.
Much to my amazement, he came, with a mish-mosh of friends and acquaintances. He didn’t know anyone but me, there, and there’s an argument to be made that he didn’t even know me. He had my attention, at this point, because that’s a pretty gutsy thing to do. Gutsier than any of the guys I’ve dated in recent memory. He seemed like a nice guy, and I hoped it would be the start of some things. But there were a couple of things that didn’t go great, that night— one was that “Zombieland,” while still one of my favorite movies, features fouler language than I had remembered. He’s from my faith community, so it made me a little self-conscious. Also, some people I had invited kind of monopolized things. I didn’t think either would be a deal-killer.
And in fact, I heard from him when I reactivated my Match.com profile later that year. I asked some basic questions in the name of small-talk— what do you do, what got you into that… but the conversation never really gained momentum, and I have a pretty strict policy of not asking guys out (hold the lectures— it’s strategic. I have asked guys out and though there are exceptions to every rule, my experience is that I encounter a larger than desirable number of opportunists who aren’t specifically interested or uninterested in me, that way—even bigger time-wasters than the guys I usually date), so eventually, my subscription expired and we went our separate ways. I tried to engineer a bump-into situation, once or twice, but nothing came of it.
This was about 18 months ago, and for whatever reason, I got to thinking of him this afternoon. We’re still Facebook friends but he doesn’t post often, so I went to his page to check in. It seems clear that he’s dating someone, and when I spent a little more time on it, it turns out he’s been engaged since late last summer.
If I’m honest with myself, I knew nothing was going to come of it. Too many opportunities came and went without our having gone on a date. But it still makes me feel like I’ve been stuck in neutral with people who were wasting my time for far too long, missing more promising opportunities to connect with people with whom I have more common ground.
I’m about ready to get on that.