Promise or possibility?

When a man says, “Let’s get together Saturday night,” do you take that as a possibility or a promise?

I take it as a promise. If he says, “Let’s do lunch sometime,” as many acquaintances do, I view that as a possibility — a remote one, more of a nicety than necessity. No fixed date is stated. But giving a time frame, even if no specific time, is a promise in my mind.

If he said, “Let’s get together this weekend,” I still consider it a promise, with the specifics to be determined later. I hold in my mind that we will get together, even though I won’t reserve a day or time until that is cemented. So I don’t limit my activities waiting for the phone to ring.

This came up again this week. Tuesday I met for coffee a man with whom I’d been talking for a week. We had an enjoyable time, laughing and learning about each other. At the end of the hour, as he walked me to my car he said, “Would you like to get together again?” I responded, “That would be fun.” He said, “I have to work tomorrow night, but why don’t we go listen to some music Thurs. or Friday night?” “Either one works for me.” He said, “Great. Tell me when to be where and I’ll be there.” “Okay,” I muttered, as I knew he was new to the area so might not have ideas on where to go.

On my way home, I thought about all the things I had to do before going abroad in a week. I didn’t relish researching who’s playing at which clubs then deciding which would work best for both of us. And candidly, I think it’s part of a man’s job to plan an outing that he thinks would please the woman he’s trying to impress. I spent too many years being the activity planner in my marriage and now I want to have someone who will take the lead at least half the time.

I called him the same afternoon and said, “I have a request. As you know, I’m preparing for my trip to Dubai next week and would really appreciate it if you would do some digging about our music options.” He said, “No problem. I’ll call you tomorrow and we can discuss it.” I appreciated his flexibility.

Wednesday evening he called from work (he works nights) to say hi. Before we could solidify plans, he said he needed to go as someone needed him pronto, but we’d talk tomorrow. No problem.

Thursday came and went with no contact. I thought, “Perhaps he’s thinking we’ll get together Friday.” Friday came and went with no contact.

This has happened to me before. So is he flaky? Did he decide he’s just not that into me? Did I misunderstand? Was my assertiveness too much for him to handle?

I kick myself for not doing what I’ve learned to do from past experiences like this: set a time before which we’ll talk to solidify plans, like, “Let’s talk by 5:00 Wed. to solidify our plans.” I forgot to do that this time. Not that it slowed me down, as I went about my business anyway. But it does make it hard to make other plans. So on Tuesday when he said “Let’s get together Thursday or Friday,” I didn’t make plans with a gal pal to see a movie on the other night, as I might have if the date were definite. I could have limited our date plans to one of the two days, but I wanted to be flexible in case a great band was playing one night but not the other.

I also could have called him to clarify, but I figure if I have to chase a man down to confirm a date, he’s not that into me so I will just let it go. If he doesn’t want to see me enough to confirm then best to release him.

Contrast that with another man with whom I’ve been talking once a week for 5 weeks. Our schedules haven’t meshed until this weekend. He called Monday and asked about getting together. We decided Sunday would be best. He called Friday to further define our plans. We discussed options. He said he’s going to research where to meet in the town about half-way between us and he’d get back to me Saturday. I like that kind of planning and follow through! He understands that possibilities need to be turned into promises if he wants to see me.

What do you think about the difference between possibility and promise? Have you ever thought something was a possibility when the man you were seeing thought it was a promise?


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7 responses to “Promise or possibility?”

  1. rkintn Avatar

    Umm, yeah I ran into this problem with a guy I’d been talking to for a few months. Granted it was a long distance thing but he had made one trip to come and see me with what I thought was the promise of another but turned out it was just a possiblity with him. Needless to say, relationship eventually fizzled. Like you, I’ve spent many years being the “event planner” and if the guy can’t step up and take the initiative once in a while then it just isn’t for me.

  2. The Seductress Within Avatar

    “He said, “No problem. I’ll call you tomorrow and we can discuss it.”

    I take that as a promise. He said he’d call on a specific day about plans HE suggested.

    “So is he flaky? Did he decide he’s just not that into me? Did I misunderstand? Was my assertiveness too much for him to handle?”

    My guess is he flaked out or some new plans sounded like more fun to him. Either way, it was inconsiderate.

    Enjoy your trip!

  3. Samantha Avatar

    Were the two of you discussing music on your date? Did he get the impression that you were the more informed one for knowing where to go and who to see? Not that you were trying to give that impression, but that may have been his impression if you came across as someone in the know about this activity. If that’s the case he would have asked you to let him know where to go in order to make sure you guys went just exactly where you wanted to go.

    If it’s not possible he had that impression of you, then asking you was just plain lazy. He may have been testing you to see how much work you would do. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but a lot of men attracted to online dating have too many other people to meet and might not give you a chance. Or, he COULD have been scared off by your assertiveness, if it wasn’t asked sweetly… Wording things just right sometimes could do the trick. If you said ‘I’d appreciate it if you would’ may have scared him off….’saying.. ‘wondering, would you mind’… may have had a touch of sweetness to it, maybe? Hope I’m not overstepping a boundary or insulting you. He may have felt like he wouldn’t be able to please you. Please understand my intenion is to not say you’re doing something wrong at all. I think sometimes you have to consider what was talked about and what kind of impression you give the other person. Just giving my ideas as to what may have happened.

  4. Samantha Avatar

    I would say to listen to your gut. If you think you may have done or said something to scare him off, or if anything is tugging at you here, you could always write to him and say ‘I hope I didnt come across blah blah blah… I appreciate that you were wanting me to pick, but I’m busy right now’….. or if your gut/content of your date conversation tells you otherwise, chalk it up to HIS LOSS!

  5. Catherine Avatar

    I’ve seen this before too. The guy is a one hit wonder, meaning he has one idea for a date, and once that has passed, looks to the woman to plan everything going forward. It isn’t so bad if they just need a push in the right direction, like “Let’s go to a museum” and then you discuss the museums in the area that would interest both of you, and then HE does the research to see which one is open at the time you wanted to get together. I don’t mind that kind of “date planning assistance”.

    When you have to come up with the idea, time, place and sometimes even pay, major red flags should be going off! This man is either lazy or clueles, neither one is an attractive feature in a potenial beau.

  6. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Samantha: Thanks for your thoughts. No, there was no mention of music during our coffee, and I don’t know a good place off the top of my head. I threw out a few that I’d heard of nearby but haven’t been to. So I can’t imagine he’d think I was an expert. And yes, I asked sweetly and he seemed agreeable to searching. and if he was put off, I doubt he would have called the next night. So another one goes “poof”!

    Catherine: I didn’t get the sense he was lazy. In fact, he’s rather ambitious generally. So don’t know what happened. Oh well. At some point, I can’t spend much energy wondering and just have to know that if they’re interested they know how ot contact me.

    Meanwhile I had a great lunch date with #94. We had a lot in common. He said he’ll call me before I leave on Thurs. so we’ll see where this one goes.

  7. Samantha Avatar

    Well, if he asked you to figure out the date…. sounds like he’s not serious about his search at all.