How Can You Tell if a Guy Wants to Hang Out?

No, really, I’m asking.

This has always baffled me.

Maybe it has to do with the rise of texting technology. Don’t get me wrong. I love texting. Never call me again, please. With texting, I can ponder and plan out dialogue thoroughly and possibly come across as witty and charming (note very literal use of the word “possibly”). Texting is like scripting my life.

But everything has its downsides. Like many people, I sometimes have a hard time understanding if someone, particularly someone I don’t know well, is kidding through text. Add that to the fact that I already don’t pick up on subtle social cues and things get messy.

So, as these scenarios go, let’s say I am part of a budding romance (because metaphors about asexual reproduction are probably best here). We’ve hung out a few times, we’re talking a lot, it’s going well. So we’re texting, we’re smiling, texting, and lol’ing. My repartee is at an all-star level.

And then suddenly, I get something along these lines.

“You should totally come over right now.”

“You know what would be funny? If you came over.”

“I kinda miss you.”

“Why aren’t you here?”

“I wanna kiss you.”

So I put down my phone and study my surroundings. Obviously, I am doing nothing of importance. Unless you count semi-watching an episode of a TV show you’ve seen 18 times while you eat pretzels in your underwear. The only thing noteworthy thing I’m doing is talking to you…and I could easily be doing that still if we were to hone in on your suggestion and maximize it to our greatest benefit. But are you being serious? Or are you humoring me while you’ve actually got your arm around your wife? Ah, there’s the rub.

I never know how to respond to this. I have gotten it wrong on multiple occasions.

Case 1: He is actually joking.

I say, “I’m actually free right now.”

And he responds with, “Ooohhh. Yeahhhhh. I was sort of kidding.”

And then it’s awkward. What the heck do you say to that?
“Haha yeah, me too. JK. I’m really busy right now. That’s why I am responding to you so quickly. Because I’m really busy.”

Dr. Jillian will still do everything she can but unfortunately, the conversation is…terminal.

Case 2: He is not joking.

I say something along the lines of, “That would be nice.”

And, instead of him actually telling me to come over because God forbid I attract a rational human being, he just basks in the coming-over fantasy. Like, “You could help me finish this pizza.” And I say, “Mmmmm, is it meatball?” This is how I sext.

This conversation has the opposite problem. This conversation has achieved immortality.

And so we continue to discuss all the different things we could do if I went over. They are all nice and totally feasible. Then, one of two things will happen. Either we will get into 2am territory and suddenly he’ll send a terse, “Are you coming over or what?” Whoooaaa, where did that come from? No, I will not be. Nothing good can come of 2am.

Or we will continue our pleasant conversation about everything that could have absolutely happened if he had just extended an invitation and then I’ll wake up to a, “Why didn’t you come over last night?” With a sad emoji face.

Come…on…

I ask you, readers, how, HOW, are we supposed to know the difference between the two? Are there signs? Is this just one of the many dating things I’ll never understand?

I’m really happy with my boyfriend for many reasons. And one of them is that I don’t have to deal with this shit. We can happily text each other knowing, “These plans are your plans, these plans are my plans, from family parties to making baked clams, and if I ask you to come on over, these plans were made for you and me.”

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