General Question

nikipedia's avatar

Several questions about bar courtship etiquette.

Asked by nikipedia (28080points) March 31st, 2008

A lot of men complain about women being teases who let guys buy them drinks even though they’re not interested. Let’s say I’m at a bar and having a great conversation. I’d like to continue the conversation, but am under no circumstances going to date/have sex with the guy in question.

(1) At what point in the conversation am I obligated to let him know I’m not interested?

(2) How do I let him know? Do I have to explicitly state “I am not interested”, or can men be trained to read body language?

(3) If a woman was shooting you down, would you want to know the reason? Does it matter to you if she’s not interested because she has a boyfriend or because she doesn’t like you personally?

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9 Answers

GD_Kimble's avatar

(1 & 2)State it quickly, clearly, and directly. Especially if you do actually enjoy the guy’s conversation—just say “I’m really enjoying talking to you, but I think you should know I’m not looking for anything tonight. I’m just having a nice evening.”, and give him the opportunity to save face and wish you a good evening or shift gears and keep chatting with you.

Most guys, I think, will appreciate your candor, but you have to be prepared for him to stop talking to you (even if you’re very sweet about it, it’s still a little embarrassing to be rejected).

(3) Yes, we always want to know the reason, but don’t offer it unless we ask. (which will be almost never)

iSteve's avatar

1 & 2: Yeah, directly. I’m not always very quick to pick up on clues, especially if I’m a bit nervous. And right away is good so I can move on and not feel stupid for wasting everyone’s time.

3: I don’t want to know why. It’s much easier on my ego to assume that there’s something wrong with you instead of me!

scamp's avatar

This was in the questions for you section, so even tho I am not a guy, I will take a stab at answering.

I don’t let a guy buy me nore than one drink if am am not interested in him. I want to be polite, so I return the favor and buy one for him. Just because someone buys me a drink I don’t assume he is hitting on me, so I will talk to him a little. If it seems like he is hitting on me, I will tell him I appreciate the drink but I am not available.

I never tell him the reason why because that just seems rude to me. If he asks me directly why I am not interested, I would say politely “I don’t think we have much in common.”

I think it’s important to not lead a guy on, but not crush him while letting him know he’s not the one for me.

On the other hand, if he’s a total creep and gets too pushy I’m not so polite. I will just say leave me alone.

Emilyy's avatar

It would seem to me that even though you might be interested in continuing a great conversation without any possibility of sex or exchanging numbers at the end, if you tell him that you’re not interested in those things, the conversation will probably not continue. What’s the point? And besides, if the conversation is so great, what would be the reason for ruling out the possibility of anything romantic? I guess if you have a significant other already, then I could see it, but why are you in a bar striking up conversation with strangers? Not to say that interesting conversation with a member of the opposite sex (or, the sex you’re interested in dating) always has to end with sex or the hope of a date, but in a bar isn’t that what most people are looking for? I would like to believe in a world where people could socialize in bars just for the sake of good old conversation, and at the end of the night go on their merry way feeling better inside because they connected with someone on a deep level without stumbling home drunk to screw them. But it seems like in reality, most people frequenting such locales would probably be disappointed with that.

To answer your queries:

1. I would let him know as soon as you realize. This something I have a hard time doing in any situation, romantic or not. Asserting oneself and clearly stating what you want and don’t want can be difficult. But if you’re gifted enough to do it, I wouldn’t waste time in telling him so that both of you can move on to other people who you might feel a better connection with.
2. If you’re already engaged in a conversation with him, I don’t think body language is going to do the trick. In my limited experience, men/people in general sometimes have a hard time with subtle hints and need to be told straight out, “You know what, I’m really just not interested” before they’ll actually leave you alone.
3. I say just cut him loose. No reason is necessary. In bars, people get hit on and shut down all the time. I think it comes with the territory. Just do it and move on.

scamp's avatar

I have acrually met quite a few interesting people in a bar over drinks without any sex invovled. Maybe the kind of bars you and I have gone to are different. I have never gone to a bar to look for a sexual encounter. I avoid the meat markets you refer to. If a person is only interested in sex, it comes out soon enough and the conversation is over. But I guess we have different views on this subject. Drinks + conversation do not add up to stumbing home to screw for me.

Emilyy's avatar

That’s interesting. I just don’t think that an alcohol-infused environment is the place I would go to attempt to have meaningful conversations with strangers (That’s what Fluther’s for!). I too avoid “meat markets”, but usually if I’m going to a bar, it’s to socialize with my friends. And any time that I do strike up a conversation with a stranger in a bar, it seems awkward at the end to try to get out of it with just a “Well, thanks for the great conversation. Bye now!” I guess I’m not trying to say that every bar conversation has to end in drunk screwing, but it just seems like if two people are at a bar alone and have a meaningful conversation that lasts all night long, they would probably want to try to reconnect again and might ask to exchange numbers. If one party didn’t want that, wouldn’t the other person feel as though they had been lead on? It seems unrealistic to meet someone, converse all night, and just leave it at that. So even if that person is not expecting drunken sex, wouldn’t an all-night hanging out session leave them wanting more? Another date, at least?

nikipedia's avatar

EmilyNathon: I go to bars with my friends just for fun all the time. I don’t know, maybe that makes me an alcoholic. But we have a whole separate question for that….

Also I think there’s a lot of grey area between “meaningful conversation” and sexual pursuit. At least I hope so.

scamp's avatar

Absolutely! And no one said anything about the conversations being any paticular length. I said nothing about hanging out all night and then dismissing the other person with a simple Bye now, but then again I am not the all night bar type of person either. I work in the medical feild, and have had many business luncheons with representatives from drug companies. Our conversations have been very interesting, and we had drinks together. Does that mean I was leading them on? I don’t think so. I don’t conduct myself any differently in a bar than I would anywhere elese in public.

Having a drink with an interesting stranger does not constitute a date for me, so even if the person may want more, it wouldn’t be “another date”. I can “socialize” where alchohol is included without any hint of sex involved. If one can’t do that, they may have lost control from drinking too much and may want to rethink their drinking habits.

Siren's avatar

You know, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with accepting a drink from a guy, whether you’re interested in him or not. Perhaps it’s the “intention” that should be questioned. If you feel you don’t want to even talk to that person and/or want to be left alone, I would reject the offer. However, if you wouldn’t mind the company, I don’t think it should be considered by anyone as an invitation to sex, or even an acknowledgement that sex may be on the menu. Maybe the guy who offers the drink later realizes during the course of the conversation that he doesn’t want to continue getting to know the woman, so doesn’t it kind of work both ways?

I think it’s a nice way to initiate conversation with a lady. Period. Beyond that, who knows where it could lead. Or not.

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