Dear Amy: After 31 years with my spouse, I’m now dating (I’m a widower). Dating is a new thing for me.
There is a guy with whom I thought I had a good rapport. He reached out to me last week expressing an interest in getting together over the weekend. I responded that I’d like that, and gave him my availability.
I never heard back from him. I thought maybe he had an emergency, and I texted him Sunday night just to confirm that he was OK.
He replied, apologizing for the weekend getting away from him, and said that he had a work project due the next day.
I respect the fact that he takes his work seriously, but I am bothered that he did not let me know his weekend plans were changed.
I may be old-fashioned, but this situation just makes me think we are not as aligned as I thought. To me, a quick text letting me know he needed to cancel would have been common courtesy. I think he was telling me he is not that interested.
Is this how things work now, where you don’t really need to let someone know if you are opting out of previously stated plans? Maybe I am out of touch. — Dating Newbie
Dear Newbie: Welcome to the dating world, where — no matter what era — someone is always waiting by the phone.
Even though modern technology has made it possible for us to be in touch — frequently and instantly — basic human behavior and dynamics have stayed fairly constant over time.
If someone wants to be with you, he will leap over boundaries and deadlines to see you. And if an emergency keeps him away, you will be the first to know, because — yes! — you are just a text or a quick call away.
Dating is actually great practice at reading social cues.
For instance, you and he did not actually have “previously stated” plans. There was a vague and nonspecific plan-balloon floating over your weekend. (Not locking down plans is a cue.)
When this guy decided he didn’t want to see you, he didn’t bother letting you know. (Rudeness is a cue.)
Common courtesy is still common, and when someone is truly interested in seeing you, he will demonstrate this by being kind, polite, and eager to see you. Never supply a rationale or excuse for someone else’s rudeness.
Move on. When the guy is right for you, you will know it.
Dear Amy: Every summer a group (10 to 15) of us high school classmates get together for a casual picnic. Our 50th high school reunion was canceled until next year.
Silly me, with this pandemic, I assumed that the picnic would automatically be canceled. Instead, I was notified to bring a dish to pass and meet at the usual picnic tables.
I was shocked that these people (almost 70 years old, and many with careers in the medical field, would be so oblivious to the pandemic. Many of these classmates live out of town.
I refused to go. I pointed out that group gatherings and sharing food main dishes/serving utensils, public grills — during a pandemic — was a very bad idea. The person planning it was quite mystified and miffed at my decision not to attend. Why are people so oblivious during a pandemic? Did I overreact? — What Pandemic?!
Dear What: Although this virus doesn’t seem to be transmitted the way some other illnesses are — on shared utensils, for instance — the very act of sharing food and utensils brings people in close proximity, which gives this virus a chance to spread.
I don’t know why some people are so oblivious, but you cannot control them. Your duty is to do your very best to take care of yourself. If you don’t contract the virus, you won’t spread it, and this is how you will help to take care of others. I hope your group gets lucky and that everybody stays safe and well.
Dear Amy: I had to laugh when I read the letter from “Screw Loose in Lucedale.”
Although I don’t live alone, I do work from home and am solitary with my pets most of the day.
My son has always made fun of my “narrating my own life.” Pointing it out brought humor to the situation, but did not change it. — Still Narrating
Dear Narrating: Judging from the huge response to this question, a lot of us have a lot to say … to ourselves.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)