Submitted by Ann:
I met Bill at a local mall while I was looking for a birthday present for my then-boyfriend. Bill worked in a video game store, and we became friends. After my breakup, Bill and I hung out more often, and it was pretty clear that he was interested in more than mere friendship. I liked him also. He was stressed about what to do, so I suggested we just take things slowly.
He countered with a complex set of ideas on how to transition our friendship into a relationship. One of his bullet points, "Change 'hanging out' to 'dating,'" seemed unnecessary. However, I agreed to go out on a date with him, although I wasn't sure how it would be different from regular hanging out with dinner and a movie, except for maybe the addition of something physical. I already liked him as more than a friend, so what was the difference?
He seemed really anxious to impress me from early on. He was excessively polite, and paid for everything. I told him that I liked him because of who he was, as opposed to who he was trying to be, but that didn't seem to change anything up. All through dinner, he was way too attentive and accommodating. It made me uncomfortable.
Finally, I tried a new tactic. I told him that he was upsetting me because he wasn't listening to me when I asked him to just relax and be himself. He became defensive and repeated, "I am being myself," over and over.
It got to the point of ridiculousness... I dropped a pea on my napkin and he grabbed a new napkin for me. If I sneezed, he'd ask me if I was okay. I couldn't take it anymore and I finally told him to relax or that things weren't going to work out.
He was quiet for the rest of the date, but he was obviously simmering, casting me dark looks and mumbling to himself. The date ended and he called a week later to tell me that he didn't things were going to work out. It was a nice call to receive.
Submitted by Ann: