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Am I Barking at the Wrong Tree?

Hey Mark and Sophie,

I am confused about this girl from my part time work since the last two months we've been hanging out every weekend, less a weekend or two. She had split up with her first serious relationship earlier this year because he cheated on her.

We've spoken a bit at work about winter sports, hiking, and martial arts. She had asked for my email address because she was interested in taking a self defense course.

Anyhow, she got my attention one evening when I was leaving a house party hosted by a co-worker by hugging me tighter and a wee little longer than usual for an acquintance from work. She went backpacking for a few weeks. When she came back, we started chatting on msn and one day she was asking lots of direct questions like " do i work fulltime", "where do i work", and " do i live alone"... So I asked her to go blading. Since then, we've gone on 2 day long hikes, seen a movie, went to a nice dinner, etc...

We finally started talking about relationships a couple weeks ago and she told me a little bit of what happened in her last relationship. She's not really ready for another one, says her but if a guy comes along... Along the way, I'm finding that we have a few things in common from the type of people we'd like to date, outdoor activities, type of movies we like to watch, places to go see, etc...I know she loves my car and likes the way I dress as she's complimented me on those on a few occasions.

Now I realized more and more that she's the girl I'm looking for...however, she hasn't shown any romantic interest although she's mentioned she likes romantic stuff. I've indirectly hinted that I like her, told her she's a "catch", she looks good but no obvious reaction.

My question is: Do you think this is worth pursuing or am I going to be barking at the wrong tree? My women friends think its just a friends situation but I'm the eternal optimist...

Tree barker

Mark's advice

Woof, Woof "Go get her boy, Go fetch". Okay, that didn't come out as funny as I first thought it might. But I still think you should go for it.
I am a little confused however. Let's see. You've gone blading together, gone to a movie, dinner, 2-day hike, and you haven't made any type of move yet? Not even any lip action? Most people would be on their second child by now. She likes your car. She likes the way you dress. She tells you she'll get back into a relationship if the right guy comes along.
And you haven't kissed her yet?
Let's end the madness with one line. Now memorize this, and repeat it word for word. It will be on the exam "If I asked you for a kiss, do you think it would ruin our friendship?" If she gives you the go-ahead, you're in like Flint. (I know. That's an old expression my dad still uses). If she turns you down, you can come back with: "Well, I'm good either way. I'm just not sure where we were going with this". Maybe it's just me, but I see hint, hint, hint all over the place.

Sophie's advice

Dear Tree Barker;
I can understand why you're confused. It's tough for anyone to discern the signals of the opposite sex - especially when you don't know the individual that well. From your perspective, she might be the type of woman who waits for the man to make the first move and is very conservative in her flirting. However, she could actually be very obvious about her feelings when she likes someone, but because you've never seen her in that situation, you have no way of knowing. So how do you sort through this man/woman minefield? Usually, and there are always exceptions to the rule, a woman will let you know when she's interested. There will be some sort of physical flirting, a hand on the arm, a touch here or there - this is what we often do to signal we're interested. If we don't do it physically, we might verbalize something instead. She's said she's not really ready for a relationship. At the very least, this means she's not really ready for a relationship - she was cheated on so she's going to have trust issues and probably self-esteem issues to deal with as well. She might be interested in something in the future, but was telling you to be patient with her, or she may have told you that to put off the awkward "I'm not interested in you but I don't want to hurt your feelings" conversation. You just don't know.
How do you find out? Ask her. Be honest with your feelings and don't stagger blindly for fear you will lose what you never had in the first place. You can do this in a calm and friendly way, like, "I enjoy spending time with you and feel like we have fun together - do you see us developing beyond friends or would you like to just stay friends?" This is a no-pressure way to get the answer you deserve. Don't waste any more time guessing - find out what the deal is and move forward.

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