I am a 19-year-old girl, who has always felt an attraction toward women but I have always fought against those feelings. This summer while on vacation in Peru, I met a wonderful woman named Daniela who is my cousin’s friend, and as soon as I met her, I fell head over heels for her. We danced at a club, she bought me a drink, and threatened to hide my passport so I wouldn’t have to leave. But I was shy and acted like a complete idiot because I didn’t know what to do. Over the next few days, it seemed like her feelings for me cooled, and during a toast, she forgot my name, which was embarrassing.
A few days after that, I sent her and all of the new friends I made during that summer some friend requests on Facebook. All of them accepted the request except Daniela. Over 20 days have passed since I sent that request and she hasn’t accepted it. I’m going back to Peru in December possibly and I know that I will definitely see her again because we have friends in common. How do I act when I do see her? Kind, friendly? Or kind but distant? Did she ever feel any interest in me or was it all in my head and confused kindness with flirting? What could be possible reasons for not accepting my request? I hope that you read this and can help me out because I need advice from someone!—Confused Girl
Anna says: Forgive me for drastically shortening your question, Confused. (Let’s keep it to 300 words, lovely letter writers! My glasses are thick enough as it is.) But you appear to be suffering from the quite common Lesbian Overthinking Syndrome…Theory (or LOST, if you enjoy using acronyms to explain complex behavior traits, as I do). You’ve parsed all the details, all the side-eye glances and elbow-rubbing and drink-buying. You’ve conferred with friends, family, and internet strangers. You’ve dissected and analyzed the minutia of your brief, international flirtation and still you’re confused. Still you have no answers and no Facebook friend request acceptance.
There are a few options, Confused, but all of them require you to first CHILLAX ALREADY. Because at its basest level, nothing happened to you. I know it feels like things happened, but they really didn’t. This is a story of speculation. This is not to invalidate your feelings, which are real and heavy and I’m sure have caused you much angst. But now that you have some time and distance, I urge you to take these heavy boulders off your brain, put them in the closet next to the American Apparel leotard you never wear because it makes you feel “hippy,” and focus on the here and now.
Okay? One more deep breath for good measure—phoooooooo. Good. Now, you like this Daniela character, but behaved in ways that contradicted those like-feelings because you’re new to experiencing like-feelings with girls. That’s understandable. And you’re hurt that she didn’t accept your electronic friendship and you don’t know why, even though you admit that she didn’t know you well enough to remember your name. Regardless, if it’s really bugging you, then send her a message on Facebook (you don’t need to be friends to do so) and tell her something like:
“Dear Hot Peruvian Girl,
I think you’re swell. I may have been a bit awkward around you because you’re so awesome and I was intimidated by that, but I hope we can be FB friends because I’ll be back in your town this winter and would love to take another dance lesson from you (or equivalent). If not, that’s cool, I respect your decision and still think you’re rad.
Best, Confused Girl”
Then see where it goes. If she writes back, great. Maybe you can start another flirtatious exchange and get to know each other for realz. If she continues to ignore you, then cut your losses and move on with your life. At least you’ll have a few months to recover before seeing her again. Remember to keep the email light-hearted, casual, and upbeat. Now isn’t the time to go all confessional. Just tell her you think she’s cool and that you want to get to know her.
We’d all do well to remember that we can never really “get” anyone. No matter how much time we spend with someone, or how well we think we know a person, we can never know the whole story. People are only complex. We rationalize, we behave impulsively, we contradict ourselves, and in the end, sometimes not even we can explain why we behaved the way we did. So squash those LOST tendencies as best you can. If you need more help, read this.
And if you need more acronyms, read Sarah Terez-Rosenblum’s Truths of Lesbian Dating. Since we’re all FUCT, anyway.
Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at annapulley.com and on Twitter @annapulley. Send her your The Hook Up questions at email@example.com.