A Non-date

So basically, I've been friends with this girl for a while, only usually see her in a group setting, but since I recently found out she's newly single I've wanted to ask her out. On Saturday I asked if she wanted to go for a drink, just the two of us, and her Whatsapp reply was "yes, as friends right?" - she's happy to meet up this Thursday but she explained that she's trying to work things out with her sort-of ex (she didn't give any more details so I don't know if she's trying to restart things with him or just get closure or what). We saw each other on Monday as part of a group for karaoke and we spent about half the night together chatting, we had a laugh and nearly sang a duet but didn't have time. Right now I'm waiting for her reply to me trying to arrange details on where to go and what time to meet.
I've noticed though that it seems eerily similar to how my last relationship started, except then the girl asked me on a 'just friends' non-date, not the other way around. In both cases:

* The girl is newly single
* She's still been in contact somehow with her ex (in the first case that was down to the ex wanting to get back together and the girl saying no)
* We've been friends for a while
* We've agreed to go out as friends somewhere (comedy with my last 'future-girlfriend', drinks in this case)
* Between their last split and us going out, both girls have had a brief one-off date or fling with someone in our friendship circle
* In both cases that thing ended very quickly and the two have barely spoken since
* In both cases the girl came to me and commented the other person was completely ignoring them for no reason

It seems like the only big difference is that last time the girl did the asking on the non-date, and this time I was the one to ask. Given what this girl said this time about her ex, I'm not expecting anything either way, but I'd really like some advice on how to proceed. Two of our mutual friends, who are a couple themselves, know what's going on because I've told them (through asking for support and advice), and my immediate family know but no-one else does. One of said mutual friends has said she reckons we're well suited to each other, not sure if she was just being nice about it all or really means it but this friend is someone I trust more than most people in my life...

Quick update: She's just messaged me back to say she's still up for Thursday, we've agreed on a place so I just need to suggest a time now.

I'm not sure why you compared this situation to you getting with your last girlfriend, they have some similarities but aren't really the same thing.

"Work things out" usually means get back together. I could be wrong but that's generally how it is used.

My advice? Go out, have a nice time, but be upfront about the fact that you want to go out with her at some point soon. Let her know that you respect her trying to work it out with her ex (how newly is newly single anyway?), but that you're interested in her.

I don't expect that to be popular advice, but that's what I think. I've never liked guys who pretended they just wanted to be friends when they clearly didn't. But that's just me.

Have to agree with Phasmal. Be upfront about your intentions, not all secret squirrel.

Eh, this is kinda late. I meant to post yesterday but I had a lot of drinking to do, plus I was trying to get the Rilgar trophy in Ratchet and Clank.

Anyway, good luck.

This is a bit late but I think I agree with the others.
I am pretty simple when it comes to dating and really don't want to bother with drama. I'm of the attitude that if you want to be with someone and they want to be with you, there is no need for drama. When there is problems on something simple like "I want to be with you" then imagine how complicated things will be if the relationship progresses and you move in together.

My advice is tell her you want to take her out on a non-friend date. If she says "yes", then great. If she says "no", then too bad. Maybe this is because she is trying to sort things out with her ex or maybe she is not into you, either way doesn't really matter. If she is trying to get back with her ex then she is more into him than you and do you really want to be the second choice? If she says "no", say "no worries" and then carry on being friends. Just keep in your mind that it isn't going to happen down the line and the best thing you can do is to find a girl who is into you as much as you are into her.

She said 'yes, as friends right?' which kind of suggests she's not looking for a relationship, just friends.

As it goes, she's just come out of a relationship (no idea of the seriousness) - not every wants to jump from relationship to relationship (some do, some don't). Whatever you do, if the conversation turns to criticising her ex/potential current partner, keep your mouth extremely tightly closed. If they get back together, you'll be the bad guy (and running people down behind their back always makes you look bad).

Thursday has, of course, already happened. I'm just airing my view.

Well, I've read the responses, thank you guys for the advice :) I know it's a bit late though after they were all posted. We went out Thursday and it actually went really well, turns out a small number of our mutual friends spotted us at a distance (by sheer chance and all independently) and they all assumed it was a date (they basically said as much to us both when we all met as a group on a later night). We spent about 3 hours together and then on Saturday we were out with a group and ended up sharing an Uber as her house is along the way to mine. Nothing happened, just dropped the girl off at home then carried on to drop me off too, but even the cab driver assumed we were a couple even though nothing happened between us in the car. So I'm not sure what to make of all that especially when one of our mutual friends has already told me she thinks we're "well suited" (this friend has played matchmaker for a few other couples in our social circle before).

Tonight I actually found out a bit more on the ex front. It turns out she told one of our friends something about what was happening that really he shouldn't have passed on to me as it was said in complete confidence, so I feel a bit guilty for knowing but also a lot happier about the aftermath (and it's probably selfish of me to think that anyway). She spent the night on Friday with her ex, then Saturday daytime, and she admitted to our friend that it's the worst mistake she's ever made and really regrets spending the night with him. To me, and to our mutual friend, that sounds like a reconciliation isn't going to happen between them, although I'm holding off for the moment. I didn't want to know something so personal anyway unless she told me herself, and I definitely won't be letting on that I know since it's not my business, but at least it means I still have a chance now provided I take things slowly. I know everyone has baggage, hell, I've got my own that I've dealt with, and the last thing I want to do is lose a friend if we don't end up as a couple, so going slow but confident is probably the best way to do things from here.

(Also, anyone thinking I'm being a dick for posting that last paragraph even when it's so personal to the girl in question - maybe I am a dick. But at the same time I'm not mentioning names, nobody here knows any of the people involved, and I wouldn't be saying anything at all to anyone outside who's involved - the only reason I say anything here is because it's anonymous and solely in the interests of getting some advice. Just my disclaimer, since I don't want to be a dick but appreciate why some may think of me in that way...)

The only thing I will say here is that you're in danger of entering Nice Guy territory. I don't mean that as a criticism of you or anything, just remain aware (and I'm sure you are) that people used to having a partner and suddenly finding themselves bereft of that partner are more likely to carpe diem, expect in this case the day is another person.

The fact that strangers think you are a couple doesn't mean anything. Strangers assume that two people of opposite gender above a certain age are a couple.

Also, your friends are spying on you. For the Russians. Cancel all your meetings with Flynn.

 

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