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Say you worked with someone on a church volunteer project. Toward the end, this person said, "We should get together for dinner sometimes."

 

A few weeks later, you bring it up. The other person says, "Let's pick a date. I'll have to run it by my husband and get back to you." Remember, this is the other person's suggestion. You pick a date together and when you get home you write it down. She does not get back to you, and goes out of town so you don't have a chance to check in. When you leave a message, she calls back and sounds slightly annoyed or harried, and says (politely), "I didn't realize we had plans. I've got family coming." She suggests rescheduling but says she needs to check her plans with her husband. You both decide on September 3 and that you'll check in today at church.

 

When you see her at church, she doesn't say a word, not even when you stop to talk to her about it. As a matter of fact, you don't even get a chance to ask if they are still planning to get together with your family because she directs you to something else, then leaves.

 

I feel like I've been brushed off, but I don't know why. And I don't care much, I just don't like being left hanging. I mean of course I care, it hurts my feelings, but I can't do anything about it and don't want to wallow in it.

 

Would you call to double-check? I don't want to pressure the family into feeling obligated to get together; I don't want to leave them hanging if this person simply forgot in the bustle and thinks we're getting together.

 

Ugh.

 

Cat

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She never meant it. It was small talk, meaning, "I want to express that I like you, and for a moment there I thought maybe we could get together socially apart from this shared interest, but on reflection I'd rather not, but I do like you."

 

I had to learn this the hard way, because it didn't make a lick of sense the first time it happened to me, either. Miss Manners explains it in detail in her Complete Guide to Etiquette.

 

This is a dinner that is not going to happen, but you can continue to have a friendly smile-and-nod relationship with this woman at church if you totally drop the dinner idea right now and never mention it again.

 

:( This type of thing is why I started studying etiquette, years ago. Too many code words, too many stupid interactions.

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If she does mean it and is the kind of flaky person to perpetually muff invitations and then kick herself, there's something she can do. She can pick up the phone and properly invite you on a particular date for a particular time.

 

In the absence of such a phone call I'd forget all about her and her dinner suggestion, for my own sanity.

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Flake. I had a lady at church do that. She always said you should come over then act like it was bad that I hadn't been over. Finally one day at least a year if not 2 yrs she actually invited us over after church. She was just flaky in general though when I got to know her better. Ignore unless it is concrete.

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She never meant it. It was small talk, meaning, "I want to express that I like you, and for a moment there I thought maybe we could get together socially apart from this shared interest, but on reflection I'd rather not, but I do like you."

 

I had to learn this the hard way, because it didn't make a lick of sense the first time it happened to me, either. Miss Manners explains it in detail in her Complete Guide to Etiquette.

 

This is a dinner that is not going to happen, but you can continue to have a friendly smile-and-nod relationship with this woman at church if you totally drop the dinner idea right now and never mention it again.

 

:( This type of thing is why I started studying etiquette, years ago. Too many code words, too many stupid interactions.

 

:iagree: I've said those exact words so many times. "We should get together." And had them said to me. I'm not a flake and neither were the people who said it. I've never said it to people that I didn't keep up social interactions with on some level. It's a small talk way of expressing that they like you, they're interested. If someone were to pressure me on the casual dropping of those lines I may feel a bit overwhelmed.

 

If however a date was set, I'd try to honor it---although---if it were a person I barely knew family visiting may have to trump the dinner with them. And then even if a tentative date was set in a small talk way I wouldn't stress it too much.

 

For the OP---let it go. Continue to be friendly at volunteer activities and build the relationship and then maybe invite *them* over for dinner.

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It was small talk, meaning, "I want to express that I like you, and for a moment there I thought maybe we could get together socially apart from this shared interest, but on reflection I'd rather not, but I do like you."

 

See, this is what I thought, too.

 

Until she suggested choosing a day. And honestly, when I said, "Oh yeah, we should do that dinner sometime," I was kind of doing the same thing, and was a little suprised when she said, "Yeah, let's pick a date right now," and went to the calendar.

 

Sigh....I can't imagine going so far as choosing a day, then blowing it off.

 

Cat

Edited by myfunnybunch
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If she does mean it and is the kind of flaky person to perpetually muff invitations and then kick herself, there's something she can do. She can pick up the phone and properly invite you on a particular date for a particular time.

 

In the absence of such a phone call I'd forget all about her and her dinner suggestion, for my own sanity.

 

:iagree: and have longed since learned that people do what they want to do. I no longer read anything into "We should xxxx sometime", but wait for an actual, specific invitation. I think this is just something people say without the intention of it happening.

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Well, since you already decided (however tentatively) on a date, I'd email or call one last time and just say, "I just wanted to see if we're confirmed for the 3rd. Let me know if you can make it." And that would be the end of it for me. I just wouldn't want to be surprised by this woman showing up at my house or calling me, upset because I didn't turn up somewhere.

 

I'll admit that sometimes I say things like that because it seems like a good idea at the time, and when I say it, I really mean it! Then later, I start thinking, "Ugh, why did I do that, I don't have time/money for dinner out, I have too much going on already, etc." But I would never string someone along like that. I'd either find it in myself to go and have fun or actually cancel and let it go.

 

I'm sorry you're dealing with this. She sounds unpleasant :grouphug:

Edited by Sweet Morning Air
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See, this is what I thought, too.

 

Until she suggested choosing a day. And honestly, when I said, "Oh yeah, we should do that dinner sometime," I was kind of doing the same thing, and was a little suprised when she said, "Yeah, let's pick a date right now and went to the calendar."

 

Sigh....I can't imagine going so far as choosing a day, then blowing it off.

 

Cat

Unless she checked with her husband, got a "no" and didn't know how to get out of it..

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The aforementioned lady and I met once at the park, at the end she said something about getting together the following week. Silly me showed up then and she wasn't there, I called her and she couldn't remember who I was at first or that she had even said that. She was certainly flaky.

 

Personally I try not to say such things as I've been on the other end and it can be very hurtful. When others do it I tend to ignore them and I do not pursue or assume anything. These days as well it is fairly rare that I have a desire to pursue deepening relationships with anyone else tbh as my plate fills pretty full.

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Did you just mention something like "let's try for the 3rd" or did one of you mention specific details like time and place?? If time and place were mentioned, then I would follow up, just to make sure you don't have crossed signals. If no time and place were ever set, then I would leave the ball in her court.

 

I do think it's probably not going to happen for you. Social niceties are certainly strange some days!!

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Yes, it took me a long time to realize that in some circles this is just something people say. It's sort of like a "you're really great and I have fun when I see you" (ergo we should get together some time) thing but it doesn't actually mean that it will happen. Sometimes the other get-togethers DO happen, but more often than not they don't.

 

Of course, it could simply be she's flaky, as others have suggested. The fact that she actually did pick a date with you then forgot about it might suggest that.

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I think she's administratively challenged. She and her dh probably have trouble managing the calendar (maybe a source of tension; could have been why she sounded harried). I'd shoot her an email with something VERY light-hearted like "I know we mentioned tomorrow night a while back -- are you guys still thinking that would work to hang out? We're fine either way." If she backs out, drop it. But maybe she'll be glad of the reminder and make it happen.

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Well, I'm sure we've covered this situation within the past few months, but I'll recap:

 

You send her an email with the date and time you will be arriving at her home, demand an advance menu to approve, refuse to allow your family to eat the majority of what you're served, and steal her napkins on the way out.

 

 

 

:D

 

I agree with the general consensus: some people say things about getting together as social conversation, or because it sounds good in theory but, in reality, they are nor prepared to put it on their calendar for whatever reason.

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Some people are really odd like that. I had someone at church ask me for my cell phone number because she and her husband were just "dying to get together" (her words- not mine). She even dropped a specific date and agreed to call. Well, we had just moved to the area so I thought that she was going to call and make an invitation or fill in the details. Nope. She never called and never even stopped to make small talk ever again. That was odd. I mean how am I supposed to know that she didn't really mean it? Your situation sounds a bit odd and also rude to me. I think people (especially at church) should be genuine and not so superficial... But that is JMO.

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Well, I'm sure we've covered this situation within the past few months, but I'll recap:

 

You send her an email with the date and time you will be arriving at her home, demand an advance menu to approve, refuse to allow your family to eat the majority of what you're served, and steal her napkins on the way out.

 

 

 

My goodness, you're right!! How could we have forgotten that new addition to the etiquette book!?! :D

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... "We should get together for dinner sometimes."......

 

Through life experience, I have come to believe that this is codespeak for:

 

[i like you and enjoyed your company while we were together for a particular purpose. However, I do not have the time nor inclination to pursue a relationship outside this project. But it would feel awkward and dismissive to say something like, "I enjoyed working with you. See you around," so instead I'll issue a vague noncomittal dinner suggestion and hope you don't bring it up again. If you do, I'll give you the runaround until it is obvious that I never had any intention of truly pursuing a friendship with you because, well, it is easier than communicating directly and clearly.]

 

Try not to take it personally; it's an overused brushoff technique. I'm sure there are many women around who would truly appreciate your friendship. Don't waste time or emotional energy on her.

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Well, I'm sure we've covered this situation within the past few months, but I'll recap:

 

You send her an email with the date and time you will be arriving at her home, demand an advance menu to approve, refuse to allow your family to eat the majority of what you're served, and steal her napkins on the way out.

 

 

:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

Oh My! I had forgotten about that one! :D

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See, this is what I thought, too.

 

Until she suggested choosing a day. And honestly, when I said, "Oh yeah, we should do that dinner sometime," I was kind of doing the same thing, and was a little suprised when she said, "Yeah, let's pick a date right now," and went to the calendar.

 

Sigh....I can't imagine going so far as choosing a day, then blowing it off.

 

Cat

 

Send her an email, apologizing profusely for having to cancel your dinner plans for the 3rd because something has come up and you won't be able to make it. Point out that you were looking forward to seeing X and her dh, and that you know she was, too, since she'd written it down in her organizer, but there's simply nothing you can do. Gosh, do you ever feel badly about it. :tongue_smilie:

 

Feign sincerity.

 

And then don't make any more plans with her.

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Send her an email, apologizing profusely for having to cancel your dinner plans for the 3rd because something has come up and you won't be able to make it. Point out that you were looking forward to seeing X and her dh, and that you know she was, too, since she'd written it down in her organizer, but there's simply nothing you can do. Gosh, do you ever feel badly about it. :tongue_smilie:

 

Feign sincerity.

 

And then don't make any more plans with her.

 

Sounds great-very gracious :001_smile:

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Send her an email, apologizing profusely for having to cancel your dinner plans for the 3rd because something has come up and you won't be able to make it. Point out that you were looking forward to seeing X and her dh, and that you know she was, too, since she'd written it down in her organizer, but there's simply nothing you can do. Gosh, do you ever feel badly about it. :tongue_smilie:

 

Feign sincerity.

 

And then don't make any more plans with her.

 

Cat, you really have the wisest advice! That's so perfect--it effectively ends the limbo right then and there. I hereby change own advice to "What Cat said!"

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I think I'd send her a text saying "Just wanted to let you know I checked [date] and we have other plans for that day, so looks like us getting together isn't in the cards for now." Lets both of you off the hook without having to get into who was right/wrong/forgetful/crazy/whatever.

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I used to have a friend like that. I call people like that "Insincere Gushers". She'd make a big deal about inviting me over for dinner, talk about how much she's missed talking to me, etc, but no invite ever really came. It got weird. She stopped making comments about getting together, but then every time I'd see her we'd play this stupid "game" where she'd say, "Oh, HI! How are YOUUUUUUU?" and I'd say, "Fine, thanks. How are you?" She'd say, "I'm fine. So, how are YOUUUU?" Repeat. A lot. Right or wrong, I have no patience for that kind of thing. Either say something further or move on. And it's not like we were acquaintances. We'd known each other for years before all this silliness started.

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I think I'd send her a text saying "Just wanted to let you know I checked [date] and we have other plans for that day, so looks like us getting together isn't in the cards for now." Lets both of you off the hook without having to get into who was right/wrong/forgetful/crazy/whatever.

 

Well, unless you add a couple of these to the email...

 

:willy_nilly: :willy_nilly: :willy_nilly: :willy_nilly: :willy_nilly:

 

Those might tip her off. :tongue_smilie:

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Cat, you really have the wisest advice! That's so perfect--it effectively ends the limbo right then and there. I hereby change own advice to "What Cat said!"

 

Thanks! :001_smile:

 

I was just thinking, that in the same situation, I would be secretly worried that if I didn't "cancel," the woman and her husband might show up at my house on the 3rd, expecting dinner. :tongue_smilie: I mean, I would assume that she hadn't confirmed because she didn't really want to get together, but then I would think she might just be flaky and assume we were expecting them, and just show up at the door.

Edited by Catwoman
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If she does mean it and is the kind of flaky person to perpetually muff invitations and then kick herself, there's something she can do. She can pick up the phone and properly invite you on a particular date for a particular time.

 

In the absence of such a phone call I'd forget all about her and her dinner suggestion, for my own sanity.

 

:iagree:

 

If I were you, I'd forget all about it unless she comes to you with a specific invitation. Until then, invest your energies in people who are less flaky. In fact, you'd be better off dropping her even if she DOES come through with an invite, bc your whole friendship will be plagued with flakiness.

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Send her an email, apologizing profusely for having to cancel your dinner plans for the 3rd because something has come up and you won't be able to make it. Point out that you were looking forward to seeing X and her dh, and that you know she was, too, since she'd written it down in her organizer, but there's simply nothing you can do. Gosh, do you ever feel badly about it. :tongue_smilie:

 

Feign sincerity.

 

And then don't make any more plans with her.

 

 

Gosh, you're a smart cookie. I want to be like you when I grow up... :lol:

 

So, um... what Cat said. :D

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Well, I'm sure we've covered this situation within the past few months, but I'll recap:

 

You send her an email with the date and time you will be arriving at her home, demand an advance menu to approve, refuse to allow your family to eat the majority of what you're served, and steal her napkins on the way out.

 

 

 

:D

No no no...you must have forgotten...you throw the napkins away in her kitchen trash. ;)

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I have a friend like this. I really enjoy her company, but I know that when she talks about getting together (every time I see her :001_rolleyes:) she rarely follows through. It's easy for me not to take it personally because my dh is the same way. It irritates me that he never follows up, and I've told him many times that it's not nice to say that you want to invite someone over and then never do it, but we've been married for 22 years and he still forgets. As for my friend, I've learned to enjoy the time we are together and ignore the "Let's do this" and "Let's do that" which 90% of the time don't happen.

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I've done this, at least the part where I've said, "We should get together for dinner," or similar and then not followed up.

 

It might mean: I like you, but

-I just found out my dh doesn't like you.

-you have a lot of little kids, and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with all of them.

-you (or I) have a kid that doesn't talk to anyone, and I'm worried it will be terribly uncomfortable for the kids in that age group.

-you have a really large family, and I'm not sure how to fit and feed everyone logistically because I'm an antisocial homeschool momwhofreaksoutwhenihavetoentertainalotofpeople (hyperventilating).

-I suck at entertaining, and I really, really wish we could get together for dinner.

 

I don't take stuff personally. Everyone has something going on in their lives to make them the way they are. In some people, it shows up in more obvious ways than others.

 

I would not, however, choose a possible date and then forget about it.

 

If you are interested in getting together, invite them over.

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Thanks. I am glad that most people confirmed what I suspected. It really helped me sort things out, because sometimes my first question is whether I'm reading things right.

 

I did decide to send an email, just for my peace of mind. I apologized and said my husband had made plans with family (which is true--he just put them on hold when he found that we might have a prior commitment...this is okay, since his mom didn't care if we got together Monday or Tuesday). Instantly, I felt completely relieved of the whole thing. I realized what was bothering me most is the remote possibility that she was waiting for me to contact her and I don't want to be a complete flake. Now I am either kind of a flake because I canceled at the last minute, or I've bowed out gracefully and can happily smile and nod on Sundays. Either is fine in my book.

 

Funny thing: When I searched for her email address in my inbox, I found a late May email from her letting me know she wanted to get our families together and asking me to pick a day. (I'd emailed back asking to wait until summer, which is when I'd brought it up again.)

 

Assume good intentions, right? I think we're probably both really nice people who would really enjoy dinner together, but everyone is busy.

 

Or something I don't know about is going on, and I don't need to know, and I'll stay in my little bubble. Tomorrow we're going to pick pears, and MIL is coming for dinner. Dh is making ribs. He makes FANTASTIC ribs....they don't know what they're missing. More for me! :D

 

Cat

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Thanks. I am glad that most people confirmed what I suspected. It really helped me sort things out, because sometimes my first question is whether I'm reading things right.

 

I did decide to send an email, just for my peace of mind. I apologized and said my husband had made plans with family (which is true--he just put them on hold when he found that we might have a prior commitment...this is okay, since his mom didn't care if we got together Monday or Tuesday). Instantly, I felt completely relieved of the whole thing. I realized what was bothering me most is the remote possibility that she was waiting for me to contact her and I don't want to be a complete flake. Now I am either kind of a flake because I canceled at the last minute, or I've bowed out gracefully and can happily smile and nod on Sundays. Either is fine in my book.

 

Funny thing: When I searched for her email address in my inbox, I found a late May email from her letting me know she wanted to get our families together and asking me to pick a day. (I'd emailed back asking to wait until summer, which is when I'd brought it up again.)

 

Assume good intentions, right? I think we're probably both really nice people who would really enjoy dinner together, but everyone is busy.

 

Or something I don't know about is going on, and I don't need to know, and I'll stay in my little bubble. Tomorrow we're going to pick pears, and MIL is coming for dinner. Dh is making ribs. He makes FANTASTIC ribs....they don't know what they're missing. More for me! :D

 

Cat

 

Ah, there's nothing quite like closure, is there? Glad you resolved it to your satisfaction :D

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I did decide to send an email, just for my peace of mind. I apologized and said my husband had made plans with family (which is true--he just put them on hold when he found that we might have a prior commitment...this is okay, since his mom didn't care if we got together Monday or Tuesday). Instantly, I felt completely relieved of the whole thing.

 

I'm glad you sent the email and that you're relieved. I would be feeling the same way.

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Through life experience, I have come to believe that this is codespeak for:

 

[i like you and enjoyed your company while we were together for a particular purpose. However, I do not have the time nor inclination to pursue a relationship outside this project. But it would feel awkward and dismissive to say something like, "I enjoyed working with you. See you around," so instead I'll issue a vague noncomittal dinner suggestion and hope you don't bring it up again. If you do, I'll give you the runaround until it is obvious that I never had any intention of truly pursuing a friendship with you because, well, it is easier than communicating directly and clearly.]

 

Try not to take it personally; it's an overused brushoff technique.

 

:iagree:I do this sometimes (although I would never in a million years set a date. That part is bizarre to me if she truly had no intention of following through.) I just thought everyone said this ("We should ____" ) regardless of whether or not they meant it. I guess I will try not to say things like this in the future unless I really mean it.

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I used to have a friend like that. I call people like that "Insincere Gushers". She'd make a big deal about inviting me over for dinner, talk about how much she's missed talking to me, etc, but no invite ever really came. It got weird. She stopped making comments about getting together, but then every time I'd see her we'd play this stupid "game" where she'd say, "Oh, HI! How are YOUUUUUUU?" and I'd say, "Fine, thanks. How are you?" She'd say, "I'm fine. So, how are YOUUUU?" Repeat. A lot. Right or wrong, I have no patience for that kind of thing. Either say something further or move on. And it's not like we were acquaintances. We'd known each other for years before all this silliness started.

 

Ugh. I have a friend like this too. She always asks how I am doing, "how are YOUUUU?" It feels like I'm being interogated.

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I have been in that woman's shoes, pretty recently actually. There is a mother of a girl that DS went to school with who I was friends with on Facebook. One time, she commented on a picture of our house, and I made an off hand comment that she was welcome any time. Well, my situation here is a bit different b/c at the time I said that, she lived 7 hours away so the likelihood of her ever being in our area was slim.

 

Well, 6 or so months later, she suddenly sends me a message and says that her DD is coming down to my area to "reconnect" with distant relatives. She mentioned what I said, and asked to set up a date. I kind of panicked, b/c instead of telling her we were busy from the get go, I didn't want to hurt her or insult her by declining so I agreed to a date about a month away.

 

I'm a type of person that likes to please EVERYONE, but at the same time I am completely terrified of social interaction and the rejection that comes with it, even with people I know really well. I hate small talk, I have NO clue how to do it, so unless I know someone REALLY well, we usually just sit there staring at one another. It is no mistake that all of my best friends are some of THE most outgoing people I have ever met. They do all the talking, and I just fill in the gaps.

 

So, the closer that date got, the more I panicked. I didn't really want to get together with her, although I really liked her a lot. I hate rejection and I didn't want to make her upset with me, so rather than outright telling her what was going on, I instead made up an excuse to get out of it, which at the time was an honest excuse. DH had just accepted a job in a different state, and he wouldn't have had to start in 2 weeks, so I thought we would be busy packing and/or moving (depending on how quickly we could list our house and find a rental home). That job ended up not following through, so we didn't move.

 

I'm sure she knows now that I was full of it, but I'm afraid to mention anything b/c I'm sure she is upset with me. I really do like her as a person, but I just didn't REALLY want her to come over. Does that make sense?

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Here are my possible explanations, in no particular order: :D

 

1) Amnesia. I bet she made the plans with you, and then suffered a head injury that gave her amnesia, and she doesn't even know who you are anymore, but she doesn't want to be embarassed, so she's just flaking on the date.

 

2) Multiple personalities. One personality wants to get together. The other one hates your guts. She tried to make a date/ get it on the calendar, but the other personality scratched it out.

 

3) Aliens. She's really been taken over by aliens that look like her but have terrible times reading Earth calendars.

 

:grouphug:

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She never meant it. It was small talk, meaning, "I want to express that I like you, and for a moment there I thought maybe we could get together socially apart from this shared interest, but on reflection I'd rather not, but I do like you."

Yep, that. Generally, "we should ... some time" means the above. If they actually want to follow through, they'd say "would you like to ..." or "I was wondering if you'd like to ...".

 

Anyway, glad you sorted it out and don't have to stress about it now.

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