Non-dates: The other side of the coin:
1. I meet Boy. Boy and I talk about music/books/movies/etc. I like Boy, but I am not attracted to him. Maybe I am not looking for a boyfriend. Maybe I sense that we would not be a great romantic match. Maybe I have a boyfriend. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with Boy.
Remember, women talk to men for reasons other than dating and mating.
2. Boy expresses romantic interest. I smile and thank him but explain that no, the feelings are not mutual. I am careful to be kind when I do this.
3. Boy and I are still friends. We still bump into each other at the cafe or when we are with our mutual friends, and we still chat about music/books/movies/etc.
4. Boy asks me if I want to go shopping or to see a movie. I accept, not because I am interested in him, but because as far as I am concerned, we are friends. Friends go and do things together.
5. We go dutch. Boy begins treating me like we are on a date. He puts his arm over the back of my chair or orders my dinner for me or does body language things that, while not overtly sexual, are still more than friendly. The worst part is that it's all done so subtly that I can't call Boy on it without looking silly. I couldn't even describe it to someone else and properly convey the feeling that something is wrong.
Or worse, Boy goes on and on about how horrible it is that I am not in the dating pool, because he is so attracted to me and he knows that we were meant to be together. And I have nothing to say to that. If I were going to fall madly in love with him or feel a crazy, undeniable attraction, it would've already happened. All that I feel is intense weirdness.
But he is pretending that we are on a date, or that there is romantic potential for us. Boy is ignoring the fact that I do not want to be romantic with him. Boy is in La-La Land.
6. I explain to Boy that he made me feel uncomfortable. Sadly, real friendships have come out of this situation only a few times. Usually Boy and I are not friends anymore. Either he is too embarassed by his behavior to maintain contact or he loses interest in me when he realizes that I mean what I say.