A few months after I split up with Jake, my friend Darren and his fiancée broke up, so the two of us decided to have dinner and feel sad together.
At dinner, I noticed he was touching me a lot, and sitting rather closer than necessary. I tend not to notice this kind of thing — you practically have to take your clothes off and do a naked little dance to get me to notice you're flirting — but I noticed this. And this was odd.
This was not supposed to be a date.
We headed to the car. I was driving, so I unlocked his door for him. He took my arm. "Hey," he said. "Have you ever wondered what it would be like ..."
And he leaned in.
I've always imagined myself to be the kind of person who will rise to the occasion. I will hold open the airplane's emergency exit. I will perform CPR while the restaurant panics. I will calmly explain my feelings. I will demonstrate grace under pressure.
As it turns out, I will not.
I know this because when Darren leaned in I shrieked, jumped backwards, and ran around to the other side of the car, yelling, "Oh God, no! No! No!"
This, in retrospect, was not the best way to handle things.
When I dropped him off, I told him what he meant to me as a friend and how I'm in no emotional space to date anyone I might actually care about.
Later he told his sister, "Yeah, I got the blah-blah speech."
There are several life lessons to be learned here, but I'm not quite sure what they are.