Sometimes life moves quickly, sometimes it moves slowly, and sometimes, not at all.
Back in high school, or perhaps more likely, junior high, you could ask your friend to ask her friend if she likes you, or if she likes-likes you.
I think, as one gets older, that technique quickly becomes less and less appropriate. And once you’ve been married, separated, and divorced, I think you would likely get only derision if you tried that technique. Unless you were clearly only using it ironically and for entertainment value. Which might be a difficult sell.
So you, or more accurately, I, resort to careful listening and interpretation. Maybe not always, but sometimes. When the person in question (a woman in this case, as I’m a boring heterosexual man) is a friend, and (in the common world view) a less likely match, I want to step carefully.
So, I say “gee, I was thinking of doing this thing that you’re also interested in, want to join me?”, and I hear in return “I would love to, but I have to …”. And I think “how nice of her to be so thoughtful and polite, and let me down easily”.
But then later I hear “hey did you end up doing?”, and “let me know if you’re going to”, and I say “well, gosh, I was thinking of it, want to join me?”.
I don’t always use words like “gee” and “gosh”. But I will for literary effect (or affect – take your pick).
And a day or two later, hearing nothing back, thinking “uh, I guess not”, and so gently mention (just in case), get “I told a friend you and I were planning on going”. And so arrange tickets, and get “yay! can’t wait!”.
I’ve mentioned before how nice it is to be able to daydream of the far-fetched possibilities of what might be, or what it might mean.
It still is.
Of course, her friend that she mentioned our plans to (a mutual friend), is also coming to the show with us.
But I can still daydream of making nefarious plans to ditch the friend after the show (or ask the friend to feign a headache, or early morning plans of her own).
Not that I would. Oh no, never.
And yes, this is far too far-fetched for any reasonable person, or even for me.
But, as I’ve said before, hope is an essential part of living. And the hope of maybe, someday, someone, is a nice hope to have.