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How To Figure Out If She Has A Boyfriend

We received this letter from reader Lawrence L. from Phoenix, AZ last week, asking the TheDatingGurus for assistance figuring out if a woman he liked was available.  Here we share some ideas about reading signs and deciphering clues about whether someone is single or not with the rest of our readers:

Dear Dating Gurus,

I admit I'm a little socially awkward, but I need some help figuring out if a girl I continually run into on my morning bus commute is single, or if she is attached. I don't see a ring on her finger, but that doesn't mean she doesn't have a boyfriend. She's cute, very friendly, and we've sat next to each other a handful of times. I want to ask her out, but I don't want to be just another guy hitting on her if she has a boyfriend. What are some things that might indicate her status?  Thanks, Lawrence.

From the female perspective, Sharon answers:

Lawrence, I tend to favor a direct approach in most areas related to communication, but I understand that not everyone is as comfortable with this.

Here are some LESS DIRECT approaches to determining her single/attached status:

Wangle a seat next to her, or ask her if that seat is taken. Once your butt is firmly in the seat, start up a conversation about what you did last night, or last weekend. Tell her about your activities, making it clear that the only "we" you are referring to is your group of friends. If you went to a bar, or saw a great movie, tried a cool new taco joint, or tried a new jogging path, mention this to her. Then ask her if she has seen any good movies, or did anything fun last night or last weekend.

  • Listen carefully for code words such as "we", rather than "I". If she says "we" a lot, consider that she might be trying to tell you something nicely, which is that she is part of a couple. Does she weave "his" name into conversations? Hopefully, if she IS in a couple, she'll say so.
  • Does she text or get texts frequently while you are chatting? If so, she may be in a relationship or involved with someone. (Maybe you can sneak a glance down at her phone to see the name there) Or, try saying "I have this one friend who constantly texts me... You got one of those too?" and see how she responds; she might let you know it's her boyfriend.
  • I don't like the idea of asking something so clearly manipulative, but if you must, you can ask her, "Does your boyfriend like to do X, Y, or Z too?"

Here's a MORE DIRECT, and preferred female-Guru technique:

  • Ask her out, for crying out loud! Wait towards the last 3/4 of your trip with her, and ask her if she'd like to join you for X, Y, or Z. Or, tell her you'd like to take her out for coffee or to that taco joint, or to the new brew pub, etc. You've put it out there and the rest is then up to her.

Possible outcomes:

1. She says yes and we all celebrate and cheer you on!

2.  She says she has a boyfriend, and then you know. Move on, but be happy that you've possibly made a good friend who may have single friends she can introduce you to, since you're such a cool guy.

3. She's vague with her answer, ie. "Oh, thanks, but I'm going out of town this weekend (or working late, or XYZ)".  If she likes you and wants to go out with you, she'll suggest an alternative meeting time. If she doesn't suggest a follow-up, she either has a boyfriend or isn't interested.

  • The preferred method: Ask her if she's attached to anyone. If she is, she'll have to tell you right then and there, and no more wondering on your part. If she still hedges, and manages to evade the answer, consider her unavailable. She's either hiding something, or isn't into you.

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