Thinking about this topic has got me wondering about how people manage closeness in their lives while minimizing the sort of problems implied by “entitlement”. By which I mean the avoidance of unwanted compliments and physical contact. As a person who is respectful of people, I do not want to be in a position of inspiring discomfort in them - especially not in those in whom I am interested - if anything, I would prefer to help them to be more comfortable. It seems obvious that the ideal is mutuality. But without contact, how does one know whether or not mutuality is present? This seems to result in a guessing game where the wrong guess can cause profound upset.
Being in my 40s now, I am not exactly inexperienced. But what my experience has unfortunately taught me is that sexual relationships seem to only occur spontaneously. This is not generally my style! I am terribly wordy and active, in very deliberate ways. I have never once been successful in starting a sexual relationship through conversation. Typically it is a matter of a stranger and I literally pouncing upon each other at random, be it in a club, gallery, on the street, wherever. But this apparently random, more or less feral approach carries the risk of pouncing upon the wrong person, or otherwise having no other social criteria for deciding who I should be with. For being otherwise an extremely deliberate, methodical person, this is very disruptive for me, so I usually just avoid relationships.
What do you do? Do circumstances require you to engage with people who you otherwise don’t know? And why? Or do you somehow negotiate these factors with those who you know without alienating them? Do you worry about not knowing if they are interested? Do you worry about knowing whether or not you are even interested yourself?