Dr. Date 4/13/2015

Dr. Date,
I recently noticed a pattern with my attempts at dating that’s been bothering me, and I’d like some advice to try to work it out. Namely, it seems that I always end up getting attracted to the girls who I’m unable to date for one reason or another, and I never know until I actually ask them out. The list, which started in freshman year and goes until now (senior year), runs as follows:
The first two people I liked were already dating someone, and the third was not interested in dating, overall. The pattern continued, and after pursuing about a dozen people, all but two of the people who weren’t interested in dating said no because they were burned in previous relationships. The others said they were focusing on classes.
At this point, it’s getting to be really frustrating and kind of discouraging, mostly because I have no way to know what they’re thinking before actually asking them out.
I guess the problem might stem from the fact that most of the people who I’m interested in are desirable, and therefore, someone else has already acted. But I don’t want this to be a continuing trend. 
Is there a good way to know beforehand (other than directly approaching the subject) if a girl is already dating someone or is unavailable? I kind of feel like a jerk when I ask out a girl who’s unavailable; I’m sure they don’t like to have to turn someone down, and obviously, it’s preventing me from getting anywhere in the dating world.
Dear Strike Out,
When people want to date, they give off a certain vibe. They send a message that’s along the lines of “Hey, I like you, and you seem like someone I’d like to spend more time with.” 
You’re either not aware or not listening to the signs.
Sure, some people will be flirty, and they may seem like they’re interested. But it’s important you really understand their intentions. Watch how these girls treat other people, and try to get to know them better. The fact that you’re learning that they’re in relationships after you’ve popped the “dating question” means you’re not taking the appropriate time to learn about their lives before trying to move to the next relationship step.
Try a different tactic. Instead of asking a girl out right when you realize you have feelings for her, wait — hold back before making the first move. Talk with her more, learn about her life and then take it from there.  
Some of the best dating relationships grow from friendships. By taking more time to get to know these prospective dates, you’ll know if they have the same feelings for you.
—Dr. Date 
Dr. Date,
When I moved into the dorms at the beginning of the school year, I connected with this girl who is attractive, smart and funny. We spent the first months of the year really close: We always ate our meals together, and we would spend our nights helping each other with homework. We both came from small towns and didn’t know that many people at the U, so our friendship was comforting.
But as the semester wore on, she made more friends in college, and now she spends her time with them. We say hi to each other when we cross paths, but I can’t remember the last time we spent some quality time together. 
I’m sure this transition has affected me more than it has affected her simply because I have a crush on her. I don’t think she knows that, though, and I don’t think I’ll ever tell her. 
I feel like the quiet, high school nerd who once was friends with someone who moved up the popularity ladder and forgot about her humble beginning.
—(Insert Mean Girls Reference)
Dear “You Can’t Sit With Her,” 
The first year of college is a lot about trying to find out where you fit in. And because you both have the same background, there’s a sense of comfort between you two. I doubt that she was trying to remove you from her social circle, but she simply widened it instead. 
You have two options: Tell her how you feel and try to salvage a relationship, or move on.
But based on your letter, it seems like you’re not interested in telling her about your true feelings, so the second option is the most practical.
And believe me, you’ll meet plenty of other people in college who will bring about the same crush-like feelings. Find someone who likes you the same way.
—Dr. Date