I want a second date, he wants friendship

So I'm single, with not much luck in the dating department to speak of. One short-term boyfriend who dumped me out of the blue, scattered bad dates, that sort of thing. Recently, I went on a date with a guy. We'd chatted on and off for a few months, switching from app to text, and – after some courage (and some wine) – I gathered my wits and asked him out. For all intents and purposes, it was a fantastic date. We got coffee, which ended up being an almost-three-hour affair of us trading funny stories and flirting. Like, footsie-under-the-table flirting. Later that night, I texted him the requisite “"I had a great time, I'd love to see you again" message, and he wrote back about an hour later with something like ... "I had fun. By the way, let's be friends."

It was confusing and pretty upsetting given that that first date had gone so well. Plus, I'd already let my mind start running away with ideas of a second/(insert number here) date. Should I try being friends with him? I'm still grappling with my attraction to him (he’s, like, out-of-my-league-gorgeous – and I do have self-esteem issues) and, while I do really like him as a person and would love to be friends with him, I'm worried that I'm setting myself up by starting a friendship with him at this moment. At the same time, I don't want to give him the cold shoulder entirely.

– Cold Shoulder

Is he clamoring for your attention? Is he demanding that you go out on platonic outings? It sounds like he sent you the "let's be friends" text and left the ball in your court. That means you can leave him alone. There's no great reason to pursue a friendship.

You don't have to ghost him, though. This is a great time to be honest. Tell him he was great company and that you find him very attractive. You weren't planning a life together or anything, but you were excited about a second date, and it would be a bummer to accept less. Then wish him the best. This is not cold shoulder talk at all. It's bold and kind, and best of all, it's the truth.

I'm sure part of your brain is thinking, "Well, if we hang out as friends a few more times, maybe he'll change his mind and fall madly in love with me." I don't blame you; two percent of me would be wondering that, too. But he was very clear about how he feels. Let this date serve as a reminder that you can go out and have a very good time. Then, when you're ready, on to the next.

– Meredith

Readers? Friendship after one good date? Is part of the problem that they communicated for months?