We met while tailgating

Annoyed with your partner? Having trouble on apps? Dealing with a crush? A breakup? What's on your mind? Send a letter to [email protected] or fill out this form.

I'm 45, she is 40. We met in 2018, at a concert of a band we both love (we are hardcore fans, know every song). It was during a tailgate in Ohio after my friends and I parked next to her group. I was in a relationship at the time and she wasn't, but we had a blast hanging out. We danced and sang all night. We exchanged Instagram info and that was that. We stayed in touch here and there over the year, and then in 2019 we ended up together again for the band – this time in New York. This time she was in a relationship and I was single, but we had fun again. Then in 2020 we were both single, but COVID put a damper on any concerts. We stayed in touch, sometimes even daily, through text.

In 2021, we met up again in another city to see the band. I was in a new relationship and she was still single. Now in 2022 we are both single! We went to a show together, along with my friends and her friends, in late July. I think we both felt like "finally we can see if this is next-level stuff." There is a mutual attraction, but I think we both unintentionally put each other in the friend-zone over the years. We have both talked to each other through life issues and relationships, so we know each other pretty well. We had fun at the show, but it was the same energy as the previous shows – platonic. She lives a seven-hour drive away, but is moving closer to where I live soon for work. We talked a few days after about how we both thought it would be different this year, with us able to do more than sing and dance. We wondered if this is the peak of our relationship and if are we just better off as friends. Neither one of us wants to force romance if it’s not there so we talked about going out alone, outside the concert and tailgating environment, when she is up near me next month.

But I am skeptical if going from friendship to a relationship is even possible, and I shared this with her. What do you think?

– Fans

I think your plan is a good one. The live show environment is very distracting. There are zillions of people there (including close friends), and the two of you have perfected a routine that involves dancing, singing, and appreciating a band – as opposed to each other. At a quiet dinner, you could focus. You might even look different to each other. A change in lighting, no concert attire ... the vibe would be new.

It might take a few dinners to figure out how you feel. You're getting to know each other in person outside of the parking lot, which might feel weird for a bit. Also, she's about to adjust to a new home. Questions about relationship chemistry can be answered over time. It's OK if you want to table any decisions.

You know you want her in your life, and it sounds like she feels the same way. Can you be patient? This is a good time to relax and let things unfold.

If you turn out to be friends, that's great too. Platonic connections are important, and you could help her expand her community in a new place. Whatever happens, it seems to be a win.

But try leaving this open-ended. You’ve both had relationships, breakups, and big changes over four years. Changes in latitudes, changes in attitude, one might say. (Is the band Buffett? Is it?)

Don't be skeptical or talk yourself out of this, because relationships evolve all the time. Just wait.

– Meredith

Readers? Is a romantic relationship possible here? How might things evolve over dinner? Also, Phish? I don't know but I want to know.