A little over a year ago, I met a nice girl (let's call her Alice) and we went on some dates together. Things were going well until she stopped talking to me, which I later found out (once we started talking again) was because she had been having some body image issues and didn't feel up to socialising with anyone.
Since that initial gap of us not talking (for about a month and a half), things have deteriorated. We still speak every now and then, and we've caught up once or twice, but it's always very brief. There have been times when we have discussed catching up, or started a very short conversation, but nothing has ever come of it. For one thing I'm worried about cutting into her personal space too much or making her feel uncomfortable, so I'm always reluctant to initiate conversation with her, but a lot of the time it's because she doesn't reply to a lot of my messages when I do initiate conversation or bring up the possibility of us hanging out.
The thing is, I like her personality a lot, and we have a lot of common interests. Although I said we did start out by going on dates, I would also be fine with things if she just wanted to be friends (and obviously, if her reduced communication is due to her not wanting any further contact with me, I would respect that and cease communication with her). I would assume that she doesn't want to know me any more, if it weren't for the fact that she initiates conversation from time to time and (from the tone of our messages) seems to enjoy talking to me.
To find out what sort of relationship we have - whether we're friends, romantic interests for each other, or whether she wants me out of her life. (Incidentally, I'd lean more towards wanting to be friends with her at this point, but I could see a romantic spark starting up again). That way I know how much effort to put into communicating with her and know whether or not I should stop talking to her.
What I've Tried So Far
- Starting up innocuous conversations in the hopes that once we get talking, I can move the topic to talking about what we think of each other. By innocuous I mean sending her a funny picture, or a link to an article she might be interested in. As mentioned above, our conversations are usually very brief, so the ball never really gets rolling enough.
- Sending her messages asking whether she'd like to go out for lunch or to the movies. With a bit of luck, once we're catching up in person, I can bring up the topic. It's been a while since we've spent time together, though, and she usually replies that she's busy when I ask her to hang out, so I haven't had the opportunity to do so.
- Flat-out asking whether she wants me in her life. To elaborate, I sent her a message a few months ago which can be summed up as, "I'm worried that I might make you uncomfortable when I message you; would you like me to stay out of your life?" I didn't get a response from her, and to err on the side of caution, I decided not to talk to her. Through complete coincidence, a few weeks after I sent that message, we ran into each other at a convention, and got (occasionally) talking once more from there.
What I've Considered
- Calling her up and discussing what's going on between us. Speaking will have a lot less ambiguity than messaging, but it feels very confrontational (especially as this would come out of the blue), and I'd rather this conversation be as friendly as possible.
If anyone considers it to be relevant to the question, we're both Aussies, and we're both in our mid-20s.