A seminarian is texting me

Hi all !

I need your help to understand what’s going on.

Some 4 months ago I met a seminarian at a religious event. I’m not even sure he’s not already a priest, but he was sent from Africa to study theology in my country and is still a student at uni.

We had a conversation then we exchanged phone numbers.

Then he called me and invited me to have lunch with him. There was another guy he had invited too, and we had lunch in the common dining room at his mother house with other people at the same table.

Since that time he has been sending me “hi / how are you/ what’s up ?” text messages.

To which I would answer: “I’m fine, how about you” and wait for him to say something substantial. I got bored with his texts and skipped a few without replying. Then he texted me twice today, and I answered that I didn’t like “hi how are you ?” texts, that I didn’t understand what he wanted and that I use texting to exchange information.

I need your help because I find it hard to read his behavior. Is he romantically interested in me ? I have trouble with social skills and cue reading. While we had lunch together, we discussed theology and intellectual issues, but he never brought up any intellectual subject in his texts. Just “hi, how are you?”, which I find difficult to understand.

Thank you so much !

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Most likely not. With my experience of Nigerian seminarians, they tend to enjoy keeping the lines of communication open; and yes, that does come off as “being interested” to us. They do this with guys as well, with the unfortunate side-effect that it can sometimes be seen as gay if you’re not used to (or open to) it.

Friend relationships are important in many African cultures, and I think this may be what you’re getting here. :o

Thanks for answering. The seminarian is either from Chad or Nigeria, I forgot.

He answered: “No, sorry, it’s just my way of saying hi. I don’t want anything. Have a nice day.”

I hope he’s not offended, but I truly dislike small talk.

I agree. One of our parish priests was Nigerian. He and I got along well. He still texts me every so often even though he’s moved across the state. Nice guy. Likes to keep in touch. Not usually very in depth. Must be a culture thing.

So far, it sounds normal. I see it as him being formally polite and keeping a safe distance, rather than it suggesting romantic interest.

He may not feel comfortable randomly texting you to share about his day or ask you too much about your life. He may not see you as someone he should freely engage in deep theological talk with often, when he has the more prudent option of talking with other seminarians or religious.

My guess is if you decided to engage in conversation with him first when you have questions about theology, rather than thinking he should start, he will be happy to talk when appropriate.

Thanks for your feedback everyone !

I think this is a cultural thing, and not just African culture.

I met a guy from Turkey (I’m also a guy, mind you) at a hostel in NYC, we became friends on Facebook, and he still messages me “hi” or “what’s up” like once every week or two. I think other cultures might value small talk more than we do, who knows :shrug:

:oWe had a Nigerian assistant priest at my parish who is now at another assignment and he calls and texts me about once every three months or so and gives me a hug when he sees me and we have an Nigerian assistant priest who will hug you if he knows you well. So I do believe it is the culture

I can’t rule out a romantic interest, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out one day and declared his love for you (which would also be a MAJOR red flag for other reasons, btw), but I can say that if you are a woman from the First World and you make an effort to interact with foreign men, they can take it quite intensely. I think some people just like having friends and associates who are different/from different places.

The behavioral pattern isn’t unusual, but it is no doubt different than what you are used with Western men, I’m sure.

They probably do, but when romance enters the picture—look out!

A seminarian from the Philippines started messaging me every once in a while on Facebook. I think it is really just a friendly kind of thing.

Keep in mind as well that unless he has actually made vows he is still in the discernment process as a seminarian. Men who are actively discerning their vocation in the seminary can and do leave if they find - through the discernment process - that their vocation is to marriage rather than priesthood. This is a good thing…we want our priests to have true vocations!

It’s certainly possible that he’s romantically interested in you. But I don’t feel that that’s the case here. Seminarians are not permanently committed to priesthood until they are ordained. I know several people who were seminarians and left to pursue a relationship. There’s nothing wrong with that I think. Many Catholic women I’ve met actually hope that they’d marry a man who was in seminary. I think that this guy is just being friendly though. As a priest he’ll have to be capable of keeping up communications with many members of a parish. Perhaps he’s texting because you share his interest in theology and he enjoys the discussions you’ve had.

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