2. It is really chilly tonight!
3. I've got manga ready to post tomorrow (had meant to do it tonight, but too tired).
4. Look at this Jasper! So grown up looking!
|You are viewing cherrybina's network page|
Create a Dreamwidth Account Learn More
My best friend, Anna, who I’ve known for many years and love very much, is currently irritating the heck out of me and I don’t know what to do.
She hasn’t had the greatest dating history, and through the years I’ve always been there for her to give advice, be supportive or just be a shoulder to cry on.
However, lately there has been this girl she likes, and no matter how many times I encourage Anna she just wont tell her that she likes her. Instead its constant discussion about a text she sent, what picture she liked on instagram, how she tweets, so on and so forth. When she doesn’t answer a text from Anna I get a hundred texts from her freaking out about how she must be wrong and she doesn’t like her anymore and that she’ll never find anyone.
It. Drives. Me. Batty. And I feel like a terrible friend for feeling that way. From what I’ve observed theres like a 90% chance that this girl likes Anna back. But she just wont tell her that she likes her. Instead she comes to me.
My own dating history has proven to me that its better to be rejected and move on then to obsess over things. However I realize that not everyone feels that way.
If I hear about this girl’s social media usage one more time, I’m probably gonna explode. If she knew that I felt like this, Anna would feel incredibly guilty and bottle everything up, which I don’t want her to do. I just want the conversation to have a little bit of change. Theres only so many times you can comfort a friend for not having a text responded to before you don’t know what to say anymore.
Want To Be A Good Friend
Dear Want To Be A Good Friend:
I want you to take the weekend and give yourself permission to ignore all texts from Anna about The Amazing Crush Girl. Respond to anything that is not about that, ignore the rest. Mute her if you need to.
Then, I want you to tell Anna, one time, as gently as you can:
“Anna, I think you should tell ________ how you feel about her and I hope she feels the same way. If she doesn’t, she’s really missing out! But the way you are constantly monitoring her social media feeds is kinda creepy, or, at least unhealthy for you, and the way you keep texting me every detail of her posts – sometimes hundreds of texts – is not okay. Please stop sharing these details with me, I don’t like it.”
Anna’s not going to be happy with you when you say this. She’ll tell you you’re being a bad friend, why don’t you want to listen to her, you’re selfish, etc. etc. etc. There will be some kind of blow-up or argument because Anna is fixated right now and it’s like you are trying to take her favorite toy away.
Don’t argue with her if she characterizes you as selfish, uncaring, etc. It’s a ‘neg’ designed to get you to prove how caring you are by doing what she wants you to do.
Don’t try to correct the record or convince her or engage more deeply.
Your script, to whatever she says, is some version of “Okay! But are you hearing me? I don’t want to talk about Crush Girl anymore. I need you to stop texting me and filling me in on her social media activity. Can you agree to that?”
Then end the conversation pretty quickly.
The next thing she’s going to do is test your boundaries. Your job from now in is to ignore all texts about Crush Girl. Only respond to other topics, and reach out about other topics when you want to talk to her. If you gotta mute her for a while, then do it.
When you do hang out, make it very boring to talk about Crush Girl. “Hmmm….interesting…hopefully you can tell her how you feel soon. So, how ’bout those current events?”
She won’t like it, but if you keep not engaging, she will probably get it. And, I know you don’t want her to beat herself up or trigger a shame-spiral or make her feel guilty, but her behavior is not healthy or normal right now and a little bit of “what the hell am I doing?” introspection or perspective from a good friend is not the worst thing in the world?
On a related note:
Hi Captain Awkward,
Long time reader, first time writer!
I am in a polyamorous relationship with “Niles.”
Niles is also dating “Daphne.” Daphne is very sweet, but she spends a lot of time brooding about her ex and other woes. She often just disappears on Niles because her feelings about whatever is going on in her life are so intense. Their relationship currently appears to me to be on this rinse and repeat cycle of romance and withdrawal. I see Niles consistently bend and modify his behavior and needs to accommodate her and most of what he passes on to me about what they talk about is: her, her life, her needs, her feelings, and her ex.
Up until now, I have felt pretty supportive of Niles exploring things with Daphne. And to be honest I think Daphne is a really good person but…I just feel really done with hearing about this behavior cycle, I’m done with the mood shifts that go along with it, and I’m tired of watching Niles just shrink himself to fit into Daphne’s life. Niles sincerely believes that she is worthy of a relationship, and if he just stays the course, he will eventually succeed in showing her how to have a supportive and reciprocal relationship. Like okay, maybe he’s right and sees something I don’t but I dunno ….?? Seems like she’s one of those people who is an amazing person but has trouble with relationships.
Up until this point, I have been more than willing to lend an ear and advice to Niles about how all of this is going with Daphne. We’ve had a lot of deep talks about his feels and what to do and how to relate to her and all that. And now I’ve sort of arrived at this point where I feel like the training wheels have got to come off. It’s been six months of the same stuff with Daphne. He says she’s gotten better but it all smells the same to me. I am worried that I will become the outlet for stuff the two of them need to be hashing out if I haven’t already. Sometimes I worry that my emotional support of him in that dynamic might be making up for what he isn’t getting with her and that seems unfair to me.
Now that I’ve sorta reached my limit, I literally I don’t know what to say anymore to him when he says to me things like, “Oh we stayed up way past when I needed to sleep talking on the phone and I am tired and the conversation felt kinda awkward but it was sooo worth it” or “I haven’t heard from her in days but she needs space now and I’m proud of her for finally communicating her needs” or “omg she is so amazing and being with her is so perfectly wonderful… I feel so alive, I simply cannot imagine my life without her” or “she’s not romantic these days.” Obviously I’m hamming it up but only SLIGHTLY. Actually barely.
To me, that wide variety of statements seems…not good?
He and I have talked openly about how things with them are kinda weird sometimes. But he also knowingly marches on and is very intensely committed on doing so because…love.
So them’s the breaks. I respect his choices but I also want to maintain my sanity in all of this because I feel as though I’ve been looped in to everything. I want to quietly withdraw any emotional life support I have been providing for this relationship with Daphne. I love Niles and I don’t think this is really doing much for him even if he can’t see it. He knows what I think and he has acknowledged the validity of what I’m observing but…love. So pushing my opinions on him louder and with more intensity isn’t going to do anything other than create tension between us.
And truth be told, if the roles were reversed, barring actual danger to me that I couldn’t foresee, I probably wouldn’t want Niles coming at me all the time about how much my relationship with Daphne leaves to be desired…even if he was technically correct, I probably wouldn’t be able to really hear it because…love. I don’t think Niles is in any actual danger nor do I think I am.
But, despite the fact that I’m not in danger, things don’t feel neutral-to-beneficial for everyone involved anymore. To me, it feels as though their thing is draining emotional energy more than it’s contributing to it. Niles doesn’t seem to mind the one-sided nature of their relationship too much; so maybe I should stop caring about that? I care for Niles deeply so it’s really hard to not care.
Maybe the thing I should focus on is that lending emotional support for/having to interact with his relationship with Daphne feels draining to me (and to me, writing to an advice column for help counts as “expending emotional energy on the Daphne thing.”).
I wish someone could look into a crystal ball and tell me when things will change for the better. Till then, I need to figure out how to radiate “bland acceptance of the situation without endorsement.” I don’t want to get painted as that partner who “can’t polyamory” but at the same time I’m just totally over the Daphne thing. I also need to figure out reasonable boundaries and ways to cope with the awkwardness in solo interactions with Niles about Daphne, with Daphne by herself, and the three of us.
Straight Outta Fucks to Give
Dear Straight Outta Fucks:
What would happen if you said something like this to Niles, the next time your time together becomes completely overrun with Daphne-talk:
Would the world end?
Is Niles so fragile that he cannot hear the word “no” about this topic?
Would he use your “no” to accuse you of not really caring about him, like, how dare you not be interested in something so important to him?
Would he accuse you of being jealous of Daphne?
Is it worth finding out to never have to hear about her again?
There’s something in here about emotional labor and fairness and balance and time. To me, he is sucking up all the time he spends with you asking you to do emotional labor and listen to him and comfort him and counsel him about another girl he’s in love with. Is that cool with you? I know you’re worried about appearing jealous, but if we changed “jawing about Daphne” to “Reading the 1972 Encyclopedia Brittanica aloud” it would still be uncool of Niles to do if you indicated you aren’t interested. Obviously when we partner with someone, we all agree to a certain amount of “if it interests you a lot I guess it can interest me at least a little bit” but maintaining that deal requires good faith and self-awareness on both sides. Where is it inscribed that Thou Shalt Let Thy Partners Monologue Forever About Shit That Bores You Without Interruption? (Hint: I don’t think that is written anywhere). And, say you were jealous of how much energy he spends on Daphne and how much he expects you to give a shit about her. Where is it written that you can never feel jealous, or pissed off, or annoyed when someone takes you for granted?
He could tell a friend, or a therapist, or a diary, or howl it at the moon. It doesn’t have to be you, at the expense of your own enjoyment of your relationship.
So, here are my suggestions:
I would want to know if I were stretching someone’s listening capacity to its limit, wouldn’t you? Not everyone wants that information – “Anna” and “Niles” probably don’t right now because they don’t want anything that will break the spell of the crushes they are involved in – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be said. Directness is kindness here.
Moderator note: Please spell out the whole word – polyamorous, polyamory – vs. the abbreviation”poly” here in the future. For more context, read this. It’s been brewing for a while and it’ s time to make it official CaptainAwkward.com comment policy moving forward. We’re not changing old threads, and we’re also not debating the change in comments, so if you disagree with the change or have feelings about it you can process it in the forums or your own webspace. Thank you!
I have a friend (I’ll call him “Dave”) whom I haven’t seen in person in years, but am still in touch with on social media. Several months ago, he messaged me to tell me that he liked me and would like to go on a date sometime. I didn’t know him very well at the time, but I liked him enough to at least give him a chance. Though the date never happened, we did message each other regularly for a while.
I’m very involved in local theater (we met doing a show together, actually–I’ve stuck with theater since then and he hasn’t), and he mentioned at one point that he’d like to see me in a play sometime. I had just been cast in a show at the community theater in the town where we both live, so I gave him the details for that.
Well, it eventually became apparent that Dave is not a guy I’m interested in dating. I don’t think he’s a bad person; I’m just not attracted to him. At all. When I told him this, he put on the whole “but I just want to be friends, can’t we just talk and hang out as FRIENDS?” act. He then continued to keep sending flirty messages while denying that he was flirting. (“Can’t I tell my friend she’s pretty?” “Can’t I let my friend know when I’m thinking about her?”) I stopped responding to his messages and blocked him from viewing everything I post.
Now the aforementioned community theater play I’m in is just a few weeks away from opening, and I’m very worried that he’s going to show up. (I am very annoyed at my past self for telling him I was in it!) Anyone can buy a ticket, so I can’t exactly tell him he can’t come. At this theater, the actors always do a little meet-and-greet with the audience after the show, so if he does come I’m going to have to interact with him. My anxiety about this is sort of ruining what would otherwise be a really fun and exciting thing. What do I do? Help me, Captain!
Exit, Pursued by Creepy Dude (She, her)
This sucks and I’m sorry, but (good news!) you don’t have to interact with him if he shows up and you don’t have to suffer in silence or in secret.
Talk to the theater and to your friends at the theater. “I had an acquaintance who had a crush on me. He got a little stalker-y and wouldn’t take no for an answer, I’m afraid he’s gonna come to the show. He might not come, but it would make me feel more comfortable if we could put some safety measures in place just in case.” Ask the theater what they’ve done about situations like this in the past. Ask the box office to let you know if “Dave” buys a ticket in advance. You’ll still be freaked out and upset that day if you know he’s coming, but you’ll know what’s coming and you can tell the stage manager that you’ll be nope-ing right out of the post-show meet & greet that night.
If he shows up spontaneously, you can still handle it especially if you have the stage manager & fellow cast & crew to help you. Decide on a code word. You can say the code word if you spot him, and they can enthusiastically meet & greet him – all cheerful and friendly – without raising a fuss while you slip out the side door.
Dave, if you’re out there reading this, nobody wants you to go to that show and everybody sees through your wisp of plausible deniability for your pushy behavior. SHE DOESN’T LIKE YOU.
Letter Writer, I’m wishing you a good show, free of having to see this dude.
This is a good callback to the discussion about persistence from earlier this week. If someone is saying no to you, and you keep pushing, it’s not just a “missed connection.” It can start to become a fear/safety issue very quickly. Is Dave dangerous? I don’t know for sure, but he’s demonstrated that he doesn’t take “no” for an answer, so he’s made danger part of the Letter Writer’s calculus and ruined what should be a fun thing.
Please join me in welcoming our newest Star Kit, Leo. He is an 8 week old Maine Coon from Detroit, Michigan.
Little Leo was rescued from high up in a pine tree in a town called Leonard at 7 weeks old. He had no home and was adopted by his current owner.
He is friendly and sweet to everyone he meets, and his energy embodies that of a little lion.
Powell’s Books beckoned to us in red, black, and white, like a flag for a new America. One that’s educated, homegrown, and all about sustaining local book culture.
Libraries are where nerds like me go to refuel. They are safe-havens where the polluted noise of the outside world, with all the bullies and bro-dudes and anti-feminist rhetoric, is shut out. Libraries have zero tolerance for bullshit. Their walls protect us and keep us safe from all the bastards that have never read a book for fun.
You are your own person, Juliet. If it’s a phase, so what? If it’s your whole life, who cares? You’re destined to evolve and understand yourself in ways you never imagined before.
Was lately reading something about (male) travellers and those Amazingly Beautiful Women they saw somewhere a long way away after arduous journeying, which might be partly about Exoticising the Other, but also, I think, about there being some place (or time) which is not boring old Here, where things are amazing.
On the, Not Like The Women I Have To Deal With Here And Now In The Present, a friend of mine has a piece somewhere or other (actually I think it's in a volume in which I too am represented) about certain late C19th French (male) intellectuals complaining that women of their day were by no means comparable to the HOTT witty libertine ladies of the Ancien Regime in their salons.
And this led me to the thought that maybe if you are living in it no time is Perfect and Ideal: some may be better than others, for more people, maybe. Just as there were people who found, for them, good lives in times/places that are not usually thought of as utopian eras and most time-travellers would not put on their bucket lists.
Anything close-up and quotidien is, I depose, something the flaws in which you are going to apprehend fairly acutely. Though possibly the upside of that is, that they are the flaws and hindrances that one has developed work-arounds for (see Katharine Whitehorn on the little niggles about one's house that one hardly notices any more but has to warn visitors about).
"There seems to be a perception from people outside of Charlottesville that what is going on here is two opposing groups coming to town and fighting some ideological battle that has gotten messy. That is not what is happening here. What is happening here is that several hate groups from the extreme right have come together under the "unite the right" banner here in our town and basically started acting as terrorists. This may seem like an exaggeration but it's not...."