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awkward wedding situation
January 25, 2009 4:29 PM   Subscribe

What's the etiquette for forced social interaction with a quasi-ex/hookup?

I met this girl through mutual friends and we had an ill-defined, months-long relationship/hookup that awkwardly fizzled about a year ago. (We lived in different cities.) I'm not even sure who's responsible for it ending, cause we just sort of fell out of contact. Well, now our mutual friends are having a wedding and this girl and I are both in the wedding party. My guy friends who will be there either don't know or won't care, but she'll have lots of friends there who I'm pretty sure are at least somewhat aware of the situation. What is the etiquette for this? What do I say to her? I don't really know how she feels about what happened so I'm going into this blind. Mostly I just want to not feel awkward the whole weekend.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Start with "Hi." Trust you can handle it. The rest cannot be predicted.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:45 PM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hi, how are you doing? What's new?
posted by Flunkie at 4:45 PM on January 25, 2009


The polite thing to do in virtually every situation in which you don't want someone to feel awkward is to treat them exactly the same way you'd treat anyone else.

"Hey, how's it going?". Or whatever.
posted by Justinian at 4:46 PM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whatever you do, for the love of God don't avoid her. Break the ice early and don't let the tension get too thick.
posted by kdar at 4:47 PM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm . . the real question is, did it fizzle out due to lack of interest? if so then yeah, be friendly, all that.

But if there's still interest, hey, might be fun. you could say something more along the lines of, its great to see you again, we ought to catch up. (ahem, catch up . . . isn't that what weddings are for????) Also, you could maybe send her a text or something before you see each other saying that you're looking forward to seeing her. That, i think, would make it less awkward for both of you. And might set the stage for you two to catch up. :-)

That's how I'd play it anyway. YMMV.
posted by lblair at 4:52 PM on January 25, 2009


we had an ill-defined, months-long relationship/hookup ... awkwardly fizzled ... not even sure who's responsible for it ending

These phrases should be an indicator that you're probably over thinking the whole thing. People who have meaningful relationships are the ones who should fret about seeing "that person" again... you are not one of those people.

What is the etiquette for this?

There is no etiquette beyond you being a grown up.

What do I say to her?

Depends. Do you want to kick it with ole girl again? Then say, "Whoa! You look amazing! It's so nice to see you again. You know, things kind of fizzled out between us, and I feel so 'awkward' about it... (make air quotes) I hate that! LOL! Let's grab a drink at the wetbar and then go for a walk and catch up..." If not, just say, "Hey, it's good to see you again, you're looking well. Oops! So-and-so is waving at me, I gotta go see what he wants... I'll catch up with you later."

I don't really know how she feels about what happened so I'm going into this blind

Uh. Hate to break this to you buddy, but you can NEVER really know how anyone feels about anything. So you'd be going in blind no matter what. The best way to approach it is to work out exactly how YOU feel and then go from there. Do you want to start over with her? Doesn't really sound like it from your post, but if you play your cards right it's a possibility. Do you want to move on? Well, who's stopping you?

I just want to not feel awkward the whole weekend.

You're allowing this flimsy pseudo-relationship far too much control over your own emotions. You need to buck up, be confident. Waltz in there sure of yourself. Nod and wink. Pull a bridesmaid if you have to, but don't give this piddly little regular hook up you had with this chick enough weight to pull you down.
posted by wfrgms at 4:52 PM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, you could maybe send her a text or something before you see each other saying that you're looking forward to seeing her. That, i think, would make it less awkward for both of you.

I agree with this idea of getting in touch with her in advance. Maybe it's old fashioned of me, but I think a phone call (not a text) would be an extremely classy way to make this more comfortable for both of you.
posted by jayder at 4:56 PM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah generally speaking a friendly "Hey, how's it going?" is perfectly decent. If you liked each other and the thing fizzled for no real reason then there shouldnt really be any awkwardness and a good way to make that true is to not be awkward yourself. Follow cues so if she's acting a little squirrely, feel free to make yourself scarce. If she's acting interested, feel free to follow that lead as well. I guess you may want to give yourself a five minute introspect and think about how you'd feel if she's

- looking for another hookup
- NOT looking for another hookup
- awkward herself about it

but there's not much to overthink. Your friends are getting married and oyu have a mutual interest in them having a happy time and conversation, shoudl one occur, can be as simple as "hey great about Bob and Jen huh?"

The only thing I'd put on the "to avoid" list is that really intense "tell me, how ARE you...?" which can send a message that oh gee you would have loved to have kept in touch but just didn't and hey you've really been thinking about her all this time.
posted by jessamyn at 4:57 PM on January 25, 2009


Sincerely smile, give her a warm hug, and ask her how she's been.

If you decide to send her a "hey, looking forward to seeing you" text beforehand, know that it might come across a little... skeevy. Like maybe you haven't talked to her in however long, but you know you're going to see her again and are checking out whether you can hook up again. If that's the message you want to send, then cool, but I would probably laugh a little if I got a message with such convenient timing.
posted by juliplease at 4:57 PM on January 25, 2009


A phone call or a text message before meeting her again would immediately make me think "maybe he wants to hook up with me again." And if that's true, then I recommend doing just that - it's a totally innocent way of finding out where you stand. If she is interested in hooking up with you again, she'll text back or be chatty on the phone, and if she's not, then as far as she knows you're just being polite and saying hello, so just politely repeat that you look forward to seeing her and have a good evening.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 5:09 PM on January 25, 2009


If you decide to send her a "hey, looking forward to seeing you" text beforehand, know that it might come across a little... skeevy. Like maybe you haven't talked to her in however long, but you know you're going to see her again and are checking out whether you can hook up again.

haha . . . that's exactly how i meant it. i guess it depends on the context of your situation- you should know what's right. its weird, i think there's a generation gap with this sort of thing (especially when it comes to calling vs texting.) in my experience, texting is the preferred method of communication between FB's, flings, what have you. if i was in this situation and the guy CALLED me, i'd feel incredibly awkward. texting is more nonconfrontational. he could always end it by saying, 'if you want to talk more, let me know and i'll give you a call.' or something . . .

i'm 25, FWIW. and addicted to texting :-(
posted by lblair at 5:25 PM on January 25, 2009


Wow, definitely a generational thing. I wouldn't have even thought of suggesting a text message. Still, I do think that is appropriate. In your shoes I'd want to get in touch one way or another ahead of time. For all you know she is not only in the wedding party but also bringing her now steady boyfriend to the wedding (or maybe you know she isn't). Either way, once you see her in person you should make a point of going up straight-away just to say hi. No matter the circumstances it seems like a basic greeting would break a lot of the ice.
posted by meinvt at 5:37 PM on January 25, 2009


I've been in this situation -- two years after the hookup, I had a serious boyfriend, and the boyfriend brought me along to a party to meet "some of my best friends"....and one of those "best friends" he introduced me to was this hookup.

He and I just gave each other a bit of a double-take, sincerely smiled, said, "oh yeah, hey, how's it going?" And then...well, we didn't OBVIOUSLY go out of our way to just hover at opposite ends of the room for the first hour or so after that, but we were subtly doing that. Not like we would drop everything and run if one of us were at the bar and the other came up (I was at the bar and he wandered up, and he just gave me a polite, "so...what's new?" "Eh, same old same old, and you? You been good?" "Yeah, pretty good...")

We didn't pretend we didn't know each other, but we also didn't allude to any depth to our past history other than, "oh, yeah, I've met you."

(I did confide in my boyfriend shortly after running into the hookup just what was going on -- the boyfriend was EXTREMELY amused by the situation, and kept giving me evil little grins all night and trying to find excuses to steer me towards the hookup just to see what I'd do.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:47 PM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well it's assumed that you became somewhat of friends before the hookups started. Being that you have this history together I would treat it like you were just friends. Treat her how you would any other female friend and ignore the rest - her friends, your friends, awkwardness.

How I see these sorts of situations is this... You were friends, then friends that hooked up for a while, then you just drifted apart - no one's fault really, so the hooking up ceased but you're still friends. Treat her like a friend but go in knowing exactly what you want. Do you want to hook up at the wedding or is that period over?

Most likely she'll be cool so as not to make a big deal out of it. Just do the same and everything will be fine. Good luck!
posted by jay.eye.elle.elle. at 7:16 PM on January 25, 2009


"Hi, I probably should have called you or something, sorry."

(It doesn't matter what really happened: take responsibility anyway. It's gracious.)

How she responds to that dictates the rest -- if she asks the worst-case "yeah why didn't you?" you can explain just like you did in the question above -- but at least you're trying to be nice, up front.
posted by rokusan at 7:27 PM on January 25, 2009


Facebook or email her ahead of time.

If you still kind of like her, be casual and a teeeny bit flirty: "Hi stranger, Looking forward to seeing you at the wedding, [insert some jokey/flirty and self-depricating comments or subtle references to inside jokes] It's been a long time and I was thinking of you today, thought I'd drop a line and say hi."
If you don't wanna hook up, just honestly acknowledge the awkwardness "Hi, Jess, how are you? I guess we're gonna be seeing each other at the wedding- it's been a long time and I just thought I'd say hi here to break the ice, [insert small piece of personal news & ask for same from her, "how's school going" or whatever]. Looking forward to seeing you and hope you're well."

When you see her, even if you're not feeling flirty, you should greet her personally and take a moment to really connect- "Jess! Hi! *hug* You look really nice! How are you?" Do NOT treat her the same as everyone else- be nicer and more polite and friendly with her, say her name more, laugh at her jokes a little more. She's not just another girl, she's a girl you had a thing with, no matter how casual. Especially if her girlfriends know about you two, which I pretty much guarantee they do-- she deserves a little more respect and attention- it will make the whole interaction go more smoothly.

You don't need to flirt if you don't want to, but the other people (especially girls) who know that you hooked up with her will, on some level, be watching you guys to see if it's awkward, and the nicest way to not be awkward is to go 15% out of your way to be extra-gentlemanly with her. Also, you probably want to avoid flirting too much with any other girls that night- you might end up causing drama.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:46 PM on January 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Sorry, I didn't phrase that very well. I guess I just mean that if you want to hook up with her again, calling beforehand would be a good way to send that signal, and better, I think, than a text or email.
posted by juliplease at 8:14 PM on January 25, 2009


Be sure to have a bunch of mean and witty one-liners prepared beforehand, in case you need to toss them off in a pinch. Just in case she's pissed or something. Trust me, you'll regret it if you need a mean one-liner and you don't have one on hand.
posted by paultopia at 1:44 AM on January 26, 2009


Just in case she's pissed or something. Trust me, you'll regret it if you need a mean one-liner and you don't have one on hand.

Please don't do this (the way you phrased your question doesn't lead me to think you would, but still). Chances are, if she's pissed, it's likely that she was hurt by what happened. Being mean as a defensive mechanism for being ashamed to admit you might have hurt her (intentionally or not) is just immature and, well, mean.
posted by Pax at 7:00 AM on January 26, 2009


I think above all, remember the reason that you are there, which is your friends' wedding. Leave any drama at home where it belongs.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:24 PM on January 26, 2009


Trust me, you'll regret it if you need a mean one-liner and you don't have one on hand.

Oooh! Oooh! I've get the best one-liner ever:
"I'm sorry things didn't work out between us; guess I'll go talk with some other people instead." and then walk away! Burned.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:19 PM on January 26, 2009


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