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How should I act toward a female friend after she rejected my romantic advance?
December 13, 2009 11:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm ashamed to say that, even though I'm in my mid 20s, I'm still very inexperience at this relationship thing. Recently I just met this amazing girl who I really like. Unfortunately, after trying for couple months thing didn't worked out. She rejected my advance citing I'm not acting the way she thought I should, and she found another guy she really like. Now what?

So far what I had done is try to be friend with her. We still go out for dinner and etc. At this point I'm not romantically interested in her anymore because I realized we are not compatible and I don't want to go crazy thinking about her everyday. Today she mentioned to me that I changed into another person. I'm not the same as when I'm still pursuing her. I would reject her invitation to road trips and "not as nice" to her as before . She doesn't like it. I'm not too happy to hear that because I don't feel I changed into another person just because she's no longer my romantic interest. I'm still trying very hard to just be her "friend" instead of the guy who is infatuated with her. What should I do now?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Just say this (in so many words, and less formal and academic than this phrasing): "I enjoy your company and I'd like to go on being friends with you. That said, right now I'm only trying to be friends with you and not pursuing you romantically, so of course I've backed off in spending that additional energy trying to make time to hang out. I'm interested in doing things with you, but I'm also putting my time into meeting other women to date. Let's plan to go to dinner / go see a movie / whatever this weekend, but yeah, I'm not going to be around as much."
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:37 AM on December 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ok, this appears to be a pretty basic issue. Without additional details I'm going to guess you slipped into the friend zone. In my experience, girls either know right off the bat that they would date you or they won't and it sounds like she might have been using the "not acting the way she thought you should" thing as an excuse to cover up the fact that she just wasn't into you in the first place.

If you fell into the friend zone and were just being a chump initially and now are no longer being one, she may miss that and might be trying to guilt you into being a chump again. You don't owe her anything and it is natural for people to act differently around those they are romantically interested in. If you no longer feel that to her and she made it clear she is not interested, she should have no expectation for you to continue fawning over her.

Don't waste the energy trying, if she doesn't like you for who you are that is her problem.

Now, I made a LOT of assumptions in my post because you didn't really provide any details about how you behaved while courting her, how she thought you should act, etc. but hopefully some of this rings true.
posted by Elminster24 at 11:39 AM on December 13, 2009


To follow up on what Elminster24 said, and refining my own thinking a bit, there's nothing wrong with being a little Machiavellian in dating and friendships. You're not going to get companionship/dating/sex/long-term whatever from the woman in question, so don't feel the need to white-knight this. If E24 is correct (and this wouldn't be the first time this situation has occurred), she may try to use you as a sympathetic ear etc. both to get you jealous enough to stay interested and to feel better about herself by maintaining your interest in her. This isn't certain to happen, and hopefully it won't, but you're under no obligation to play along if you feel used. She has a boyfriend, that's what he's for. Don't spend time hoping she'll come around when you could be spending it on meeting women that will reciprocate your level of interest.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:44 AM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's pretty unfair for her to reject your advances and then complain that you don't give her enough attention. First, I'd think about whether I wanted to spend my time with a person like this, and if you do, just tell her you think she's acting unfairly.

And don't feel bad; you're taking necessary steps to protect yourself. This does not make you mean or give you any reason to feel bad. Your intentions seem pretty good.
posted by PFL at 11:51 AM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


My advice: Don't try to initiate dinners and romance with her. She rejected you, and pretty bluntly, too! You say that she "doesn't like" that you're trying to act uninterested, but you give no details on any reason why you should think that, which leads me to believe that you're dead wrong about her being upset by this behavior. I suspect she's pretty pleased that you've stopped acting so crazy over her, but doesn't want to hurt your feelings.

Also, you don't have to turn down her invitations to do things with her, if you actually want to do them and can, with no explanation. This makes you a jerk. BUT, if you are, in reality, still infatuated with her, which it sounds like you are, then you probably should turn down her invitations, but BE HONEST WITH HER! Tell her why, that honestly, you're still interested in her, and it might be best to takes some time apart. Otherwise, you're inevitably going to keep acting stalkerish, pathetic and a little creepy. Which is, to be straight with you, how you come across in your post.

Sorry if that hurts your feelings, but I'm trying to tell you the truth here so as to clear up your obvious confusion.
posted by yurodivy at 11:52 AM on December 13, 2009


I hope I'm understanding this correctly -- you dated this girl for a couple of months, she ended the relationship and started dating someone else, and now she's giving you a hard time because you're not acting like a boyfriend anymore?

If this is the case, cut your losses now and stop hanging out with her. She doesn't want your friendship, she wants the boyfriend-level attention she used to get from you and the ego boost it gave her. Move on to other girls.

(This is assuming that you're not being a jerk to her now that she's not romantically interested. Not saying that you are, just that we don't have any examples here of how you're treating her now. I'm going to take the easy route and assume the best.)
posted by palomar at 11:58 AM on December 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Just tell her, "What do you expect? You can't have it both ways - you rejected me, and I'm being a friend to you, and a pretty good friend to you at that! When I thought I had a chance with you, I was going all out to win you over - but you found someone you liked better, so what's the problem?"

She just wants to have her cake and eat it, too. Set her straight, stand up for yourself, and then see what happens.
posted by Locochona at 12:04 PM on December 13, 2009


Inspector.Gadget's cooment is good. While reassuring her you want to be friends, explain the difference between how you treat a friend and a (potential) girlfriend.
posted by salvia at 12:14 PM on December 13, 2009


Forgive the cliché, but accept that she's just not into you. And she needs to accept that you are moving on. You'll find another, you just wait and see.
posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 12:35 PM on December 13, 2009


If you value your own emotional well-being, then don't try to be friends with a woman you're infatuated with who didn't reciprocate.

Ever.

It bears repeating: don't try to be friends with a woman you're infatuated with who didn't reciprocate.

Move on. Put effort into forgetting her.
posted by meadowlark lime at 1:19 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh...so now that you have realized you don't have a romantic chance in hell with her, you changed your behavior to fit the "friends" relationship she wanted. That sounds fair.

OH...and now she says she doesn't like this new behavior...and still wants you to behave as if you are trying to court her?

Move on, brother.

This has nothing to do with being an expert at relationships in your mid-20s. This has everything to do with knowing when someone believes they are the center of the universe, and expecting everything and everybody to revolve around them.

Take this as a learning experience, and move the hell on.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:55 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Firstly,

I'm ashamed to say that, even though I'm in my mid 20s, I'm still very inexperience at this relationship thing.

Please don't be ashamed, as most people at that age aren't that experienced. It's a steep learning curve, trying to deal with other's people's feelings.

With that out the way, I can move onto the main part. I hope this will allow you to see her point of view (and yours) in a bit more clarity.

I'm guessing that you put a fair amount of effort into trying to 'win' this girl. I know I do. And she appreciated the attention and it's a ego boost to have someone want you. However, she probably thinks this way of acting is you. So to her you are different. Though you see it as, I'm still me. It's one of those two views of the same situation, neither right nor wrong.

What the two of you will have to work out is can you find a mutually satisfying way of dealing with each other.

This two bits leapt out at me:
I'm still trying very hard to just be her "friend" instead of the guy who is infatuated with her. and
I'm not romantically interested in her anymore because I realized we are not compatible and I don't want to go crazy thinking about her everyday

This suggests to me that you are not in a friend-compatible place at the moment. It might happen with time, but in my experience a person to go from partner to friends requires 2 deal breakers. With each seeing something in other that stopped it happening from their perspective. Be that (in no particular order) sex, fashion sense, children, money, hobbies, fetish, food, family etc.

At the moment it makes it sound like you are waiting for her to change her mind. If that's true, then fine but I advise against friendship.

Feel free to MeMail me, if you want to chat further.
posted by 92_elements at 2:16 PM on December 13, 2009


Nothing happens. You're still putting way too much effort into being close. Stop it. Go out & meet more women. Live your life. Ain't going to be her in it.

If you don't like all the "she's just using you for an ego boost" explanation, the sociobiological explanation is : We accept that men and women often cheat to respectively either propagate their genes further and obtain better genes for their young. Similarly, men and women often lead on "back up" players who can respectively either replace the current girl once she gets pregnant or can play husband once the father runs off.

It's doubtful this friendship has any real basis aside from your romantic interest, well they never do. Even if it did, you'll never find it while you're still trying so hard. I'd just drop the matter, thus avoiding flameouts, but quit hanging out except in group situations.

Btw, You sound really hung up on her still. See, you still have dinner together, but you ditched the group activity where she likely invited single female friends too. You'd be using her to meet other girls if you were really over her. A clever girl who actually wants a romantically interested guy for a friend, not just an ego boost, would try setting him up with one of her friends.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:34 PM on December 13, 2009


When a girl likes a boy more than he likes her, he'll sometimes "use" her for sex. When a boy likes a girl more than she likes him, she'll sometimes "use" him for attention and (non-physical) intimacy.
posted by callmejay at 3:25 PM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


She rejected my advance citing I'm not acting the way she thought I should ... We still go out for dinner and etc. ... Today she mentioned to me that I changed into another person. I'm not the same as when I'm still pursuing her. I would reject her invitation to road trips and "not as nice" to her as before . She doesn't like it.

Dude, she's acting like an asshole. Scrape her off your shoes and move on. There are far more fish in the sea. And while it sounds flip to say that, most people don't realize that it's A. Really. Big. Sea. Far bigger than you think it is. That is one of those "I wish someone had told me" facts that would've saved me and my friends bundles of time and energy.

Put this one in the "lessons learned" file, keep your chin up and get back out there.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:42 PM on December 13, 2009


So far what I had done is try to be friend with her. We still go out for dinner and etc.

Noooooo!
It sounds like you're not over her yet. I strongly suggest not seeing her at all until you're over her (ie dating someone else), and politely ending conversations she initiates so you're not pulled back into unrequited infatuation.

My experience: I'm also 20something and kind of clueless, but I've had this kind of thing happen twice.
--Once, I was a chump and a supportive friend even though I still was crushing on the girl and she frequently complained about her boyfriend to me and sometimes went out to dinner or other things with me. After a few really sucky months of this, I admitted I liked her and was much happier (We stopped talking, I moved on and her boyfriend broke up with her).
--More recently, my girlfriend decided we were too serious, was having doubts, and wanted to "take a break" but still be friends. I was wiser this time, so I was clear that I couldn't be friends if we weren't together anymore, at least until I got over her. We didn't talk for two days, then she called me and said she was a fool and wanted to get back together (I did, but for other people and situations this would likely be the wrong choice).

So, if you're still having romantic feelings for her, you should tell her, then move on. It worked for me.
posted by sninctown at 3:49 PM on December 13, 2009


One more thing.

Go find your best male friend and tell him exactly what you're telling us here.

If that male friend responds with ANYTHING OTHER than "Dude, show some self-respect and eject before you crash into the mountain," you need a new set of male friends.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:57 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm still trying very hard to just be her "friend" instead of the guy who is infatuated with her. I tried this and found it painful and thankless. From re-reading your post it seems clear to me that you need some space. Tell her so and move on.

Also, this xkcd comic describes this situation. Like I said, BAIL OUT! BAIL OUT NOW! If it was meant to be, she'll come back, but I can guarantee you (based on my one data point of experience) that you'll find someone better if she doesn't. Good luck dude.
posted by sninctown at 4:00 PM on December 13, 2009


I'm not sure if this article applies to your situation or not. It's a joke article from the Onion, about a girl who "uses" a boy who's romantically interested in her. (A male friend of mine says this article describes several friendships he's had with women over the years.)

But if we started dating, it would ruin our friendship (where I ask you to do things and you do them).

Possibly your friend is genuinely confused, and didn't realize that you were spending so much time with her because you were romantically interested. But also possibly, she may just like the attention and be upset that you're moving on. Whichever is true, it sounds like you are going to move on (good!) and you'll just have to tell her something like what Inspector.Gadget suggests.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:08 PM on December 13, 2009


She can't have it both ways; she can't have all the benefits of you as a potential lover, but not actually become your lover. She might want that, of course, but that's not fair to you. You go and find some other girls to date, and if she wants to be friends on your not-a-potential-lover terms, fine -- and otherwise she can go find someone else to use.
posted by davejay at 9:52 PM on December 13, 2009


It sounds like your dating behavior is not congruent with your actual self. She sensed that and brought it up.

I suggest you work on that. Start by believing that you can be yourself while dating.
posted by dualityofmind at 12:48 AM on December 14, 2009


PFL and others: Nothing women do in situations like this is "fair". That's reality.

Women, in my experience, tend to go with their feelings in the moment. Fairness, logic, sequence...that's all guy stuff.

Forget her, and find someone who appreciates you and who will, in the words of some other MeFi poster, will "love you enthusiastically".
posted by flutable at 2:17 AM on December 14, 2009


It sounds like your dating behavior is not congruent with your actual self. She sensed that and brought it up.

Whose is? I don't know anyone who treats their romantic interests the exact same way they treat their friends. It's pretty clear from the OP's description that every single other commenter in this thread has the right of it, and this girl is disappointed that he's not falling over himself to fulfill her wants and needs (the most telling bit is the "not as nice" comment; feh).

OP: it's not you, dude, it's her.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:30 AM on December 14, 2009


God, I'm going to sound like such an asshole for saying this, but go start dating someone else. There is a non-zero chance she'll panic, break up with her new guy, and start pursuing you in earnest. And even if I'm wrong -- heh, you've got a new girl!
posted by effugas at 11:14 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


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