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Are we back in high school, srsly
April 1, 2014 5:37 AM   Subscribe

Dated a guy briefly, broke it off, and now things are awkward turtle when I want them to be fun and friendly. Is this a foolish hope?

This is a follow up from this question. Basically, I had a casual thing going with a guy at school, and when I floated the idea of something more, he didn't want that, so we broke it off. It's been two weeks since then, and despite agreeing that we'd remain cordial and not-awkward about it .. well, it's awkward. Part of it was that I told him I'd stop messaging him (and followed through on that, going so far as to delete his number), but then also started being less friendly in person (still saying hi, but not going out of my way to stop and chat). The no-contact was necessary for me because I ended up more upset about the breakup than I thought I would, especially since we'd only been going out for a few weeks. But now whenever I see him around, he avoids eye contact unless we're directly passing each other. I like to chat with people I come across, so having him be the only one with this standoffish dynamic puts me off balance.

I want us to be friendly again! I don't get why he's being weird when he's the one who checked out of the arrangement first. I do wish it could have worked, though. I don't think I could date him again, but that doesn't stop me from making sure I look like I'm having fun when I know he's around, or dressing up a little more on days I know we'll cross paths. I just want to take him aside and tell him that we're cool, no hard feelings, sorry about being weird, etc. Does that sound reasonable or does it sound like I should just try and ride out the awkwardness?
posted by cucumber patch to Human Relations (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
cucumber patch: "I don't get why he's being weird when he's the one who checked out of the arrangement first."

You deleted his number and barely said hello as you passed, he is just reciprocating in kind.

cucumber patch: "I just want to take him aside and tell him that we're cool, no hard feelings, sorry about being weird, etc."

This sounds lovely, but if you're still dressing up for him and pretending to have more fun than you actually are when he is around, you might want to consider whether or not you are actually over him yet.
posted by Grither at 5:41 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


It ended, you cut off most contact, and so did he. I wouldn't try to get friendly again right now. You don't HAVE to chat with every person you "come across". Why waste time on him when you could spend the time meeting new people, or talking with other friends?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:49 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


You should try to ride out the awkwardness. Two weeks isn't very long, and while you might feel that you want to be friendly again, he might need more time to get used to it.

Also, making sure he sees you having fun and dressing well may be giving him "I still want to be more than friends" vibes. So he might be acting colder than he otherwise would, to avoid leading you on.

Taking him aside for a talk might give him the impression that you're looking for ways to draw out the relationship.
posted by neushoorn at 5:58 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Easy, tiger.
Don't be getting all freaked out when he starts reciprocating in kind what YOU initiated.
Did you ever think that he could be saying the same about you?
That you are making it weird?

Yeah.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 6:19 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


You're in the same dynamic as before.

Previous question:
You dialed back on sex. He became insecure, so he dialed back on commitment. You became insecure.

This question:
You dialed back on messaging and chatting. He became insecure, so he dialed back on eye contact. You became insecure.

If this relationship is going to turn warmer, not weirder, someone does have to be the one to dial up instead of dialing back. That would mean being vulnerable, opening up about feelings, and risking rejection. For example: "I miss talking to you. I'd like to go back to messaging with you, and stopping to chat when we run into each other."

If it's not worth the risk that he might say "no thanks, I don't want to," you could just ride out the awkwardness. Maybe one of you will eventually move away or something. (On the other hand, he might say "I'm so glad you said something. Yeah, that would be great.")
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 6:54 AM on April 1 [11 favorites]


but then also started being less friendly in person (still saying hi, but not going out of my way to stop and chat).

I like to chat with people I come across, so having him be the only one with this standoffish dynamic puts me off balance.

You're telling us two different things here. And from his point of view *you're* the standoffish one.

Look, he probably stopped interacting with you because you stopped interacting with him. Now you want him to magically read your mind and know that you've had two weeks to cool off and want to be chatty again.
posted by Specklet at 7:24 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I think you are asking a lot of him, to expect him to instinctively adapt to the level of intimacy you would like to have, after two weeks, without even talking to him about it. You can either wait a little bit and see if things settle naturally, or take him aside and talk to him about just what level of interaction you'd like to have. Also, I agree that this approach

that doesn't stop me from making sure I look like I'm having fun when I know he's around, or dressing up a little more on days I know we'll cross paths.

is probably not helping things move towards a casual, friendly relationship.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:29 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


You "started being less friendly in person (...not going out of my way to stop and chat)" and now you are upset that he avoids eye contact because you "like to chat with people [you] come across?" Either what you want is totally inconsistent, or there is a level of nuance here that is not realistic.
posted by salvia at 9:23 AM on April 1


I don't think I could date him again, but that doesn't stop me from making sure I look like I'm having fun when I know he's around, or dressing up a little more on days I know we'll cross paths.

So, it would seem that the answer to your original question is yes.
posted by Dolley at 10:04 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


You can't just decide things are going to be Not Awkward.

This is an awkward situation. You liked someone. He didn't like you back. That's classic awkward.

Now, things don't have to be awkward forever. Since the fling lasted a very short time, and it seems like it wasn't embarrassingly unrequited, just regular "not that into you" unrequited, you'll eventually get over it and the awkwardness will pass. Think of it like a particularly rank fart.

Give it time and space. You can't force someone to be on friendly terms with you. He's not "being weird", he's being a human who is trying to save face -- and help you save face -- in a somewhat awkward situation.

Unless he has reason to think there are "hard feelings" (are you gossiping about him behind his back? were you visibly angry in the immediate aftermath of the breakup?), I would not take the time out to clarify matters. You need less contact, not more contact.
posted by Sara C. at 10:06 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Give it some time. You can let things be weird. Don't go out of your way for anything, don't fake having fun, or dress super-cute when you know you'll see him.

You're young and this may be the first time you've had a some-what amicable break-up. It doesn't mean you get to be friends, or even be friendly, it just means that you don't want to burn his shit on the lawn and key his car.

That's pretty good, all things considered.

You can make new friends.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:18 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


He's behaving normally, even optimally, for a guy 2 weeks out of a breakup with someone who seems like she (?) still wants to date him. It's generally recommended to avoid being super chatty with a recent ex, particularly if there are feelings on either side (admitted or not). He's not being weird (at least as described here), he just doesn't want to lead you on by being too friendly. He's right, too - I've totally seen people interpret friendliness after a breakup as "he secretly still wants to date me", consciously or subconsciously, and it just draws out the bad breakup feelings.

I'd wait awhile, months at least, and really make sure that your feelings are gone, before trying to be friends again (or just don't). No contact is recommended for a reason, and saying hi to him every time you're in the same area (which can be a lot, in school) and trying to engage him in conversation is not "no contact".

I get that it feels like more rejection and that sucks, but a clean break is better for everyone and he's doing his part to allow that.
posted by randomnity at 11:22 AM on April 1


(ok on second thought, maybe months of no contact aren't necessarily required after a casual breakup of a not-quite-relationship, but definitely wait to be friends until your more-than-friends desires are really gone, not just suppressed like they seem to be now, and giving it more time is always the safe option)
posted by randomnity at 11:29 AM on April 1


Why do you want to be friends with this douche? Seriously, why?

Also, I disagree that you're doing anything wrong by dressing up around him. I'd go to the absolute nines if I were you. I mean, why not? I'd be awesome. If he motivates you to do that, so what? Great! Get angry! Get hot! Get revenge by living well and being popular!

You don't need his friendship. I mean, okay, maybe he's not a douche, but so what? You don't owe him anything. He's clearly not gonna throw you a bone, so don't worry about throwing him one.
posted by quincunx at 1:54 PM on April 1


Alright, so let me get this straight...

You and this guy had a casual FWB type arrangement. You wanted more. He didn't. You became hurt (rejection, it's understandable). You went "no contact". Now you're upset because after 2 weeks you want to remain friendly and he's put you in the "no contact" zone (which is precisely where you put him, to be fair).

So my question is, what, exactly, do you want from this guy? It certainly isn't to just be friendly. You're still dressing up for him. You're still trying to prove you're having fun without him. Were I in his position, I would probably a) be confused by the on/off feelings you're throwing around and b) make it a point to avoid you/maintain "no contact". Don't take him aside - it's very obvious things AREN'T 'cool' and are still very much on the weird side. He knows it. Save face and leave him alone.
posted by stubbehtail at 4:29 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


I think you need to start managing your anxiety. Both this and previous question have the same theme/trend. You get scared and cut back on the relationship potential. Then this guy does what you tell him you want, and the relationship withers. Then it turns out you actually wanted him to do the opposite.

Seriously, if I were the guy, I'd be feeling that this is "crazypants"

Just ask for what you really want, and maybe getting therapy to help you learn to manage the anxiety and to deal with the self esteem problem. However, that is probably best solution for FUTURE relationships. This one looks done and dusted.
posted by zia at 4:36 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


despite agreeing that we'd remain cordial and not-awkward about it .. well, it's awkward. Part of it was that I told him I'd stop messaging him... but then also started being less friendly in person... The no-contact was necessary for me

So let me get this straight, you went no contact and started mostly ignoring him in person and now you are wondering why he's being weird by ignoring you?

It seems like you are looking for someone who will ignore you when you say you don't want to talk to them, and persist in going against your stated wishes. Forget this guy, he's not the type. Maybe you can ask around and see if any of your friends have had trouble with being persistently stalked by men they have asked not to speak with them?
posted by yohko at 5:07 PM on April 3


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