I just want some friends.
January 24, 2011 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Fellow socially awkward Mefites: How do I chill out and not screw up this new long-distance friendship? Or did I already screw it up?

Last year I (a woman) went on a tour and made friends with the (male, gay) tour guide. We bonded over drinks and drama within the group, being the last ones standing at the bar most nights. The tour ended and we've keep in tenuous contact since then, mostly on Facebook.

He lives on another continent with his partner. Recently I was in that continent for work, and proposed that we get together. He invited me to stay with them and we had a fun weekend, mainly staying up all night drinking again. His partner and I spent some time together too, and hit it off well, so at the end of the weekend I felt like we were all friends, although my friend seemed distant on the last day. I attributed it to him being tired at the time. Then I went home, 4000 miles away, and who knows when (or if?) we'll see each other again.

Then I was thinking that I could sign up for the tour again and get a chance to hang out with them - my friend had asked if I'd be going back to that part of the world again this year so I thought that was an opening for me. I pondered waiting to ask so I wouldn't seem needy but then figured they'd either be up for it or they wouldn't. So I sent a message saying that I'd like to hang out with them again and wondered if the best option was to sign up for the tour. I am waiting anxiously to hear back with a sinking feeling that I was too direct, that it was too much too soon.

I would like to keep these men in my life because I think they are awesome. But I am terrified I am going to screw it all up, or maybe that I already have. I don't make friends easily and I feel really out of practice. I'm feeling paranoid that they were just being polite and that if I keep bugging them they will go away. I am worried that I am being too needy by already asking them when we can hang out again.

My boyfriend and another friend are trying to help by telling me I have nothing to worry about, that clearly the guys enjoyed my company. The bf thinks that it's important to tell people what you want from them and to stop worrying so much about how it is going to fly. Also, even if it doesn't all work out at least we've had some fun times together.

So, current or former social misfits: Did I screw up by asking about seeing them again? How do I stop worrying about this? What other advice do you have for me?

yes, I know this sounds like the work of a 16-yr old trying to figure out if that guy likes her. What can I say, I've been too shy to put myself out there very much lately.
posted by cabingirl to Human Relations (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: this doesn't sound needy to me. in fact, it sounds about right. you guys had a great time when you were out there and you were still feeling the high from that so you wanted to make plans to do it again. i wouldn't worry about this at all.
posted by violetk at 6:44 PM on January 24, 2011

Best answer: It sounds like the only reason you have to doubt him is that he was a little distant on the last day. There are a thousand reasons to explain that and you've latched onto the one that puts the blame on yourself even though there's nothing else to suggest that.

You stop worrying about this by realising that you had a good time with good friends and made a suggestion to do the same thing again, which is a totally normal and balanced approach to friends and friendships.
posted by twirlypen at 7:02 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 4000 miles! Sounds like an awesome amount of distance to buffer anything cringe-inducing if your friendly advances flounder. Really, just go for it.
posted by thejoshu at 7:08 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Can't see anything even slightly close to screwing things up in what you did. Maybe your suggestion of travelling to see them again was forward, and not something they'd been thinking about yet; but there's nothing wrong with that, and it's awesome that you're keen. (He may have understood your message as more speculative than you did, though.)

Don't worry if he doesn't reply to your suggestion. He's still your friend, and he still enjoys your company. There are ways of continuing friendships online that you can do (funny links! comments on each other's fb that lead into message or phone calls). Perhaps it would be better to continue in that way rather than pressing the question.

Perhaps you should keep in mind that a "good friend" for you might be something less common than a "good friend" is for him. That doesn't make the friendship less weak, but does mean he'll be dividing his time among other friendships. Maybe you could wait for another work-reason or other for being back somewhere near him. Time can make even stronger the bond between you.
posted by squishles at 7:12 PM on January 24, 2011

Best answer: Your post reads like: sounds normal, oh fun!, good times, totally normal, sounds great, normal, happy, fun, slight nervousness, ARGH TOTAL ATTACK OF SOCIAL ANXIETY.

I'm not trying to make fun of you, and I'm not saying you shouldn't have asked this question or anything, just trying to convey how this question seems to me. In an outsider's view, it sounds like everything was/is going along wonderfully, with a delightful new friendship growing, and then out of nowhere, BAM!, anxiety attacked. I can empathize; I've been there. But it makes me sad to see such a nice new thing turn hard for you for so little reason. So, my advice is to take all the energy that would go to worrying about the guys, and instead focus on learning about and getting help with the anxiety itself.
posted by salvia at 7:18 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I agree with your boyfriend. Just relax. My theory is, the tour guide and his boyfriend have come down with the flu and are therefore behind on e-mail. Shit happens, sometimes it takes much too long to get around to one's e-mail. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:21 PM on January 24, 2011

Best answer: I would also just lay low and wait for him to respond. I agree that it can sound a bit awkward repeatedly contacting someone who is so far away or so quickly proposing going that kind of distance just to hang out. But I've found these debate-ably awkward exchanges fade quickly since you two have different lives in different countries. If after a few months he doesn't respond, try posting something witty on his wall or whatnot. It's not like you'd make it back there that soon anyway, so there's no harm in waiting (minus the anxiety!). It'll work out.
posted by msk1985 at 7:35 PM on January 24, 2011

Best answer: You haven't done anything wrong yet. But he's probably not an introvert, and he lives 4000 miles away, and already has an established group of "close" friends. Don't lay it on too heavy from now on, don't start spilling your guts to him in email every night like he's your best friend. Just comment on his Facebook posts and Flickr photos from time to time, and if you end up going on another trip, drop him a note that you'd love to hang out with him and his bf while you're there.
posted by matildaben at 7:56 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't think you're doomed regarding the friendship, but I'm not sure that going on one of his tours again is a good idea. Tours are a business for him, and although the guy sometimes hits it off with his clients (like you!), it's probably not a great idea for him to have friends along while he's on the job. If he wants to make his clients feel welcome and enjoy the tour, he probably won't get as much time to talk with you as you'd like, and he'll feel awkward chatting with you, as he'll feel like he should be spending more time with other clients.

Just go back there for fun and hang out with him when he's available!
posted by that girl at 9:11 PM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Don't message / text / email / phone this guy more often than he does you.
The way to not seem needy is to match the other person's speed. Send that message, but if he only answers in a week or month, don't answer him back within an hour.
posted by Omnomnom at 3:31 AM on January 25, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you all for the advice. I don't know why I didn't want to be more specific in the question. The tours that they do are sailing trips and they are passionate about sailing. When I visited their house, they took me out sailing on their boat. So really what I wanted to ask was "hey, I want to go sailing with you again, how can I make that happen?"

There was a bit of a conversation via FB message which went like this:

me: Hey, you asked me if I was going back to Greece. I am thinking about signing up for the tour so I can hang out with you again. Would that be weird with the rest of the tour group?
him: no, I don't think it would be a problem, they would just think you were a repeat customer, shouldn't be weird at all

For some reason that was not enough for me (because is he saying I'd just be another customer? what?!) so I follow up with:

Hey, just so I am being clear, what I'm looking for is a chance to go sailing with you again, is the tour the best way to do that?

And that's where we are now, waiting for a response, and me tying myself in knots over it.
posted by cabingirl at 4:03 AM on January 25, 2011

Best answer: Given the nature of the tours, and the fact that he thought it sounded fine; it sounded fine.

Until you asked if he Really Meant that was fine, possibly implying you didn't want to have to pay to go sailing with them. This isn't a catastrophe, it's ok, but your last message would make me wonder what you meant. So if I were you I might add that you're happy he wouldn't think it was weird, and you look forward to joining them on another tour sometime, maybe later this year or early next year (or whenever it is you hope to go back that is off in the distance so you're clearly not asking to join them again next week).

It's ok, you're ok. Once that's done pay attention to the here and now and let the anxiety go.
posted by ldthomps at 6:50 AM on January 25, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the advice. I really appreciate the comments. I agree about needing to understand the social anxiety a bit better. It was just overwhelming and yea, there was no reason for it really except my own insecurity.

ldthomps: I think you're right, in that my attempts to clarify made it worse. I wasn't trying to say that I wouldn't pay for the tour, but I can see how someone might think that. The truth is, I don't really want to go on the tour with another group of strangers just to see him. I guess I have to decide if it's worth it or not.

It's a day or so later and I am feeling somewhat better. He hasn't answered my message but has been doing the usual Facebook things like commenting, so I take it to mean he doesn't hate me. I am going to let the whole thing go for now and decide later on if I want to pursue it.
posted by cabingirl at 9:33 AM on January 26, 2011

Response by poster: Heh, I can still update this post! It's 10 months later and I totally did go on another sailing trip with them and it was awesome. Yay!
posted by cabingirl at 6:34 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

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