how to talk to a woman somewhat scorned
February 7, 2011 12:51 PM   Subscribe

A (once?) good friend has been flipping out after I started dating someone. How do I go about talking to her without feeling like I'm talking to a wall?

Let's call her Frannie.

So about two and a half years ago, I started hanging out with a group of girls. I become interested in one of them (let's call her Zooey). Flash forward to now: Zooey and I are hooking up and Frannie is flipping out.

Major details:

Frannie is in and has been in a long distance relationship with her high school sweetheart. They were doing an open relationship for a while but that turned out to be too difficult and so now they're monogamous but still separated.

Frannie had a crush on me sophomore year of college but that fell out of favor when I told her that I was interested in Zooey. A year passes and I, with herculean shyness, never manage to ask Zooey out. In this interim period, Frannie and I have cuddled twice but we never do much more than that.

Zooey goes overseas and I ask Frannie if she wants to be friends with benefits. She says no, she has a boyfriend and if we did hook up it would have to be more than just friends with benefits. She confesses to having had a crush on me sophomore year though and we are closer but we stop cuddling.

Zooey comes back. I finally make a move (finally, good god) and it's successful! Hooray.

Frannie finds out during a party. She sends long, rambling and less-than-sober text messages the next day that says she's happy for me but professes that she'd rather I be with her, that she'd been considering dropping the long-distance boyfriend, and that she's incredibly lonely. I attribute this to the lack of soberness and my status as a safety net and ask if she wants to get coffee and talk in private. She says she's not ready.

Next weekend, Frannie's boyfriend roadtrips over and we don't see each other at all. Everything seems fine until the boyfriend leaves and I'm flooded with more messages. I ask for coffee again but to no avail. However, we talk it through, sort of, and she seems fine with just 'hanging out' though she would like to talk to me in private eventually and claims that I’m ruining our friendship. I apologize but get no response.

So this weekend. We all go out to bars, Zooey and I get sloppy drunk and we're all over each other, our friends get sloppy drunk and they start hooking up, and Frannie ends up alone, which she realizes and vocalizes throughout the night. We walk home from the bars, Frannie behind us, our friends having long disappeared. Zooey and I turn a street, stumbling, and I check to see if Frannie is behind us. She’s not. I receive a few text messages remonstrating me for being a bad friend so I sit Zooey down on a porch and we wait for her. Frannie catches up but walks, for a bit, on the street opposite to us. The second she's over to our side, she pulls out a phone and vocalizes her disagreement with Zooey and I's sloppy drunkenness to her roommate. We turn another street corner she disappears. Zooey and I start yelling for her but nothing. Zooey receives a few remonstrative text messages.

We eventually make it back to Zooey’s place and we text our other friends, one of whom is Frannie’s roommate, and they come up sans Frannie. Turns out that when Frannie walked in, the two of them were macking on the sofa. Frannie yelled at them, loudly, and presumably went into her room. They walk over to Zooey’s place and we remark on Frannie’s behavior. Throughout the night, each of us receives, in turn, remonstrative text messages telling us that we’re bad friends. Night turns into day and our friends leave.

Yesterday, I receive another long string of text messages asking for coffee and asking to talk. The implicit reasoning behind them is that we're both at fault for what's happening. It sounds somewhat reasonable given the sloppy drunkenness. However, I have yet to respond. Am I being a dick? Are we all being dicks? I’ve been in Frannie’s place a long time ago and while I can’t ask for her to politely hold it all in herself, I’m afraid that it will be difficult to talk to her. She has something of a temper and can be stubborn.

So how do I talk to her? How do I treat her? The lack of sobriety that prompts these messages is understandable but it’s been going on for about a month now and there hasn’t been much change in the consistency of her behavior, even when she’s sober.

I want to help her get through whatever she’s going through for both this new relationship I've fallen into and because I’ve known Frannie for far too long not to owe her this much. So what now?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Frannie has had feelings for you some time, has made this known, and all you've ever done is tell her she's more "friends with benefits" material than girlfriend material.

If it wasn't clear, the reason she didn't want to be friends with benefits was because she was interested in a serious relationship with you, and you probably insulted her by suggesting anything less. Now, she's single and hurt that you're shoving this action with her friend in her face.

Keep your dealings with Zooey out of the group of friends. It's nicer.
posted by mikeh at 1:02 PM on February 7, 2011 [18 favorites]

You strung Frannie along (asking her to be friends with benefits = Bad Move) and then hooked up with the person you were really interested in from the get-go.

You've behaved badly. Apologize and accept this friendship is over because you sent mixed messages to someone who felt very deeply about you.

Don't "help" her! You've done enough damage here.
posted by jbenben at 1:06 PM on February 7, 2011 [42 favorites]

human beings have tried to discover since time immemorial something you can say to someone who's into you when you're not. all such efforts have failed. a succinct apology might be classy, or it might backfire. there's probably just not a good way to handle it, other than, of course, not rubbing it in her face that you're happy with someone else.
posted by facetious at 1:11 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Despite the complexities of your relationship, unless you are really misrepresenting her, Frannie sounds like a horrible person. No one over the age of nine (at which point "ew gross" as a response to sexual activity is cute) no matter how lonely or drunk, gets to tell couples how to act. You're a better person than I would be if you are even considering trying to deal with her, and I compliment you for that, so here's the three rules that will help:

1. Stop engaging with her on this issue when you are drunk.
2. Stop letting her control how you act when she is drunk.
3. Stop letting your guilt over the "somewhat scorned" aspect of your relationship prevent you from telling her to grow the fuck up. She had a boyfriend when you asked her to be friends with benefits, so she's a big girl who you haven't "led on"'; it sounds like you've been completely okay with the communication side that is necessary when you want to have adult relations and she's pretending to be okay with the realities of adult relationships until it doesn't suit her anymore (which usually happens when she's drunk.)
4. Do be nicer in your language to her than I am being here.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:12 PM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

"Hey, Frannie? You're taking a lot of shit out on me and Zoooey,that isn't our fault and that's not fair. Knock it off. It's getting old and tiring because it just seems to be repeating ad nauseum. I'm sorry your crush isn't being returned, but that's just how I feel. We didn't hook, I didn't lead you, told you what I wanted and you decided that wasn't what you wanted. We can't move in that direction and I can't live my life being perpetually sorry for not returning your feelings, it's not even fair to ask me to."

"I'm going home (coffeee, out, whatever) with Zooey and that's the reality. If there's something you want to talk about or get off your chest, give me a call in week or so. But once that's done, then it's done and if you keep bringing it up, that's going to make me not want be around you."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:13 PM on February 7, 2011 [5 favorites]

Frannie is acting like many people might when they combine alcohol and an emotional burden. She liked you, and was probably pretty hurt and insulted when you asked her to be friends with benefits (note: I can't think of any situations in which a formal request for FWB status would be appropriate). To her, it probably seems like you're shoving this new relationship in her face, and that in turn highlights all of her (perceived) flaws that make you not like her. It's a tough situation she's in, and she's not handling it particularly maturely, but she's not the one asking this question.

There's not a whole lot you can do, I'd say. Were it Frannie asking this question, I'd tell her to get away from the situation for a while, not go out with you guys, while she clears her head; since it's you, all the advice I can give is stop. She's hurt enough already; trying to help is just going to send her more mixed messages.
posted by good day merlock at 1:14 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow. This sounds like a mess of drunken hookup drama and I'd really recommend you avoid getting "sloppy drunk" with anyone in this group in the near future, including Zooey, and super-especially Frannie. Drunken brokenheartedness is painful for anyone involved.

Frannie's out of line, but boozy making out in a bar in front of your friends, including one you know is pining for you, is bad form too. So are being physically affectionate and proposing friends-with-benefits with someone who is way more into you than you're willing to offer.

Then again, this kind of stuff is par for the course in college/early twenties and it's how a lot of us learn important lessons about human relations.

I'd recommend having one last diplomatic daytime meeting with Frannie in which you say "I'm sorry you're upset. I want us to continue to be on good terms, but a romantic relationship is just not possible. I apologize if I've ever led you on. I would like to be friends with you, but I can't do that if you are going to pick fights with me." If she throws a fit or continues to harass you, stop hanging out with her and temporarily block her texts. Be cordial if you see her, but distant. Your friendship may be beyond repair, in which case all you can do is learn for next time.

Essentially, be the sober drama-free guy in all of this and you will minimize (though not prevent) fallout. Continue drunkenly hooking up in front of drunken jealous friends and shit will continue to be shitty.

also in the story Zooey was a dude just sayin'
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:22 PM on February 7, 2011 [26 favorites]

I've been strung along before. It's not nice. You should apologize for being self-centered, and then just stop being around her, period. How it works out for your girlfriend is her business - and business you better stay out of.
posted by medea42 at 1:22 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's what I see:
1) Frannie has had a boyfriend this entire time. Part of the time was an open relationship.
2) You asked Frannie to be FWB (presumably while she was in the open relationship) and she said no. You probably didn't ask her to be real bf/gf either because you weren't actually interested or because she has, ya know, a real boyfriend.
3) She still has a boyfriend but is willing to drop him if you wanted to go out with her, which I think is pretty shitty of HER.
4) She is mad that you're going out with someone else.
I don't really see why you owe her anything but what you've offered. You have no obligations to her. Tell her to stop causing drama with you every time she drinks. She has a boyfriend. If she needs someone to talk to when she's drunk, it should be him.
Also, I feel bad for Frannie's boyfriend.
posted by elpea at 1:25 PM on February 7, 2011 [10 favorites]

Oh yeah, and making out in a bar is lame and if you're over the age of 20, especially so. Get a room.
posted by elpea at 1:26 PM on February 7, 2011 [8 favorites]

Yesterday, I receive another long string of text messages asking for coffee and asking to talk. The implicit reasoning behind them is that we're both at fault for what's happening. It sounds somewhat reasonable given the sloppy drunkenness. However, I have yet to respond. Am I being a dick? Are we all being dicks?


I'm sorry, but having been the person in a long distance relationship surrounded by couples, I can tell you that it really does suck when every single one of your friends is having a drunken hook-up and can't see past their own drunken dick to how that's impacting the people around them. Not that people shouldn't hook up at all, but, seriously, it's not very nice to leave someone stumbling around drunk on the street alone because you have to go home and get laid. That is, in fact, being a bad friend.

As is repeatedly offering to have coffee with this girl and talk things out and then, when she's finally ready to take up the offer, turning her down because it might be uncomfortable for you.

As is stringing someone along and cuddling with them and asking to be FWB when you know they have feelings for you.

Ick. Seriously.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:26 PM on February 7, 2011 [23 favorites]

You and Frannie really shouldn't be friends. In fact, it seems you were never really friends - she's been pining away for you the whole time, or at least keeping you in mind as a backup for if and when her LDR fails (and I'd say "when" rather than "if," since she seems to be trying pretty hard to cheat on her boyfriend with you). But here's a good rule of thumb: friends are happy for you when you start to date someone that you like. A person who freaks out and is not happy for you is not a friend - their friendship had another agenda all along.

Just to be clear, while it was probably a bad idea for you to ask her to be friends with benefits, you haven't done anything wrong here. You didn't violate the terms of any normal friendship. What you did was violate the terms of the relationship that Frannie had with you in her head. Sadly, nothing in the behavior you describe makes it seem like she's going to be reasonable about this, or respond to any reasonable communication. Unless you're prepared to break up with Zooey and date her instead, she's probably going to keep this tantrum up. Staying friends with her at this point is going to keep adding drama to your life, and it seems to be hurting Frannie, so the best solution for everyone is probably to limit your contact as much as possible.
posted by Ragged Richard at 1:27 PM on February 7, 2011 [5 favorites]

Avoid Frannie, for pete's sake. The poor girl is probably so hung up on you that she can't force herself to avoid you or to behave properly when around you. (I, er, remember a similar phase in my own life.) It must be absolutely horribly painful to be around you and your new girlfriend, but she probably can't bear to not be around you and your new girlfriend. So you should stay away, to the extent that you can.

And she probably can't just go back to being friends/hanging out, even if she says she can. In general, it takes months or years and the real working out of the original strong feelings before friendliness can resume--if it ever does.

You'll do her a kindness if you don't force her to see you being all cuddly with your new girl.

An interesting note--I am just barely too old for the college hook-up/FWB thing (and I went to a fairly stodgy school). I had assumed that it was perfectly acceptable for the youth of today to pitch the "let's cuddle but I'm not into you!" and "let's be FWB but I don't like you enough to date" pretty directly, and am surprised to see that this is poor form.
posted by Frowner at 1:27 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

In the OP's defense, it doesn't sound like she made clear she wanted a full relationship:

I ask Frannie if she wants to be friends with benefits. She says no, she has a boyfriend and if we did hook up it would have to be more than just friends with benefits.

That's a funny way of saying "I'm deeply into you and want to do what's necessary for us to be together, if that is something you would be open to?" She can't be like "I don't want to be with you but I don't want you to be with anyone else either," for over a year, without sharing some portion of the blame.
posted by salvia at 1:29 PM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

So she's in a monogamous relationship yet still thinks she has first dibs on anyone else she sees? She needs to grow up. You did nothing wrong and I would stop tiptoeing around her. Yeah it sucks that everyone is paired up and she's alone at times, but welcome to long distance relationships. When he is in town, you get ignored, when he's not you're supposed to be available for her to either hook up with or be abused, depending in the mood she's in? Nice friend you've got there.

Tell Frannie she doesn't get to dictate her friends' relationships. While it's unfortunate you don't return her feelings, it's also not your fault either, and at the end of the day, the girl has a boyfriend anyway! If you feel bad for anyone, feel bad for him.
posted by Jubey at 1:33 PM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

I don't get the pile-on of the OP here. Both of the OP and Frannie are culpable here.

Metroid Baby got it right:

Frannie's out of line, but boozy making out in a bar in front of your friends, including one you know is pining for you, is bad form too...

Then again, this kind of stuff is par for the course in college/early twenties and it's how a lot of us learn important lessons about human relations.

You need to cut out the drama. One last meet-up, to see if you can be friends without all this bs. If you can't, drop the friendship. Don't be mean, but do be distant.

I'm also with others that you didn't do anything wrong with regards to cuddling and the FWB offer. But seriously, stop making out in public. That's gross. And in this case, it is a little cruel to do so in front of someone who you know has feelings for you.
posted by runningwithscissors at 1:37 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

You are being insensitive and she is being a child.

While it IS fun to make out in public- you all are in the same friend group and everyone knows there is drama. Are you trying to fire it up? If you want to make out with your girlfriend do it in private.

And you should have made it clear that the FWB situation was a misstep as soon as she let you know she would want something more.

sloppy drunk or not, she is acting like douche. While it might be a good idea to go have coffee with her once and once only to apologize for being tacky in a bar- and then that's it. Give the girl a break and let it alone. Her flooding you with nasty texts is childish. She doesn't get to whip you for liking someone else more than her. While you are at the coffee house, lay it down that mean texts and name calling will not responded to. you are only aggravating her crazy by not treating it like crazy. She doesn't get to call dibs on you or your friends and sure as hell not your romantic life. And what, would you and your girlfriend breaking up and everyone being miserable make things better?

Jbenben is right- the friendship is over. The best you can hope for is acquaintance until she gets over it. Give her some space and give up going out with your friends when she is in the mix for a while, only because she IS alone and you got the girl.
posted by Blisterlips at 1:39 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had assumed that it was perfectly acceptable for the youth of today to pitch the "let's cuddle but I'm not into you!" and "let's be FWB but I don't like you enough to date" pretty directly, and am surprised to see that this is poor form.

It's not poor form if both parties involved know that there's zero relationship potential, and are completely 100% okay with that. It's terrible form if you're knowingly taking advantage of someone's unrequited crush.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:42 PM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

This is how we learn- we manage to much up and make things really really worse in our early twenties by doing too damn much.

In addition- be distant, do not feed the fire by "friend breaking up" just don't be there, be too busy to hang out with her or call her back (with school/work- do NOT tell this girl you are too busy with new girl friend). Do not discus her with your friends other than- "i really like franny, she seems well." Instruct new girlfriend to do the same.

young person! Drama BAD.
posted by Blisterlips at 1:51 PM on February 7, 2011

I'm willing to excuse a lot of Frannie's behavior just because, hearing the story as you present it, it sounds like she is earnestly, seriously hurting and she doesn't know how to deal with it. Is it immature that she doesn't know how to deal with her hurt? Yes. Would she be better off if she could deal with that hurt without sending drunken, angry IMs? Yes. But, she is what she is, and she doesn't have the tools to maturely handle her pain. (Again, this is an assumption, based off of what you say.)

You, on the other hand, aren't in any pain. In fact, you're in a new, happy relationship! You get to make out with someone you like making out with! You get to be in that Fun Happy Private World that encapsulates two people when they first start dating. When you got sloppy drunk and making out with Zooey, did you really care what Frannie was thinking about it? Were you paying attention to Frannie's feelings? I'm guessing you weren't.

And then you, Zoey, and Frannie leave and go walking... And Frannie disappears without you realizing at first. Have you ever been in a situation where you're with people, but they clearly don't care about you at all and don't even realize when you're not with them? Have you ever been walking with a group, and they're happy and laughing and loving each other, and you start drifting farther and farther back, and you're thinking, "Surely they'll notice soon -- surely they'll say something to me and call me back," but they don't? Because I have, and I can tell you: it makes you feel like shit. Like utter shit. The most meaningless, useless, worthless shit that can't even be loved enough for your absence to matter.

So, Frannie is hurting for a number of different reasons. And you're meant to be her friend. And then, throughout the course of the evening, it seems as that you (along with the others in your group) behave in ways, over and over again, that send a single message to her: "We don't care that you're here. You don't matter to us." And it made her feel like shit. And so she cried and (textually) screamed at you and hurt all the more.

Are you a bad person because of this? Naw.... But I would say, the way you behaved, given what you knew about Frannie and her feelings for you, was a bit dickish. It sucks. Live and learn.

If I were in your place, I would apologize profusely. I would talk to the rest of the group of friends about, maybe, doing something nice for Frannie so she could feel like an important member of the group... But that would be something for the group to do, not you. After your apology, I think you should give Frannie some space. Again, she's hurting, and a significant amount of that hurt is thanks to you. You can't solve that, you can only give her the space to solve it herself.
posted by meese at 1:55 PM on February 7, 2011 [23 favorites]

You are being insensitive and she is being a child.

Repeated for emphasis.
posted by yarly at 2:06 PM on February 7, 2011

OP, I think it's important to keep in mind that you are not responsible for Frannie's feelings and it's extremely selfish and one sided for the group to have to change its behavior for her. That doesn't ya'll shouldn't take her feelings into account, but frankly, life is short and you shouldn't have to censor yourself.

It doesn't sound like you or your friends are being dicks, just a little inconsiderate. Tone that down and get on with your life. Feeding Frannie's feelings is just going to drag all of ya'll down. She needs to come to terms with her own situation and choices and make peace with them. That may not be something you can help with, but that's natural. Just stick to what I wrote above and get on with your life. She'll decide on her own whether she wants to be part of it or the social circle.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:10 PM on February 7, 2011

If there's one thing I've learned from my schmoopy first-love days it is this:

If you alienate your single friends, if you rub your schmoopyness in everyone's face with massive PDA, if you make it "just us two against the world", if you lord your made-for-each-other couple-dom over others and have loud sex to boot: Karma will bite you in this ass big time.

One day, when you break up- and you didn't see it coming because you were perfect and it was destiny and blah blah blah- and you're a sobbing, lonely wreck, all your single friends will have gotten fed up with you and moved on or started their own relationships. You'll be the awkward, blubbering third wheel.

The shoe WILL be on the other foot some day. Act accordingly, save yourself a hard lesson.
posted by Nixy at 2:36 PM on February 7, 2011 [7 favorites]

What Ragged Richard said.

I just wanted to put in my "you weren't really a dick to her" vote, but that you still gotta realise hanging around girls who were/are-still crushing on you never turns out well.
posted by jlunar at 3:11 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

In general, asking someone to be FWB when you know they have a big crush on you, or to "cuddle" with you when you know they have a big crush on you, is a completely shitty idea. Now you know why.

But seeing as you don't have a time machine and can't go back to correct the part where you were a jerk, all you can do is make it clear that it's not OK for Frannie to be a jerk to you and Zooey (also hating these fake names for the reason Metroid Baby points out).

Frannie has every right to be angry with you about your earlier poor behavior, sure. What she has no right to do is act out toward Zooey and the rest of your mutual friends. I agree that it sucks to be the person whose significant other isn't there while everyone else is getting schmoopy (and to be honest, getting schmoopy in a bar when you're with other friends is pretty immature behavior) but that still doesn't mean it's OK with her to carry on.

If she's angry with you, she needs to be angry with you, not to take it out on Zooey or other friends. If she needs to make drama, she needs to do it at home with her pillows or in her own head or in her therapy sessions, not with a bunch of friends who are trying to hang out and socialize.

But here's the thing: You are not the person to discuss this with her. Somebody else in the group needs to talk about how her behavior affects them and to suggest that you and she need to hash out your issues one-on-one, or set them aside.

It sounds like she has reached out, either to hash out the issues or to parlay them into More Big Drama. So maybe you and she can hash out the issues; the thing is that you shouldn't speak for a) Zooey, or b) the group as to how her behavior affects them--that's something she needs to talk about with them.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:16 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I just wanted to put in my "you weren't really a dick to her" vote

Whether or not it's being a jerk (I won't say "dick" because I've done this myself, much to my regret, and don't think it's a gendered thing) to say to someone you know is crushing out on you like whoa "Oh, let's just hook up as fuckbuddies" (and not even going to figure out what the "cuddling" thing is all about)--

--it always ends in horrible, horrible dramabombs in my experience. Horrible dramabombs.

Fuckbuddies should, in general, be people you like and find sexy, and who like you and find you sexy, not people you have a crush on and are hoping for more from or people who have a crush on you and are hoping for more from you. The imbalance when a crush is involved makes the whole thing ultra-awkward for the vast majority of people.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:19 PM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Apologize for your behavior and tell her that her behavior is unacceptable.

Then, because you don't sound like real friends and because she is a walking ball of drama, stop hanging out with her.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:17 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

The way I parsed out the timeline your post describes, you didn't know about Franny's crush on you until after you asked her to be FWB's, so my response is based on that presumption... if I'm wrong, well... that's pretty shady. Don't do things like that.

Anyway: after the other night, there's a gross, whiskey-sweat-stinking cloud of 'fault' hanging around the lot of you, and while, sure, you could try to do all the math and allot it out to everyone in proper proportion, plus tax and tip. But why bother? People get really caught up in just what friends "owe" one another and who's behavior is or isn't within their rights. Save that shit for dealing with your landlord -- when it comes to the bounds of friendship, why not make a point of being generous?

Franny is your friend, and she's clearly in a pretty shitty place right now. Her relationship with her long-distance boyfriend is crumbling, and the guy she has a crush on just started dating one of her best friends. When people are hurting, they tend to act out, and their friends and loved ones do their best to be understanding about it. So when you go talk with Franny, your objective should be to do what you can do to help make her feel better. Even if you think she's blowing your offenses out of proportion, it's not a lie to tell her how sorry you are over how it made her feel. Focus on the indisputable reality of her feelings, and not the debate over whether they're justified or not.

In conversations like this, adopt the first rule of PR -- don't answer the questions you're asked, answer the questions you want to be asked. Stay on message: her friendship is important to you, you care about her, and you understand that your new relationship is hard/awkward for her. And leave it at that.

Oh, and don't get so drunk that you're "all over" your significant other in public. Public smashing is only truly justifiable if it's necessary to secure the opportunity to do it in private. And when you're out in a group and one person isn't having a good time, make a point of singling them out for some friendly attention. The "guy who's always looking out for his friends" is a guy you want to be.
posted by patnasty at 7:10 PM on February 7, 2011 [6 favorites]

i think he found out about the crush AFTER he proposed FWB to Frannie WHILE she was still in her long-distance relationship. And, at that point, crush was supposedly in the past, and that she said she was over it because she knew he liked Zooey. (ok everyone on the ewww squad, just picture this zooey.) And that Frannie's crush didn't re-emerge as an issue until Zooey moved back and OP sucessfully woo'ed her, at which point Frannie starts a drunk texting binge from which she hasn't emerged.

If Frannie was wanting and needing to end her LTR she should do it for her. This is a standard AskMe response. Certainly not because her crush who had already made it clear where he stands (he didn't offer the 'something more' when she was negotiating the FWB pitch some time ago) is suddenly unavailable.

I sympathise with those who sympathise with Frannie, but OP I personally don't think you've done anything wrong. Sure, in hindsight, it's no fun for the partnerless person to be singled out when everyone couples up, and you could certainly apologize for that, but it is Frannie's responsibility to excuse herself from going out in a group she knows will include the guy she's suddenly crushing on again and his new squeeze; or if she decides to go for the burn like a good masochist should, to not shove the blame for her sorry state on everyone else who is just having a good time.

All the texting while refusing to actually meet and settle things face to face is just immature, emotional manipulation. As is also, suddenly wanting to meet face-to-face because something has happened where she can accuse OP of being at fault. Maybe you could turn the tables and tell her that you're 'not ready to talk' ... certainly not until she's sober ... and that she's a horrible friend for causing all this drama in spite of claiming to be happy for you and Z.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:18 PM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

how to talk to a woman somewhat scorned

"Dear Frannie,

I'm sorry for the way I behaved when we were all out at the bars this weekend. At the time, I was selfishly not thinking about your feelings at all in that situation, and I really regret that. I'll do my best to be considerate in the future.

I think I have also made a lot of other mistakes with regard to your feelings, generally. I should have never asked you to be friends with benefits, or cuddled with you, when I knew that I wouldn't be open to anything more. I really regret that I might have led you on or made you feel bad in any way by doing that. If in the future you feel like I am doing anything that leads you on, please tell me.

I really don't want you to feel bad about being around me and Zooey or the fact that we're dating. Let's talk about how things will need to be for us all to feel comfortable and have a good time together. I'm up for coffee - obviously, we can deal with all these things a lot better when we're sober, than when we're drunk and emotions are running at their maximum for everyone. I think dramatic drunk incidents and fights will eventually destroy our friendship and I don't want that to happen, so I really want to talk this out thoroughly."

Bottom line, like everyone else has said:

Not to be mean, seriously, but it's rude and gross to get sloppy drunk and suck face in public. And while it's lovely to feel like "the two of us are the only ones in our own world together and nobody else matters!" when you're with friends, acting like that is super rude and makes people not want to be around you, so it's best save it for when you're actually alone together. Treating your friends like ignored or unimportant 3rd wheels is being a rude bad friend.

And yeah, it really wasn't very cool to offer Franny the opportunity to be basically your booty call when you knew that she wanted more than that. If I were her I would feel hurt, unvalued, maybe used, etc., by that offer.

Not that Franny's behavior is super either, but she just sounds like she has some growing up to do and isn't mature enough yet to communicate negative feelings without having a tantrum. If you want to be friends with her, you might have to coax her towards more mature methods of communication using things like the example email I wrote for you.
posted by Ashley801 at 8:38 PM on February 7, 2011 [5 favorites]

Am I being a dick? Are we all being dicks?

I wouldn't go so far as "dicks" but... immature? Yeah, you're all being immature.

The common denominator seems to be the sloppy drunkenness. Seriously, stop doing that and maybe talk to Frannie about it, too. Believe me, I'm talking from experience, this isn't going anywhere good.

How do you hope to make adult decisions and evaluations about these relationships while sloppy drunk? You can't.

The only part of your question that suggests maturity on your part is your offer to go out with Frannie to get coffee and talk. Go ahead and do this, and tell her that alcohol seems to have played a large part in your falling-out. Be compassionate to her and firm about your current relationship and acknowledge that you, too, messed up while under the influence.

You are making out with a girlfriend in front of someone else who is pining for you. SHE has a boyfriend of her own yet is sending guilt-tripping texts to you? This is Beverly Hills 90210, 2011-style. Just have a sober talk with her (literally), and then, if she doesn't back off, you need to.
posted by torticat at 10:03 PM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

I was Frannie once, in a very similar situation, except, thank god, for the drunken and angry IMs. In the end, tired of being strung along, being taught to pine, and having my ego crushed to tiny bits by all of this--and having all of this pointed out to me by mutual friends--I simply dropped the guy in question without any explanation. It was the healthiest thing that I could do at the time, I felt infinitely better about myself afterwards, and I don't miss the friendship at all.

Maybe you should give your "friendship" one last shot with an honest and thoughtful talk, but it would probably be better for both of you if you did not stay "friends" for the time being. It would allow both parties to get away from the cycle of drama that you are both perpetuating.
posted by so much modern time at 12:40 AM on February 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

These answers confuse me. Your timeline looks like: you meet the girls. Franny has a crush, you realise it, but believe it goes away when you tell her you like Zooey. Later, with no reason to think she's got stronger feelings for you - it was just a crush, and I'm assuming her behavior led you to think it was over - you propose FWB. She refuses, citing boyfriend, earlier interest, and the potential on her side for more than just a casual sexual thing. You accept this, and seeing that her interest in you is greater and more complicated than your own, you withdraw more firmly into just friendship, drawing more careful boundaries with the no snuggling, etc. I don't see where you were unkind or unclear with Franny at all.

Franny's the one who seems to have been itching to cheat on her long distance boyfriend here, and then when she couldn't do it on her terms (lining up a an immediate replacement to take the boyfriend's place?) she settled for staying with him, until the prospective (in her mind, despite his lack of pursuit/interest) replacement started dating someone else, at which point she started throwing hissyfits. How is her behavior at all defendable? Understandable, sure, but her stance as the innocent injured party - I'm not seeing it.

I used to know girls like Franny. You're out with a group who's ready to have a good time, and she seems to be too, until something sets her off. She wants to go home. She wants to go somewhere else. She basically wants attention and when the whole group isn't willing to babysit her and make her drunken emotional tantrum the focus of the evening she takes off, hoping that'll get her the attention she wants. People like that got left out of plans to go out pretty darn quick; no one wants to indulge that kind of selfish immaturity.

The judgement on making out in public stuff is really unnecessary here. If you don't like it don't do it, but schooling the poster seems like a big distraction from the real issue.

I don't think you're going to be able to be friends with Franny after this, because she's not going to be able to handle it. She had so much invested in you that she doesn't seem to have heard you telling her in every way that you just weren't into her romantically. Now she can't deny it, and it's going to be a process of getting over that and dealing with the long distance boyfriend as well. The smart thing on her part would be some distance; if she's not doing that I think that it would be wise for you to do it for her.
posted by lemniskate at 5:33 AM on February 8, 2011 [7 favorites]

I can't really sympathize with Frannie visa vis the relationship issue. We all have to accept unrequited love at some point in our lives and move on.

But what does seem dickish about this whole story is that poor Frannie can't go out and enjoy an evening on the town with her friends without everyone pairing off. If you want to go on a date, do that and make it clear that's what's happening. And if you want to go and hang out with friends, do that. But don't say you're hanging out with friends and then turn it into an all night grope fest.

It's really hard to be alone in a crowd.
posted by sbutler at 10:41 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

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