Not quite a blind date, but close enough
February 29, 2012 8:15 AM   Subscribe

High School-esque Drama Filter! My friend recently told me that a friend of hers is interested in me. With my consent, she's arranged a group dinner on Friday and invited both of us along. There's no reason that this thing should faze me, but the amount of freaking out I'm doing right now is ridiculous. Help me calm down before I cancel out of sheer panic!

The weird thing is that I barely know this guy. We met last year at a similar gathering, but I don't recall what he looks like or whether we spoke at all (I checked his facebook and he looks vaguely familiar). The idea that he might have been carrying a torch for me all this time worries me a little. He doesn't know me at all, so why would he remember me? Regardless, the thought of having to meet him is currently driving me crazy. Ever since my friend told me, I've been veering between getting super stressed and anxious about the upcoming meeting, and fantasising about actually having a relationship with this guy (!?). It's upsetting my concentration and I feel like all this worrying is way disproportionate. I keep telling myself that it's not like I'm going to be on trial at this dinner, but it's not helping.

Relevant details: I'm early 20s, female, a little socially anxious and a lot shy. It's been a few years since I've been in a relationship, and I thought I was doing okay on my own, but I'm starting to think maybe I'm not. :( How can I get my head straight, Mefites? I don't want to do a runner on my friend - she's had enough of that from me already.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's not improbable that your friend is playing match maker and that the conversation went like this:

"Oh you're single? do you remember my friend, Anon? You met at that party?"

"Maybe?... now that I think about it I kind of do. She seemed nice."

"She's great, you would really get along, about if I set you guys up?"

"I dunno..."

"No, it'll be fine, let's do something this weekend..."

.. and now both of you are nervous and trying to figure out if you remembered what each other look like and whether you talked, etc..
posted by empath at 8:24 AM on February 29, 2012 [8 favorites]

I can't think of a safer way to meet someone (again) than at a group dinner with friends. If you're uncomfortable when you meet him, you simply tell your hostess that your pre-arranged thing has come up, and you have to leave. Simple as that.

A year is a long time at 23. Things change. Give it a chance. The fact that you've met before takes 3/4 of the guesswork and angst out of it, and I think you probably worked through most of the rest of it just writing it down.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 8:24 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Deep breaths, kiddo.

Try to think of this as a play-date only. You aren't obligated to do anything other than make polite conversation. If he's a troll, a racist, an idiot or anything else- it's not like you are now obligated to carry his young.

And secondly- him "carrying a torch" is probably an overstatement. He probably remembered thinking you were cute and smart. I met my current boyfriend a couple years before we started dating. Our mutual friend tried to set us up at that time. It didn't take, but a few years later when she tried again, I remembered him being cute and smart and figured what the hell. It worked out fabulously. I wasn't being creepy by thinking "man, he WAS cute. I totally should give it a shot."
posted by Blisterlips at 8:29 AM on February 29, 2012 [6 favorites]

N-thng everything above. It's also possible that the convo went something like this,

Your friend: "I went to an awesome punk rock show/anime convention/political rally/NRA meeting with my buddy anon yesterday and--"
The guy: "Oh, anon? Is that the girl I met at that thing last year? She's into punk rock/anime/politics/rifles?"
Your friend: "Hell yeah totally"
The guy: "Man, that's pretty cool. I remember thinking she was kind of cute/smart/funny/well dressed when we met..."
Your friend: "Yeah totally and she's single I'm gonna set you up!"

So he thinks you're probably pretty cool and he likes your friends. Not creepy torch-carrying shrine-building activity. Just normal 20-somethings trying to get into a relationship. Be cool. :)
posted by AmandaA at 8:34 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Think of it this way. You're not reacting to him. You've never really met him. You're reacting to your own feelings of ambivalence regarding possibly being attached. So work on how you actually feel about being attached, not about him.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:38 AM on February 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

It's just dinner. You are not contractually obligated to marry the guy. In fact, this is even better than him asking you out on his own -- if he did that, you'd have to go get coffee with him all on your own and then he started acting weird you'd be stuck there feeling trapped. But THIS way, you have the advance warning of seeing what he's like BEFORE you get coffee on your own with him -- you get a chance to see if he's going to be weird AHEAD OF TIME, so that if he DOES ask you out you have a chance to say, "sorry, no, I've got....things."

Think of this like a first interview. Or think of this like a rehearsal for a REAL date. Actually, thinking of all first dates as "just rehearsals for 'real' dates" helps calm me down a lot in general, so that could also help -- "this isn't really a date, I'm just rehearsing for a real date right now. So this doesn't count."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:44 AM on February 29, 2012

This is about the lowest-risk kind of dating thing there is. He's a friend of a friend, so you can be pretty sure he's not an axe murderer, but he's also a stranger, so if you don't hit it off - no harm, no foul.

Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that this is not a big deal, because it's not a big deal. If she hadn't told you about him and you just all ended up at the dinner party together, would you be freaked out? No. So pretend that that's what this is. You're just going to a friend's for dinner (which you are), and there will be other people there you don't really know (true), and it will be a nice evening.
posted by rtha at 8:52 AM on February 29, 2012

So you go to the dinner party. You and he either hit it off or you don't. One of you either asks the other to do something just the two of you or you don't. The other either says yes or they don't. If you do wind up doing something just the two of you, you either have a fun time or you don't. You decide on another duo outing or you don't. Lather, rinse, repeat.

See how far ahead of yourself you are? Slow down, tiger. Just go to the dinner party and be yourself.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:13 AM on February 29, 2012

When I was in high school, my friend K said to me, "you know greggster? He told me he likes you & wants to ask you out!"

Then she said to greggster, "you know my friend headnsouth? She likes you & wants to go out with you!"

greggster and I reconnected a few years ago via facebook and finally discovered K's scheme while taking a tipsy trip down memory lane together. When we confronted K about it, she laughed and said "well it got you two together, didn't it?"

Relax, the guy remembers you the same way you remember him. He hasn't been carrying a torch for you, but he probably remembered that you made a positive first impression. Go and have fun, and don't worry about the outcome!
posted by headnsouth at 9:18 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Honestly? I don't think it's meeting him that is freaking you out. I think it's the fact that your friend is pushing you to meet him:

Regardless, the thought of having to meet him is currently driving me crazy.

---------> Of course it is - because you're viewing it as something you HAVE to do, rather than something that you WANT to do.

It sounds to me like you're not sure if you WANT to do this. Think about it - do you? If you don't, then say so to your friend. There's nothing wrong in saying no.

You could also tell your friend that you're flattered, but feeling rather pressured since your friend is springing all of this on you.
posted by floweredfish at 9:38 AM on February 29, 2012

Take it from someone older, who was also socially anxious and shy when I was your age, and put up a lot of resistance in similar situations when my friends would try to set me up like this (and this is barely even a set-up) - the regret you feel later at having passed up opportunities to meet people already disposed to like you will be greater than the trepidation and awkwardness you feel now anticipating this dinner.

Just take a deep breath, approach it like it's just a normal dinner party with friends and acquaintances, and take the pressure off yourself that anything in particular has to happen.

This guy is just another guy at dinner, and if anything he's the one on trial here, not you.
posted by Zippity Goombah at 10:25 AM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

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