'cause i'm mr brightside
June 19, 2012 10:34 PM   Subscribe

I like my friend but it's not mutual and I'm still working on getting over it. Recently she picked up someone at a club while I was getting us drinks, and I'm burning up with jealousy. How to deal?

I already know she tends to sleep around, so the jealousy isn't from the fact that she picks up people at clubs. She's perfectly entitled to and it's not my place to say anything. And honestly, I know it's not even my place to feel jealous, but I can't help myself. I guess the difficulty I'm facing is that I feel personally spurned this time because although she knows I like her, she picked up the other person while I was off buying us drinks.

That hurts, even though rationally I know I can't really blame her because I did place myself in that position by going out to a club with her in the first place. And today she was more detached than usual and posted on Facebook that she was at this new person's place. Which also hurts because I've personally seen the other person who is being chosen over me, rather than it being some unknown nameless entity.

Thing is, it's not as though she's deliberately mean to me or anything, just kinda indifferent about it. So the problem really lies with what's going on inside my head. I don't like it because it's making me act all stupid and insecure, and I'm feeling a strong urge to cut off all contact, but it's not her fault so I feel that would be unwarranted.

It doesn't help that I'm currently visiting the city she's staying in right now, and my social support network isn't here. I can't just go off and ignore her for a bit until I calm down. I'm hanging out with a few other friends, but there's a short period of time when the rest of them won't be around and she'll be the only friend I know here for those two days. That introduces an extra element of insecurity. I'm also kind of too depressed to go out and explore by myself. So I really do want to hang out with her for those two days, but at the same time the thought makes me sick.

So my question is: What can I tell myself, or do, to help me get over this? In a way that doesn't end up with me making a royal mess out of things?

I'm fully aware that my thought processes aren't that far away from functionally retarded right now, because of all the awful emotions, so I'm counting on you to help me think clearly! :( If it makes any difference (though probably not), all the people involved in this sorry episode are girls, including me.

Thanks in advance!
posted by swimmingly to Human Relations (32 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My recommendation is to try taking a moment every hour or so to think about your feelings - really examine them without being judgmental. For example, if you're angry, don't think about whether you deserve to be angry - just acknowledge the fact of the anger and own it. (Though please don't act on it.) Hurt feelings often grow stronger when they are not acknowledged.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:43 PM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Why are you paying for her drinks?

Don't do that if it gives you some sense of intimacy with her she isn't feeling.

Disclosure: I used to kinda make my living off getting guys to buy me drinks, so like, I get where you are both coming from here.

Further Disclosure: Although this situation is reversed, I once had a friend come into town to visit and stay with me, and she totally abused my hospitality. Actually, she and her friend (who I did not know previously) were in from overseas, and both she and her friend crashed at my apartment. I could tell the friend I did not know (but extended hospitality towards) was kinda horrified by our mutual friend's behavior.

Answer being in either case - don't extend courtesies to people who don't return same. Draw a boundary (at least in your own head) at the first infraction, and let it go.

Life is short. Speed bump over this rudeness.
posted by jbenben at 10:45 PM on June 19, 2012 [11 favorites]

I do think cutting off contact with her, at least for the most part, is what you need to do here. It is not as a punishment to her for doing something that is perfectly OK for her to do, it is for your own mental health and wellbeing. You don't have to be all dramatic about it, just be too busy to frequently chat with or hang out with her for a while, until you feel comfortable with it again.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:46 PM on June 19, 2012 [15 favorites]

I notice you said that you don't know many other people in the city and that makes you feel like you "need" to hang out with her for 2 days while your other friends are around.

So your choices are
A. be miserable hanging out with her because she is making you sad and jealous.
B. explore the city by yourself and feel a bit lonely

I would definitely go with option B here. Don't actively try to put yourself in an unhappy situation. Hanging out on your own isn't THAT bad, is it?
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:49 PM on June 19, 2012 [15 favorites]

Short answer: Do not go to clubs with her and buy her drinks.

Long answer: Seriously dude, you cannot hang on platonically, 1-1, with someone you have a crush on. It's like putting your hand in a fire over and over again. Of course you want to hang out with her 1-1 - you have a crush on her. But it's bad for you, and bad for any kind of relationship you have.

Join some clubs, make new friends, only see her in large group situations. Exercise some social and psychological discipline. You will thank yourself for it in three months. You are on a hiding to nothing, here.
posted by smoke at 11:10 PM on June 19, 2012 [7 favorites]

Ok, sure, stop hanging out with her, yadda yadda yadda.

But seriously, some coping mechanisms:

Take an active interest in guys she's interested in. If she meets a guy at a bar while you're there, introduce yourself and try to get to know him.

Talk to her about other girls you like. At first, you might have to force this since you're more interested in her -- but just make something up. Tell her that you think that barrista at the coffee shop you guys go to is super cute, etc.

Basically you want to impose a new normal where the two of you talk about the other people you're interested in. In my experience (and who knows if it will work for you) once I start talking about other women with a girl I like my interest in the girl dries up pretty quick.

It's basically a fake-it-till-you-make-it kind of deal; treat her like a real platonic friend and you'll lose interested.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 11:23 PM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

You haven't given us a lot of information about her, focusing mostly on your own feelings, so I'm going out on a limb -- but in a way she may be using you, and in fact may be getting off on your jealousy. What, you came to her city to visit? And she knew you were getting the two of you drinks? And she picked up a guy? That's pretty much epic level of disrespect of your friendship, and a clear message to you that you don't seem to be getting. Maybe she thought it was the only way you'd get it. Maybe she doesn't like voicing it (lots of people don't). Maybe she just (gasp) isn't that good of a friend to begin with.

So, yeah. Hanging out with people isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when it involves nursing a hurt. Find a way to enjoy your next two days off on your own. Have a little adventure. Go to public places. Talk to people. Act like it's the most natural thing in the world to be off in a strange city by yourself -- because, you know, it is.

If you get the opportunity, you can sort of let this girl know that you stopped caring about what she does so much. If she's a good friend, she'll be thrilled. If she just sees you as an acquaintance, she'll shrug it off.
posted by dhartung at 11:37 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Why are you going out for drinks with this person? Your relationship is imbalanced. Go find someone to hang with as a friend who respects you, or someone to date that wants you.

Story time: once I met a girl at a bar, and we hit it off. When it was time to go, she offered to drop me at the club I was headed to, and I accepted. Then she went and got her (guy) friend and told him he was going to drop us at this club. He was, well, surly, and he had a small pickup truck, so we got in the back. He proceeded to drive like a douchebag, and it was obvious he was angry about something. When we got out, he offered no apology. Later that night, she and I hooked back up and she told me he was a friend of hers who was in love with her, even though she didn't want him. I was, quite frankly, appaled at her using him so blatantly without regard for his feelings*, and embarrassed for him at allowing himself to be used.

Don't be that guy. Get over it by getting away from this toxic one-way non-relationship.

*i was also young and dumb and dated her for several months anyway, and I bet you can guess how that turned out.
posted by davejay at 11:38 PM on June 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

Pssst, everybody: the OP specified that everyone involved here is female. There are no "guys" or "dudes" involved.
posted by gingerest at 12:02 AM on June 20, 2012 [15 favorites]

I think she was sending you a clear and deliberate message, perhaps directly in response to your deciding to buy drinks. "We are not here 'together'" was the message. You are certainly entitled to feel stung, because it was certainly a pointed message, pointedly delivered. But what you basically need to do starting now is adjust ALL your behavior accordingly. Stop any and all special treatment -- even if it's just friendly (which, deep down it really isn't anyway) -- to prove that you get the message loud and clear.
posted by hermitosis at 12:11 AM on June 20, 2012 [10 favorites]

Stay away from this person until it doesn't hurt you to be around them. Your feelings are trying to tell you what to do. Cut off contact as completely as possible and get over it because it's not going anywhere.

The answer really is that simple; you just don't want to do it. You'll be fine.
posted by fleacircus at 12:39 AM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Speaking from personal experience, I think you really need to put some distance between the two of you.

If that's too much of a wrench for you at this time, at least avoid situations where she is likely to hook up with people. Don't go to bars and clubs where you know you're going to open yourself up to this kind of hurt.
posted by londonmark at 1:14 AM on June 20, 2012

I do think cutting off contact with her, at least for the most part, is what you need to do here. It is not as a punishment to her for doing something that is perfectly OK for her to do, it is for your own mental health and wellbeing. You don't have to be all dramatic about it, just be too busy to frequently chat with or hang out with her for a while, until you feel comfortable with it again.

Seconding this and all the similar advice posted.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:03 AM on June 20, 2012

... you are visiting from out of town and she's going off to get laid while you two hang out? I would be pissed even if I didn't have a crush on her. That shit is rude.

If you want to hang out with her for those two days come at it like this: "I'm only here for this long, and I really wouldb like to spend that time with you. I'd appreciate it if you would respect our time and our friendship and knock off the hooking up durring the limited time we have to hang out."

Oh- and then don't visit her again until the crush is squashed.
posted by Blisterlips at 4:57 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm having a hard time getting my head around the fact that you're afraid of being without companionship for two days, and would actually prefer to be tortured by this girl. Dude.

Look forward to these two days alone and have a plan.

1. Go to the library.
2. Visit a museum that interests you. (Art is good, but subways would be more out of the way. You get my drift.)
3. Take a day trip to a winery. (For some reason, there's a winery everywhere these days) Or a brewery. Or a sake factory (did this at the Sho Shiku Bai factory in Berkeley.)
4. Find a street festival
5. Take a yoga class
6. Get a shave, haircut, facial, massage, manicure. You get to be touched in a nice way and you get to neaten yourself up.
7. Shop for a present for yourself. A new gadget, an outfit, a new knit cap, whatever it is that the young folks are shopping for these days.
8. Go to a religious service.
9. Shop for and make a really special meal for yourself.
10. Have a late, luxurious breakfast at the counter at the diner. Or the counter at Waffle House.
11. Make a blind date with someone on a website, or Craigslist. Hell, place that ad, see what you get.

The world is your oyster and you're just intersted in the grit of sand that makes the pearl. Have an adventure!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:39 AM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was in a similar sitaution for waaay too long a few years ago, in fact there's an anonymous askme kicking around somewhere from when she started seeing other men and telling me about it. The advice I got there, and which I eventually took was to get away. The relationship is going nowhere as you are unhappy in it. It's not a question of punishing her, it's not a question of blame or fault, it's simply that you are not happy and need to move on. Good luck!
posted by jontyjago at 5:41 AM on June 20, 2012

And honestly, I know it's not even my place to feel jealous, but I can't help myself. I guess the difficulty I'm facing is that I feel personally spurned this time because although she knows I like her, she picked up the other person while I was off buying us drinks.

Jealousy is a feature, not a bug. Preinstalled from the old days when we were in caves.

So if I have a crush on someone and they don't reciprocate, I pretty much don't hang out with them any more, because it is painful.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:44 AM on June 20, 2012 [4 favorites]

My new rule these days is this: Don't hang out with people who make you feel bad.

You don't have to cut off contact forever, but if hanging out with this woman makes you feel bad, why are you doing it? Go do something else and continue doing something else until you feel better. Then, if you want, see if hanging out with her makes you feel bad. If yes, lather, rinse, repeat.
posted by xingcat at 5:51 AM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you need evening plans (the thing I find toughest while traveling alone), try meeting people on Couchsurfing.com or there may even be a meetup.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:47 AM on June 20, 2012

Wow, nice of her to ditch you during the limited amount of time you had for hanging out with her.

Also, nice of her to help you get over your crush by smashing you in the face with a jealousy plotline. I agree that it was intended to send you a message, but it also strikes me as calculated to make you want her more.

And the fact that you come back from buying her drinks to find her with someone else - wow that makes you look and feel like a doormat.

It's one thing to own your feelings and take responsibility for what you do and don't have a rightful claim on. However, I don't think she's exactly treating you like a friend here. If she wanted to send you a message that you shouldn't be harboring false hope, there are about a million other possible ways she could be doing that.

tl;dr I don't think she's your friend and you should avoid her until you get over your crush and, ideally, forever.
posted by tel3path at 6:56 AM on June 20, 2012

What can I tell myself, or do, to help me get over this? In a way that doesn't end up with me making a royal mess out of things?

Do other things that do not involve her and go out on dates with people who actually like you. I actually would recommend against internet dating, because the hit rate is so low there. What you want is to socialize and flirt with people in person. Remind yourself that people like you.
posted by deanc at 7:25 AM on June 20, 2012

Twinners! FWIW, I sent out a very friendly, nice email to her that basically said: "You're super rad! Which is why we can't hang out for a bit! It's not your fault, and I don't expect anything from you, but I need some time to get my head on straight." I honestly felt like shit after I sent it, but now I feel really liberated, and I can already tell I'm flirting with people more.
posted by OrangeDrink at 7:34 AM on June 20, 2012

I think a LOT of people in this thread are leaping to judgement without knowing the full context, so I would ignore a lot of that as I doubt it's particularly helpful. But I second that you should think of taking space from her as something you need to do for yourself/the potential future friendship, not a punishment of her.

I also get the whole "not really wanting to hang out by myself/too depressed to want to go out" thing and perhaps just bailing is simply not an option. Do you have a friend there who you could maybe lean on a bit more during those couple days?
posted by sm1tten at 8:03 AM on June 20, 2012

There is so much pressure in the lady-loving lady community to deny that jealousy exists! If I had a dollar for every time some lady I was dating took me to a party that was full of her exes and their exes and there was all kinds of drama swirling around that everyone had pretended wasn't even existing at all, because everybody had already PROCESSED all of that (ha!)...

So, yeah, don't feel guilty about being jealous. Now, that feeling of jealousy might be a sign to you that this friendship isn't working out for you right now.

Also, your friend is rude as fuck. Unless you both went to the club to trawl for dates/hookups, and that was discussed in advance, it was spectacularly rude of her to ditch you for pussy. (I would have been outraged if any of my friends did that, and I'm in a monogamous marriage!)
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:18 AM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

The thing that jumped out at me is that you feel as though you can't be on your own for 2 days. I think you need to examine why you feel this way. I wonder if you are coming off as desperate. It's not her job to entertain you and I might feel resentful if I was in her place.
posted by parakeetdog at 10:48 AM on June 20, 2012

it's not even my place to feel jealous
Unfortunately IS your place to feel jealous, because jealousy is currently occupying your heart/mind/other bits. Like it or not, this emotion has picked you as its parasite-hostess. Try to be a bit more fatalistic about this. Imagine that SOMEONE has to feel jealous, and it could have been the Dalai Lama, but you know he has a really busy schedule, so you wound up taking the bullet on his behalf, because you're just that awesome. He's very grateful, and probably sending you good thoughts right now.

Protect the Dalai Lama from feeling guilty by protecting yourself from acting out. Easiest way is to avoid contact, ESPECIALLY for those two days, when the unpleasant dynamic will likely be at its height. If you need to, hole up with soup & fantasy novels, as if you were waiting out the flu. What city are you in? What country? Mefites can likely conjure up resources.
posted by feral_goldfish at 11:40 AM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm getting a serious "Doctor, it hurts when I do this" vibe off your question.

Why are you doing so many things that set you in the mindset of "we're a couple on a date!", when that isn't true, and isn't likely to ever be true?

She's not hurting you; you are. Get hold of yourself, and start behaving outwardly in a healthier, more realistic manner. The inward thoughts will be easier to wrangle, without this misdirection.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:10 PM on June 20, 2012

Sorry about mistaking the gender, but I'm not sure it changes my advice all that much. Maybe she does this to all her girlfriends -- sees a guy, jumps, expects you to deal -- but unless that was the agreement, or she specifically asked you at the time, she was disrespecting you and you don't need to be treated that way.
posted by dhartung at 3:21 PM on June 20, 2012

Another vote to take a break from hanging out with her.

Does the city you're in have any workshops or classes you could take for those days you are concerned about? Look around for something that interests you - art, writing, cooking, surfing, whatever. Pay in advance - the commitment will help you push through the depression and show up. The structure of a class is much easier to deal with than unstructured hanging out alone, if you're feeling sad and out of it.
posted by bunderful at 3:47 PM on June 20, 2012

hey everyone, thanks so much for taking time to give me advice! i really appreciate it, and it's definitely helping me sort things through.

to clarify one bit that people have brought up: it's not that i can't be on my own for two days. i'm usually happy to go off solo when travelling! it's just that the feeling-down-ness makes me less capable of doing so than usual, if that makes any sense :\ it's frustrating. another consideration is that i've been here for over a week already and it's my fourth time here as a tourist so i've kind of run out of fresh ideas by now.

and nope, i don't know anyone else in town so i can't lean on other friends to tide me through this brief period, but i'm sure i'll survive :)

ironically, i'm in NYC and it's pride weekend!
posted by swimmingly at 10:58 PM on June 20, 2012

Pride weekend in NYC? I think you need to take advantage of this and make some new friends. I can't speak for New York, as my big Pride experiences were in Portland in the 90s, but - in the right block in Portland, at Pride, you could just clear your throat and say, "She doesn't want to be my girl. Can anyone help me keep her off my mind?" And lo, by the time the weekend was out your name would be inked on many a heart and possibly a couple of biceps, and you'd fly home hung over and heart-soothed. New Yorkers are supposed to be tougher than Portlanders, but still.
posted by gingerest at 11:18 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Go to a nice lesbian bar. Or a nice lesbian coffee shop. If throat-clearing declarations aren't your style at this juncture, tape a sign on your back saying SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS CROSSWORD PUZZLE or jigsaw puzzle or tarot deck or disassembled pocket-watch or whatever amuses you (bearing in mind that games associated with gambling, such as backgammon, may be illegal in bars (at least they were in Chicago)). Voila! A time-killing solo alibi PLUS a guarantee of low-stakes approachability. If no one takes advantage of you, they're fools.
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:33 AM on June 21, 2012

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