Should I contact an acquaintance who recently de-friended me on fb for no apparent reason to ask why?
November 19, 2012 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Should I contact an acquaintance who recently de-friended me on fb for no apparent reason to ask why?

To make a short story (hopefully) short: I'm currently living in a foreign country, and have had a tandem language partner for the past month and a half or so. We meet up more or less weekly and spend a half hour chatting in his language and a half hour chatting in mine - found each other through the local university. Would guess we have met five times or so at this point.

I generally enjoy meeting with him and think we have decent enough conversation given that it was a completely random pairing. The last time we met up was two weeks ago. We had, I thought, a nice conversation as usual. When we parted we agreed to meet two weeks later because I had a conflict the week immediately after that one. Shortly after our last meeting I sent him a friend request on Facebook and he accepted it pretty much right away.

Flash forward to a couple of days ago. I went to our usual meeting place and waited for him; he didn't show up. I assumed he forgot about the meeting since we had skipped a week and sent him an email. Didn't hear back from him and then a day or two later realized he was no longer in my friends list on fb.

So basically, it seems like maybe I was stood up and he no longer wants to meet, but I really have no idea why this would be, since last I knew, everything was just fine between us. Should I bother sending him a second email and just say fine if you don't want to keep meeting, but I just wanted to make sure I didn't commit some awful faux pas without realizing it? Or should I just leave it be? It's not like we were best friends or anything but I thought we got on well enough and it was nice to know one of the 'locals.'
posted by Rinoia to Human Relations (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't think you have much to lose by sending the email - you might learn something, and if you've already committed some terrible faux pas this probably won't make things any worse.

(From your title I thought the answer would be exactly the opposite! But this seems like a special case.)
posted by mskyle at 12:30 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Send a note or email, asking what's up and emphasizing you hope you didn't offend him and if you did, you're sorry.

If he doesn't respond, let it drop.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:30 PM on November 19, 2012 [11 favorites]

Are you sure he's still on Facebook? It's possible something else is going on with him and he disabled his account.
posted by lalex at 12:32 PM on November 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

Are you living in a foreign country with drastically different etiquette-culture than your home country? Generally, this is a "let it go" situation, but if you're still trying to figure your way around the place, then this is one of those rare situations where asking if you specifically did something wrong is warranted. Just make it double-extra clear that you're not asking this to get back in his good graces, but because you want to know if you did something socially inappropriate, for future reference. Which should be the reason you're asking, anyway.

But don't expect a reply.
posted by griphus at 12:33 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'd try contacting him to follow up on the missed appointment, and leave facebook out of it. You'll probably still be able to get an idea of whether what's going on is an issue with you specifically or something else.
posted by something something at 12:34 PM on November 19, 2012 [15 favorites]

You can ask him about the appointment and future plans but leave Facebook out of it.
posted by barnone at 12:39 PM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

Re: cultural thing - it could be some cultural difference I suppose, but I kind of doubt it. He is European and I'm American.
posted by Rinoia at 12:44 PM on November 19, 2012

I clicked on your question thinking I would tell you to just let it go. In this instance, however, I believe it makes sense to ask whether you have inadvertently done something offensive. If he is kind enough to tell you, that could be quite valuable.
posted by Area Man at 12:45 PM on November 19, 2012

If I were you, I'd get in touch through your usual channels, not on Facebook. I would ask what happened last week and try to get clarification on whether he was still interested in a language exchange.

I would not let social drama about facebook get all entangled in what sounds like a significant issue about something else.

How people use facebook is sort of their own prerogative. Being stood up for a meeting is inappropriate. I'd deal with the latter rather than the former.
posted by Sara C. at 12:48 PM on November 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

Am I reading this question different than other people?

1. met five times
2. Facebook each other
3. get stood up
4. email sent asking why
5. no response and un-Facebooked

I would advise you to back off and let it go. He is not interested in communicating with you further.
posted by 99percentfake at 12:53 PM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

My first gut feeling: He has a girlfriend who was suddenly like, "Why are you spending so much time with this other girl?" Or something along those lines. An opposite-sex pair, you've gotten together a bit, one party suddenly backs off, it starts to smell a lot like "this feels too much like it's heading dating-wards and I don't want that", or something else in that vein.

You've already sent one message and it wasn't returned; find a new conversation partner.
posted by gracedissolved at 12:56 PM on November 19, 2012 [8 favorites]

At first I was going to say email him, but then I realized you already DID email him once. The ball is in his court. He either has a girlfriend or found out something about you through your Facebook that changed his mind about you. Maybe you have a boyfriend? Maybe he learned you totally into Monty Python movies and he was thinking of dating you but can't stand people who like those movies? Only he knows and he isn't interested in telling you. Let it go.
posted by eq21 at 1:02 PM on November 19, 2012 [7 favorites]

Do make excessive or politically charged Facebook status updates? He could've been turned off or offended by something you wrote.
posted by ad4pt at 1:02 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Don't send another message or attempt to converse with this person unless he tries to talk to you first. You may come across as needy and having been there myself, this isn't attractive in anyone (even if it was just an acquaintance or friendship).

Also, as grace said, he didn't respond to the first message and I doubt he'll respond to this one after he deleted you and cut off contact with you. Sorry to say that it doesn't seem like he's interested in communicating right now. If he is, then he'll let you know. But, your best bet is to move forward and develop new relationships.
posted by livinglearning at 1:05 PM on November 19, 2012

Cultural, or even language, differences can bite you quite unexpectedly. I was lucky enough to meet my French language pen-pal a few years ago; we saw each other a lot over several days. She had an unfortunate bit of news about her mother being sick, plus something else at the same time -- it was really a lot of bad stuff at the same time. I, trying to be sympathetic, said something like, "That's just unbelievable! I'm so sorry!". She took it to mean that I thought she was a liar and pretty much stopped speaking to me on the spot. She told me why she'd taken offense, but didn't seem to believe my explanation that it was an American idiom. Maybe she did believe it, but her hurt was too profound to get past it.

So, it couldn't hurt to ask your acquaintance what's up.
posted by amtho at 1:37 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I guess it could be the gf thing - he does have one, though there has never been any particular feeling on my part that there was any interest of that sort between us. I really kind of doubt that it was anything on fb that I posted since most of what I have up there would qualify as pretty run of the mill stuff, nothing political or excessive or inappropriate. Guess it's just the peculiarity of the situation that made me think it wouldn't be terrible to follow up, in case it was something completely random that I hadn't thought of.
posted by Rinoia at 1:40 PM on November 19, 2012

Is there any chance that he didn't realize you were going to meet two weeks later and not one week later? If he had gone to your usual meeting place and thought he'd been stood up that could cause him to unfriend you on Facebook and not come back the next week.
posted by peacheater at 2:07 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Maybe he just wanted to be language partners and nothing more- not even facebook friends. Then he had to accept your request (ignoring is awkward as is refusing) and then just wanted to sever contact. I mean it's bad but it's not that bad. He probably just should have ignored it. Less weird.
posted by bquarters at 2:16 PM on November 19, 2012

Oh, just send one more email. You could dither about this for weeks. Say, "Hey, I thought I'd try one more time to get ahold of you -- hope everything is okay. Sorry about the mixup last week. Would love to get together in the future. Send me a note or message me if you're up for it."

Then, let it go, I suppose. I hate when people just drop off but I, too, wouldn't read too much into the Facebook thing.
posted by amanda at 2:56 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do not send more emails. If he has anything to say, he knows how to reach you. It's weird to contact someone who is clearly not responding to you and actively disengaging (un-friending you), and it will make you feel quite awkward when he doesn't respond... again. Move on.
posted by tk at 3:51 PM on November 19, 2012

Lots of people are bailing on Facebook, for lots of reasons, most of them totally justified. I'd advise against reading anything into it.

When I deFaced, I had a very unpleasant spate of "Why don't you want to be my friend anymore? GRAR!" emails and text messages that invariably made me think less of the people who were so deeply affronted. It was a lousy situation, all around.

If you have another avenue of communication, consider using it (as suggested above, using your own discretion), but don't bring Facebook up.

The faster that scourge of iHumanity disappears, the better.

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posted by Aquaman at 4:54 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

This past Saturday was "National UnFriend Day." For what that's worth.
posted by kmennie at 5:37 PM on November 19, 2012

Hmm, I live in a foreign country and am familiar with the language partner dynamic. Honestly, sometimes people try to make romantic partners or sex partners through language exchange. I think it's in the realm of possibility that he was trying you out for one of those things and his girlfriend found out OR he started to feel guilty about it OR he just wasn't interested in sex for whatever reason so decided to discontinue the exchange. Of course, not all language exchanges are about potential sex but it's the abruptness of his drop-off that makes me think it might have been here. It doesn't sound like he wants to be in contact anymore either way. I would just leave it alone- surely there are plenty of other language partners to be had.
posted by bearette at 10:11 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

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