The value of online friendship?
September 28, 2014 3:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm uncertain how to proceed w/maintaining an online friendship and if I should move on or not. Internet drama ensues.

A while back I used to play a online game and I met a bunch of nice and not so nice people during my time there. I joined and left a variety of groups but I kept in touch w/a few individuals. Most of them I'm semi-active friends with to this day approx 2-3 yrs later over steam, skype, email, and etc.

I admit, I haven't played in over 6+ months but I still like to talk to them about related topics news, updates, and other games for fun. Sounds normal, right? Well, not exactly.

A while back someone Andrew contacted me from a old Group X (when I still played said game above) and although I never spoke to them often they wanted to be friends and asked me why I left in the first place.

Yes, I did vaguely recall Andrew's character and I couldn't think of a real reason why not to be friendly. Then I interacted w/them as normal w/the usual topics about games/tech but then I went on a hiatus. I thought the person was alright and gave them my alt name which I use only for online friends to keep in contact.

Later on fast forward a few months and one day I get a email from Andrew who can't be friends because their GF disliked me (based on my gender) and they needed to go no contact.

Although it's a little surprising to me, I never contacted them after because their GF had been a part of Group X when I played (and it's important to respect people's wishes.) Also, I don't know much about their relationship so it's a good idea for me to back off if it looks weird. I dislike getting involved anything awkward or confrontational esp if it's only a online friend.

Nearly half a year later I get a bunch of out of the blue emails from Andrew asking me how I am and why I never replied to any old emails? Wait, I thought the last email was him explaining why he had to delete me? I don't get it.

I get a odd feeling if I had been a guy Andrew's GF would've been fine but at the same time why is he trying to still contact me? It's been awhile and this feels bizarre due to the last email.

On one hand I don't know what to do because it's great my friend can contact me and all but at the same time WTF? For example, Andrew did say he spoke his GF and he "settled it" when I asked about the old email.

I looked around online for related questrions but so far this is the closest one I found: Nothing makes me feel smaller ... Extended Q&A here.

I'm not interested in dating anyone who is not asexual and I have said this many times esp. if someone is not available. We're only online friends and I have issues wrt some of their un-PC ideas and behaviors.

Side note: Is it normal for (male) friends to be prickly when I'm discussing other guys even as a joke? I don't get it because I honestly am not going to date X celebrity or fictional character even if it were possible. I'm fine w/discussing other people but for some reason Andrew/other guys seem to be unhappy about it?

BTW: I'm not comparing anyone or judging them to my (male) friends. For example, I just say, "X actor/character looks cool in _____" and their reply is frequently "Actually, X looks not cool at all."

Anyways, should I cut off all contact just to be safe? At the same time most of the conversations are about common interests and it's a bit of a challenge for me to make new friends. Previously. I'm kinda confused atm because I haven't acted strangely at all? These are topics I have talked about w/all my friends at some time or another.

Should I try to make more (female) online friends instead? Is this friendship going to a figurative dead end? If yes, when I cut all ties do I need to write a concise note why? Thanks.
posted by chrono_rabbit to Human Relations (14 answers total)
 
andrew is a flake, and i got an odd vibe about him from your account. i would go no further contact.
posted by bruce at 3:17 PM on September 28, 2014


You sound very young.

You have not spoken to this person in over six months. The question is not whether you should maintain an existing friendship -- you don't currently have one -- it's whether you should resume a old friendship.

And I'd say no, no you shouldn't because this person is bringing the crazy from their relationship into your inbox and ain't nobody got time for that.

Also, people of all genders and sexualities can be friends with each other. Your gender is irrelevant. Your sexuality is irrelevant. You don't need friends who are female, you need friends who are grownups.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:17 PM on September 28, 2014 [11 favorites]


I would just ignore him. The whole "why didn't you email me" thing after telling you he couldn't email is really odd and strikes me as manipulative. You can simply block him on everything, no need to write him a note.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:18 PM on September 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


he won't be the last person you encounter online who wants to waste your time with various shenanigans. don't respond.
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:41 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


DarlingBri : True, I'm in my early 20s and I didn't have many friends growing up as a kid so I wasn't sure if this sounded like I was overthinking or not.

Although, then I was extremely foolish and I replied thinking that Andrew had resolved his problem but now looking back I can see it's the wrong decision now. I was worried if I had been presumptuous somehow and I thought I was being considerate by being their friend again.

Um, now I'm wondering if there's a way out that isn't too complicated...
posted by chrono_rabbit at 4:01 PM on September 28, 2014


The way out is to not worry about responding to his emails, and to focus your energy on people who don't cause so much internal angst. You really don't owe him anything.
posted by mibo at 4:04 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, this is really not a problem. Meaning, don't waste any more of your time or energy on this. Ignore any emails, carry on with your life, make really great friends who don't bring the drama.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:06 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


So you like dramaz do you?

I'm really confused about why you'd even respond after all this time. I'd pretend that he was a dog, and just move on. I mean, he's not a friend, you couldn't even place him when he re-entered your life the first time. Just tell him, "I don't think our keeping in contact is healthy. Please respect my wishes."

Then leave it alone. Block him in every possible way.

Also, females who claim to be asexual, are considered a challenge by random internet weirdos. Don't tell every Tom, Dick and Harry this information. If someone hits on you, simply say, "I'm not available for dating."

I met Husbunny in a chat room, so I know all about the dramaz and the intrigue and the intensity, but dude, this shit isn't even normal for the internet.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:06 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought I was being considerate by being their friend again.

I think you might benefit from reading and researching what makes a healthy friendship. You do not owe consideration to people who have treated you badly, or even indifferently.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:32 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Let's scan your text for questions.

The value of online friendship?
I've been best friends and roommates with an originally online friend for over ten years. But there are also plenty of online friends who have just been pleasant acquaintances for the time we've spent in the same virtual places and I never think about them again. Online friendship is just like in person friendship in that it varies. You're still two people communicating with each other and influencing each other and enjoying each other's differences and similarities.

Nearly half a year later I get a bunch of out of the blue emails from Andrew asking me how I am and why I never replied to any old emails? Wait, I thought the last email was him explaining why he had to delete me? I don't get it.
People are 1) flakes 2) sometimes coming to you from a direction you don't understand with motivations you don't realize 3) capable of lying 4) not logic machines.

On one hand I don't know what to do because it's great my friend can contact me and all but at the same time WTF?
TF is that he's someone who prioritizes, labels, and categorizes relationships differently than you do. That's okay, but it's making conflict. The thing to keep in mind is that you owe him nothing. Not your time, emotional investment, anything. It's totally up to you to choose to give him any of these things and his emails out of the blue and weird girlfriend drama are making conflict you never asked for and don't deserve.

Side note: Is it normal for (male) friends to be prickly when I'm discussing other guys even as a joke? I don't get it because I honestly am not going to date X celebrity or fictional character even if it were possible. I'm fine w/discussing other people but for some reason Andrew/other guys seem to be unhappy about it?
Unfortunately ace people are often seen as "challenges" by straight people, especially if the ace person is a woman and the straight people are men. It sucks, it's the patriarchal paradigm of oppression that every single one of us lives in, and it's something that you might have to actively ignore or take social steps to mitigate when you feel this prickliness. Again, though, that's up to you. You have to make that call in each new situation - is it worth your time and energy to diffuse this bullshit and call people on their shitty behavior, or are you just going to shrug it off this time? Choosing to ignore it one day doesn't mean you can't take someone to task for it another day, and vice versa.

Anyways, should I cut off all contact just to be safe?
Are you feeling unsafe? Take whatever steps you need to take to feel safe. My advice is to not go full no-contact but to never initiate conversation with this guy. Show no interest in him or the things he says since he'll take any response as the go-ahead to insert his drama into your life, but also don't cut him out completely because he's likely to see that as another challenge, or as an offense - it's just as dramallama as what he's done to you. However, if he's making you feel unsafe (as opposed to just making you worry about hurting his feelings, which again, you don't owe him this consideration whatsoever) you have my (and the internet's in general) permission to go no-contact asap.

I'm kinda confused atm because I haven't acted strangely at all?
Correct. You are not the guilty party and have no responsibility or obligation to respond or worry about this guy's issues.

Should I try to make more (female) online friends instead?
Making friends with all genders is a good thing to do, and you're a little more likely to find people who are totally cool with the ace thing and perhaps more receptive to your style of friendship if you actively look for open-minded female friends. But don't discount someone just because they identify as a man. Discount them because they make you feel bad. You have plenty of time to make other friends who make you feel good, instead.

Is this friendship going to a figurative dead end? If yes, when I cut all ties do I need to write a concise note why?
Yes. And no. I think it's at an end but don't write a note why. It's just as much drama and insult as what he did to you previously, and it would only encourage him to escalate the trouble. Just block him and don't respond, or only respond in group replies. If he confronts you about it directly, tell him that you don't have time or willingness to deal with his drama and ask him to leave you alone. Friendships end cordially all the time with a simple lack of contact. Aim for that and spend your energy on other people and things that make you happy.
posted by Mizu at 4:37 PM on September 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


So, blah, blah, what does Andrew want? That's the wrong question. What do *you* want. Want to have a relationship, be friends, be email flirts? Then pursue that path. Maybe his gf used his email account to silence you. Maybe he forgot. Maybe some other thing. If you like and value Andrew, then act on your own behalf. Women are often not taught to do this, but it's a much nicer way to live.
posted by theora55 at 6:04 PM on September 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think at one time Andrew was a good friend but after reading the replies I'll step away from it now. TBH, I had been wondering if I'm the one common factor for my lack of friends or not.

BTW: Although I don't really mention being ace to people and it's only when I feel like the other person will take me seriously. Yet the idea of strangers considering it as "challenge" is alarming but so it goes. Yes, I have told off people to cut out certain behaviors but it's getting tiring to always be paranoid if my actions could be misunderstood.

Thanks for all the comments and advice.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 7:21 PM on September 28, 2014


Sometimes people say that you're the only common factor in your relationships, which is true. That doesn't necessarily mean you are wrong in the specific instance, particularly since it might be that since you don't know how to set good boundaries you attract people who exploit your innocent lack of knowledge.
posted by spunweb at 7:37 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


You may be missing one piece! Check and see if he's the one who actually sent the email. It is not unknown for excessively possessive girlfriends to send messages like this from their boyfriend's account, leaving them kind of confused as to why people drop out of their lives. I've seen it happen with a couple friends of mine.
posted by corb at 10:32 AM on September 29, 2014


« Older Buying modafinil (Provigil) online? What's the...   |   Dare to glare at my chair repair query! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.