Awkward situation with guy - how can I handle and resolve this?
November 4, 2014 12:40 PM   Subscribe

I slept with a guy who is now ignoring me, but we are part of the same friend group.

See my previous question and cliff notes version:

- I met a guy through friends one evening. We spent the night together and had amazing sex (the best ons I have had, and there have only been a few). He initiated again next morning then suggested we sleep for a few more hours (this was afternoon) and spooned me while we slept...when we woke up we talked for a while, with him asking me a lot about myself. He was sweet, laid back and quick to laugh in this setting.

- Afterwards he said he hoped I would feel okay about seeing him again. To be clear, he and his flatmate have a party every week or so that all of my friends attend. When I saw him at the next party, he didn't even say hello (looking at the floor instead) but I caught up with him later to "clear the air". He said he now felt awkward about what had happened because he usually only had sex in long term relationships. Overall he was very serious with me.

- I suggested we be friends and he jumped at the chance. We then had a heart to heart where he revealed that he has an anxiety disorder which means he struggles with getting to know new people sometimes. We arranged to meet up the following week for a drink but then I got very sick and he didn't try to reschedule. Since then we have chatted online a bit, but not much. In fact when I tried, a few times, to have a proper conversation he ignored me entirely!

So following this, I declined an invite to his party at the weekend because I was sick of his ignorant behaviour. That night my friend met him and he brought me up in conversation...while pretending not to remember my name!! Which he knows fine well.

Basically - he is still ignoring me and all my friends are going to be back at his house soon for another party. However I feel very unwelcome given his current behaviour and feel I may need to talk to him, ie: am I still welcome in your house? What can I say or do to diffuse the situation and resolve this?
posted by Kat_Dubs to Human Relations (60 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think he's dissing you because he doesn't like you...quite the opposite. It sounds like he's a very anxious, awkward fellow who doesn't know how to handle a FWB situation. Go to the party with your friends and chat with him, letting him know it's cool that this thing happened between you two is a one-time thing, and there's no pressure to be otherwise.
posted by xingcat at 12:46 PM on November 4, 2014 [26 favorites]

We arranged to meet up the following week for a drink but then I got very sick and he didn't try to reschedule.

If you cancelled, the onus is on you to reschedule. If that is what happened, he may have taken this as you blowing him off and is reacting to that (in a sort of lame way, but whatever). Perhaps try to arrange to meet up with him for a drink again? If he balks, move on.
posted by troika at 12:48 PM on November 4, 2014 [44 favorites]

You can go to hang out with the other people who will be there, or you can find something else to do that night.

This guy is not okay for you. Look - he went to the trouble of pretending he didn't know your name. (Unless he honestly didn't make the connection when your friend was talking - that's the more pleasant interpretation, IMHO.)

Unless you learned some new trick you want to remember, forget the whole thing ever happened.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 12:48 PM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Confront him. Walk right up to him and say, "Why are you ignoring me? Was I that bad a lay? Were you just using me?"

He's ignoring you because you're letting him get away with it. Men will do all sorts of shit to women if they think they can get away with it, because that's how hetero cis male privilege works.
posted by starbreaker at 12:48 PM on November 4, 2014 [7 favorites]

It seems to me that he wanted a casual hookup and nothing more. I base this on the fact that he gave you vague, passive excuses about why he didn't want to see you after the hookup was complete. He likely thinks that your chatting him and setting up drinks is equal to your trying to date him, but he doesn't want to date you. He's ignoring you and pretending he doesn't know your name. Those are some pretty clear (if shitty) signals.

What do you want out of this? Is it simply feel comfortable going to parties in his house? If you want to feel comfortable in his house, stop bugging him for drinks and chat and friendship-possibly-more... or stop going to his house. Personally, I'd recommend against trying to personally befriend let alone date a sex partner who behaves in such a passive manner.
posted by theraflu at 12:51 PM on November 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

A few things jump out of your narrative for me...

1. When you cancel, it's on you to try to reschedule. That's especially true if being sick is the stated reason for the cancellation since that's the oldest excuse in the book; you reschedule as part of showing that your ailment was real and you regret missing the meeting.

2. You were invited to his party at the weekend and you declined. That's your right, but understand that you've now created a second "I'm not interested" message.

How you get from that to saying he's ignoring you and wondering if you're still welcome in his house is illogical. From his perspective, you're ignoring him. That's why he pretends not to know your name; to pretend to himself and other that it doesn't hurt. You both sound anxious and young.

The way you get past this--the only hope of having some kind of normal friendship with this guy, let alone lay the groundwork for a relationship-- isn't calling some kind of giant "clear the air" meeting: that's just more drama while you trap the poor awkward guy into a feelings conversation. Guaranteed doom. Instead, go to the parties, hang out, be normal and see what happens. It's easy.
posted by carmicha at 12:51 PM on November 4, 2014 [79 favorites]

Ok, hard to hear, but I think important here: when you have sex with someone you don't know well, you've gotta treat it like the one-night-stand it is and not like the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Many, many guys are amazing in bed and may be very sweet, friendly, and wonderful to be around in this setting, but they aren't interested in a serious or long term relationship for whatever reason. In this case, it is impossible to say whether this guy isn't into it because of you specifically, because he's dealing with an anxiety disorder, because he just doesn't want to be in a serious relationship right now, or any of a hundred other reasons. This is the gamble you take when you sleep with someone you're not dating/just met. You can be hurt about that, but I don't think it makes him a bad person...merely someone who had a one-night-stand and now feels awkward about it.

Going forward, go to the parties if you want to, or don't if you don't want to (you're perfectly within your rights to decide you don't care to hang out with this guy again!), or take a break if you want to, but don't expect a lot from his end.
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:51 PM on November 4, 2014 [9 favorites]

I think you should feel free and confident about walking wherever you want to walk, and going to whatever party your friends go to. As per your description, he's the one with issues not you; anxiety may be one of them, but there's apparently a whole additional spectrum of not-knowing-what-an-impression-he-makes-on-others and self-centredness that you can (likely) safely ignore, or so it seems.
posted by Namlit at 12:52 PM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

This guy thinks you don't like him. He's into you and you declined an invite from him.

I don't think you are acting very nicely towards him. You blew him off.

If you are interested, reschedule.

This guy definitely digs you, from what I see here.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:53 PM on November 4, 2014 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: The night itself was very good. We obviously connected very well and he very expressively told me how good I was at certain fact he couldn't stand for a long time, despite trying!

The odd thing is that he went out of his way to say that he never usually does casual sex (our mutual friend was amazed to learn we had slept together because the guy is so shy usually apparently). I said I am the same way and he said he was pleased to hear it. We ended up talking about our last relationships - interestingly he said his ex had been in touch but he had no intention of getting back together. Why tell me all this?

ps. Am I allowed to comment in this thread or not? Apologies if the answer is not!
posted by Kat_Dubs at 12:55 PM on November 4, 2014

By the way, he knew your mutual friend would tell you he "didn't know" your name. That's because he's hurt and he's into you.
posted by carmicha at 12:57 PM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah, on second thoughts, he's perhaps just insecure and you've given him maybe the wrong signals. Don't phrase it as him ignoring you, phrase it as him being too shy to initiate the next step, perhaps? I think you guys should talk, simply.
posted by Namlit at 12:57 PM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: OP here. Carmicha, he can't be into me surely? All of our friends were chatting online tonight and I was the one he blatantly ignored, again! Bizarre behaviour given that we cleared the air.
posted by Kat_Dubs at 12:58 PM on November 4, 2014

IMHO he's awkward. Really really awkward. If you accept that--because only time and he can change it, despite all of your future, hypothetical loving ministrations--then that's fine... if he comes out of his shell long enough for you to get to know each other. But if you envision a relationship with someone who's more self confident, outgoing or whatever, revert to group friend dynamics at once, but kindly.
posted by carmicha at 1:02 PM on November 4, 2014

For not wanting to make a big deal out of this, you are making an awfully big deal out of it. Do you want to date this guy? Be FWB? Just forget the one-nighter and continue to attend his parties with your friends? Decide what it is you want and then behave accordingly. In the meantime, as Carmicha says, go to the parties, hang out, be normal and see what happens.

As an aside, the fact that the sex was great means nothing, really (sex can be great with people you can't stand or barely know and terrible with people you have deep feelings for). Don't put too much weight into it.
posted by Bretley at 1:03 PM on November 4, 2014 [6 favorites]

He's self-described as awkward. You've broken one date and declined another invitation. He's into you but thinks you don't like him. If you like him you should ask him out on a date.
posted by alms at 1:04 PM on November 4, 2014 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: I think I probably considered dating him when we first met, but his behaviour since has turned me off. It's obvious he doesn't want to in any case. What I'm saying is that as he will talk to all of my friends but not me, I now feel very uncomfortable about even attending parties in house. Perhaps I'm not welcome?
posted by Kat_Dubs at 1:06 PM on November 4, 2014

Everyone is giving you the same answer. Maybe you should listen to them?
posted by Oktober at 1:08 PM on November 4, 2014 [36 favorites]

If he actively doesn't want you there, he will say something to you, one of your friends, or have one of his roommates do it for him.
posted by Bretley at 1:09 PM on November 4, 2014

There could be a lot of reasons someone ignores you online, but the fact is that you rejected him a couple times and he's probably taken the hint you're not interested. Add on top of that his social anxiety and he most definitely is not going to try to chase down someone who has shown she isn't interested. If someone rejected me twice, I wouldn't respond to them either, probably -- that just sounds like game-playing and he is trying to avoid that.

It sounds like this guy wants to avoid drama and wants to avoid feeling rejected. If you attend the party, I imagine he will just ignore you anyway. If you go out of you way to say, "Is it OK that I am here," it will probably just add to how embarrassed he feels by being dumped by you, and it will only add drama. I'd just let the whole thing go since it doesn't sound like you care about getting your relationship back on track with him.
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:10 PM on November 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

You blew him off and didn't reschedule, he put himself out there and got shot down. If you have to cancel a date, its on you to reschedule because "getting sick" is what you do when you're blowing someone off and trying to not hurt their feelings. And just in case he had any hope left that you were still interested, you declined his party invite.

Its clear you've already made up your mind though.... Are you just wanting us to give you permission to go to the party and yell at him?
posted by missmagenta at 1:11 PM on November 4, 2014 [17 favorites]

Phone call (or possibly email):

Hey dude, it's Kat. Listen, I was really glad when we decided (two weeks ago, the last time we talked, etc) to try to be friendly around each other. I would have liked to get to know you better. I know we haven't had a chance since then to talk one-on-one, it's all been kind of group social stuff - but I've got to tell you I was hurt, it felt like you were ignoring me (at the party, online the other night, etc). If you didn't mean to be ignoring me, then we should talk, because that's what it felt like. If you've changed your mind and you don't want to stay in touch, that's okay, but it would be really nice to know where we stand so I don't get my feelings hurt by expecting the wrong thing.
posted by aimedwander at 1:12 PM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I realllllllly don't know what people are talking about here.

You can and should go to the parties if you want to, but never ever again try to talk to this guy and only be brief and polite if he talks to you.

Never ever sleep with him again.

He's had sex with you, and afterwards, he doesn't greet you sometimes, ignores you until you "push" him to clear the air, he ignores you online... And people are saying he likes you??

No. Nope.

Even if he does like you (he doesn't) you still would not want to be friends or dating someone who can't manage common politeness. Stay far far away from someone who is either this immature, or someone who is this hot & cold, or whatever his reasons are for being so awful to someone he's slept with.

You hold your head high, but stop caring about him. This is too damaged to salvage. He's unable to manage anything remotely appropriate and stable towards you.

Cut bait. Move on. Hold your head high.
posted by jbenben at 1:18 PM on November 4, 2014 [10 favorites]

It sounds like he wants a relationship but you told him you want to be friends, so he doesn't want to talk to you.

I said I am the same way and he said he was pleased to hear it.
It sounds like you told him what you thought he wanted to hear so he would give you the sex you wanted.
posted by sninctown at 1:20 PM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Confront him. Walk right up to him and say, "Why are you ignoring me? Was I that bad a lay? Were you just using me?" He's ignoring you because you're letting him get away with it. Men will do all sorts of shit to women if they think they can get away with it, because that's how hetero cis male privilege works.

As a feminist and a lesbian, I can't disagree with this advice more. Please just leave this guy alone. It sounds like above all, you had very different ideas of what your sexual relationship would look like and should entail. What we do know is that: a) you blew him off twice when he asked to see you b) he didn't respond to some of your gchats/Facebook chats. Now all you are worried about is whether you will feel uncomfortable being in his home. Look, maybe he is a scum bag, and lots of guys are, but it sounds like you were the one who even proposed the idea of friends with benefits in the first place. Unless your question is unclear, it didn't sound like either of you wanted to date and you were fine with it. He wanted to see you more but you said no. Don't go to his house and stir up drama. Either go and leave him alone or just don't go at all.
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:23 PM on November 4, 2014 [35 favorites]

I think I probably considered dating him when we first met, but his behaviour since has turned me off.

Your choice. Totally ok.

It's obvious he doesn't want to in any case.

No it's not. People here have trying to tell you that he might be really awkwardly shy, or shyly awkward, and also, since you canceled the last few encounters, he perhaps thinks you are not into him and doesn't really know how to act around that. Try see the world through his eyes. It's an acquired skill, but it does help.

What I'm saying is that as he will talk to all of my friends but not me,

because he's perhaps awkward...

I now feel very uncomfortable about even attending parties in house.

Your question was "how can I handle and resolve this"? And the answer is, talk to him. How you relate to each other is a mutual thing. Stuff is often best solved by actually interacting.

Perhaps I'm not welcome?

Yeah and there I say who cares. Ask him if you need to know, but don't be bothered by whichever answer you get. Enjoy your personal freedom, to which you have a right.
posted by Namlit at 1:24 PM on November 4, 2014

he can't be into me surely? All of our friends were chatting online tonight and I was the one he blatantly ignored, again!

He is into you, but acting like he's five.
posted by corb at 1:27 PM on November 4, 2014 [7 favorites]

I think I probably considered dating him when we first met, but his behaviour since has turned me off.

It's OK if his behavior turned you off - but recognize that his behavior is a direct response to yours. Think about how young adolescents react to people they like? Some tease, but a lot develop near-crippling anxiety and actively ignore or avoid the person just to keep from embarrassing themselves or to prevent the possibility of rejection.

If he's already admitted an anxiety disorder to you, this may be his same M.O. - not because he is immature, but because his anxiety mirrors that same adolescent anxiety and produces the same behavior.

Given all of this - if you do want to salvage a friendship and/or perhaps explore the possibility of something more, you need to make the first move, in a low-stakes and non-threatening way. Go to a group party, find your way to him at some point in the evening and just make small talk. Explicitly state how nice it is talking to him and that you hope to continue doing so.

Right now, the ball really is in your court. Play, or don't, but don't expect him to make a move when it's not his turn.
posted by trivia genius at 1:31 PM on November 4, 2014 [16 favorites]

For what it's worth, I'm the type of person that has NO trouble talking to people I'm NOT interested in, but get extremely shy and self-conscious when talking to people I DO like.

In fact, I find it hard to make eye contact with people I'm into.

I may also have been guilty of pretending not to know someone's name if I was into them. I had my own personal crushes and I tried to act aloof so no-one would guess.

I think he's an awkward guy who felt a strong connection with you and has NO clue how to act now. If you do like him, go to the next party and say hello!
posted by JenThePro at 1:31 PM on November 4, 2014 [15 favorites]

Sometimes people are dicks.

Something very similar happened to me once. I went out on an AMAZING first date -- as in, closest I've ever come to love at first sight -- followed by some pretty spectacular making out. We went on a second pretty much equally fun date, and then went back to his place. Not only did he never speak to me again after that, he kicked me out of his apartment in a shitty neighborhood at 2 AM without even volunteering to walk me to the subway!

I think back on that experience from time to time, after many years, looking for answers. How could something with so much potential go so horribly wrong that the dude just ghosted out of my life? Especially considering that, up until the moment he literally kicked me to the curb, he seemed to be pretty crazy about me and threw out a lot of evidence that he was into pursuing a relationship. Surely, there must be some logical reason that this occurred.

But you know what? I'm pretty sure that the answer is sometimes people are dicks.
posted by Sara C. at 1:40 PM on November 4, 2014 [5 favorites]

Who cares if he likes you or not, or to try to figure out why he has done what he has done, if you don't like him or want to pursue anything?

Your friends go to parties at his house. Do you want to hang out with your friends? There's no handling or resolving; just go hang out with your friends at the parties like normal. Don't go out of your way to ignore him, and more importantly: don't care.
posted by destructive cactus at 1:46 PM on November 4, 2014 [5 favorites]

This is what's really bothering me:

"Afterwards he said he hoped I would feel okay about seeing him again. To be clear, he and his flatmate have a party every week or so that all of my friends attend. When I saw him at the next party, he didn't even say hello (looking at the floor instead) but I caught up with him later to "clear the air". He said he now felt awkward about what had happened because he usually only had sex in long term relationships. Overall he was very serious with me."

Two things jump out.

- He ignored you the first time he saw you after you guys were intimate. What. The. Fcuk.

- You had to be the one to initiate conversation and clear the air after he ignored you.

Full stop, you should not have done that.

He's an adult. It was his house. He should have come over and apologized to you. You should not have had to push him to behave decently because that should not EVER be something you have to do at the beginning of a friendship or romance.

If the other party does not behave decently of their own accord, they are not worth pursuing.

Whatever happened after this initial issue with his behavior towards you is difficult to interpret. He failed at common courtesy and something about this guy is highly inconsistent. I have no doubt there was subsequent weirdnesses and miscommunications.

I know the Hot & Cold Act can be very compelling, but that's exactly why you have to see through it and stop getting spun up in the drama.

This fellow seems unable to sustain normal mature adult interaction with you. End of story.

PS - I took his "I usually don't do one night stands" as a sign he has problems with some kind of Madonna/Whore complex. This is definitely inline with my position that being unable to muster common courtesy towards you is indicative of maturity problems on his part. This guy is a bag of problems.

What was he trying to say with that statement??

It reads a lot like, "I'm not taking responsibility for my choice to put my penis inside of you last week when we were practically strangers. Obviously one of us is loose/slutty/easy. I'm judging myself and you for having sex together under those circumstances. "

Like I said, bag of problems with this guy. Avoid all worry about trying to decipher his actions. He's not charmingly awkward, he's conflicted and messy. Don't make his problems yours to deal with. Move on.
posted by jbenben at 1:50 PM on November 4, 2014 [10 favorites]

Response by poster: jbenben - I think you may have hit the nail on the head here. That he may have a Madonna/Whore complex certainly passed through my mind and might account for the lack of respect he appears to be showing to me. I had an ex boyfriend like that. Like this guy, he had been brought up in a very religious environment and struggled with certain sexual issues as a result (I know it is completely dependent on the person).

I feel quite angry that I could be judged so readily be someone when it takes two to tango. Yeah the other night after he so conveniently had forgotten my name he then started offloading on my flatmate about his mental problems. I don't know why he brought me up in conversation but it was related to inviting us all round for dinner (great!).
posted by Kat_Dubs at 1:59 PM on November 4, 2014

Mod note: Kat_Dubs, at this point please refrain from commenting unless you're clarifying something. AskMe isn't intended as a back-and-forth conversation. Thanks!
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:09 PM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think he probably believes you were using him since after your one night stand you then blew him off twice and apparently didn't reschedule (which is your responsibility as the breaking-the-engagement party). So that probably explains why he is ignoring you. He's probably hurt and thinks you treated him badly. From his point of view he's right.

We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions. You know that you wanted to be friends with him and just got very sick and had to miss your meetup with him, and then felt hurt and awkward and declined his next invitation. But all he knows is that you guys hooked up, he confided in you that he was awkward and not used to doing that, and then you blew him off, didn't reschedule, and then declined the next invitation when he gave you one anyway.

Now ignoring you may be not the most mature response but I think his hurt feelings are perfectly understandable and justified. If you don't want to see him anymore then, sure, don't see him anymore. But from your question and your comments in this thread what I see is you looking for ways to make him into a bad guy and a jerk, and what I see is an awkward and shy guy who confided in you and then reasonably feels like he got burned, and reacting in a suboptimal way to that.

So what you do next is obviously up to you. But I think you should at least try to look at the situation objectively, and what happened is that you blew him off twice even though he reached out.
posted by Justinian at 2:21 PM on November 4, 2014 [11 favorites]

You have one job right now, and that is to call the guy, ask him if he'd like to go on a date with you or evaluate some other kind of relationship situation, and then see what he says. You are the one who's sending out bad signals and mucking this up, not him. You are not being judged, you are doing the judging. Quit it, and go talk to the guy.

Also, you owe him an apology for canceling on him twice and not rescheduling.
posted by Hermione Granger at 2:24 PM on November 4, 2014 [12 favorites]

Pardon me if I've missed something here, but are you sure that he does not want to be in a relationship with you? My initial read on it is that he seems like he likes you and wants to date you but is very nervous and awkward about it, and now feels like you've blown him off.
When he said, "I don't usually do casual sex," my first thought was, maybe he doesn't want this to be just casual sex! Maybe he wants this to be the beginning of dating, or something! This is sometimes how relationships start, certainly in my life experience. (not necessarily, of course. But it's a possibility.)
I of course don't know this person and don't know you, so maybe I'm completely off base. If you said explicitly, "I would like this to be a casual FWB thing" or "I am not interested in dating right now," then that's that. But if you want to date him, I think you just need to reach out and say, "Sorry I've had to cancel, I'd really like to start again. Can we go out on a proper date?"
Or, if you'd like to be friends, reach out and say, "Sorry I've had to cancel, I'd really like to start again. Can we be friends?" Be straightforward and clear.
Again, I am but an internet stranger, but it doesn't sound like he is judging you. It sounds like he is a hurt guy with an anxiety disorder who LIKES YOU.

Plus, have you never met anyone who acts *extra* awkward and weird around someone they like, to the point of ignoring them? Especially someone they like who they think has rejected them? Especially someone who suffers from anxiety?
(Well, now you have! Nice to meet you!) :)
posted by bookgirl18 at 2:31 PM on November 4, 2014 [9 favorites]

Wait a sec, this is the guy from the last question you asked, isn't it. The one you just want to be friends with? The first step of being friends with someone is to treat them well, and you aren't doing that with this guy. Call him up, ask him to meet you for coffee, and then let him know that you know the last few days/weeks have been off and you wanted to apologize for that because you do want to be friends with him and haven't done a good job of showing or saying it. Then say you know that he expressed concern over the whole situation a few times, and you wanted to check in with him to see if he needed to talk about anything else so that he knows there's nothing to feel awkward or weird about. See how things go from there. This dude sounds super stressed out and you're not communicating with him well at all. Gotta fix that!
posted by Hermione Granger at 2:34 PM on November 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seems like the guy has poor social skills, full-stop. It doesn't make any sense to expect this fellow to behave reasonably or politely. It's what separates the boys from men. It's not your job to help him with his anxiety issues.

It also doesn't make any sense to waste any more mental or emotional energy on him either. Avoid him if you can, or ignore him. While the sex may have been incredible, it's not a good fit.

Don't worry about hurting his feelings either, because your worries will undoubtedly be unacknowledged.
posted by Nevin at 2:40 PM on November 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

Hi, I was probably this guy at some point in my past, and I sure hope I'm not anywhere near this now.

From his perspective:
- He had what was a pretty intense time, that he enjoyed, but might be apprehensive about for any number of reasons
- He admitted feeling awkward at the party, which again, could be for any number of reasons, and he particularly cited that when you asked why he acted the way he did
- You cancelled a date and didn't try to reschedule
- You tried talking to him online. Had you talked to him that way before? Does he like talking online? Did you try rescheduling during that time, or mention going out again?
- After you didn't reschedule, he invites you to his party, and this time you decline.

So, while he's awkward as hell, and you do not need to be the person who helps an anxiety-prone person get over their lack of dating experience and anxiety, he hasn't really done anything other than be anxious and awkward. Instead of having a confrontation, maybe put a little bit of an olive branch out there and see if he'll meet you halfway. "Hey, it seems like we had some miscommunication, is it cool if I come to your party and we hang out?"
posted by mikeh at 2:47 PM on November 4, 2014 [5 favorites]

I am on team "he's super-embarrassed and awkward."

Look, if you can find it in your heart to reassure this guy that you had a nice time with him and would be open to whatever you're actually open to with him, and if you can let him know that you know things have gotten weird but that you hope you can reset the relationship, I think that could go a long way. You don't owe him that, it's not your job to manage his anxiety, but it would be a nice thing to do, and it would be a CONVENIENT thing for you to do if you intend to keep hanging out with him and his friends.

I have a history of being super-awkward and overthinking my interactions with people, and I also like some fairly awkward people and I find the best way around it is to be SUPER up-front and use my words and not play anything even resembling a game. Don't expect him to know how you felt about your hookup. Tell him, "I had such a nice time, but I don't think we should do it again," or "That was so much fun but I don't want to get involved in anything serious with you," or "Are you interested in, like, dating? Because I really like you."
posted by mskyle at 2:50 PM on November 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

You seem very confident he isn't into you. Obviously random internet people can't say for sure but I'd like to propose how this might look and feel from his end.

You had a one night stand. From your perspective this went well and clearly he also enjoyed it. However he's an anxious person who finds it hard to be comfortable with new people - this may be part of the reason he doesn't often do one night stands. In the aftermath he kept remembering things he'd said or done that were a little awkward or not quite right and wondering whether you thought he was a dork. You've told us he said it was good for him - did you make it clear to him that you were having a good time? Even if you did, after the sex endorphins have faded and the anxiety kicked in he might still struggle to believe you weren't just being polite.

Now in the light of all this anxiety he sees you again. He's still remembering the dorky things he did that he thinks you found ridiculous (even though in fact you barely noticed them). He's not used to having one night stands and therefore not confident about how to act with you. The nerves take over so much that he can barely look at you, let alone get a sentence out. But good news, you take the initiative and start the conversation, he takes heart from that and is able to have a good talk with you. Maybe he would like to be more than friends but is too nervous to say so. He's not great at online chatting, but he's really looking forward to seeing you in person for drinks.

You then turned him down for drinks & didn't try to re-schedule. The tortured memory of dorkiness is back in full force. He believes you think he's boring or not attractive, that you're probably not really sick but out having a good time without him, maybe with another guy.

Then you don't come to the next party and your friend not-so-subtly drops your name into conversation. Clearly not only did you think he's a dork but you've told all your friends, in excruciating detail just how dorky he is. He's seen Sex & the City, he knows all girls talk this stuff over in detail. Now he's even more mortified and ends up pretending not to know who she's talking about just to get out of the conversation.

Maybe I'm wrong about this but from your account it seems just as feasible as your idea that he doesn't want to talk to you because he isn't interested.

In your last question you asked if two mature adults can be just friends after a one night stand. They absolutely can but based on the evidence here neither of you is a mature adult. He seems to be struggling to communicate and you are leaping to conclusions on very little evidence and trying to use his & your friends to communicate instead of talking to him directly.

I'd suggest you either reschedule your drinks with a view to actually dating him if you're both interested or apologise for your own role in this mire of confusion and then do your best to leave it all alone and hope that he does the same.
posted by *becca* at 2:50 PM on November 4, 2014 [21 favorites]

Eh, who knows? The bigger question is, do you really want to be with someone who's going to act childish like this.

These are your friends, and you have a standing invitation to hang out at their place on Saturdays. So go. Hang out.

Be friendly and nice to everyone, including this poor schlub of a guy. There is no way you, or anyone here can tell you the whys of his odd behavior. Unless he decides to confess all to you, this may remain the mystery of our age. In the meantime, if this is a group of folks you have fun with, then go, have fun!

This guy can either get over it, get over himself or go hide out in his room.

As for the rest of it...yeah, we all say we can handle one-night-stands and so many of us just can't.

So file that away under a not entirely unpleasant experience and move on with your life.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:58 PM on November 4, 2014 [6 favorites]

The fact that he ignored you after you slept together is not excusable. You had to corner him in order to get him to talk to you at all, and he actually started the evening by giving you the cut direct, which is what you do to someone you hold beneath contempt. When he subsequently went out of his way to indicate that he couldn't remember your name, that tells me he didn't snub you originally just out of shyness.

If anything, I suspect he had the subsequent conversations with you because it was the path of least resistance (as opposed to continuing to ignore you really hard), not because he sincerely wants to be friends.

Additionally, you didn't cause him to ignore you at that first party by cancelling your meetup the following week. We live in linear time; your future actions don't provoke someone else's past behaviour. If this conflict hadn't begun with him insulting you (albeit "accidentally") I'd say yes, you did put him off by not rescheduling. But that's not how it happened.

I am not suggesting you start regarding the guy as a mortal enemy, but please understand that you have intentionally been dealt the most serious social insult possible. It's essentially the polite version of telling someone to fuck off and get out of your life because you never want to see them again. Maybe he was driven by anxiety or shyness or a communication disorder, but he still insulted you, and I am not sure it's a good idea to ignore the insults because some people think he didn't mean what he "said" (or didn't). In my experience, the pessimistic interpretation always turns out to be the right one.

The people who are telling you to pursue him harder and be more clear about your intentions are not giving you good advice, even if he is into you but confused/rejection sensitive/unable to express himself clearly. If that's the case - and it IS the best case scenario - you are always going to have to do this much work to keep the relationship going, you are going to have to constantly second-guess whether he's uninterested or just anxious and in need of more mindreading from you. You'll be running to stand still.

Just be polite and distantly friendly, treat him like any other acquaintance in your social circle, and don't open up a Talk About The Relationship. This isn't going to go anywhere.

Speaking of social skills, it is also an important social skill to accept a snub gracefully, and that is what I think you should do now. Sorry, it sucks.
posted by tel3path at 3:08 PM on November 4, 2014 [11 favorites]

Pretty much the only thing that could definitively solve this is actually communicating with each other. And I mean actually communicating, not saying something wishy-washy and then endlessly reading into whatever his response is. You, and we, can go around and around making assumptions about his motivations and feelings, but if you actually talk to him and ask him straight up what's going on, you will then know for certain.

I mean, if you hadn't mentioned that he opened up to you about his anxiety issues, I'd assume he had given you the cut direct and you should just move on, but he did, so I think it's worth clearing the air with a conversation. When you do talk to him, I suggest you not bring all this baggage of motivations you've assigned to him and be prepared to listen to what he actually tells you.
posted by yasaman at 3:16 PM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Additionally... if social awkwardness makes it impossible for him to control how he comes across, why didn't he show it during sex?

Or during the many hours he spent engaging with you beforehand and afterwards?
posted by tel3path at 3:21 PM on November 4, 2014 [7 favorites]

This is the last thing I will say about this, but your notion that he has a "Madonna/Whore complex" seems like a big assumption and may not be fair. Him "ignoring" you at the party could be him being shy. After all, he specifically told you he has social anxiety. It sounds like he didn't walk up to you and greet you and, in your book, that counted as him "ignoring" you. As someone who has struggled with social anxiety myself, I've had people think I didn't like them or I was being cold, but really I was just anxious and didn't know how to act. When there's nothing on the line or I don't care about someone, it's easy. If I like them or as soon as my relationship with someone becomes "a thing," it gets a little awkward.

Just as it's possible he was being a dick and blowing you off, it's also possible his social anxiety was making things hard for him. And THEN, after that party, he asked to hang out with you twice and you rejected him twice. I cannot fathom how this guy was using you or being a jerk, even after looking at what other people have said. If anything, I would grant that he did a poor job communicating how he feels, whether he liked you or didn't, and... he just didn't know how to act. Clearly, he isn't the only one because I've never heard of someone canceling a date because they are sick and then expecting it to be up to the other person to push to reschedule. It seems you are looking for advice that will support what you already think and encourage you to do what you want to do anyway. That's fine and, all in all, regardless of why he did what he did, it doesn't matter now -- the point is you two don't seem like you'll understand each other and I would advise you to just let this situation go.

It turned out you guys weren't a good match and there's no reason to squeeze anymore drama out of it or resent him over it. Just go to the party, act normal, and have fun. If you can't do that, don't go. The whys and hows aren't so much the issue anymore, from what I can see -- it's best that this thing is over.
posted by AppleTurnover at 3:40 PM on November 4, 2014 [9 favorites]

People who have social anxiety typically don't throw parties every week or invite large groups over for dinner.

Who cares why he's Hot & Cold, tho?

He's inconsistent. Except when he's consistently acting like he doesn't know the OP (which is odd, since he's been naked with her.)

Two AskMe's about this guy is too much. Stop interacting with the drama and move on.

Anyway. It never works out when someone has run this hot & cold + pointedly ignores you on occasion. Even if the OP can smooth things out for a while, he seems the type to act out again.

Nothing in either question makes this guy sound mature and stable. Everything makes him sound like a bag of trouble the OP should put down and walk away from.

Good relationships don't start off this way, but crazy making train-wreck type relationships pretty much always announce themselves with drama of the type detailed in the OP's two questions.

Stay sane OP. Simply put your focus elsewhere. Focus on positive people and things. Drop this drama. Stay positive.
posted by jbenben at 3:56 PM on November 4, 2014 [6 favorites]

Something I'm seeing here, you mentioned in your last question that you had arranged to meet up with him for drinks, but were clearly having second thoughts. Then in this question you say you got very sick and then blame him for not rescheduling.

A lot of people have brought up how it was not his responsibility to reschedule if you were the one who cancelled, but even with your updates you are very carefully side stepping that point.

...were you actually very sick? It's perfectly fine if you used it as an excuse to not meet up, there's no law in the books saying you have to meet up with drinks with anyone, let alone party hook-ups. It's really coming off like you blew him off and are now upset that he's reacted to being blown off, while simultaneously saying you never blew him off and acting upset that HE blew you off.

I don't really have any answers here, but I remember being young and can just promise you that in a few years there's a good chance you're not even going to remember this guy's name.
posted by Dynex at 3:58 PM on November 4, 2014 [7 favorites]

People who have social anxiety typically don't throw parties every week or invite large groups over for dinner.

Social anxiety works in different ways and manifests itself in different situations. That's part of what makes it so hard to suffer from -- social anxiety doesn't mean you're a hermit or a social cripple, and it can be confusing for people to understand or believe. What you're saying is very judgmental and illustrates how poorly people who don't have social anxiety understand what social anxiety actually is.
posted by AppleTurnover at 4:58 PM on November 4, 2014 [32 favorites]

As a person that's prone to social anxiety and conflict aversion (but also has comfortably lived in houses where weekly parties full of strangers was a normal thing), I'd hazard a guess that he's interpreting your desire for clarity in this situation as confrontational/aggressive/dramatic, or some similar trait that he views negatively, and pre-emptively shutting down the lines of communication before whatever badness he's imagining might happen comes to pass. I'm also thinking that he's into you, or else this conflict of communication styles wouldn't cause him so much stress.

If that is the case, a functional relationship isn't impossible, but it takes a lot of empathy, understanding, and just plain work on the part of both parties. Whether you're interested in pursuing a relationship with this as a starting point is your call to make.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:07 PM on November 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

Wow, i think people are reading way too much in this guys statements and actions(and seriously with the madonna whore thing? go tell him off? what the hell guys?).

He sounds awkward, yea, but it also sounds like you blew him off twice. Once with a really lame excuse. He's assuming you don't want to talk to him for good reason and not trying to be some pushy whiner here demanding your attention.

Isn't this the kind of thing that you would expect a decent adult to do? you've sent all the signals that you're basically just doing a fade, and he's accepting it. Maybe he feels awkward about that, hell, maybe he was into it and was hoping to spend more time with you. Him staring at the floor and not talking to you isn't some fucked up behavior, you basically closed the door in his face.

From the guys side, coming back and wanting clarity seems like it could be some weird push pull thing. I know someone suggested his behavior as that, but the chain of events that's happened so far would make me say ugh if i was the guy.

If you're going to do anything but walk away with this, i think you should do what yasaman said.

Seriously though, soooo much is being read in to this and a lot of projection is going on from the people posting. Some people just don't like chatting online, especially if they have/are making plans with someone to chat in person. And i think any crappiness/weirdness/"hot and cold" stuff here is a lot more on your part for blowing him off twice then getting annoyed than on him. Jesus.
posted by emptythought at 5:26 PM on November 4, 2014 [12 favorites]

It's obvious he doesn't want to in any case.

As a guy, I think he does like you.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:32 PM on November 4, 2014 [6 favorites]

From your question history about this guy, it does seem like you're indecisive about him.

But if, as you say, he snubbed you the next time he saw you after you slept together, then at the very least both of you are indecisive and shouldn't jerk each other around any more.
posted by tel3path at 5:41 PM on November 4, 2014

Yeah the other night after he so conveniently had forgotten my name he then started offloading on my flatmate about his mental problems. I don't know why he brought me up in conversation but it was related to inviting us all round for dinner (great!).

Please note that he's STILL trying. By my count this is his THIRD attempt to see more of you
, and the third time he is being rejected, apparently, since you're treating this potential dinner party as a ridiculously unpleasant prospect.

He wants to invite you to dinner. He wants to see more of you. But he doesn't want to make it seem like he's asking you on a date. My guess is that by seeming to have forgotten your name, he's trying to avoid any implication that he is inviting YOU in particular rather than you-and-your-flatmate in general.

According to Miss Manners, three is the magic number of rejections: at this point, the invitee is understood to be rejecting not just these specific invitations, but also the person issuing the invitations. If you want to end this ridiculously awkward, post-sex Cold War stand-off, you'll need to start issuing invitations of your own. The sex was awesome, and the boy's clearly into you, so ... that's one option. Alternately, just tell your friend to tell the boy that y'all are coming round for dinner, and offer to bring dessert or or something, to help keep things on a non-date-like footing.

(If you do start dating him, please please acquire some adult-level interpersonal skills before you break each other's confused little hearts.)
posted by feral_goldfish at 6:52 PM on November 4, 2014 [21 favorites]

As far as I can tell, OP wants to be chased and wooed by a guy, but this guy is not the kind of guy who's going to chase anyone -- not because he thinks he is too good for it, but quite the opposite. Some people like the chase, some don't. That's perfectly fine. What I don't understand how OP goes from suggesting a friends-with-benefits arrangement, to blowing him off twice, to then wondering why he has a problem with her.

It seems her solitary concern is whether she can still attend his parties or not. The idea that maybe *she* was the insensitive one or maybe she misinterpreted the situation seems to be of no concern at all. I would say OP needs to apologize for being a flake OR get over the sense of entitlement that she can attend his parties whilst *her* comfort is the only thing that matters.
posted by peachpie at 7:28 PM on November 4, 2014 [17 favorites]

he then started offloading on my flatmate about his mental problems.

Or: he brought up his social anxiety again, hoping to make clear that his apparent 'running hot and cold' actually reflects (understandable) shyness?
posted by feral_goldfish at 9:36 PM on November 4, 2014 [5 favorites]

Okay, the OP doesn't want a relationship; that was explained in the last question.

My sense is that the guy is hurt or feeling vulnerable because he would like there to be more, (despite what he said), and that's why he's acting so weird.

My advice, then, would be to avoid sending him mixed signals. And yes, back off from being at his house for maybe 6 weeks. This is doubly true since you seem kind of annoyed with him, based on your comments and what you're favoriting.

Now, if you're annoyed because you're actually into him and feeling hurt, then I think you should listen to all the people saying he's into you and ask him out. Just write yourself a note saying "don't take his awkwardness personally," because the scenarios in this question (e.g., him not rushing to greet you) will likely repeat a lot. It sounds like a lot of work to me, but on the other hand, the social weirdness will likely go way down once you get past the "what's going on here?" stage, and meanwhile, the sex may stay good or even get better. But you two will need to focus on communicating because you both seem prone to assuming the worst when information is lacking. You might even tell him, "hey, I get anxious, too, and when you don't communicate with me, I tend to think you're judging me or don't want to talk to me." As I said, it'd take a lot of work in the beginning...
posted by salvia at 12:44 AM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Call him, don't leave a message. Hi Friend, I've been wanting to reschedule getting together. What are you doing this evening? Make a solid attempt to get together. Maybe he's into you, if so, that gives him the chance to show it. Maybe he's not, and he'll just be a guy in your circle that you slept with that one time. Don't give up your friends or fun because of his awkwardness. Treat him as a friend. If he keeps pretending you're invisible after you treat him as a friend, casually tell him you're not invisible and fully intend to treat him as a friend regardless of his behavior, since you share a group of friends.
posted by theora55 at 12:54 PM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pretend there is no awkwardness. Just be a friendly, normal party goer. Don't ignore him, don't reach out, just pretend any awkwardness isn't happening, and continue being friendly.

Should you be friends or in a relationship?:
I'd say no. Your communication together obviously sucks (nonverbal as well as verbal), so you probably wouldn't make the best friends, or a good relationship. It's ok to fade out.

Is the problem actually that you'd just like to 'fade out' from interactions with this guy, but don't think you can unless they are a 'bad person' somehow?
It is ok to not want to be friends with someone, or in a relationship with someone. They don't have to be a horrible person for you to not want to be friends with them (coda: you don't need to make them into a horrible person in your eyes to do this).

The only thing that's really niggling at me, is you've told us what happened in your own words, and yet it really doesn't seem as clear cut as you're implying. It's very possible there is more body language, or, I'm just worried you're doing the above 'make them the scapegoat' so you can avoid interactions. It is OK to completely break off interactions with him, even if he hasn't done anything wrong!

In either case, I'd say, you're clearly annoyed enough that you're not going to be friends/dating him, so just... leave him to settle.
Treat him really pleasantly, but distantly, and ignore any weird behavior if at all possible. Don't badmouth him. Be the better person. People tend to behave according to the social role you put them in.

I've had people obviously have some kind of issue with me (so, snarking, "I don't like you" facial expressions, notably not talking to/with me in large social groups). Most people don't want to feel that they have been rude for no reason - unfortunately, if someone has been a bit rude or mean, maybe for external reasons (stress), they'll often decide that since they believe themselves to be a good person, it must be the OTHER persons fault, and will look for excuses to start a vendetta (see the way they glared at me? I had a bad feeling about them when I met them! [Because, say, of a bad week at work, social jealousy, etc].
My tactic: I continue being really nice to them, smiling genuinely when I first see them, being polite, I never try and crowd them or ignore them, I do pretend to be oblivious of anything slightly rude, and if someone else asked me about their weird behaviour (as happened a couple of times), I'd say I had no problem with them, and didn't know what was going on there, but hey, maybe they were just having a bad day? (week? month?).
There is only so long someone mostly-mentally-well can keep up an imagination-based shit-fit with someone relentlessly pleasant (and without everyone else starting to look at them strangely). Without anything to feed it, pretty much every one of those interactions sorted itself out.
Kill'em with Kindness.

If someone was genuinely rude to me or a friend, I do stop, verbally address it, and often tell them that I'd prefer not to interact with someone who treats me this way (have a nice life etc). But, for the small stuff, just appear to be oblivious to it.
posted by Elysum at 8:34 PM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

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