"Wanna meet up?" "Not free tonight, sorry!" "Screw you, B****!"
May 7, 2016 1:57 AM   Subscribe

Husband's new friend recently met my best friend at a birthday party a few weeks ago, and tonight he messaged her to meet up. When she said she wasn't free that night, he said "ok. sorry for asking. F***. You." She blocked and deleted him, but sent me a pic of the conversation. How should we be dealing with this kind of assholery?

Let's call this guy Dave. Dave's a bachelor nearing 40, likes to live it up with partying and drinking regularly. I will admit upfront I'm not all that fond of the guy, he's a creeper though mostly harmless. Husbunny met Dave through a mutual friend with whom they are both close, and as such Husbunny's intent on keeping this friendship. For Husbunny's sake I make an effort to be as friendly with him as I would anyone else. I'm afraid that may have misled my friend's perception of him at first meeting.

Dave does tend to text my husband with "what are you up to? Want to hang out???" and be pushy about it. So the first part of his text to my friend wasn't out of character. But for him to get mad quick and be an asshole about being politely turned down... that was surprisingly rude, and frankly I couldn't let that slide.

I sent Dave a copy of the conversation pic tonight, saying "not cool, man." He was somewhat apologetic, but also totally trying to dodge the blame, saying it was meant for someone else (I said that's a douchebag thing to say to any lady) and then someone else must have gotten ahold of his phone at the bar, and other excuses. He was clearly very drunk at a bar and fading while seeking a taxi by this point, so I left it there.

It seems like guys lately are all defaulting to "I got politely rejected so I should get revenge by being a complete douchebag in return". Other guys do it, so it's ok for me to do it too! The above was a fairly tame interaction compared to some I've seen, in forums and from friends.

Ladies seem to usually just block and delete the contact as their only retaliation, not engaging, just walking away. I do know there are many circumstances where women have reason to fear further retaliation, physically or otherwise, and should not engage, because of potential danger to themselves. And normally it is the least stressful option, the option I often choose.

People should speak up against this sort of behaviour, though.

A few have publicly posted the interaction to shame the offender, showing how ridiculous the guy went off. But there's not been much demonstration of any good counter-measures otherwise, and I feel like guys will just think they can keep getting away with this behaviour as a result.

Asking for your suggestions on how else to have dealt with the above situation, and similar situations where the guy is being a ridiculous asshole because he was rejected. Do you have any ideas beyond simply walking away?

Instead of considering it solely towards replying to strangers, I'd also appreciate commentary and comebacks for people to throw at guy friends/family when you've seen them do it to other women, to make them reconsider their immature behaviour.
posted by lizbunny to Human Relations (40 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I think your husband needs to say something to him. This stuff won't stop until men get involved in checking other men.
posted by schroedinger at 2:10 AM on May 7, 2016 [145 favorites]

he's a creeper though mostly harmless.

Everything you’ve written suggests this might not be true to me. Pushy people who don’t respect other people’s boundaries & get angry when rejected are not people you really want to be around in my experience.

Regarding your question, the only people he’s likely to listen to are peers that he respects. What does the mutual friend say?
posted by pharm at 2:13 AM on May 7, 2016 [46 favorites]

Show that screencap to your husband and tell him you aren't going to tolerate people cursing out your best friend, that Dave is not allowed in your home, and that your husband is 100% responsible for Dave when you interact with him socially. The way he treated your friend was a big red flag for further violence and the way he tried to use being trashed to excuse it was an even bigger one-- Rob Ford's "I must have smoked crack during one of my drunken stupors." Someone who escalates into that kind of drunken aggression is not a safe person to be around, and I think you need to really put your foot down about this.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 2:53 AM on May 7, 2016 [125 favorites]

Tell him he needs to apologize to her immediately, in writing because she shouldn't have to deal with that jag again. She deserves an apology and he seems thick enough in the head to need a bulleted list of exactly why he ought to be embarrassed and how not to treat your friend! He needs to know exactly why he ought to be ashamed of himself because he's not even sorry or mortified like he should be! My God! Who behaves like that??? Tell him otherwise you are not ever introducing him to anyone you know because if he doesn't get it, then he's an idiot and, more importantly, a liability.

Creepers are harmless until they aren't anymore. Don't let this go. Guys like him seem incapable of doing anything but making excuses for themselves---don't let it go.
posted by discopolo at 3:03 AM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh god. Don't encourage him to have more contact with her. He's vile and she's blocked him. Rightly so. Don't set an expectation that she owes him a listening/forgiving.

Your husband's lack of anger is enabling this guy, I believe. Guy needs to hear not "not cool", but" You behaved like a fucking terrifying arsehole and I don't consider you a civilised human being that I could vouch for. You don't follow the rules of polite interactions, I worry you'd actually be abusive in intimate relationships. Get help and get fucked."
posted by taff at 3:43 AM on May 7, 2016 [78 favorites]

Clearly your friend dodged a bullet early on; were I her, I'd count myself lucky for the early awareness.

The real issue- why do you feel like it's your responsibility to train a 40-year-old man in how to behave towards women- is a concern.

By now, he is who he is. He will not change until he wants to change. No degree of coaching will flip that switch for him. I'm not saying there is not value in pointing out his flaws to him, but he sounds like he is in a deeply entrenched defensive position and chooses to remain there, lashing out at all and sundry as the childish spirit moves him.

We all have people like this in our lives. Has anyone truly managed to help evolve someone in this way? In my experience, no. We hope and we "help" but until the person chooses the path themselves, no real transformation will ever occur.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:56 AM on May 7, 2016 [20 favorites]

What discopolo said except I think your husband should be the one to tell him (assuming he is as outraged as you are about Dave's behaviour), because Dave is your husband's friend, not yours. And also for the reason schroedinger outlined.

Although if your husband isn't willing to have that conversation, go for it yourself! (Reserve the right to tell your husband "hey, if you want to hang out with Dave by yourself, I'll accept that, but I think he's an abusive misogynist so I don't want him in our house and I don't want to see him on a night out. If I do see him, I'll be having words with him and I will expect you to back me up").

And if your husband isn't willing to have that conversation with Dave? Well, that might be a whole new AskMeFi question next week...

I missed the seismic change in online dating that Tinder introduced, by about 6 months, and while hearing friends at work talking about it makes me feel old, I also feel so so so lucky! This kind of stuff feels new, but scarily common.
posted by finding.perdita at 4:08 AM on May 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

You already confronted Dave. Dave is a scary, mean person in some contexts and is OK with that I agree you should separate yourself from him as much as possible. No Dave in your home. No Dave at events where female friends could mistake it as you vouching for him. In fact, no Dave at any events you attend whenever possible.

You can't change Dave. Until he realizes he's a scary, mean person sometimes and wants to stop that. All you can do is set boundaries to insulate yourself. If no women will date these men, they may realize they need to change sooner. I think that's societies recourse more than direct confrontation.
posted by Kalmya at 4:17 AM on May 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

Your husband doesn't have to be friendsies with Dave the douche just because they have mutual friends. It's perfectly fine for a grown man to choose his friends instead of hanging out with whomever lurks around in his social circles.

Since Dave has absolved himself of blame and lives in another dimension where totally obvious thing didn't happen, it's fine for your husband to also discuss this issue with their mutual friend, like "Who is this Dave guy, anyways? Why is he telling my wife's friend to fuck herself and then denying it to my face? Is he always an asshole like this?"
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:24 AM on May 7, 2016 [74 favorites]

The real question here is why does your husband not have your back? This douchebag is at a minimum rude and unpleasant, and reading between the lines might be a lot worse. But he isn't your problem to educate and resolve -- I'd suggest focusing instead on why your husband has dismissed your concerns and is fostering this friendship.

In the interim, until your husband either cuts the contact or establishes some boundaries around Dave's behavior, I agree with the people suggesting that Dave not be invited over to your house, and that you avoid social events with him.

I don't know if you saw the monster emotional labor discussion, but you are presenting a classic example of the phenomenon and the context of that discussion might be useful.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:26 AM on May 7, 2016 [58 favorites]

Ladies seem to usually just block and delete the contact as their only retaliation, not engaging, just walking away.

Because it's not their job to parent him - they have other things to do; lives to lead.

You cannot reason with unreasonable people - you will go crazy trying to do that.

The only person who is going to make him realise he's being a toxic dick is himself - and he may never be capable of coming to that conclusion.

I just wouldn't have anything to do with him.
posted by heyjude at 4:59 AM on May 7, 2016 [12 favorites]

Not every moment of assholery needs to be a teachable moment. Just ignore this guy. Isn't that one of the geek social fallacy things, I have to be friends with the mutual friend? Your husband doesn't need to hang out with this guy.
posted by fixedgear at 5:01 AM on May 7, 2016 [17 favorites]

I guess you could tell him that you're very embarrassed and alarmed and won't ever again allow yourself to be in the position of being perceived as vouching for him. You could along with that ban him from your home and determine that you won't go to events where he is going to be present. If he's acting like that when drunk, AA might be appropriate, and if he addresses what seems like alcoholism then other behavior might also get better.

However, it's not likely that you'll persuade him to change - I'm sure this isn't the first time he's acted like an asshole and I'm sure he's been scolded for it and suffered consequences before. It's possible that at some point some consequence will be the consequence that makes them think and change, and that might or might not be the consequence of this particular event.

I wouldn't want to live in a world where people act like this and don't get called on it, and experience no consequences. I think rather than changing him your POV could be one of protecting yourself and your friends. Don't be around him, don't have him in your home, and if your husband wants to go hang out with this guy he goes without you.
posted by bunderful at 5:17 AM on May 7, 2016

This dude has no respect for women, so getting called out by you is not likely to do much. Moreover, I suspect he believes other men would be cool with what he did and/or with his flaccid little excuses - and perhaps no man has ever said otherwise to him. It's easy to say that someone like him isn't going to change his ways and that therefore there's no point doing anything other than staying away - but having your husband speak to him (and cut off the friendship) at least has a CHANCE of making it clear that his behavior has consequences. Hell, if he lost a friend every time he treated a woman disrespectfully he might eventually get the picture.

I hope you'll talk to your husband about taking action - the fact that he and this asshole have a mutual friend in common is not a reason to let this slide. This kind of bullshit really does need to be called out, by women AND men, every time it happens.
posted by DingoMutt at 5:37 AM on May 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

Your Husbunny is the problem. He needs to be the one to deliver the message. Clearly Dave doesn't respect women, hence, he's not respecting you.

For sure, cut this guy off, don't go out where he'll be, don't allow him in your home. You're done.

My Husbunny would cut a tool like this off without a thought. He respects women too much to court a person who does stuff like this.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:53 AM on May 7, 2016 [32 favorites]

Even if he's harmless, why would your husband want to be friends with this guy?? Why would ANYONE? He sounds awful. At the very least he should be slowly faded from your life, and I'm agreeing with the others that your husband needs to be the one taking the lead. You said your piece, now stand your ground and remove yourself from having to play nice with this immature and irritating person.
posted by something something at 6:25 AM on May 7, 2016 [17 favorites]

Dave sounds like a really obnoxious guy. Even his behavior toward Husband is obnoxious. But he is forty, and is not going to change, except possibly for the worse.

His behavior toward Best Friend is off-the-charts obnoxious, the additional degree of poison being due to misogyny and alcohol. Where I come from, being drunk in a bar is unacceptable, so to me the "alcohol was involved" factor is huge.

My analysis is there is no upside to confronting Dave. Husband should tell Mutual Friend about the incident and excuse himself from further contact with Dave.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:00 AM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Next time he texts your husband to hang out - "Hey, I saw that text you sent to my friend and that was not cool. I can't hang out. Good luck out there." And then he bans, too. If anyone asks, it is so easy to say, "Dave was a real dick to my friend for no reason. I don't need that in my life."
posted by amanda at 8:18 AM on May 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

Next time he texts your husband to hang out - "Hey, I saw that text you sent to my friend and that was not cool. I can't hang out. Good luck out there."

The gist is OK, but I would recommend a slight rewording. Something closer to "Fuck off, you short-fingered vulgarian" would seem to fit the bill.
posted by flabdablet at 8:24 AM on May 7, 2016

This happened last night right before I posted. Husband was out of town overnight, so I've not had the chance to talk to him about it yet. I did send him the photo of the conversation, he wasn't pleased but didn't say much - was very late. He'll be home later today, and I'll talk to him about it then.

FWIW this is the first time we've ever had this Dave experience, so you needn't harp on Husbunny for being a horrible person because he's friends with this guy and hasn't ditched him yet.
posted by lizbunny at 8:25 AM on May 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

Men who care about women should cut dudes like this off for behavior like that. There's nothing you can do to change Dave, he'll have to get his alcohol and personality problems fixed on his own.

But your husband can take a stand, and ideally he'll say why, but at the very least not reward and encourage the guy by giving him a pass and overlooking it. That's all he can do.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:58 AM on May 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

Asking for your suggestions on how else to have dealt with the above situation

Don't feign friendliness with people like Dave even if it's to keep your husband happy.

Be more honest with yourself and your friends about mostly-harmless creepers next time and the situation might never happen. "Mostly harmless" is a serious red-flag because that is also "somewhat harmful" and you don't put yourself or your friends in harm's way.

The good news is that I think you're dealing with this shitty situation well; no Dave at the house, steering clear of him in general, and warning your other friends about Dave's behaviour is good (the shaming probably won't work mainly because he's in denial about the whole situation anyway).

Hopefully your husband will make a sensible choice about his friendship with Dave.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 9:04 AM on May 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

The only way this stops in individual social circles, and culturally, is if other men don't tolerate it.

I'm glad you spoke up and stood up for your friend but honestly, the Daves of the world don't give a shit about being scolded by women because they don't have any respect for our opinions.
posted by kapers at 9:14 AM on May 7, 2016 [16 favorites]

I think your husband needs to say something to him. This stuff won't stop until men get involved in checking other men.

This times infinity.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:49 AM on May 7, 2016 [11 favorites]

If Dave was or is at all embarrassed, it's only to the extent that he thinks you influence your husband's view of him and control his exposure to him. You yourself will be written off as a "bitch" no matter what you say. My guess is his friends barely tolerate him, and only do because of shared history (also that he's lonely and at odds with everything around him, not anything anyone but him can deal with).

Dave is a mess, unreachable right now. I mean he doesn't have the foresight to think "maybe it's not smart to piss off my buddy's wife". Not a person positioned to hear anything. Which isn't to say he shouldn't be given boundaries. But he'll only accept them from another man (and maybe not then, either). For women facing Daves, I think it's just down to cool disgust and shutting the door as fast as possible.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:26 AM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Do you have any ideas beyond simply walking away?

I've had ideas beyond simply walking away in the past, thinking I could talk to the person and explain things about their behavior, that they might be interested in changing if only they knew that they were behaving badly.

The last time I had that idea, the creeper (a woman in this case, and her behavior no less horrible for that fact) sexually assaulted someone at a party I was hosting. This was after we'd had some one on one conversations about her behaviors of things like touching people (on places like their upper arms) after people had asked her not to touch them -- I only saw it get worse after I talked to her.

I no longer have thoughts that I might be able to improve the behavior of people who've chosen to be assholes their entire adult lives.

You are finding out what this man is like. You've learned he gets angry when rejected, and feels entitled to attention from women. Do you really think messaging is the only place this will turn up? It's much more likely you are seeing the tip of an iceberg and that there is much worse. You can teach him to hide his bad behaviors from you while he keeps getting to know your friends though.

You can hope the person will become less of an asshole. This doesn't mean you have to keep them around to observe it.

Thank goodness your friend was busy that night, instead of meeting up with the guy. The next friend of yours you introduce him to might not be so lucky.
posted by yohko at 10:28 AM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

He's not a safe guy. Sounds like he has alcohol problems. In your shoes, I would ask my husband to follow up with him and say it was nasty behavior that concerns him, it's not something he wants to be around or expose people to, and he can't hang out unless/until he cleans up his act.

This shouldn't affect his friendship with the mutual friend, if mutual friend truly is a good friend to your husband. It's time for your husband to stand up. He can take responsibility for introducing people to his own social world, and excluding them if they can't behave properly.
posted by Miko at 10:40 AM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

It's not really our place to punish his guy. To quote Saint Oprah "people show you who they are," and this guy has done so. You can very reasonably tell your husband that Dave's a D and not to bring Dave around you. The best tactic really is not to be around him. People suck sometimes but that does't mean that they are violent predators.

Don't be alone with him, and warn your female friends and tell all your male friends that he's a d-bag and that if they defend him then that they are d-bags too. Fences make great neighbors. Boundaries define relationships. Establish some safe ones but that's really all you can do.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 12:17 PM on May 7, 2016

N-thing just staying the hell away from this guy. You've called him on his behaviour and whether or not he takes any of it to heart is his own problem. Tell your husband that this is a serious issue and you don't want this guy anywhere near your home, yourself, or your friends. Then walk away and do your best to forget this guy exists.

It's possible your husband might still feel the need to be polite to him in order to keep the peace with his other friends, which would be a bit disappointing, but he can do that without involving you.
posted by rpfields at 1:09 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Time for a good old-fashioned shunning.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:11 PM on May 7, 2016 [8 favorites]

I agree with things said above, but nobody in my friends or family circle would act like this, nor would anybody think it OK behavior. Well, X would, if he fell off the sober wagon, but nobody talks to X when he's drunk
posted by Jacen at 1:15 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

My policy is to never teach a creepy dude how to hide his red flags. The text Dave sent is only the tip of the creepy iceberg. I feel it's a service to my fellow women to leave that iceberg studded with red flags.
posted by mcduff at 2:27 PM on May 7, 2016 [13 favorites]

Nthing that husbunny and mutual friend shouldn't missing step Dave. Is "he's harmless" something they've told you? This is minimizing. Captain Awkward has good advice here.
posted by brujita at 2:34 PM on May 7, 2016 [12 favorites]

That Captain Awkward is so spot-on, brujita. A brief excerpt of Captain Awkward's explanation of the problem, for anybody who hasn't clicked:

"... the situations described in these two letters are pretty good examples of what Rape Culture is and why it is so insidious.

Step 1: A creepy dude does creepy, entitled shit and makes women feel unsafe.

Step 2: The women speak up about it to their partners.

Step 3: It gets written off as “not a big deal” or “he probably didn’t mean it” or “he’s not a bad guy, really.” Any discussion of the bad behavior must immediately be followed by a complete audit of his better qualities ...

I'm seeing some of this going on in some of the answers in this thread, and I'd like to make sure it's clear that the primary goal of your husband cutting this dude off isn't to "punish" him, or to educate him, or really to help him in any way. The kind of disrespectful shit this guy pulls is possible in part because there are no consequences. Because he assumes other guys do it or at least think it's no big deal, or that he can snivel his way out of blame with whatever excuse he coughs up. Shrugging him off as "just one of those people we all have in our lives" allows men like him to perpetuate their hostile actions towards women. If the guy does get a clue when his other man-friends start cutting him off, great - but the important part is men taking an active part in standing against rape culture.

But really, brujita's Captain Awkward link says it all so much better.
posted by DingoMutt at 4:02 PM on May 7, 2016 [13 favorites]

I have been your friend and I ended up cutting off the people who were the equivalent of your and your husband in this scenario because they kept inviting him to things they also invited me to. So don't do that would be my first suggestion.

Actually I dropped a whole group of people because they just tolerated all kinds of shitty behavior. They were kind of default friends from my early 20s and despite the 20 year history I don't really miss them at all. It used to be a really fun group but people moved and joined and it became a group of kind of drunken fuck ups. I was not the only one to distance myself that year.
posted by fshgrl at 4:22 PM on May 7, 2016 [9 favorites]

I think it's great that you said something to your husband, because you shouldn't have to see this guy socially. But I also think that this is really none of your business. Your friend dealt with it how she wanted to deal with it. It's disrespectful to her to then go fight with him about it.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:44 PM on May 7, 2016

Thanks all for the replies.

I talked to Husbunny. He cringed at what Dave did, and agrees that he's going to have to say something to Dave, as I won't have any effect. He also understands I'd personally rather avoid hanging out with Dave anymore and is good with that.

I knew this would be something that would elicit a fair number of extreme responses. Unfortunately we cannot agree with *wholly* shunning Dave at this time - I have to view this on a shades of grey spectrum and not a "one strike, no matter how minor, and you're out", given the circumstances.

Up to that party of ours, Dave's interactions with Husbunny have been only in a male-only environment - guys hanging out with other guys - or where the women present are with spouses/partners, i.e. not single. This is literally the first we've seen any outright shitty behaviour, this one message, which was frankly on the tame side given some things I've seen posted online. Otherwise he's never before said anything I'd consider sexist, truly creepy/dangerous, predatory, or otherwise. My original feelings of apprehension about him come from the fact he's always come across as a bit too intense (overeager, over-friendly, over-caffeinated) and has never relaxed, this is how he is. That and his apparent alcohol problems. But never that he's a risk to women before.

So I'll be avoiding him and he knows why, and Husbunny will tell him that was a shitty way to act towards women, and we won't be inviting him to hang out with our other friends. But Husbunny's mutual friend with this guy is becoming pretty much Husbunny's best friend in this city. And mutual friend still likes to have a crew of guys over at his garage to fix cars and drink some beers on occasion - Dave is likely to be there.
posted by lizbunny at 11:59 AM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

What's worrisome about your update is that you seem to be hedging on whether Dave's conduct toward your best friend was serious. On the one hand, you apparently think it was seriously bad enough for you to personally avoid him and dis-invite him from hanging out with mutual friends. On the other hand, you seem to imply that this was just a minor blip on the radar ("one strike - no matter how minor - and you're out").

My question is: If it's serious enough for you to cut him off and warn your women friends about this asshole, why isn't it serious enough for your husband to cut him off as well? Are you really comfortable being married to a man who thinks it's okay to hang out with a guy who verbally attacked not just some random woman (which would be awful enough), but a woman you claim is your best friend?
posted by Gray Skies at 7:17 AM on May 9, 2016 [8 favorites]

I feel in this situation I'm satisfied with the outcome, as is my friend. She would have been satisfied with my knowing this had happened, our discussing/complaining about it together, and her blocking/unfriending him, FIAMO. She was quite touched I felt the need, and followed up on, having this addressed with the guy.
posted by lizbunny at 9:30 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Women are always taught to be grateful for breadcrumbs of respect. But I think I came across as harsh to your husband. In the timeframe you posted, he hadn't had any time to process events. I'm sorry if I conveyed otherwise. I think your friend is lucky to have you and your husband is lucky you all have Metafilter for tricky times. As am I. Perhaps he could do an ask of his own. I reckon we'd be gentle if he was looking at ways to manage the complicated real world friendship dynamics. It's easy to say DTMFA on the green. Often more complicated, less black and white and absolutely fraught, in person.
posted by taff at 9:51 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

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