did I blow it?
October 28, 2016 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Human Relationship 101 help needed. The way my last relationship went and the way family communicates has made it hard for me to understand whether I did something wrong here.

This is a follow up to this question, it might be helpful to read it before getting into this one.

Since I asked that question, Freddy and I have settled into a pattern of mostly friendly but awkward hellos when I run into him by accident. We also started a new class this fall (amateur performance-based class, nothing academic/formal/with grades), and each week after class he has joined me at a local bar afterwards for a beer or two. Twice when we've done this we spent 3+ hours talking and closed the bar down. Mutual friends who see us at the bar after a class have steered clear of us when we're together because (I'm told) it looks like we're on a date and no one wants to intrude. He is a really shy, reticent person so just the fact that I'm getting him talking feels like an accomplishment. I don't want to push him hard on "where is this going?" because I'm pretty sure it would freak him out, and also having just come out of an 8 year relationship I'm not sure where I want it to go either. He's cute and I like him and if he was interested in dating me I'd be open to it, but I also am okay with just having a new friend who's a nice person.

A couple of weird things have happened recently that have me wondering if I've done something to mess this up (this meaning the friendship/slow burn flirtation). My last relationship was not the greatest when it came to communication, and I grew up in a household with an abusive gaslighting father, so I think some of my methods of interacting with people (men, especially) are a little borked. I guess I just need a reality check as to whether I am doing something wrong here. Here's the stuff I'm confused about:

-the night of the second Hillary/Trump debate I wandered into the bar because I knew they'd be showing it on TV and ran into Freddy. He bought me a beer and we watched the debate together, then he ditched me literally for 90 minutes without a word because friends of his showed up in the bar who I don't know. I am friendly with the bartender and had fun catching up with her so it's not like I was sitting around moping, but it kind of felt rude. I don't need to be introduced to his friends or anything, but it would have been better if he'd have said "Hey, my friends are here, I'm going to go chat with them for a bit." Maybe I'm overreacting though?

-a few days later Freddy and I came back to the bar after class (he followed me there), ordered beer and burgers, and talked for three hours and closed the bar down; people who knew us steered clear of us in the bar. at the end of the night, I offered to buy him a beer since he had bought me one on the night of the debate and he got sort of weird and cagey about it. My best friend from high school is really into The Rules (ugh, I know) and she is convinced that I blew it here because by offering to buy him a beer I made things seem platonic. This line of reasoning seems insane to me, but I've been out of the dating world for 8 years so I don't know shit. Was this a bad move on my part?

-a few days later I was in the bar again. (I'm not a drunk - this bar has a really great inexpensive tasty menu and it's a great spot for a late night bite to eat without going to the greasy spoon diner in town). I happened to be at dinner with one of my clients that night after a work event. Freddy was already in the bar with his friends. He didn't say hello or acknowledge me even once. It's a small bar, he would have been blind not to see me. He walked by my booth like four times without saying anything. I should have been a grownup and at least waved/said hi to him, but I was still kind of in work-mode with my client there and didn't want to make a bad impression on my client by seeming distracted by a guy. Eventually I went home having not said a word to Freddy, which felt weird and awkward and like I had definitively fucked up.

-the next day was the day of the last Hillary/Trump debate. Freed and I went to the bar after our class as usual but it was packed with debate-watchers so we couldn't really talk. After the debate ended, he wandered off to say hi to some friends and then told me he was going home.

-a week later we had class again (two days ago). He seemed sort of weird and cagey. This class has a really strange mix of personalities in it and sometimes it's hard for him to control the room - students with big personalities versus Freddy who is sort of shy. I was having difficulty with one of the pieces we're learning to perform in this class and in the middle of Freddy trying to get the room to calm down a bit I said that I was confused by what we were doing with the piece. He snapped at me "WHAT ARE YOU CONFUSED ABOUT?" It was really mean and out of left field and my immediate reaction (having grown up in a house where I was yelled at literally every day) was to shrink back into myself and say never mind, I'm not confused. I felt deflated for the rest of class. At the end of the class, Freddy said that he wasn't feeling well and wasn't going to go to the bar, but he would next week.

I feel really dumb for asking this, and I know the only way to really get an answer to this is to ask him, but - did I do something wrong here along the way to get to a point where he's snapping at me in class? Or am I overreacting to all of this? If I am overreacting, than that's something that I'll take with me to my next therapy session (I mean, I already was planning to, but you know what I mean). If I'm not overreacting, then I feel like I should find a way to talk to Freddy about the weirdness I'm perceiving in our interactions? Or is that a bad idea too?

Look Mefites, I'm a fundamentally broken person and I don't know what I'm doing wrong or right anymore when it comes to communicating with people outside of a work context. I feel like an alien. I don't know what to do. This situation is taking up valuable real estate in my brain that I could use for so many better things. What am I doing wrong? What do I do next?
posted by thereemix to Human Relations (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't think you're a fundamentally broken person. I do think Freddy is a weirdo, or that at the very least you and he are not the same sort of person and will never have an easy, natural relationship. Sometimes it just doesn't click with someone. I think you're wasting time and making yourself feel badly by trying to create something here with someone who, for whatever reason, doesn't quite match up with you. You just got out of a very long-term relationship; take some time to be alone for a while without even considering starting a relationship with someone new.
posted by something something at 10:49 AM on October 28, 2016 [25 favorites]


My rule of thumb: When you list out all the pros and cons and tl;drs and special snowflakes and whatever the kids are saying these days, the thing you say last is what you really want, and you're just looking for permission:

Or is that a bad idea too?

Yep.
posted by Etrigan at 10:51 AM on October 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


"Stop hanging out with Freddy" is what I would do next. Is Freddy your friend? Does Freddy have a crush on you but is shy and messed up in the head about it? Does Freddy not want you to have a crush on him and is being hostile to drive you away? Is Freddy in his own weird life-stuff space and your relationship to him is sort of ancillary? We don't know! We can't know, short of getting into the weeds with Freddy on it and I think that's a bad idea.

Freddy is not behaving like a grown-up here. I sympathize, because it took me into my thirties not to be kind of weird about having crushes on people, but that doesn't make Freddy an especially good bet.

Skip the bar, tasty menu or no. Go somewhere else. Try something new. Take yourself on a date, by yourself. Tell yourself you're not going back to this bar for, like, two weeks or something and try to build new habits around where you hang out. And when you do start being able to stop in at the bar from time to time, don't prioritize Freddy. If Freddy wants to start being nice to you and communicating directly, well, the ball is in his court. When you're leaving class, if Freddy seems to be drifting toward the bar, tell him that you need to [stop by the library before they close/clean the sterling service/rake the cat] and can't make it that night.

Never underestimate the power of no - no opens up new ways for you to be, no tells Freddy that whatever the hell he wants, havering around this way isn't going to get it.

I'll tell you something else: back in my late twenties, I was a Freddy, and I was jerking someone around. Not really on purpose, just because I was kind of an idiot. That person basically noped out of our standing "hang out awkwardly in a way that gave a lot to Frowner while not giving very much to the other person" times and took up a new hobby. This pushed me to change the way we interacted. (We never ended up getting together, though.) But the really important part was that the Noper changed and grew so much as a person both through the new habits and hobby and through stopping being emotionally entwined with me - not so much because I was terrible, but because being a person who had been susceptible to uncomfortable emotional entwinement was really bad for the Noper. The Noper's life took a number of turns for the better, in fact.

Nope out on old Freddy. If Freddy returns with a stronger offer and more attentive treatment, you can reevaluate. But this kind of half-date deal isn't doing you any favors.
posted by Frowner at 10:52 AM on October 28, 2016 [39 favorites]


I don't want to push him hard on "where is this going?" because I'm pretty sure it would freak him out

No, girl. No it wouldn't. This is how grownup relationships post-middle school work. You meet someone and hit it off. After a few casual hangouts where your mutual interest becomes clear (say, for example, after-class drinks that turn into conversations that extend past last call), ONE PERSON ASKS THE OTHER PERSON OUT.

That's it.

That's literally all of it.

Should you ask Freddy to marry you? No. Should you ask Freddy on a date using the term "date" or some other equally clear terminology that unequivocally indicates that the outing in question will be of a romantic nature? YES.

The worst thing that could happen is that he says no, and you have an awkward few weeks while you wait till the class ends.

Honestly he is probably awkward/pulling away/moody because he assumes that after all these after-class drinks, if you didn't say anything, he's been rejected.

For what it's worth, I am now engaged to someone after a situation very much like this, where my now-fiance was a platonic friend who had tried to ask me out a million times, and I didn't get that any of these outings were dates, and we basically needed friends to intervene and make him use the word date. I would love to be that person for you, here, right now.
posted by Sara C. at 10:54 AM on October 28, 2016 [29 favorites]


Weird and cagey = something to hide. You haven't lost a thing.
posted by charlielxxv at 10:54 AM on October 28, 2016


A. You didn't do anything wrong. Your behavior sounds totally normal, including offering to buy him a beer.
B. He's not that into you. This is NOT your fault. But he's giving off pretty clear signs of not wanting any kind of romantic relationship, so I'd dial hanging out with him waaaay back.

This all sounds 100% typical for the dating scene I experienced in grad school, for what it's worth.
posted by MsMolly at 10:54 AM on October 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


Doesn't sound like you've done anything wrong. It sounds like Freddie is a bit of a moody sod at times, which isn't something I'd have a lot of patience with but YMMV.

His weird moods are either nothing to do with you (in which case he should grow up and stop taking them out on everyone else), or they are something to do with you (in which case he should grow up and tell you what the problem is instead of expecting you to mind-read).

When I was in my teens/early twenties, as I assume you are, I over-thought every little phrase and interaction from the people I was dating. It's exhausting and counter-productive. Being on the level is so much easier - take what they say and do at face value, and assume that they are adult enough to open their mouths if they want to tell you something instead of dropping hints and hoping you notice. In return, you need to do the same for them. It is such a relief.

(And buying him a drink was a nice, friendly thing to do. Anyone who would take offence or read an insult into that is a paranoid nutcase you do not want to date).
posted by tinkletown at 10:55 AM on October 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


He's cute and I like him and if he was interested in dating me I'd be open to it, but I also am okay with just having a new friend who's a nice person.

I think what you have is a friend who ISN'T a very nice person, and this wasn't on your list of options, so just something to consider going forward.

You didn't do anything wrong at all. Offering to buy a beer isn't wrong. Asking a question in class isn't wrong. existing isn't wrong. These are the three things you have done in this AskMe. Everything else is something HE has done, and it's all vaguely rude/shitty. It would be a truly appalling way to act toward someone he was dating, but he's not dating you, so it's just that vaguely rude/shitty way some people are with friends and acquaintances. It's a style that appeals to some and very much does not to others. It does not appeal to you.

Some people just seem flirty. They have a body language or a tendency toward eye contact that reads as flirty, but the intention is not there. The Venn diagram of this type of person and "kind of a jerk" isn't a circle by any means, but there is a hefty overlap. My guess is this dude falls in the center of that diagram.

You have been on zero dates with this man and have written at least 30 paragraphs on AskMe about him. GOOD LORD STOP. Just seriously, nobody at all on this earth is worth this level of semi-penitent obsession.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:01 AM on October 28, 2016 [23 favorites]


You sound exhausted over all of this, and for good reason - it sounds exhausting.

Look, you're in your 30s. The big difference between now and 23, when you first got involved with your ex, is that you can be much more of an adult in nascent relationships and ask for what you want. If you want to go on a date with Freddy, ask Freddy out on a date. The worst thing he can do is say no.

If you want to remain friends with Freddy but don't want him to do things like ignore you when you're in Bar (which you did as well, BTW), then say "Hey Freddy, I like hanging out with you, but it makes me feel weird when you don't acknowledge me in Bar."

Once you're in a romantic relationship with someone, this blunt ask-for-what-you-want approach can be used in all sorts of scenarios. Don't like it when Boyfriend cooks with cilantro? Want him to do sexy XYZ thing more often? Ask.

And you're going to learn a lot from people when you watch how they respond to a straightforward "ask" like the examples I've given above. "Yes" is a great answer, particularly if they follow through. "I would, but [include reason]" can also be a legitimate answer, depending on how you feel about the reason. For example, "I would do [sexy thing], but it makes me uncomfortable" is probably fine; "I would keep cilantro off your plate but you should learn to like cilantro" probably isn't.

Any response to your ask that makes you feel bad for voicing your wants/desires is a shitty response. Unless you're asking someone to do a Very Big Thing (move across the country, say), someone who cares about you will generally want to satisfy these pedestrian day-to-day wants, particularly if they can occur at no cost to the other person (example from my life: hanging up towels The Right Way).

The take home point is that you shouldn't rely on anyone picking up vague social cues if you want to do something like date that person. And at the same time, as tinkletown said, you can now expect others to also open their mouths and voice their desires, and quit beating yourself up about not reading the tea leaves of vague social cues properly.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:14 AM on October 28, 2016 [13 favorites]


I am Freddy. Some ladies like to get their drink on and have one night stands. I get my drink on and make platonic new best friends. Some of them have stuck around, but many of them just fizzle out.

I'm in therapy teasing out a lot of why this is. I think a lot of it boils down to being a very non-sexual person and much more comfortable with emotional intimacy with relative strangers (and bad at emotional intimacy with friends, because I worry about imposing on them).

I am baffled at the idea that I'm jerk if I have consensual conversation with someone for an extended period of time without considering it a romantic date, with expectations of [sex/commitment/whatevs]. Or that if I show up to a bar, and make conversation with a regular, I have to invite them to hang out with my other group of friends.

It really sounds like people outside the situation are making heteronormative assumptions about you and Freddy, and you're trying to blame Freddy for not fitting into that box. Despite the fact that you've made no indication that you would like your life to be a bit more heteronormative, especially with Freddy.
posted by politikitty at 11:19 AM on October 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


Best case scenario: Freddy needs a lot of work to get up to speed with emotional intelligence, basic consideration, and clear communication. You grew up in a family that had unhealthy dynamics and then you launched into a very serious/dependent relationship with someone who was an unhealthy choice and who was bad to you. Take some time to not date seriously and build a community of friends and learn how to get your person-chooser a bit healthier. It's likely that you both attract and are attracted to people who are going to repeat the unhealthy patterns that have been a large part of your personal and family life.

Take some time to develop your confidence as a person and learn to pick out red flags and problem people before getting too involved with them. Chemistry and attraction are not a high enough bar. If you take some time to focus on yourself and building a strong and healthy social network, you'll be far better off when it comes to picking a new partner who helps you to thrive and doesn't treat you poorly and make you feel like you're doing something wrong because they're unable to interact in a mature and thoughtful manner.
posted by quince at 11:22 AM on October 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


Everything everyone is saying is true regarding about asking for what you want with the word "date", that if people are grownup they don't subscribe to any "Rules", and 9/10 times when people are interested they reciprocate and make it happen. There are two possibilities: 1. He hasn't yet understood your interest and is potentially open to going out on a romantic date with you. 2. He has seen your interest the whole time, but is not interested in your romantically, but since you are an lovely/interesting person, enjoys your company. You won't get your answer until you ask.

What is really the worrisome thing about your questions is this:
Look Mefites, I'm a fundamentally broken person and I don't know what I'm doing wrong or right anymore when it comes to communicating with people outside of a work context. I feel like an alien. I don't know what to do.

Such a critical negative inner voice will do more to hold you back and stifle your ability to connect with people and for them to connect with you than anything else you've talked about. Romantic feelings and early interactions with people are inherently anxiety producing as we try to figure out where we stand with others. Some relationships blastoff without a hitch, others are a little less clear whether they will leave the ground or not. We have an evolutionary need to be accepted by others. These feelings are natural and not indications of any "brokenness" in you. Feel the feelings but know that they are not who you are- that no matter what happens, you will be ok. I noticed in both of your posts that there are a flurry of questions at the end. Work on yourself and that inner voice and you will find that most of these questions never arise in the first place.
posted by incolorinred at 11:26 AM on October 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


He snapped at me "WHAT ARE YOU CONFUSED ABOUT?" It was really mean and out of left field

This guy is an asshole, and your instincts are spot on: that was mean and out of left field. You deserve better than someone who thinks it's acceptable as an instructor to be this rude to a student, especially in public. Square your shoulders with the knowledge that you have seen what he's like, smile, and go forth and enjoy life with your many friends who do not say mean things out of left field.
posted by nicodine at 11:27 AM on October 28, 2016 [10 favorites]


If Freddy is repeatedly refusing to acknowledge your existence in the presence of certain friends of his, is it possible that Freddy:

1.) Has friends with . . . questionable . . . views or behaviors, friends whom he know you would not like, and therefore does not want you to get to know very well

or

2.) Has friends who would not like you, and he therefore would be embarrassed to let his friends know he is friends with you, flirting with you, and/or considering dating you?

If either is the case, I doubt any romantic relationship is going to work out between you two for long.
posted by BlueJae at 11:30 AM on October 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


It sounds like your friend said, "You shouldn't have offered to buy a round, because it implied that you wanted to be just friends, so you ruined your chance to date him." Forget about this, because your friend is wrong. First of all, there's no way to read his mind, and also, if he wanted to date you it wouldn't have dissuaded him. If a person is interested in you romantically and they've just spent three hours talking to you, they're going to be thinking, "How soon can I see her again?" They're not going to bail unless you say or do something seriously off-putting.

On debate night, he was not interested in dating you. He proved it by ditching you without saying anything. We don't know why he'd talk with you for three hours the next time and then start avoiding you, but whatever the reason is, it's clear he doesn't want to date you. So it's TWICE now that he's behaved in an immature and inconsiderate manner.

Why are you making this your fault? Could it be because you've been taught to tolerate bad behavior, all those years in your family home? That was why I put up with mistreatment for many years. Please be kind to yourself. Give your attention and energy to people who treat you as you would treat them.
posted by wryly at 12:43 PM on October 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


Ask him out on a date. Not to the normal bar for drinks after class. A full on, nice restaurant + stroll in the park date.

If he says no, you need to either stop taking his classes, or stop "hanging out" with him outside of class (possibly both), at least until he approaches you in a friendshippy kind of light.

I feel really dumb for asking this, and I know the only way to really get an answer to this is to ask him, but - did I do something wrong here along the way to get to a point where he's snapping at me in class? Or am I overreacting to all of this?

He might be jerk. But he also might be a dude who is a little confused about his feelings for a customer and trying to keep things professional. He might also really only be interested in you as a customer/friend but too stupid to realize the mixed messages that he's giving off. Regardless, the snapping could mean that he's frustrated -- which doesn't mean that you've really done anything wrong, but you've got the power to fix it by using your words.

Ask him out. If he declines and/or it doesn't work out, do your best to disengage and find other friends/romantic interests.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:56 PM on October 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


Guy is scared of dating you. Nothing more, nothing less. He keeps waiting around for you to make some move that will let him know it is safe to go after you and he's annoyed you haven't given him the courage to take a risk.

In other words, he has a totally unrealistic attitude about dating.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:09 PM on October 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Freddy sounds exactly like my former friend "Jack" down to the long intimate talks and the avoidance afterward. This weird and awkward behavior continued for a year. I wasn't looking for a relationship at the time that I developed a crush on him, because I had just escaped from the abuser I have mentioned before on the Green.

After a year of knowing him and receiving mixed messages from him, and enduring our mutual friends saying we had chemistry and he was shy and must really like me (sound familiar?) I felt ready, got up my courage, and told him I liked him. He said he didn't think we were a good match. I didn't handle it as well as I should have; I felt led on and told him so. He apologized and we sort of made up, but we never hung out again. Our mutual friends thought he was a real jerk for all the mixed messages. Apparently he had told a few of them he was interested in me romantically when we first met. He admitted to me that he had considered a relationship with me at one point but his feelings had never gotten intense enough to pursue it.

In my situation, there was a point at which things had changed between us, but it was only obvious when I looked back on our friendship. As we were getting to know each other better, I told him that I had been married and was divorced. He cooled off after this. He is a conservative Evangelical Christian who believes in rigid gender roles, as I found out. He could probably tell I wasn't down with "submitting to my husband." So I dodged a bullet, and I'm sure he did too, in his opinion.

If Freddy cooled off toward you, it may mean there is some dealbreaker that would make both of you miserable, like in my situation. Perhaps his backing off is a blessing in disguise.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 3:08 PM on October 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hey thereemix, what jumped out at me was that he yelled at you in your class, outright! >:(

Here's my feedback if you're gauging group reactions, for some perspective on what's normal - that's seriously uncool and you didn't do anything to deserve it! I'm a little steamed on your behalf hearing it, and would be turned off whatever his reasoning (even if wildly speculating it's because he felt rejected; sour grapes doesn't mean you have to lash out at anyone, what a mean reaction.)

I think a useful, manual mental check-in for someone who's suffered abuse and is recovering trust in their own judgment (myself included here) is if you're feeling ashamed or diminished, to consider if the other person is acting like an asshole. As someone trained to take responsibility for others' bad behavior, it's PROBABLY not you because you are probably very, very considerate and aware of micromanaging your actions affecting others.

Also if you have trouble defending yourself internally, sometimes it's easier to imagine someone else in that situation and how you would feel as their champion. Like if it was a trusting child being yelled at, and then shutting down and thinking she was bad - see if that stirs up some righteous anger which you can then relate to owning for yourself.

Sending you good wishes. <3
posted by pengwings at 3:23 PM on October 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Hey sweetness. I remember some of your previous questions. You are not fundamentally broken. It sounds like your ex broke up with you in a particularly confusing, mindfucking way that made you doubt your perceptions of yourself and others, but you sound like the sane, normal one, in both that breakup and your hanging out with Freddy. Can I also say: please do not date someone who yells at you in public. Hugs and <3 in this season of awful debates.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:43 PM on October 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


-the night of the second Hillary/Trump debate I wandered into the bar because I knew they'd be showing it on TV and ran into Freddy. He bought me a beer and we watched the debate together, then he ditched me literally for 90 minutes without a word because friends of his showed up in the bar who I don't know. I am friendly with the bartender and had fun catching up with her so it's not like I was sitting around moping, but it kind of felt rude. I don't need to be introduced to his friends or anything, but it would have been better if he'd have said "Hey, my friends are here, I'm going to go chat with them for a bit." Maybe I'm overreacting though?

I don't think either of you did anything wrong here. You weren't on a date; you ran into each other at a bar, had a drink and then he wandered off to talk to other people. That's pretty normal bar-interaction. Even though he didn't do anything wrong, it also suggests to me that he's not interested romantically.

-a few days later Freddy and I came back to the bar after class (he followed me there), ordered beer and burgers, and talked for three hours and closed the bar down; people who knew us steered clear of us in the bar. at the end of the night, I offered to buy him a beer since he had bought me one on the night of the debate and he got sort of weird and cagey about it. My best friend from high school is really into The Rules (ugh, I know) and she is convinced that I blew it here because by offering to buy him a beer I made things seem platonic. This line of reasoning seems insane to me, but I've been out of the dating world for 8 years so I don't know shit. Was this a bad move on my part?

I have had women quote The Rules at me in explanation for my actions on four occasions; they have been demonstrably incorrect four out of four times. The laws of probability suggest that The Rules must be correct at least once in a great while, but I have seen no direct evidence of it. No, you did not do anything wrong in this situation.

-a few days later I was in the bar again. (I'm not a drunk - this bar has a really great inexpensive tasty menu and it's a great spot for a late night bite to eat without going to the greasy spoon diner in town). I happened to be at dinner with one of my clients that night after a work event. Freddy was already in the bar with his friends. He didn't say hello or acknowledge me even once. It's a small bar, he would have been blind not to see me. He walked by my booth like four times without saying anything. I should have been a grownup and at least waved/said hi to him, but I was still kind of in work-mode with my client there and didn't want to make a bad impression on my client by seeming distracted by a guy. Eventually I went home having not said a word to Freddy, which felt weird and awkward and like I had definitively fucked up.

He's a shy guy who saw that you were in a conversation with other people and you made no effort to reach out to him. He likely inferred that that wasn't the time to talk to you. No one was in the wrong here, etiquette-wise, although he may have misinterpreted your desires.

-the next day was the day of the last Hillary/Trump debate. Freed and I went to the bar after our class as usual but it was packed with debate-watchers so we couldn't really talk. After the debate ended, he wandered off to say hi to some friends and then told me he was going home.

There's not really anything to read into this, one way or another.

-a week later we had class again (two days ago). He seemed sort of weird and cagey. This class has a really strange mix of personalities in it and sometimes it's hard for him to control the room - students with big personalities versus Freddy who is sort of shy. I was having difficulty with one of the pieces we're learning to perform in this class and in the middle of Freddy trying to get the room to calm down a bit I said that I was confused by what we were doing with the piece. He snapped at me "WHAT ARE YOU CONFUSED ABOUT?" It was really mean and out of left field and my immediate reaction (having grown up in a house where I was yelled at literally every day) was to shrink back into myself and say never mind, I'm not confused. I felt deflated for the rest of class. At the end of the class, Freddy said that he wasn't feeling well and wasn't going to go to the bar, but he would next week.

This was not cool. He should not have done that. It may have been sparked by his not feeling well and his being stressed about teaching the class, but there will be many times in his life when he doesn't feel well and is stressed; he needs to learn to treat others appropriately while managing those feelings.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 5:16 PM on October 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't think that this guy is interested in you at all, and also, he's kind of a jerk. Even if he was keen on you, the kind of man that blows hot and cold and then yells at you for an extremely petty reason - well, if you were to date, that's a preview of what life would be like with him and who wants that? You deserve to be with someone who knows what they want, who you don't have to convince or work through mind games from one day to the next. What's more, you are not broken, you are not fucked up, you are not awkward. You are a perfectly imperfect human, just like the rest of us. If someone makes you feel like that, run.
posted by Jubey at 6:21 PM on October 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


The deal-killer would have been when he left you alone at the bar to go hang out with his friends. That's just bad. I wouldn't really waste more time trying to decode this guy's brain. It's just not meant to be. That's okay. It happens. But move on
posted by My Dad at 9:49 PM on October 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thereemix likes a boy, Thereemix likes a boy!

Problem: The boy has yet to be informed. If there's anything ambiguous, he may well be trying to read between your lines (and be concerned with not coming on too heavy) as well. I feel for Freddy; I've been in his shoes. I am a classical introvert. 50% of the conversations i have are people telling me all their secrets. It's a blursing. I'm in my mid thirties (AND married), yet staying up all night confessing secret sorrows is still my platonic love language. This probably isn't as unusual for academics. I'd give Freddy a little more of a pass, given that he is a performing arts prof. Also, having a similar flavor of PTSD and anxious attachment as you, I think I tend to over read people talking to me in an exasperated way that has nothing to do with me. You say there was classroom chaos. Was he speaking to you above the din? Was he flustered by the classroom? People get grumpy and raise their voices a little or speak sharply under stress sometimes even in properly defined, healthy relationships. I don't think that's necessarily something so loaded.

If you want this relationship or just to date Freddy, put out that desire in earnest. Don't hint and monitor both of your behavior for failure. Just ask him out. It's the only way to know. See how things go from there.
posted by sweltering at 5:24 AM on October 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


« Older What are my options here?   |   Getting back into video games Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.