Talking about feelings with a friend
August 21, 2017 11:18 AM   Subscribe

I drunkenly made out with a friend and have been trying to meet with him to talk about it and possibly see if he's interested in dating, or to at least clear things up and go back to being friends without awkwardness. He has been stalling and/or had legitimate reasons to not meet up until now, but him dragging his feet has me questioning what I should say or whether I should even still meet with him, as I fear I'm just making him more uncomfortable (which is worse than outright rejection, in my opinion).

I've had a not super-close friend who I started to develop a crush on recently. I had suspicion that he may have felt some attraction as well, but he never acted on it. Over a week ago I drunkenly danced with and made out with him, which was reciprocated (but again, we were drunk), and we haven't talked about it since. The following day I tried to reach out to meet up and talk about it, but he seemed dodgy and hard to schedule with (possibly for valid reasons) and cancelled with a legit reason on the day we finally agreed to meet and offered a more distant day to meet (now today). I took his lack of eagerness and confirmation of our plans as him blowing me off but now he thinks we're still meeting tonight. I don't know what to talk about anymore.

I've known him for 2 years. We haven't been all that close, but have been getting closer in the last few months. We have similar social groups, and the few times we have crossed paths in the past we seem to gravitate towards each other and have really great and energizing conversations. I was off-and-on interested in him throughout the last year, though I'm sure I gave plenty of platonic vibes by unfortunately talking to him about my dating life and the dating apps I frequently use. He also seemed interested, but not enough to do anything about it. I'm also a very unflirty person due to my shyness, and am terrified of expressing interest in someone who would not at least be flattered by it.

He had also seemed to give mixed signals (positives for body language, eye contact, and the amount of attention he'd give me in a group setting, but would often not show up to things I'd be at or that I invited him to– but has started to a little bit more lately). I have had a few reasons for not being interested in dating him initially, which are somewhat still valid (he's quite a bit older than me and I am getting the sense for how aloof/non-committal he really is, even though he says he's open to marriage/kids/committed relationships), but I just had the "screw it, let's just try it" idea recently to see if he was interested in dating.

However, after that drunken evening of dancing and my trying to invite him out afterwards has me feeling like he's dragging his feet and afraid to say no to meeting me, even when I gave him an out. Normally I'd have just had tried to have the conversation by text but wanted to be a little more mature and courageous and talk to him face-to-face.

Initially I was going to tell him that I had fun that evening but was a little embarrassed by my behavior, that I value our friendship and am totally ok keeping things that way, but am also interested in trying dating if he were open to that too. But due to how dodgy he's been and how uncomfortable it's made me feel, now I have no idea what to even say to him. I don't think it's a good idea to tell him I'm romantically interested anymore (in fact, I worry that he's worried I'm going to say this and that's why he's been so uneager to meet me), and I feel like in trying to clear the air and make things less awkward, I've actually made things worse.

I've been making huge efforts to be more direct and communicative in my life and especially with romantic interests/friends, but now that I have to actually put it in action I'm at a complete loss of what's right or wrong. I'm looking for any advice on what to say or how to approach this situation specifically, or just in general as a life lesson.
posted by korrasamus to Human Relations (7 answers total)
I really think you can tell him that you're a little embarrassed but open to dating him via text or email. I agree that being direct is important, but I think trying to schedule a big face to face meeting about a drunken makeout session is a little intense, and it's only getting weirder and more fraught every time he cancels and you try to reschedule.
posted by cakelite at 11:24 AM on August 21, 2017 [15 favorites]

All those things you have been imagining are possibly true. It's also possible that he needed time to figure out what he thought (some people like to talk to figure out how the feel, some people need to think privately first and then talk) and then legitimately cancelled and rescheduled.

At the same time, it sounds like this typical of him, to be noncommittal - you already know this, he is reinforcing it with his behavior - so I support your intuition that is telling you he is not the right guy for you. So, your message has changed - now you just want to let him know that you want to be friends but not romantic partners.

For the more subtle message that you were originally thinking about, a face-to-face is really necessary. Things have changed, and now you just need to do whatever seems must helpful for both of you. If your meeting happens tonight, just say that, let him say his part and then move on other topics of conversation. If he cancels tonight, then go back to text since it seems like that would make it easier on him.
posted by metahawk at 11:30 AM on August 21, 2017

I think you should try to play it by ear if you still want to meet up with him, you don't need to know exactly what you want to say to him. I agree a meeting to talk after a drunken makeout is a little intense (and a week is really not a long time for someone who you admit isn't a close friend). It would be better to see him in a group situation that's already happening unless you two have met one-on-one more than a few times in the past.

Maybe he feels bad for making out with a younger person while intoxicated but feels like he can't just say no to your invitation to meet up because then he'd feel like a jerk. He might also be sort of interested in you the way you're describing your own feelings about him.

If you genuinely enjoy hanging out with him, then keep being friendly with him at events and maintaining whatever hangouts are happening, that is how you demonstrate that you'd like to keep things cool between you, treat him the same as you did before. If you want to date him, you can ask him out "on a date" and he can say yes or no, and if he says no you can continue treating him about the same as before. In my experience, if he wants to date you, he will let you know. Even for shy people the makeout and invitation to meet up would be enough for them to reciprocate.

A good life lesson is that as much as this seems personal, it's not, and you shouldn't feel like you've screwed anything up by having some fun or with trying to connect with him.
posted by lafemma at 1:04 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Am I too late to answer? I hope not!

Hey! That's a lot of overthinking you are doing there. I say let it go and just hang out. I don't think you have to reference what happened, and it seems he would prefer you don't bring it up. Hang out, relax. Relax. You're not awkward unless you try to push a conversation this person is not ready to have right now.

Normally I am a big proponent of communicating directly, but just this once, I think you should enjoy hanging out without referencing what happened on the dance floor. Don't have more than one drink if alcohol is involved tonight. Go with the flow. See if you enjoy him, or if that kiss is better left as a nice memory.
posted by jbenben at 5:08 PM on August 21, 2017

I'd say to drop it completely and don't mention it again. A little drunken kissing doesn't require a debriefing session. I think it's usually better to leave 'em wanting more.
posted by Knowyournuts at 5:14 PM on August 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

Play it cool. Just let it happen again.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:38 PM on August 21, 2017

Thanks everyone! I took the good advice here and mentioned nothing. Actually, even if everyone told me to say anything I probably wouldn't have as it would have just felt too awkward for me anyway! We met and caught up casually and it was totally cool. I feel like even if nothing ever happens again it's all been smoothed out and we can go back to being friends like nothing happened.

He brought up getting together soon, even (and really thought about it, not just saying the phrase), but this was exactly what I had wanted in the first place– just some more one-on-one time to see if there was even anything there. I just always was too much of a coward to initiate before I had this "excuse" recently, which is why I wanted to meet with him versus just texting. I probably didn't convey that very well initially. I'm so, so glad that wasn't as huge of a disaster that I made it out to be! I definitely blew things out of proportion, so thanks all for helping bring me down to reality.
posted by korrasamus at 8:37 PM on August 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

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