Friend confessed attraction and now won’t talk to me
September 14, 2021 4:58 AM   Subscribe

A close friend had too much to drink and confessed his attraction to me over text. Twice. He now won’t reply to my messages. What next?

I won’t bother getting into all the details; I think the bare bones are enough. The drunken episodes were two weeks ago. We’re in our 30s/40s, both straight, he’s male and I’m female. What do I do now? I don’t think that I feel the same way but I don’t really see this as a big drama or anything for him to be embarrassed about. I’ve messaged him several times though and he hasn’t replied. I don’t want to phone him, and I’m not going to show up at his door. Do I just have to leave him and hope he reaches out again someday? I miss him so much!
posted by rubbish bin night to Human Relations (9 answers total)
I'd continue, for a bit, trying to act as if nothing has happened. E.g. if you normally text regularly, carry on sending memes or updates or whatever it is you normally chat about. If you meet up for an activity, schedule it and ask him to come. Saying you miss him can't hurt (if you don't think he would take that as a proclamation of reciprocal attraction)!

This happened to me and the friendship weathered the storm, mainly by me acting like it never happened, giving the other person the opportunity to do the same.

If he denies your attempts at reaching out, then yeah unfortunately the ball is in his court and maybe he will come back or maybe he won't. Good luck!
posted by Balthamos at 5:09 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]

Yeah, carry on normally, don't necessarily withdraw totally but make sure you are giving him space to process. Presumably he is some combination of embarrassed and sad -- but he'll either get over it, hopefully, or not. But you've indicated that it's not a big deal to you and continuing to try to start A Conversation with him about it won't be very helpful, he knows he can reach out when he's ready.
posted by tivalasvegas at 5:45 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]

Wait, this post is missing some essential information: what exactly was your response to his confession of attraction to you? Did you respond to that at all? I ask because your wording here (you "don't think" you feel the same way) makes me wonder if you've just been ignoring his confession and texting him about other things as if this never happened. If that's the case I'm not surprised he's ignoring you!

I hope you do give him an actual answer (I'm assuming it's a rejection - make it kind, make it firm, and do not say you "think" you don't feel the same way - say you *don't* feel the same way). He does deserve that courtesy at least. And I hope you apologize for addressing it so late.

If my hypothesis is wrong and you already did explicitly tell him you don't feel the same way, then IMO it's time to stop reaching out and let him be. It's kind of you to have let him know that this needn't be a big deal... But alas you are not the boss of his feelings and he is going to be as embarrassed about it as he wishes to be. There is some benefit to continuing to reach out to him as if nothing has happened (once the explicit rejection is done)... but IDK, two whole weeks without a response is a bit much, and I personally think it's time for you to hold off and let him initiate the next move. You don't have to tell him this, don't make any comment, just pretend to yourself that you've suddenly become overwhelmed with other things to do. You're not cutting him out of your life. You're just letting him have enough space to decide to reach out on his own. If he does, I'm sure you will make it easy and casual to get back into your old groove again.
posted by MiraK at 6:51 AM on September 14 [12 favorites]

Response by poster: MiraK you make a good point and no, I haven’t addressed his comments. The reason being that they weren’t really phrased in a way that required a response IMO. The first was that he wanted to kiss me, the second was a bit more… base. I just laughed it off as drunken nonsense. I understood the meaning behind it, but a drunken pass didn’t really call for a sober response, I didn’t think. Also he disappeared offline almost immediately both times after these remarks.
Hmm, perhaps I should have given more info in my post!
posted by rubbish bin night at 9:02 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

If you hope to rejuvenate the friendship, you should do two things: first, email him with an accurate description of your feelings about the situation. "Hey friend, I wanted to acknowledge that you might be feeling bad after you disclosed your feelings during our last hang out. I don't feel romantically inclined toward you, but I care very much about you and our friendship. If you are willing, I'd love to get back to our platonic friendship." (Or whatever is actually accurate.)

Second, wait. He's likely embarrassed, or upset it wasn't reciprocated, or whatever, but he's might need the space to process and/or separate.

A lovely thing about friendships is that they can ebb and flow, and we should allow ourselves the grace and space to let them breathe when its needed. Just be patient and look forward to the reset, if it comes.
posted by RajahKing at 10:36 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]

I just laughed it off as drunken nonsense. I understood the meaning behind it, but a drunken pass didn’t really call for a sober response, I didn’t think.

Yeah no, I'm sure you're friend is likely embarrassed - asking to kiss a close friend isn't drunken nonsense, at least generally not once you get to into your late 30s/40s. RajahKing's script above is good, and I definitely think you need to respond - otherwise it will be the elephant in the room.
posted by coffeecat at 12:55 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]

You are correct, you don't need to respond to his physical come-ons in case he might feel bad. He did not disclose any romantic feelings, just physical desires. Sounds like he might have been trying to initiate a booty call or sexting. You can keep occasionally texting as normal but after two weeks of silence I think you might need to just step back.
posted by Polychrome at 1:16 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]

I really, really hope this isn’t the case but keep this dynamic in mind if he continues to make you feel like you’ve done something wrong for not being into his come ons
posted by hotcoroner at 3:20 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]

If it was a "base" comment then you're right that you don't actually need to respond - or rather, no need to respond gently or carefully or formally. If a close friend makes "base" comments to you when he's drunk, it's 100% appropriate to make fun of his remark and joke about it at his expense. Nobody's allowed to act fragile after saying something crass. Hell, I would even encourage you to jokingly, tongue in cheek, threaten to make his texts public to a your friends unless he gets over himself and starts talking to you again. Tell him he is even more dense than you thought if he is trying to ghost you right after giving you such excellent blackmail material. Good natured ribbing will not only nudge him to get over himself and stop stonewalling you, it's also a great way to re-assert boundaries in your friendship.

If you treat it like he confessed tender feelings to you, and be extra gentle with him, that, imo, is ... not protective enough of yourself or your boundaries within the friendship. Texting you lewd things when he's horny-drunk should not result in you coddling him.

And if you pretend like he didn't say anything, that's also not really the best way to go, imo, because you're avoiding direct communication. Silence can be misinterpreted in many different ways: like maybe straight up assent (that you're just too shy to explicitly consent?) Or maybe as a fawn response stemming from fear (that you are cowed by him). And everything in-between!
posted by MiraK at 8:10 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]

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