What song says "No thanks" with the right amount of delicacy?
February 6, 2008 3:12 PM   Subscribe

If songs were lines in a conversation, the situation would be fine. That's the theory, anyway.

I'm a first year in college, and a girl on my floor, who I've been friends with since the beginning of the year, told me last night she has "feelings" for me. I told her I liked her too, and looked her in the eye. I think you're amazing, I said, and I meant it: she's funny and we have similar interests. As what, she replied, and I said: as you. She asked another question about how I liked her as her, but I dodged the question.

You see I'm not really interested in a relationship with her. I just... a serious relationship isn't something that I... see coming up anytime soon. Of course, that's not the way relationships work, you can't plan them, but still: not her, not right now, though I do value her friendship. The conversation ended with me acknowledging that I didn't have a girlfriend and that I enjoyed her company.

I sent her an email with two songs as a response. The first was "Hazy Jane II" by Nick Drake. I quoted his lyric "If songs were lines in a conversation, the situation would be fine." In that spirit, I wrote, may I present Panda Bear's "I'm not." I thought the first stanza suggested that I don't want a relationship with just the right amount of... well, vague. Wouldn't do too well to be all that forward about it: I don't want to insult her.

I told her to reply symmetrically.

She sent me "About Fun" and "Serve Yourself." And asked me to reply unexpectedly.

I've got the unexpected part of the reply down, but I need the next line in the conversation. The next song. The first two verses of another Panda Bear song would work, but two songs from the same album? Not going to work, I think. Also, it gets kind of mean. Mean's not going to work either.

What song (what good song) says "I'm not ready for a relationship" in just the right way?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (45 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
You sound just like Britney Spears in "Oops, I Did It Again."
posted by grouse at 3:16 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think you're probably better off to stop trying to be clever and indirect, and simply tell her.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:18 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are you sure you want to tell her something so important in such a flirty manner? I think you're sending mixed signals, playing this cute little game with her. She might see it as a mating ritual, no matter what the lyrics are. Please be direct and just tell her.
posted by veronitron at 3:22 PM on February 6, 2008 [15 favorites]


Here's the thing: playing around with song lyrics to find "the right way" to send a message to someone is itself kind of flirty/cutesy/relationship-y. Believe me, the second-guessing and parsing of subtext is an element of what she likes about this whole interaction -- the more you continue it, the more you mix your messages to her. (Been there, done that, and it was many years past college, to boot.)

It's less "fun" (and won't show off your musical knowledge as much), but do the adult thing and be direct and tell her yourself directly. Be kind, be considerate, but be honest and use your own words.
posted by scody at 3:25 PM on February 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Please be direct, this is sort of unnecessary.
posted by fan_of_all_things_small at 3:27 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you're kind of torturing this girl by doing this.
posted by loiseau at 3:41 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Please tell her, it will save her some heartbreak.

That said, Fear's "I Don't Care About You" should do nicely.
posted by nasreddin at 3:50 PM on February 6, 2008


MeTa
posted by anaelith at 3:52 PM on February 6, 2008


Yeah, you're flirting instead of communicating 'no'.
posted by voidcontext at 4:03 PM on February 6, 2008


This is a weird mixtape (without the tape) way to communicate. And generally one makes mixtapes for someone one is interested in having a relationship with. And you're not. So just tell her, in your very own words, that you're not interested.
posted by rtha at 4:07 PM on February 6, 2008


Speaking as someone who wasted goodness-knows how many hours all throughout Highschool overanalyzing and dissecting all these subtle communication hints (that in retrospect were totally blatant) from my then object of affection, don't fucking play games. No matter what you do, and I do mean no matter what, unless it's a simple and direct "I don't like you that way/I only see you as a friend", she can and will twist it to be a flirty, shy come-on. We're good at beanplating. Don't be an ass and cut her loose.
posted by Phire at 4:10 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


My wife and I have a friend who does this sort of precious thing who we make fun of constantly. Needless to say, the women (and men!) in his life are very frustrated when their simple queries are answered with obscure Jeff fucking Tweedy lyrics. Please just tell her no.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 4:12 PM on February 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh dear lord, JUST TELL HER YOU DON'T LIKE HER LIKE THAT. The song lyrics will totally make her think you want to boink her, no matter what lyrics you pick. If I were that girl, I'd think you like me in That Way, big time, after the stuff you have told her so far.

You're going to have to be mean. I'm sorry. If it trashes the friendship, then that's the way the cookie crumbles (and really, you can't be friends if one of you is in love with the other one anyway).
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:13 PM on February 6, 2008




Ah, yeah. Speaking as a teenage girl (who has, admittedly, once attempted to flirt via song lyric and failed miserably) - just be direct. If a guy sent me a song lyric trying to tell me he wasn't into me, I'm not sure I'd get the message unless it were horrifically cruel.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 4:20 PM on February 6, 2008


"It Ain't Me Babe" Bob Dylan
posted by jonmc at 4:25 PM on February 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Grow up. Tell her you just aren't into her. Good Lord.
posted by clh at 4:26 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, it gets kind of mean. Mean's not going to work either.

This is mean. Doing this in any humorous way is mean. When she doesn't get your intention and you're forced to spell it out, it's an added layer of mean.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:28 PM on February 6, 2008


1. I don't want to be accused of not answering your question, so I'll suggest "Jen, Nothing Matters to Me" by Irving, even if her name isn't Jen. That is what you seem to want to say.

2. Why are you doing this? Asking her to reply back makes it seem like she has a chance with you. You're leading her on just to feed your ego.

3. People can interpret songs about a bajillion different ways. That Panda Bear song you posted sounds like the narrator doesn't want a relationship, but would change his mind for the right person. What reason do you have for not sending a song with the exact message you want to convey?

4. If you just want to sleep with her, come out and say "I don't want a relationship with you, but I do want to have sex with you", or send her the lyrics to NIN's "Fuck You Like an Animal".
posted by 23skidoo at 4:28 PM on February 6, 2008


PJ Harvey: Dry
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:29 PM on February 6, 2008


Iron Maiden's Run to the Hills:
Run to the hills, run for your life.
posted by Loto at 4:33 PM on February 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Jesus Christ, absolutely nothing you've said in your question shows that this girl has any idea you've no interest in her. Any conversation where someone basically tells you "I want to date you" and you conclude it with "Well, I think you're awesome and I don't have a girlfriend now" does not indicate your lack of interest in the person.

What the hell do you mean, it wouldn't do to be direct about it? You know what's insulting? You know what's mean, really mean? Being played with. Being tormented by some cowardly little kid who fancies themselves clever and sensitive because they're sending you obscure indie shit instead of telling you straight up they only like you as a friend. Here are the song lyrics you should send:

"Dear ____. I apologize for being so vague in the past week. I was trying to communicate to you through song, and it really hasn't worked that well. I like you as a friend. I think you're funny and interesting and we get along great. But I'm not interested in a relationship right now, not with you, not with anyone else. I want to keep hanging out, but I understand if you need time."

That's all. My God, this post belies how young you are. This is why everyone thinks people under the age of 25 are dumbasses.

But you will be ignoring all the advice in this thread, because you are an 18-year-old male who is engaging in these games in the first place. So here is a very simple, direct song that's very much on message:
Death Cab for Cutie - Someday You Will Be Loved
posted by schroedinger at 4:36 PM on February 6, 2008 [17 favorites]


Jay Z's 99 Problems:
I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one.
posted by Loto at 4:36 PM on February 6, 2008


well, if we're gonna go there, then The Faces 'Stay With Me,'

Yes, I'll pay your cab fare home
you can even use my best cologne
just don't be here in the morning when I wake up...
posted by jonmc at 4:37 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Bad Man", by Murs. That would be a hell of a disclosure.
posted by kosem at 4:37 PM on February 6, 2008


Benefits of Lying (With Your Friend) - Apples in Stereo
posted by iconomy at 4:39 PM on February 6, 2008


I'll just suggest that you take a look at anaelith's MeTa post. She makes a pretty good case, like others have said here, that the best answer to your question is "None".
posted by Rock Steady at 4:40 PM on February 6, 2008


Well, jesus, the obvious one is clear. You've probably already thought of this one.

It Ain't Me, Babe
by Bob Dylan

Go 'way from my window,
Leave at your own chosen speed.
I'm not the one you want, babe,
I'm not the one you need.
You say you're lookin' for someone
Never weak but always strong,
To protect you an' defend you
Whether you are right or wrong,
Someone to open each and every door,
But it ain't me, babe,
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe,
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe.

Go lightly from the ledge, babe,
Go lightly on the ground.
I'm not the one you want, babe,
I will only let you down.
You say you're lookin' for someone
Who will promise never to part,
Someone to close his eyes for you,
Someone to close his heart,
Someone who will die for you an' more,
But it ain't me, babe,
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe,
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe.

Go melt back into the night, babe,
Everything inside is made of stone.
There's nothing in here moving
An' anyway I'm not alone.
You say you're looking for someone
Who'll pick you up each time you fall,
To gather flowers constantly
An' to come each time you call,
A lover for your life an' nothing more,
But it ain't me, babe,
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe,
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe.


But you say you want subtlety. Fine. You should send her that old showtune, the Gershwin bros.' The Man I Love. "Someday he'll come along / The man I love / And he'll be big and strong / The man I love..." Great song. And will take care of your problem.

Other ideas:

A very good one would be Pere Ubu's Non-Alignment Pact.

I wanna make a deal with you, girl
and get it signed by the heads of state.
I wanna make a deal with you, girl
be recognized round the world.
It's my:
Nonalignment pact!
Nonalignment pact!
(You better sign my...)
Nonalignment pact!
At night I can see the stars on fire
I can see the world in flames
And it's all because of you, girl,
or your thousand other names
Peggy, Carrie Ann, and Betty Jean
Jill, Jan, Joan, and Sue
Alice, Cindy, Barbara Ann
It's all because of you!
Sign my
Nonalignment pact!


Another good one would be

I Should Have Known Better
by Wire

In an act of contrition
I lay down by your side
It's not your place to comment
On my state of distress
For this is for real
I've tears in my eyes
Am I laughing or crying?
I suggest I'm not lying
I haven't found a measure yet to
Calibrate my displeasure yet so
To ignore my warning
Could be your folly
The judgment is harsh
I offer no plea
Valuing the vengeance which you treasure
I've redefined the meaning of vendetta
The procession's disordered
You protect your possessions
In light of your actions
I question your love
May I make an observation?
Your bite is worse than my aggression

I should have known better
I should have known better
Than to become a target
Albeit a target which moves
No offer of terms or concessions
For statements or confessions
You don't feel warm
I pass close by
You shiver, I whisper
Excuse me, what's your problem?
Oh, I see
I should have known better

posted by koeselitz at 4:41 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Find your balls, and tell her no. Dragging it out like you are is about YOUR ego, not her feelings.
posted by medea42 at 4:46 PM on February 6, 2008


Aren't we all assuming that the girl wants a 'serious' relationship just because he asked how he liked her as a girl? Maybe she just wants to fool around. It is college and not all women are looking 'snare a man,' contrary to stereotype.
posted by jonmc at 4:49 PM on February 6, 2008


She said she has feelings for him, according to the OP. And then she asked him a bunch of questions about how he felt. That doesn't sound like fooling around.
posted by veronitron at 4:57 PM on February 6, 2008


jonmc: Aren't we all assuming that the girl wants a 'serious' relationship just because he asked how he liked her as a girl? Maybe she just wants to fool around. It is college and not all women are looking 'snare a man,' contrary to stereotype.

True. Maybe he should send her "Let's Spend The Night Together."

Bowie version, for maximum effect.
posted by koeselitz at 5:01 PM on February 6, 2008


medea45: Find your balls, and tell her no.

"Tell Her No" by the Zombies.
posted by koeselitz at 5:02 PM on February 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


I see what you did there.

It sounds like she wants a serious relationship, and it sounds like you want to play silly, flirty games with her. And this whole music thing is your way of trying to change what she wants into what you want. But the thing is, you can't change what she wants. And although you can, for a brief time, give her a flimsy approximation of what she wants in order to get what you want, it will not wendell.
posted by roll truck roll at 5:20 PM on February 6, 2008


She said she has feelings for him, according to the OP.

'feelings,' in my experience, can mean anything from 'I think you're cute,' to 'I wanna marry you.' We shouldn't jump to conclusions. Maybe he should ask her to clarify.
posted by jonmc at 5:27 PM on February 6, 2008


Half Man Half Biscuit: "The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train)"
posted by Jabberwocky at 5:27 PM on February 6, 2008


jonmc I agree. He should talk to her.

If he's not sure what to say, then just say what he knows: I don't want a relationship with you. It may be uncomfortable, but it will be more uncomfortable later on, if she does want a relationship and he unintentionally leads her on. Or it could be uncomfortable if she wants sex and he doesn't. Or anything he doesn't. But still, talking is the thing to do, not this vague "guess what I'm thinking???" song thing.

Young women (and sometimes older ones, and sometimes guys too) will project their feelings, so she might not get the correct meaning out of lyrics. If you respect her at all, tell her as much as you can, as directly as you can, so that nothing is confused.
posted by veronitron at 5:37 PM on February 6, 2008


Dennis Leary, "I'm An Asshole"
posted by poweredbybeard at 7:39 PM on February 6, 2008


Actually, jonmc and veronitron are right. Rereading the story, I see that we were putting in a lot of subtext that wasn't there.

Yeah, enough with the emails. Just talk to her.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:42 PM on February 6, 2008


Eh, you're all taking it too seriously. (He's going to screw her at some point, let's face it.)

Glen Campbell: "By the time I get to Phoenix"
posted by unSane at 8:20 PM on February 6, 2008


"I'm Not Your Boyfriend," written by the title character in the "Chowder's Girlfriend" episode of the Cartoon Network show Chowder.

Note: the song did not have the desired effect in the episode. There may be an object lesson in that.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:59 AM on February 7, 2008


Benefits of Lying (With Your Friend) - Apples in Stereo

Really, iconomy? I always thought that song was a plea for a one-night stand.
posted by methylsalicylate at 9:49 AM on February 7, 2008


Well, if you want to keep playing, I suggest Tom Petty, "Free Falling."
posted by herbaliser at 10:29 AM on February 7, 2008


Love Song by The Damned.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:19 AM on February 8, 2008


Nthing everyone who is saying you're being ridiculous, you're being ridiculous.

Also, I suspect this is actually a viral.
posted by delmoi at 8:46 PM on February 10, 2008


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