Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Dating => Topic started by: Allyson on January 23, 2012, 01:21:45 PM

Title: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Allyson on January 23, 2012, 01:21:45 PM
This is more of a general etiquette question about what to do in this situation, but I will use a particular situation as an example.

Andrew has a really obvious 'thing' for Rachel. They're both single. Rachel isn't interested in Andrew, and she's aware of his interest. He definitely thinks he is being subtle, but is really not. He's not being creepy, but it is quite plain what's going on. He has that 'look' in his eye. He makes jokes that are really not jokes, flirts awkwardly, and has told many people that's he's interested in her. He's never made a direct move on her or asked her out, either because he's getting up the nerve or is too scared. He is a really nice guy, but Rachel is not attracted to him. They see each other pretty frequently as they have a lot of mutual friends, share interests, and go to the same weekly activities.

What should Rachel do? Going up to him and saying, "I'm not interested" seems really harsh and awkward, but it's also awkward to let it continue. Subtle messages like making sure not to sit near him are not being noticed. Or maybe he does know she probably isn't interested, and isn't aware he's being obvious. Would it be acceptable for Rachel to have one of Andrew's friends tell him 'this is really obvious, stop'? That seems childish too.

I used a specific situation but I'm also very interested in thoughts on the general. Would your answer change if it was Andrea really interested in Robert? Also, if possible, I would like to avoid talking about what to do if someone is feeling stalked, creeped out, or unsafe, because that is a totally different situation. This is specifically about when someone is pleasant, maybe even a friend, but has an obvious infatuation/interest that is not reciprocated. 
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: TurtleDove on January 23, 2012, 01:31:30 PM
I would suggest that Rachel be polite but make it clear that she is interested in dating (if she is) someone else.  If she isn't interested in dating anyone at all, that would make it more difficult I would think. 
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Reason on January 23, 2012, 01:42:12 PM
My answer would probably change if the genders were reversed. But to address the situation as stated, Rachel is under no obligation to acknowledge or even react to Andrew's apparent attraction. He is not doing himself any favors by dancing around the issue either.

If he simply asked her on a date, she would be free to decline and the whole matter would be put to rest. Or she may even accept for all he knows, but it seems that Andrew is so afraid of being rejected he can not bring himself to do what he needs to do. It's easier to not ask and avoid the certainty of being refused. So really the problem lies entirely with Andrew.

If however, the jokes and awkward flirting begin to bother Rachel, then she is well within her rights to call him on it, in which case he needs to stop (and probably will).
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Sterling on January 23, 2012, 02:22:29 PM
If the genders were reversed how would you suggest this be handled?

Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: bah12 on January 23, 2012, 02:25:52 PM
I'm not sure that there's anything Rachel can do.  Andrew can like her all he wants, but until he tells her or does something to make her uncomfortable, there's really not much for Rachel to respond to.  I mean, if she tells him she's not interested, it's not like he can just turn his feelings off.  He'll probably still like her, but her preemptively letting him know not to ask, just seems like a little too much.

Now, if Andrew is making her uncomfortable and being so obvious that she feels awkward...  that's different. In that case I think she can kindly tell him what actions make her feel uncomfortable and ask that he tone it down.  If he can't, then she'll probably just start avoiding him.  And I think that if Andrew's friends notice that he's not being as subtle as he thinks, that they let him know.  They don't need to wait for Rachel to ask them to do it.  He might not realize how "out there" he is with his feelings (aside from telling people), so a good friend kindly pointing it out, I think, is totally ok.

I'm not sure why the genders matter much and would be interested to hear how other posters feel it would be different if the genders were reversed.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: TurtleDove on January 23, 2012, 02:33:42 PM
Yeah, I don't think the genders matter at all.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: O'Dell on January 23, 2012, 02:36:04 PM
I would suggest that Rachel be polite but make it clear that she is interested in dating (if she is) someone else.  If she isn't interested in dating anyone at all, that would make it more difficult I would think.

That's what I was thinking, and if she isn't interested in dating at all maybe she can work that into a conversation.

I agree with Reason though. This is all caused by Robert. I think he needs to pee or get off the pot. :P
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: lellah on January 23, 2012, 02:36:19 PM
I think a crucial question here is how old Andrew and Rachel are.  Beyond high school, the whole "too nervous to approach a girl straightforwardly" gets really, really tiresome, imo. 

Generally speaking, I would say Rachel can simply deal with this by not flirting back.  There's no need to reject the guy unless he seeks to make a date  If friends are saying "oooh, Rachel, Andrew told me he likes you" I really don't think there's anything wrong with Rachel responding by telling those friends that she feels awkward because she likes him too, in a friendly way only.

I would say exactly the same thing if the genders were reversed. 

There is one caveat here: I have found (and my experience here is fairly broadly echoed by my friends') that some shy, nice guys feel like being shy and nice makes them entitled to the romantic attention of any female friend they happen to take a shine to.  Rachel may soon find herself facing months of Andrew grousing about how girls date jerks instead of perfectly nice guys like him.  As if all women everywhere owe availability to every man who doesn't slap their bottom and call 'em baby.  Sheesh. 
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: shivering on January 23, 2012, 02:39:12 PM
In the case of Rachel and Andrew, Rachel isn't obliged to outright tell him she's not interested, although she may feel like she needs to if things are getting very awkward for her.  Andrew either needs to take the hint that she's not responding to his unsubtle interest and move on or outright ask her out (so she can decline).

Gender shouldn't matter, but I do understand that men are still the ones who are often expected to make the first move and ask the woman out so it can be harder for a woman who has the crush. But...  if a woman is interested and giving out obvious signals and the man isn't responding, she either needs to bite the colloquial bullet and ask him out herself or move on.

I think it's okay to talk to a mutual friend to get their take on it and ask for advice on how they think it would be best handled. I'd just be careful about not putting that friend in the middle unless they wanted to get involved.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Akka on January 23, 2012, 02:39:25 PM
My answer would probably change if the genders were reversed. But to address the situation as stated, Rachel is under no obligation to acknowledge or even react to Andrew's apparent attraction. He is not doing himself any favors by dancing around the issue either.

If he simply asked her on a date, she would be free to decline and the whole matter would be put to rest. Or she may even accept for all he knows, but it seems that Andrew is so afraid of being rejected he can not bring himself to do what he needs to do. It's easier to not ask and avoid the certainty of being refused. So really the problem lies entirely with Andrew.

If however, the jokes and awkward flirting begin to bother Rachel, then she is well within her rights to call him on it, in which case he needs to stop (and probably will).

POD to your reply

But if I may... I am curious... what would you change if the roles were reversed?
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Goodness on January 23, 2012, 02:46:59 PM
In my social circle, some years back, we had an otherwise nice gentleman (ONG) who simply had no idea how to act around women he was attracted-to. He didn't pick up on clues, misunderstood 'Sorry, I'm shellacking the cat that night' -- or any variant thereof, and did not take no -- or any variant thereof -- as final. Eventually one of the other men, having overheard the women complain about ONG for months, took him aside and had a long talk with him. Turns out ONG was under the impression that "No" meant "Try harder," so that's what he was doing. The other fellow explained what was what, ONG started doing things that way, and within a year he was married!
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Carotte on January 23, 2012, 03:06:43 PM
Ohhh, that reminds me of something, but in my situation (say I'm Rachel ), I couldn't say if Andrew was trying for something or not. I didn't know if he was just a nice guy or trying to get close ( we had just meet at a mutual friend's party), even after a diner 'date' and an evening out I couldn't tell if he was interested (and if that had been a date or not).

I wasn't interested in him that way, but I couldn't just say so (imagine if he told me he never had any inclination for me!), yet I didn't want to 'lead him on' by being too friendly/open. This was two socially inept 23/26 years old... ::)

In the end I did a probably not ehell-approved thing and took longer and longer to answer his texts, with some white (and grey) lies, and he finally understood I wasn't interested.

I think Rachel should be cautious to not do anything that could lead on Andrew, and talking about other guys or her wish to not date at this point in her life could work. She could make him understand he's in the friend zone, forever "oh, you're like a brother for me!".
As for Robert the same could apply "you're such a sister to me!" if he is close to Andrea, or try to stay distant from her.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: SleepyKitty on January 23, 2012, 03:25:17 PM
I completely understand how awkward the pining crush is. When it's obvious that a guy is interested in a girl, but refuses to make a move, it can make any social interactions where both are present really uncomfortable, not just for the girl involved but also for everyone who has to watch the guy's attempts at flirting. (It's the same if the genders are reversed, I'm just going with this scenario since it was the one in the OP.)

I think, since in this case there is no creepiness or anything involved, having a mutual guy friend intervene is ideal, particularly since Andrew has openly made his interest in Rachel known to several people. This is the key aspect of the whole scenario, IMO - Andrew is pulling other people into the situation and therefore I think this makes it appropriate for someone to intervene. Ask someone who is known to be tactful/respectful to pull Andrew aside and clearly, without any sugar coating, say "Andrew, you're a great guy, but Rachel just doesn't think you two are compatible for a relationship. You're making her uncomfortable since it's obvious you want to be more than friends. It's never going to happen. You need to stop flirting."
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Surianne on January 23, 2012, 07:18:59 PM
I really like the idea of having a mutual friend casually talk to him.  This has worked well for me in the past.  I have magic powers* that seem to attract very socially-awkward guys who don't pick up well on subtleties, but who also get hurt fairly easily, so it's not always the best choice for me to wait until they get up the courage to ask me out and then politely shoot them down.  Better for them to move on to a girl who is interested, right?  Mutual friends can give the guy a quick heads up. 

*Note: This isn't bragging. I'm not super-hot, just a combination of both nerdy and friendly, so nerd boys tend to gravitate toward me.  Which is great when I'm looking, but not so awesome when I'm not!  The last time this happened, a friend had to sit the guy down and say "Uh...just so you're aware, posting a pro and con list on your public blog about whether or not to ask Surianne out?  Is kind of creepy.  Also creepy?  Using her full name and posting her photo."
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: TurtleDove on January 23, 2012, 08:40:13 PM
Surianne, I cringed for you!  How flatteringly creepy!!!!!
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Ceallach on January 23, 2012, 08:43:09 PM
I really like the idea of having a mutual friend casually talk to him.  This has worked well for me in the past.  I have magic powers* that seem to attract very socially-awkward guys who don't pick up well on subtleties, but who also get hurt fairly easily, so it's not always the best choice for me to wait until they get up the courage to ask me out and then politely shoot them down.  Better for them to move on to a girl who is interested, right?  Mutual friends can give the guy a quick heads up. 

I agree, this is a good strategy.  It avoids the embarassment of having the person they care about being the one to let them down.   Much better for somebody to let him/her know privately that their affection is obvious but that he/she is not interested, and give them a heads up that they may want to redirect their attentions or even be *less* obvious. 
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: LifeOnPluto on January 23, 2012, 08:52:05 PM
If Rachel is dating someone, she should definitely casually mention it in passing. If she's not dating anyone, maybe she can casually let slip that she's not looking for a relationship right now. Or else, if she IS looking for a relationship, point out another guy who is "her type". (Eg if Andrew is the geeky gamer type, perhaps she can casually point out that surfers / skaters are more her type, etc).

Or else I really like the "You're like a brother to me" line.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Raintree on January 24, 2012, 01:52:19 AM
Oh, I've been Rachel. I found it really uncomfortable to deal with the hinting and making excuses to be around me, when I really wasn't interested. He didn't give me an opportunity to say no, because he never asked!! I found ways to not really be around him except on Facebook, and after a while when the behaviour continued by Facebook, I just defriended and blocked him. Cowardly way out? Probably, but it was getting annoying, and like in Rachel's case, not even in a creepy or threatening way; just annoying.

In Rachel's case it's awkward, because it sounds as though she has mutual friends and actually sees him in social settings. He's kind of put her in a situation where she can't really say "I'm not interested" because he can then come back with, "You have the wrong impression, I was never looking for more than friends." (That's happened to me too, right after the guy clearly asked me for a date).
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Reason on January 24, 2012, 08:34:24 AM
My answer would probably change if the genders were reversed. But to address the situation as stated, Rachel is under no obligation to acknowledge or even react to Andrew's apparent attraction. He is not doing himself any favors by dancing around the issue either.

If he simply asked her on a date, she would be free to decline and the whole matter would be put to rest. Or she may even accept for all he knows, but it seems that Andrew is so afraid of being rejected he can not bring himself to do what he needs to do. It's easier to not ask and avoid the certainty of being refused. So really the problem lies entirely with Andrew.

If however, the jokes and awkward flirting begin to bother Rachel, then she is well within her rights to call him on it, in which case he needs to stop (and probably will).

POD to your reply

But if I may... I am curious... what would you change if the roles were reversed?

This is just a personal opinion of mine, so I am not saying everyone should act this way. But the way I grew up, women were expected to flirt (if interested) and men were expected to make the first move (if interested). Things are different now, but not for everybody.

My answer would change because I would never expect a woman to make the first move, so I would not suggest that. I would suggest that if she's tried her best to flirt and give the guy an opportunity and he's too dense to notice then he's probably not worth her time and she should move on. So, it's almost the same thing but not really.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: TheVapors on January 24, 2012, 08:43:41 AM
Rachael & Andrew.

Rachael doesn't need to tell Andrew no, but I think she would be wise to make it clear she's not interested by pointing out what she does think. She can do this by friend-zoning him hard.

OK, so it's not all rainbows and sunshine being friend-zoned, but it gets the point across.

Scenario:

Andrew: I think you dropped your napkin.
Rachael: Thanks! You're always looking out for me. Like a brother.

Scenario:

Group conversation turns to dating, and Andrew is present.
Rachael: There's this guy I see at the coffee shop on my way to work. I'm thinking of asking him out. (Goes on for a sentence or two about this other man and how he suits her wants.)

If the GIANT HINTS of him being more like a brother, or of her interested in not-him go unnoticed, then I think it's fine to have a friend step in... casually, but firmly.

If Rachael and Andrew share a mutual friend:

Andrew brings up that he's interested in Rachael. Mutual friend says gently, "Andrew, it's pretty obvious you like her. I know you try to be subtle, but you aren't as subtle as you think. Plus, I don't know whether or not you realize this, and maybe you need to hear it... she's not interested in you as more than a friend."

---

Raphael & Andrea:

Same friend-zoning tactics. "Like a sister." "It's good having -friends- like you." "Oh, hey there's a girl at work I'm thinking of asking out."

I've never found women to be as clueless about these social clues, so usually that's enough. That's not to say that a woman can't overstep... in which case, I'd still suggest the mutual friend. But, that it be done quite privately, by a friend closer to Andrea to soften the blow.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: SleepyKitty on January 24, 2012, 09:09:40 AM
Oh, I've been Rachel. I found it really uncomfortable to deal with the hinting and making excuses to be around me, when I really wasn't interested. He didn't give me an opportunity to say no, because he never asked!! I found ways to not really be around him except on Facebook, and after a while when the behaviour continued by Facebook, I just defriended and blocked him. Cowardly way out? Probably, but it was getting annoying, and like in Rachel's case, not even in a creepy or threatening way; just annoying.

This is another good reason to get someone involved and make it clear to Andrew that he needs to back off on his crush - a genuine friendship can be ruined if he just refuses to take a hint. If Rachel did have to resort to this avoidance technique, then it might affect more than just Andrew and Rachel's friendship, since they have so many mutual friends who are aware of the situation since Andrew told them. Personally, if I was part of a group of friends, and the guy was so oblivious to how uncomfortable he was making a girl that she had to start avoiding him, I'd probably be sympathetic to the girl and stop inviting him places I knew she would be.

Of course, nothing will turn me off of a guy - even as a friend - faster than this PA way of courting, so this may just be my personal take. Mostly because it is uncomfortable when everyone knows what's going on, and the guy is, as Raintree noted, denying the woman in the situation the right to say no. To me, it's one of the most disrespectful ways of approaching a woman since it takes away her ability to refuse the attention without escalating the situation to even more awkward heights.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Petticoats on January 25, 2012, 08:36:45 AM
Yep, regardless of genders, the kind and merciful thing is for a mutual friend who's noticed the pining to take the piner aside and say, "It's obvious how you feel, but this isn't going to happen." It will hurt the piner, but that wake-up call can be a necessary dose of reality.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: peach2play on January 25, 2012, 04:01:12 PM
I've been Rachel and I took the guy aside and asked him what was up?  I then gently let him know it wasn't ever going to happen.  He tried harder.  I finally had a very firm talk with him and let him know that he had no shot and told him if he kept it up I would call him on each and every action.  I kept my word.  We are best friends now and he is dating a very lovely woman who he plans to marry.  Ignoring him won't work.  Someone in that group needs to take him aside and let him know that his behavior is unacceptable.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Carotte on January 25, 2012, 06:18:08 PM
Yep, regardless of genders, the kind and merciful thing is for a mutual friend who's noticed the pining to take the piner aside and say, "It's obvious how you feel, but this isn't going to happen." It will hurt the piner, but that wake-up call can be a necessary dose of reality.

No matter is you're not 13 anymore, using a third party is always a good option, because the third party  can act like A (who is pinning on B) doesn't know that thirdparty is asking B if B would go out with A - even if it was A who asked thirdparty.
Feelings saved for everyone if B says no, A can just act like nothing happened, B might wonder why thirdparty wanted to set him up with A, but no harm done.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: AustenFan on January 26, 2012, 12:15:04 AM
I think it would be a kindness for Rachel to meet him for coffee and let him know (gently!) that she's just not there. That way there's no confusion or false hope. Hopefully a 30 minute awkward conversation will save countless hours of wondering and hoping on Andrews part and Rachel can stop worrying about if he's getting her hints and how to subtly discourage him.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: MariaE on January 26, 2012, 01:21:16 AM
I think it would be a kindness for Rachel to meet him for coffee and let him know (gently!) that she's just not there. That way there's no confusion or false hope. Hopefully a 30 minute awkward conversation will save countless hours of wondering and hoping on Andrews part and Rachel can stop worrying about if he's getting her hints and how to subtly discourage him.

I completely disagree! Yes, it would be a kindness to let him know (either personally or through a third party as some suggested), but it would not be a kindness to meet him for coffee. That would be setting him up for the worst disappointment, as he would undoubtedly misunderstand her intentions.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: AustenFan on January 26, 2012, 02:22:46 AM
I think it would be a kindness for Rachel to meet him for coffee and let him know (gently!) that she's just not there. That way there's no confusion or false hope. Hopefully a 30 minute awkward conversation will save countless hours of wondering and hoping on Andrews part and Rachel can stop worrying about if he's getting her hints and how to subtly discourage him.

I completely disagree! Yes, it would be a kindness to let him know (either personally or through a third party as some suggested), but it would not be a kindness to meet him for coffee. That would be setting him up for the worst disappointment, as he would undoubtedly misunderstand her intentions.

Since she hasn't expressed any interest in him to date I hardly think asking him to meet at a coffee shop would be setting him up for disappointment. A call or text that says 'hey, I've been getting a weird vibe lately and wanted to talk to you about it, can you meet me at such and such' wouldn't be out of line or raising any hopes.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: MariaE on January 26, 2012, 02:39:45 AM
I think it would be a kindness for Rachel to meet him for coffee and let him know (gently!) that she's just not there. That way there's no confusion or false hope. Hopefully a 30 minute awkward conversation will save countless hours of wondering and hoping on Andrews part and Rachel can stop worrying about if he's getting her hints and how to subtly discourage him.

I completely disagree! Yes, it would be a kindness to let him know (either personally or through a third party as some suggested), but it would not be a kindness to meet him for coffee. That would be setting him up for the worst disappointment, as he would undoubtedly misunderstand her intentions.

Since she hasn't expressed any interest in him to date I hardly think asking him to meet at a coffee shop would be setting him up for disappointment. A call or text that says 'hey, I've been getting a weird vibe lately and wanted to talk to you about it, can you meet me at such and such' wouldn't be out of line or raising any hopes.

I still disagree. To some pining crushes any indication that the object of their crush is willing to spend one-on-one time with them would be raising hopes.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Winterlight on January 26, 2012, 08:52:08 AM
I'm with Maria. If I know someone's got a crush then I want to be careful not to send the wrong signals, and this could come off as a potential date- right up to the point when you tell the person you aren't interested in dating them. So after raising their hopes, you crush them. Not kind, in my book.

The third party approach allows them to save face.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: MerryCat on January 26, 2012, 11:17:05 AM
Actually, depending on how big a crush they have, the crusher might still see meeting for coffee as a date even after the crushee has explained their lack of interest. Afterall, they agreed to meet with you alone, one on one. And yes they're not interested, but maybe they'll meet with you again, and if you hang out alone enough times who knows what could happen?

I'm not saying that Andrew is a creepy stalker type. But having been an incredibly silly 14-year-old girl who was constantly falling in "love," I can attest first hand to the power of self-delusion.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: couchpotato on January 26, 2012, 04:55:28 PM
I was in this situation years ago. Only I was Andrew. I was clueless and looking back, very obvious. My Rachel was polite and nice to me, but he never gave me any solid discouragement (which I took as encouragement). I never got up the nerve to ask him out since I enjoyed his company in our group and didn't want to screw anything up.

It would have been a kindness if a mutual friend took me aside and told me he wasn't into me so I would stop making a fool of myself. Just my opinion as someone in Andrew's position.

BTW, my thing evolved into me not being very active in the group and meeting DH. I had been losing interest in the shared activity for a while, but my crush fueled my attendance. Once I decided to let go of him, I was able to let go of the group and move on with my life.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: LifeOnPluto on January 26, 2012, 08:10:22 PM
I'm with Maria. If I know someone's got a crush then I want to be careful not to send the wrong signals, and this could come off as a potential date- right up to the point when you tell the person you aren't interested in dating them. So after raising their hopes, you crush them. Not kind, in my book.

The third party approach allows them to save face.

I tend to agree. I think if Rachel approaches him personally and tells him up-front she's not interested, Andrew will probably get defensive and tell her she's "completely misunderstood" his intentions, and that he doesn't fancy her at all. That leaves both of them looking silly and feeling bad.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: girlysprite on January 27, 2012, 08:02:56 AM
I'm so gonna let my DH read this thread - we have a mutual friend we play D&D with, and he is this to the letter. (OP, you aure you aren't part of our D&D group? ;) ). Combine this with the fact that this guy spends too much time on all the social media and makes replies to new posts/tweets very quickly and you get a bit of a stalker vibe. To make it a bit worse, he is quite older than the girl is - not always a problem, but he is in quite another stage in life than she is - and the girl broke up with her BF less than 2 months ago. When she tweets about workout, he hints at poledancing. When she says she can't make it to the D&D session, he expresses regret as there are no other 'blong young single girls around'. My DH gave this guy already a talk, because he tends to overstep boundaries in many places (not just flirting).

What also may help - when such a guy makes semi-flirty comments, the girl could say 'I don't really feel comfortable when you say that'. Or if that is too strong, just give a 'what are you saying??' look and let an awkward silence hang in the air.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Reason on January 27, 2012, 08:37:52 AM
On the subject of bringing in a third person to discuss it with the guy, I don't really think it will help him save face at all. It can easily come across as "Everybody knows about your inept attempts to court a girl that's not interested in you. It's pretty pathetic and you need to stop." Even if that's true, saying that is not necessarily kind (assuming that's the motivation.)

I see nothing wrong with saying "you are making me feel really uncomfortable" directly though. If he stops right there and hopefully says "sorry, I meant no offense", then he will not lose face. We all strike out every now and then.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Petticoats on January 27, 2012, 08:48:55 AM
I was in this situation years ago. Only I was Andrew. I was clueless and looking back, very obvious. My Rachel was polite and nice to me, but he never gave me any solid discouragement (which I took as encouragement). I never got up the nerve to ask him out since I enjoyed his company in our group and didn't want to screw anything up.

It would have been a kindness if a mutual friend took me aside and told me he wasn't into me so I would stop making a fool of myself. Just my opinion as someone in Andrew's position.


I've been in this situation too, and a mutual friend did let me know, when my feelings became clear, that I had zero chance of getting anywhere with my crush. It was humiliating and painful, but much less so than it would have been if my crush had told me this himself. This way I was able to hang on to a shred of dignity in that I could tell myself that my crush hadn't cottoned onto my feelings for him.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: SleepyKitty on January 27, 2012, 09:16:31 AM
I see nothing wrong with saying "you are making me feel really uncomfortable" directly though. If he stops right there and hopefully says "sorry, I meant no offense", then he will not lose face. We all strike out every now and then.

I think the only problem with this is that it is it's going to be humiliating for everyone involved. I'm assuming that Rachel is not spending time alone with Andrew, which would mean she's calling him out in front of mutual friends. It will likely embarrass and upset Andrew - after all, not only is the girl he's crushing on rejecting him but she's doing it in front of others, and I don't think it's too much of a stretch to assume he would respond by denying he's flirting or interested, which either makes him look even more awkward in front of his friends or makes Rachel look like a jerk. It's also going to be so awkwardly painful for the mutual friends to be forced to witness the whole scenario. It's also a very direct way of rejecting someone, when a mutual friend could do it in a much kinder manner.

This of course doesn't apply if Rachel is spending time alone with Andrew, which is a whole other kettle of fish.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: girlysprite on January 27, 2012, 09:38:11 AM
I see nothing wrong with saying "you are making me feel really uncomfortable" directly though. If he stops right there and hopefully says "sorry, I meant no offense", then he will not lose face. We all strike out every now and then.

I think the only problem with this is that it is it's going to be humiliating for everyone involved. I'm assuming that Rachel is not spending time alone with Andrew, which would mean she's calling him out in front of mutual friends. It will likely embarrass and upset Andrew - after all, not only is the girl he's crushing on rejecting him but she's doing it in front of others, and I don't think it's too much of a stretch to assume he would respond by denying he's flirting or interested, which either makes him look even more awkward in front of his friends or makes Rachel look like a jerk. It's also going to be so awkwardly painful for the mutual friends to be forced to witness the whole scenario. It's also a very direct way of rejecting someone, when a mutual friend could do it in a much kinder manner.

This of course doesn't apply if Rachel is spending time alone with Andrew, which is a whole other kettle of fish.

In that case, the 'pregnant pause' might be a subtler approach. Give a look to acknowledge that you heard a comment, but just shrug or don't reply. When done well enough it doesn't draw attention of the whole group, but might get a clue to the person who made semi-flirty comments.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: kethria on January 27, 2012, 11:01:16 AM
Everyone has given really good advice... the situation just reminds me of this XKCD comic...

http://xkcd.com/513/ (http://xkcd.com/513/)
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: girlysprite on January 27, 2012, 03:19:43 PM
Everyone has given really good advice... the situation just reminds me of this XKCD comic...

http://xkcd.com/513/ (http://xkcd.com/513/)

So painfully real and true...
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: Petticoats on January 28, 2012, 10:07:22 AM
Everyone has given really good advice... the situation just reminds me of this XKCD comic...

http://xkcd.com/513/ (http://xkcd.com/513/)

So painfully real and true...

Indeed. Scarily close to home.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: mbbored on January 28, 2012, 05:01:50 PM
I have been Sarah before. My Andrew hinted at how great we'd be, at how wonderful I am and constantly gazed at me. Unfortunately, our most older than us mutual friends thought it was cute and encouraged him. Quietly I convinced them one by one that there was no future for me and Andrew and that he was making me very uncomfortable. As for Andrew himself, I found no solution but to ice him out. I don't engage in small talk with him, I don't approach whatever group he's in, I don't go near him. It's been 18 months, I feel like a horrible person, but every time I exchange so much as a pleasantry, he goes full force again.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: MerryCat on January 28, 2012, 05:10:58 PM
Yeah, the situation really sucks because either you have to be the "bad guy", by freezing someone out, or put up with constant unwanted almost-advances. And because they're not quite real advances, you can't really reject them either. I hope someday you'll be able to break your Andrew of his obsession, mmbored.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: SamiHami on January 28, 2012, 06:03:21 PM
As long as this crush is not interfering with the group activities (i.e. his behavior being so over the top that it is driving others away from the group) then everyone should keep out of it. Interfering in the feelings (or lack thereof) of others is meddling, not helpful.

If Rachel is annoyed or upset enough with his obvious crush, it is up to her-and only her-to have a private conversation with him to discuss it. And it should remain private, not fodder for discussion among the group. Rachel having a third party talk to him on her behalf is cowardly, to say the least.

The only circumstance in which someone should intervene would be if there were a genuine risk of danger involved, and the OP made it clear that this isn't the case. My opinion would not be different were the situation reversed.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: supotco on January 31, 2012, 04:46:04 PM
I have been Sarah before. My Andrew hinted at how great we'd be, at how wonderful I am and constantly gazed at me. Unfortunately, our most older than us mutual friends thought it was cute and encouraged him. Quietly I convinced them one by one that there was no future for me and Andrew and that he was making me very uncomfortable. As for Andrew himself, I found no solution but to ice him out. I don't engage in small talk with him, I don't approach whatever group he's in, I don't go near him. It's been 18 months, I feel like a horrible person, but every time I exchange so much as a pleasantry, he goes full force again.

I've had this situation twice. One was a colleague to whom I was able to say 'Sorry, I am really not interested in you. Please leave me alone'. He gazed for a while but eventually got over it.

The other was REALLY awkward as he was a friend of a friend.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: katycoo on January 31, 2012, 06:29:15 PM
Yes, I've done it successfully.

In that situation I very much wanted to maintain the friendship, and I felt strongly that if the man in question asked me out and was rejected, then our friendship would have to change.

Admittedly, we were younger, so I've no idea if this would fly now, but I basically sent him an email acknowledging that I'd heard rumours he was keen.  I told him how much I valued his friendship and said that I was flattered but not attracted to him in that way.
I also gave an all important out - that I hoped I wasn't embarrassing myself if the rumours weren't true, and if that was so, he could just ignore the whole email.

So - he got to pretend he was never going to ask me, and I got to keep a good friend.
Title: Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
Post by: blarg314 on February 03, 2012, 07:20:03 AM

From Rachel's point of view, pre-rejecting is unlikely to work. He'll just deny that he's interested, and make her look like she's weirdly obsessive and imagining things.

What she can do, though, is discourage him. Avoid any situation that involves being one on one with him. Don't sit next to him at social events. Don't start conversations with him. If he follows her around, find someone else to talk with immediately. If he starts a conversation, keep it monosyllabic. Don't answer the phone when it's him.  For someone in his position, anything that isn't borderline rude will be seen as encouragement.

However, a mutual friend can do a lot here, if they sit down with Andrew and tell him that 1) It's blindingly obvious to everyone that he's got the hots for Rachel, and he's embarrassing himself by the way he's trailing after her and 2) She's not interested, period.