Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Dating => Topic started by: RavenousEdenFleur on December 01, 2013, 04:55:39 PM

Title: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: RavenousEdenFleur on December 01, 2013, 04:55:39 PM
I seem to be the date guru out of my friends because of E-Hell now :)I get good advice and impart it to them.

My friend Jenni met a man at a wine bar a couple months ago. This is her friends bar and so she goes there quite often as does he and they started chatting one day and she found him very sweet and interesting. Let's call him Max.The issue is Max is 30 years older than her and she was dating someone at the time so she felt comfortable becoming friends with him.

Over the last couple of months Max has started developing some strong feelings for Jenni, making it known he would like to date her one day. She is now single but she finds while they make good friends, they are different in many other aspects of life and she cannot get over the age difference. She has said when he gives her advice she feels like it's her dad lecturing her and he will say things like "hey drink your water!" when they are out as a group and she feels like he feels like he can boss her around because she is younger.

He does a lot of for her and she has told him there is no need, she can pay her own way but he will always pull the credit card out, offer to drive her far distances so she doesn't have to...and she feels like she's using him if she says yes, but he gets very sad when she says no so she gives in.

He has been inviting her to meet his extended family and to holidays and Jenni says she is afraid that if she let's this continue he is going to be even more hurt.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: guihong on December 01, 2013, 05:03:22 PM
She needs to tell him she doesn't want to see him anymore (no being "friends"), and stop letting him do things for her.  She needs to recognize that being "sad" when she says  no is actually a form of emotional blackmail.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: veronaz on December 01, 2013, 05:07:16 PM
Completely agree with guihong.

She needs to learn to say "No" and mean it.  No "friendship", and stop accepting favors.

Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: miranova on December 01, 2013, 05:08:06 PM
Hands down, she needs to stop accepting huge favors and stop letting him pay her way.  We can blame him for acting sad, but the fact of the matter is that she does bear some responsibility for accepting the money and favors.  She needs to stop that, immediately.  Then the next time he brings up dating, she needs to say that they wouldn't be a good match.  The age difference is a perfect reason if she feels like giving one.  No need to say much more.  If he doesn't understand that, then he's not a nice guy and I'd cease to care about letting him down easy at that point.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: ------ on December 01, 2013, 05:08:39 PM
I agree. The longer it goes on, the more he will be hurt and likely feel "used", even though your friend is doing nothing of the sort. I think it would be a kindness to end things now, before he becomes more emotionally invested in the rel@tionship, whatever he thinks it is. It may be difficult to do now, but it will have to be done eventually, and later on will be much harder on everyone.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: blarg314 on December 01, 2013, 07:01:35 PM

She needs to go for a two step approach.

The first is to be very, very clear that she is not interested. He has expressed interest directly, which makes it easy (brushing off someone who is *acting* this way but hasn't said anything can be harder). She needs to say "I liked you as a friend, but I am not interested in you romantically, and I will never be interested in you romantically, and the way you've been pushing me to do this has turned me off your friendship."

The second is to put her actions where her words are. Keep her distance - avoid talking with him one on one or confiding in her. *Definitely* stop letting him pay her way, even if she has to get mad at him to get him to stop, or pay for her food/drinks in advance, or refuse to consume something he buys for her.  Don't let him driver her places.

And tell her to read this link

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCoQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.doctornerdlove.com%2F2012%2F12%2Fproblem-nice-guys%2F&ei=sdqbUqXmIIewkgWz4IDQDg&usg=AFQjCNFaDVJAzAy-pNe4ngaERvy6aR1k0w&bvm=bv.57155469,d.dGI

on the "Nice Guy". Max is not offering to drive her long distances and paying for her because he's a sweet selfless guy - if he were, he'd be doing this for *everyone*, not just people he was sexually interested in.  He's doing it because he's hoping he can buy his way into being her boyfriend - that she'll feel she owes him a relationship (or sex) because look at all he's done for her.  He didn't take no for an answer, and is trying to force a woman into a meet the family visit when she hasn't even agreed to date him.

He's not a nice guy. He's a "Nice Guy" and that's a totally different thing. (Definitely read the link above - it spells it out very clearly). Being friends with someone who is trying to weasel their way into being your boyfriend by subterfuge and bribes is generally not possible.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Allyson on December 01, 2013, 07:05:31 PM
Ah, a Nice Guy problem. I think a lot of it depends on whether Jenni truly wants to stay friends with Max. If she doesn't, lots of the above advice is good; she can absolutely feel like she's in the right to cut ties. If she does want to be his friend, I think she should have a very clear talk with him. Tell him that she's not interested in him romantically (here he may try to deny he's into her, that happens someones) and because of that, she's no longer comfortable accepting X Y and Z from him.

If he pulls the 'sad' card and tells her he's just being nice, she should tell him that since he wants to be nice to her, he should respect her wishes. Because at this point *she* is doing *him* a favor by letting him do things for her, not the other way around.

From previous experience, I don't see this ending well, but hopefully Jenni can make it clear as soon as possible. Anytime Max pushes boundaries she can just repeat "I'm not comfortable". That makes it have nothing to do with *his* intentions at all. He will argue his intentions are good, so she should be fine with it, but she can tell him "look, it doesn't matter what you mean by it, even if you aren't hitting on me I am still not comfortable with it".
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: aiki on December 01, 2013, 08:33:17 PM
In addition to what everybody else has said, a man who is 30 years older than someone who can drink in bars is certainly old enough to be managing his own feelings of disappointment. Being visibly or vocally "sad" over a non-reciprocated affection is nothing more than a manipulative tactic and should be treated with contempt rather than commiseration.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: LifeOnPluto on December 01, 2013, 08:34:30 PM
What an awkward situation! I'm guessing that Jenni is fairly young and perhaps not used to asserting herself, especially when it comes to dating?

By accepting Max's favours, she is sending him mixed messages. If he wants to introduce him to her family, he probably sees her as "the girl I'm dating", if not his actual girlfriend!

She needs to stop accepting his favours. Be firm when he acts all sad. And she needs to make it clear that she does NOT see him as a romantic interest. If she doesn't want to be blunt with him, perhaps she could do other things, like pointing out guys her own age whom she'd like to date. Or pointing out women Max's age that he might be interested in!

Also, if I'm reading the OP right, the bar belongs to one of Jenni's friends? That's a good thing. Just in case Max does end up getting nasty, or whiney, etc, the friend can ban him from returning. 
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Raintree on December 01, 2013, 11:21:43 PM
Even if she was interested in him, he does sound a little controlling/manipulative. Time to stop accepting favours from him and just let him be all "sad" about it.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: blarg314 on December 02, 2013, 01:54:39 AM

If she doesn't want to make him sad, or hurt his feelings, or risk making him mad, then she should marry him.

He's demonstrated that he won't recognize or accept a polite no or subtle hints, and is willing to run straight over reasonable boundaries.  Consequently, she either has to be direct and very firm (which will make him sad, poor baby) or accept whatever he wants to do.

Yes, it can hurt to be interested in someone and find out that they are not interested in you. But reasonable, polite people pay attention to whether or not other people are interested in them, and when someone says that they like them as a friend but aren't interested in them romantically, they take that to mean that the other person isn't interested in them, and they move on. They don't take it as a sign they should get more aggressive (or sneakier), or try to coax/trick/guilt/bribe/force the other person into a relationship they don't want.

Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: cicero on December 02, 2013, 01:59:25 AM
the age difference is, IMHO, a red herring. he's acting inappropriately or clueless (I don't know how assertive she is around him so not sure if he is being clueless or inappropriate). he is trying to manipulate her into going out with him. that's not cool - doesn't matter if there is a 30 day difference between them or 30 years.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Teenyweeny on December 02, 2013, 04:47:44 AM
Never, ever, ever get involved with somebody who tries to change your 'no' into a 'yes'. Even if all they're asking is "can I get you a glass of water".

At best, they are manipulative and don't respect you. At worst...yeah.

As PPs have said, Jenni needs to stop accepting anything (seriously, not so much as a breath mint) from Max, no matter how 'disappointed' he acts. In addition, she needs to tell him that she won't ever want a romantic relationship with him, ASAP.

I don't expect that they can be friends. I don't think Max wants to be friends. He's doing the classic NiceGuyTM routine of "putting kindness coins in until sex falls out". Stay faaaaaaaar away from people like that!

Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: English1 on December 02, 2013, 06:40:05 AM
I don't think Max is a bad guy. He's a guy who believes all the rom-com movies that show men impressing their way out of the friendzone and into love...
But Jennie has also been feeding this by accepting all the favours and gifts. It was wrong of her to do that.

She needs to be clear and consistent from now on (if in fact she wishes to remain friends with him).

she needs to make a clear statement to Max that she does not see him in a romantic way now, and never will. It isn't going to happen, ever. And stop accepting the gifts and favours. He either accepts it and reins things back, or cuts off contact himself as he isn't going to get his own way. Great either way. If he says he accepts it but the behaviour continues she has no option but to cut off contact herself.

If she doesn't actually want to be friends with Max, then she needs to cut off contact with him now.

He's been pushing inappropriately but she has also been using him (knows the situation but continues to take advantage of it).

Time for it to stop for both their sakes.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: DavidH on December 02, 2013, 11:11:26 AM
I think it's time for her to make it very clear where they stand.  For example, "Max, it makes me very uncomfortable when you offer to pay for things and drive me places.  It is clear to me that you have feelings for me that I just don't have for you.  We need to take a big step back and while neither one of us needs to stop coming to XYZ bar, we should make it a point not to see each other outside of those interactions." 

If she lays it out bluntly, but not rudely, then he has all the information he needs to change his behavior and he can no longer misinterpret her acceptance of his offers as the beginnings of a relationship.  Since she knows that he is offering to pay or drive her places since he thinks they're dating, accepting those offers is playing into his interpretation of it. 

The key challenge I see is that they both like going to the bar.  It is not fair, at this stage, to ask him not to go there and there is no reason she should stop going there, but that should be their only interaction. 

I think saying being sad is emotional blackmail is unfair.  It is more likely that he actually is sad when she says no.  Being turned down by someone you are interested in can do that to a reasonable person. 
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Firecat on December 02, 2013, 12:16:57 PM
Never, ever, ever get involved with somebody who tries to change your 'no' into a 'yes'. Even if all they're asking is "can I get you a glass of water".

At best, they are manipulative and don't respect you. At worst...yeah.

As PPs have said, Jenni needs to stop accepting anything (seriously, not so much as a breath mint) from Max, no matter how 'disappointed' he acts. In addition, she needs to tell him that she won't ever want a romantic relationship with him, ASAP.

I don't expect that they can be friends. I don't think Max wants to be friends. He's doing the classic NiceGuyTM routine of "putting kindness coins in until sex falls out". Stay faaaaaaaar away from people like that!

POD.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: cwm on December 02, 2013, 12:18:56 PM
Never, ever, ever get involved with somebody who tries to change your 'no' into a 'yes'. Even if all they're asking is "can I get you a glass of water".

At best, they are manipulative and don't respect you. At worst...yeah.

As PPs have said, Jenni needs to stop accepting anything (seriously, not so much as a breath mint) from Max, no matter how 'disappointed' he acts. In addition, she needs to tell him that she won't ever want a romantic relationship with him, ASAP.

I don't expect that they can be friends. I don't think Max wants to be friends. He's doing the classic NiceGuyTM routine of "putting kindness coins in until sex falls out". Stay faaaaaaaar away from people like that!

POD.

Put me in this camp too.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: EllenS on December 02, 2013, 12:31:17 PM
Here's the thing - she doesn't have to "let him down easy" - she has to break up with him.

In his mind, they are already dating.  Actions speak louder than words, right?  The concept of a "just friends" relationship, which includes every aspect of dating except physical intimacy, is an extremely new one. To people of my generation and older, (which this guy would be according to my math), dating is the entire relationship, not a small nuance based on whether you are attracted to/kissing someone. 

She says: "we're just friends"
She does: go out with him, spend time with him, accept invitations from him, allow him to pay her way, accept long car rides.

She is dating him, whether she wants to call it that or not.  He wants to introduce her to his family, because SHE IS HIS GIRLFRIEND. (I'm sure he's told them that, anyway, and he very likely believes it.)

There is no explanation or reasoning, or "easy" way to do this, other than:
No.
I am not seeing you anymore.
I'm sorry you got the wrong impressioion, but no.

If she keeps seeing him, he will continue to assume they are dating.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: DavidH on December 02, 2013, 01:39:08 PM
POD EllenS. 

Allowing this to progress to this point without ever clarifying anything seems like the beginning of a relationship.  The fact that he asked you to meet his family is the strongest possible hint that he regards her as much more than just his friend from the wine bar.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: veronaz on December 02, 2013, 02:06:31 PM
POD EllenS. 

Allowing this to progress to this point without ever clarifying anything seems like the beginning of a relationship.  The fact that he asked you to meet his family is the strongest possible hint that he regards her as much more than just his friend from the wine bar.

I also POD EllenS.

There is no "easy" way.  He "thinks" she is his girlfriend and you can be sure he has told his family all about the girl he is "dating", and that she will eventually come around (intimacy).
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: FauxFoodist on December 02, 2013, 02:22:17 PM
POD EllenS. 

Allowing this to progress to this point without ever clarifying anything seems like the beginning of a relationship.  The fact that he asked you to meet his family is the strongest possible hint that he regards her as much more than just his friend from the wine bar.

I also POD EllenS.

There is no "easy" way.  He "thinks" she is his girlfriend and you can be sure he has told his family all about the girl he is "dating", and that she will eventually come around (intimacy).

Ah, good points.  I was wondering why in the world he wants to introduce someone who's just a friend to his family.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: BarensMom on December 02, 2013, 02:44:23 PM
The lady in question should:

- tell Max once and for all that she is not interested in any sort of relationship. 
- flatly refuse his offers of assistance. 
- inform the owner/manager if he starts to behave in a harassing manner. 
- stop going to that wine bar if the management refuses to intervene.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: LifeOnPluto on December 02, 2013, 08:14:51 PM
I don't think Max is a bad guy. He's a guy who believes all the rom-com movies that show men impressing their way out of the friendzone and into love...
But Jennie has also been feeding this by accepting all the favours and gifts. It was wrong of her to do that.


I agree. I think it's bit harsh to describe Max (at this point anyway) as "manipulative" and "disrespectful", etc.

Here's the thing - she doesn't have to "let him down easy" - she has to break up with him.

In his mind, they are already dating.  Actions speak louder than words, right?  The concept of a "just friends" relationship, which includes every aspect of dating except physical intimacy, is an extremely new one. To people of my generation and older, (which this guy would be according to my math), dating is the entire relationship, not a small nuance based on whether you are attracted to/kissing someone. 

She says: "we're just friends"
She does: go out with him, spend time with him, accept invitations from him, allow him to pay her way, accept long car rides.

She is dating him, whether she wants to call it that or not.  He wants to introduce her to his family, because SHE IS HIS GIRLFRIEND. (I'm sure he's told them that, anyway, and he very likely believes it.)

There is no explanation or reasoning, or "easy" way to do this, other than:
No.
I am not seeing you anymore.
I'm sorry you got the wrong impressioion, but no.

If she keeps seeing him, he will continue to assume they are dating.


And POD to EllenS. It's very likely that a guy his age (50 and older?) probably sees this set-up as "dating".

Jenni needs to stop sending him mixed messages (accepting favours, etc), and nicely but firmly tell Max that she is NOT interested in him romantically.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: blarg314 on December 02, 2013, 08:32:29 PM
Here's the thing - she doesn't have to "let him down easy" - she has to break up with him.


That puts it beautifully. The relationship may not be physical, but from his side they are a dating couple. He pays for her, they do date like activities together, he's inviting her to meet his family...

I have met people who were really that clueless, sometimes willfully. It's also possible that he knows what he's doing, and is deliberately trying to take advantage of her inability to be direct and is trying to coerce her into a relationship.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Raintree on December 03, 2013, 02:06:36 AM
OP, please be sure to give us an update when your friend tells this guy she is not interested in dating him. I want to hear about what he does. Gets angry? Sad? Tells her the "Come on, I think what you are looking for is right in front of you" line?
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: veronaz on December 03, 2013, 05:00:09 AM
She needs to take it further than just saying “I don’t want to date you”.  She needs to stop spending time with him……no rides, no accepting anything he pays for, and frankly no discussion.  I can easily see him saying “Well… fine, but what’s wrong with being friends?   I’ve been nice to you, but you’re being mean.  What did I do wrong?” 

etc., etc., etc.  ::)




Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Another Sarah on December 03, 2013, 05:01:35 AM
I don't think Max is a bad guy. He's a guy who believes all the rom-com movies that show men impressing their way out of the friendzone and into love...
But Jennie has also been feeding this by accepting all the favours and gifts. It was wrong of her to do that.


I agree. I think it's bit harsh to describe Max (at this point anyway) as "manipulative" and "disrespectful", etc.


I have been in this position before (although with a guy my own age) and this behaviour flags a massive warning sign to me. In my case, telling a guy I didn't like him but attempting to stay friends with him resulted in a slow increase of manipulative behaviour, from offering little things (that I would expect as friendly favours and return, not whacking great favours or gifts), to being so disappointed when he offered me something I thought was too much so I felt like I had to take it so as not to upset him, to throwing a sulk when I didn't pay him enough attention, to insulting my other male friends, to self harming when he thought I wasn't being friendly enough.
It took me the better part of a year to get out from a hideous situation, all based from the fact that I didn't want to hurt a "nice guy", who took advantage of that and made me feel as though I was responsible for his emotional wellbeing.

I'm not saying Max is like that, but I'm saying it's a possibility, particularly in the short time frame you're talking about (they've known each other a couple of months and she had a boyfriend for some of that, so they can only have been "dating" for a few weeks tops).

I've had other friends that have wanted more and it's turned into nothing but normal friendship, but Jenni needs to get right away from any possibility of emotional manipulation and that starts by making her feelings perfectly clear and not accepting any more gifts.
She needs to get him alone and say something like
"Max, I'm sorry but I want to make it perfectly clear. I do really like you as a friend but that is as far as it will ever go. We don't have enough in common and we want different things out of life. I hope you understand that."

then she needs to make sure she puts herself on an even footing with him.
"I like driving, I like the time alone"
"I don't need anyone to drive me, thanks"
"Erm, I'm alright for water thanks grandad"

On a bar night out it's normal to buy a friend a drink, so she needs to make sure she reciprocates to stop feeling beholden to him, and if he pulls the pouty face, she can pull it right back.
"I'll pay for these drinks, you bought the last round. No argument"
"I'm good for drinks thanks. I'll get myself one in a bit"
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Allyson on December 03, 2013, 12:22:28 PM
I also don't think Jenni is 'using' Max by allowing herself to be guilted into accepting favours. I'd feel differently if she was the one calling him up and asking him for things, but this doesn't seem like that situation. It can be *very* hard to refuse someone's 'nice' offers, and a lot of the time the people making these offers are counting on that. The fact that they get so sad when refused says to me they're not doing it 'for' the other person, but for themself.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: EllenS on December 03, 2013, 12:36:50 PM
I don't think Max is a bad guy. He's a guy who believes all the rom-com movies that show men impressing their way out of the friendzone and into love...
But Jennie has also been feeding this by accepting all the favours and gifts. It was wrong of her to do that.


I agree. I think it's bit harsh to describe Max (at this point anyway) as "manipulative" and "disrespectful", etc.


I have been in this position before (although with a guy my own age) and this behaviour flags a massive warning sign to me. In my case, telling a guy I didn't like him but attempting to stay friends with him resulted in a slow increase of manipulative behaviour, from offering little things (that I would expect as friendly favours and return, not whacking great favours or gifts), to being so disappointed when he offered me something I thought was too much so I felt like I had to take it so as not to upset him, to throwing a sulk when I didn't pay him enough attention, to insulting my other male friends, to self harming when he thought I wasn't being friendly enough.
It took me the better part of a year to get out from a hideous situation, all based from the fact that I didn't want to hurt a "nice guy", who took advantage of that and made me feel as though I was responsible for his emotional wellbeing.

I'm not saying Max is like that, but I'm saying it's a possibility, particularly in the short time frame you're talking about (they've known each other a couple of months and she had a boyfriend for some of that, so they can only have been "dating" for a few weeks tops).

I've had other friends that have wanted more and it's turned into nothing but normal friendship, but Jenni needs to get right away from any possibility of emotional manipulation and that starts by making her feelings perfectly clear and not accepting any more gifts.
She needs to get him alone and say something like
"Max, I'm sorry but I want to make it perfectly clear. I do really like you as a friend but that is as far as it will ever go. We don't have enough in common and we want different things out of life. I hope you understand that."

then she needs to make sure she puts herself on an even footing with him.
"I like driving, I like the time alone"
"I don't need anyone to drive me, thanks"
"Erm, I'm alright for water thanks grandad"

On a bar night out it's normal to buy a friend a drink, so she needs to make sure she reciprocates to stop feeling beholden to him, and if he pulls the pouty face, she can pull it right back.
"I'll pay for these drinks, you bought the last round. No argument"
"I'm good for drinks thanks. I'll get myself one in a bit"

I get where you are coming from, but frankly I think this is way too much interaction. I think it is not unreasonable for Max to assume they are dating, since she is doing date behavior with him.  Looking for a way to have a private conversation about her "feelings"? Hanging out with him, buying him drinks, even continuing conversations with him is simply going to come across as a head-game. ("she says she doesn't want to date me - but then why is she acting like my girlfriend?")

She doesn't owe him an education on what "just friends" is supposed to mean, or any explanation/permission on why he should "allow" her drive herself, etc.

"No." is a complete sentence.  "No, but..." and "No, because...." are negotiations.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: RavenousEdenFleur on December 03, 2013, 11:23:10 PM
Update!

Jenni didn't have to bring anything up to Max, he asked if he could talk to her yesterday.He said he was feeling such sadness because he knows she is not ready for a relationship now but he is the best for her.He knows what she wants and needs and would treat her better and love her more than any other man she knows.

She was extremely taken aback by this and said kindly but firmly "no" was are just friends and she said she even felt like she was using him a bit since he clearly had feelings for her that she did not reciprocate.He said she wasn't using him and he argued with her about what they did and did not have in common.They disagree on many core values and while they have fun talking about wine.movies and travel that is as far as it goes with them. Jenni doesn't feel that spark with him, which she totally believes in... and I do too! I think sometimes a friendship can grow into love, but not this.

She said his constant stories of being impoverished and trying to bring her down wasn't making her feel very good. Especially since after complaining bout money he would try to be very extravagant with her.She said she felt like when he offered advice it wasn't as a friend, but it felt more like  a parent and he said "I'm not acting like a parent, if I was I would just criticize you" and she stated her parents don't criticize her.She said the age difference was too much when all was said and done and there would be no relationship romantically..he ended it  with "well let's think about it"I told Jenni to cut ties! She may see him at the wine bar, but her friends do own it so they will have her back if he bothers her.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 04, 2013, 12:03:23 AM
It sounds like he didn't listen to a thing she said.  Especially the whole "Well let's think about it...." after she said there would be no romantic relationship

Also Jenni needs to learn to stop justifying herself.  Every justification and reason was and will be seen by Max as an obstacle to overcome.  They didn't need to have a conversation about the HOW'S and WHY's of their suitability.  The conversation that needs to happen is that "THEY" will never happen as a couple EVAR.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Raintree on December 04, 2013, 12:50:07 AM
Quote
He said he was feeling such sadness because he knows she is not ready for a relationship now

Oh good grief. More proof that he thinks that if he is patient/persistent enough, she will eventually want a relationship with him.

I find this guy irritating as all get out and I haven't even met him. This whole thing (in the update) reads like a very patronizing, "You're naive and you don't know what's good for you; only I can show you." And in the end, after being told her position on the matter, he wants her to THINK ABOUT IT?

No, clearly he doesn't get it, and if it were me, I would stop being friends with him at all because I would find this all so insulting, that he thought I wasn't capable of knowing who I was and was not interested in dating.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Teenyweeny on December 04, 2013, 03:05:43 AM
He said he was feeling such sadness because he knows she is not ready for a relationship now but he is the best for her

He knows what she wants and needs and would treat her better and love her more than any other man she knows.

..he ended it  with "well let's think about it"

Whoa nelly! Those are three huge RED FLAGS right there. And I'm not usually the one to say that.

Those three statements are manipulative, narcissitic, and honestly, he sounds like a proto-abuser, if he isn't one already. I'd lay a £100 bet that his exes have some stories.

It's all about him, and how he feels. He doesn't actually care about her, at all. This is about satisfying his ego. He won't listen to her when she says 'no'. These are bad signs. I honestly couldn't have written a better 'NiceGuy' script if I'd tried. He knows her mind better than she does, if she'd just stop being so silly and see things from his point of view, she'd realise that she owes him a relationship, because he's just that great of a guy.

Honestly, Jenni needs to CUT ALL TIES. Now, now, run, don't walk, now! I've seen what happens when the Maxes of this world are denied their 'rights'. It's not good.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: MariaE on December 04, 2013, 03:29:30 AM
I completely agree with Teenyweeny! He's abused the "Let's just stay friends" opportunity and now Jenny will have to cut all ties altogether.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Mel the Redcap on December 04, 2013, 04:18:40 AM
My opinion? Flee! Fleeee~! Run like your shoes are on fire, Jenni! And for the love of green apples and little fishes, don't let him corner you into a long talk about his feeeeelings. The best outcome from that would be a couple of hours of extreme frustration and embarrassment.

He's still not accepting her 'no'. He's still treating this whole thing as "I know best, don't worry your pretty little head about it, I'll make ALL the decisions". I think Jenni needs to go hardcore no-contact, no sitting and drinking with him, no doing anything or going anywhere with him, no conversations beyond "I don't want to talk to you" or "There's nothing to discuss. I said no. You need to accept that"… and I don't think Max is going to take it well.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: English1 on December 04, 2013, 04:29:46 AM
unrequited love is painful but he's a big boy and will get over it.

Jennie shouldn't have 'argued' with him - it's not down to her to convince him they aren't compatible, and she shouldn't bother listening to his arguments as to why they are. She should have really not got into that conversation - just stated her position 'we aren't, and never will be in a relationship' and left it at that, even physically leaving if he attempted to continue. She is in a difficult position, I have sympathy for her, but actually she needs to be more assertive. If it helps her, she needs to realise it's actually the kindest thing to do for him.

agree with the others now that as he can't accept a plain 'no' then it's time to cut off all contact.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: gingerzing on December 04, 2013, 04:44:13 AM
My opinion? Flee! Fleeee~! Run like your shoes are on fire, Jenni! And for the love of green apples and little fishes, don't let him corner you into a long talk about his feeeeelings. The best outcome from that would be a couple of hours of extreme frustration and embarrassment.

He's still not accepting her 'no'. He's still treating this whole thing as "I know best, don't worry your pretty little head about it, I'll make ALL the decisions". I think Jenni needs to go hardcore no-contact, no sitting and drinking with him, no doing anything or going anywhere with him, no conversations beyond "I don't want to talk to you" or "There's nothing to discuss. I said no. You need to accept that"… and I don't think Max is going to take it well.

What part of "no" is this guy not getting?   Jenni would do well, if she ever gets stuck talking to him (Don't) to tell him that she has grave reservations of "friends" who don't accept no, let alone guys who don't accept no and want relationships.   
Yeah, he has now -actually before the "sad talk" fallen into creep mode.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: cicero on December 04, 2013, 05:41:25 AM
He knows what she wants and needs and would treat her better and love her more than any other man she knows.


just this line alone would be enough to make me run run run. "I know what you want and need". yeah, right.

I agree with the PPs - she needs to sever ties, he is really not listening to her at.all.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: LifeOnPluto on December 04, 2013, 06:38:36 AM
..he ended it  with "well let's think about it"

Urg. I hope Jenni replied "There's nothing to think about. It's never going to happen. End of story."

This guy may be completely clueless (although sadly with that update, it is looking more like he's being deliberately manipulative), but even so, his patronising attitude is a HUGE turn-off.

I agree that Jenni should not stay "friends" with him.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Amara on December 04, 2013, 08:57:07 AM
Please tell Jenni that the only "conversation" she should have with this guy is "no." That's right, a one-word conversation followed by turning her back on him and walking away.

Every. Single. Time.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Petticoats on December 04, 2013, 11:00:22 AM
Podding the other wise posters here. He's made it clear he doesn't respect the "no, because" she gave him. She needs to follow up fast with a "no, PERIOD" and cut off contact. The idea of this guy thinking he has the right to brush aside her stated wishes and do her thinking for her gives me the jim-jams.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: EllenS on December 04, 2013, 11:44:14 AM

What part of "no" is this guy not getting?   

The part where Jenni keeps on having a long conversation about her feeeeeeeeeeeelings.

Women who are not interested in a man do not normally spend time analyzing or having deep discussions with him about their emotions, desires, goals, plans, or values.
That is relationship talk. 

Every second she spends talking to him about their relationship, is reinforcing his belief that they are IN A relationship.  He may be skeevy, or manipulative, or patronizing, but he is not delusional.

Jenni needs to stop mumbling "no, really, but...", woman-up and LIVE her no.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: TurtleDove on December 04, 2013, 12:34:39 PM

What part of "no" is this guy not getting?   

The part where Jenni keeps on having a long conversation about her feeeeeeeeeeeelings.

Women who are not interested in a man do not normally spend time analyzing or having deep discussions with him about their emotions, desires, goals, plans, or values.
That is relationship talk. 

Every second she spends talking to him about their relationship, is reinforcing his belief that they are IN A relationship.  He may be skeevy, or manipulative, or patronizing, but he is not delusional.

Jenni needs to stop mumbling "no, really, but...", woman-up and LIVE her no.

Once again, POD to EllenS.  Jenni is definitely a part of the problem.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on December 04, 2013, 03:26:09 PM
Jenni needs to stop mumbling "no, really, but...", woman-up and LIVE her no.

I gotta say, love that line.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: veronaz on December 04, 2013, 05:42:42 PM
Wow. 

I completely agree with Teenyweeny! He's abused the "Let's just stay friends" opportunity and now Jenny will have to cut all ties altogether.

Yes, this.

OR - continue to put up with it.

The choice is Jenni's. 
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: blarg314 on December 04, 2013, 08:04:15 PM

I agree with PPs.

He didn't listen to a word she said. He has zero interest in taking no for an answer, and is trying to argue/browbeat/guilt her into dating him. His response to any of her reasons was "No, you're wrong and I'm right." That's a HUGE red flag, and even if you're madly in love/lust with someone is a reason to run away really fast.

The only sensible option now is to cut ties with him. I 100% do not think a healthy friendship is possible now. If she tries, she will be telling him that she's okay with the way he is behaving (and from the OP's description, I don't think she has the ability to both enforce reasonable boundaries *and* interact with him.). Don't answer his emails, don't answer his phone calls, if necessary, avoid things like the wine bar where he can easily corner her. At a group event - warn a friend or two that he's been harassing her, to help run interference. If he tries to push it further, I think a good stock response is

"I'm not interested in a relationship with you. I am no longer interested in any sort of interaction with you. Do not contact me again."

If he pushes it further, or escalates (starts stalking, shows up at her place, email/phone bombing) contact the non emergency police  line (or emergency, if he's standing outside her apartment right then) and ask for advice.

I will add two comments for future use.

First, if you turn down someone's romantic advances, it's a really bad idea to get pulled into discussing and defending your reasons. "I'm not interested in you that way" is *always* an acceptable and sufficient response. If you agree to discuss it, it tells them that it *is* up for discussion - they can change your mind through argument.

Second, one of the easiest ways to get involved in unpleasant or dangerous situations is to ignore or rationalize all the signs that things are off. If someone doesn't respect your right to say no to a romantic relationship, it doesn't *matter* whether they're malicious and doing it on purpose, or they're really a nice person under it all, or they are clueless socially and don't know any better, or they're horribly lonely, or you're the only person they will ever love. What really matters is that this is a person who does not acknowledge your right to say no, and regards what they want as much more important than what you want.

That doesn't mean you need to mace anyone who asks you out more than once. But it does mean you mentally flag that person as problematic, and carefully watch their behaviour and your own responses, so that you notice if things escalate or they don't back off, and respond appropriately.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: LifeOnPluto on December 04, 2013, 08:13:33 PM
Great advice Blarg, especially your first point about not discussing why you're turning them down.

Some guys can get really persistent. A guy at a bar once asked my friend for her number. She refused, and he became a pest. He kept hanging around us, asking my friend things like "But what have I done wroooooong???" "Did I say anything? Did I do anything?" "I can't understand why you won't give me your number." Then he moved onto questions like "Are you secretly married - is that why you won't give your number?" and "Are you a [L-word for a woman who likes other women]?" He acted genuinely puzzled; as if there was a huge mystery behind why my friend didn't give him her number. And he was determined to find out.

My friend tried to be nice about it. "No, you haven't done anything wrong. It's me, not you. No, I'm not married. I guess I'm just not feeling a connection".

But he wouldn't let the matter drop, and in the end, we actually had to leave the bar just to get away from him. 
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Raintree on December 05, 2013, 02:45:49 AM
My sister, Elly, had one in high school. A couple years older, constantly asking her out, she constantly said no, nicely at first, but then he would try to cajole and convince, and one day he said, "I'm not going to give up on you Elly."

For some reason this 30-year age difference also really wigs me out. I realize this really has nothing to do with anything (she is not interested, period) and I know that some couples do have significant age differences, but a three decade gap is not the norm and OP's friend has already stated she has a problem with it. To me, this puts the guy even more into some la-la fantasy land.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Another Sarah on December 05, 2013, 04:48:50 AM

What part of "no" is this guy not getting?   

The part where Jenni keeps on having a long conversation about her feeeeeeeeeeeelings.

Women who are not interested in a man do not normally spend time analyzing or having deep discussions with him about their emotions, desires, goals, plans, or values.
That is relationship talk. 

Every second she spends talking to him about their relationship, is reinforcing his belief that they are IN A relationship.  He may be skeevy, or manipulative, or patronizing, but he is not delusional.

Jenni needs to stop mumbling "no, really, but...", woman-up and LIVE her no.

I think this is a bit unfair. The problem to this point was that Jenni hadn't told him her feelings. She hadn't actually said no, because she was uncomfortable doing so, palming it off on already having a relationship, then when she became single was looking for advice on how to let him down easy.
Being clear and telling him, "no I don't want a relationship" is not reinforcing the relationship, it's drawing a line in the sand.
Now she has a position from which she can state "I told you I'm not interested." Any further date-like interaction on his part can be called out as boundary-crossing.

I agree she shouldn't have gotten drawn in to discussing "whhhhyyyy don't you like me?" but most people of this type are very good at controlling conversations like this, and she knows not to let it happen again.

My previous post was based on the idea that she wanted to remain friends with this guy. I think he's now forfeited that right by being uber-creepy and unwilling to accept her answer, and I agree with everyone - disengage


Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: gingerzing on December 05, 2013, 08:29:07 AM

Some guys can get really persistent. A guy at a bar once asked my friend for her number. She refused, and he became a pest. He kept hanging around us, asking my friend things like "But what have I done wroooooong???" "Did I say anything? Did I do anything?" "I can't understand why you won't give me your number." Then he moved onto questions like "Are you secretly married - is that why you won't give your number?" and "Are you a [L-word for a woman who likes other women]?" He acted genuinely puzzled; as if there was a huge mystery behind why my friend didn't give him her number. And he was determined to find out.


Why is it that if you don't want to go out with some guy (or give your number to some random bar guy) that the L-word comes up?  Almost as often as the "frigid witch", <word for girl that sleeps around> or tease. (often all four in the same breath.)   
In college, I found my spine for this type of guy (not the 30-year old, but general persistant ones who then dropped the L or called me the other stuff*. 
"Nope.  Not a L/S/T/F.  Mainly you are just a jerk and I have standards."


(*also got called a racist because I wouldn't date a Purple guy who's friend was dating my roommate.  Laughable since I have a couple Purple cousins. )
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Yvaine on December 05, 2013, 08:32:29 AM

Some guys can get really persistent. A guy at a bar once asked my friend for her number. She refused, and he became a pest. He kept hanging around us, asking my friend things like "But what have I done wroooooong???" "Did I say anything? Did I do anything?" "I can't understand why you won't give me your number." Then he moved onto questions like "Are you secretly married - is that why you won't give your number?" and "Are you a [L-word for a woman who likes other women]?" He acted genuinely puzzled; as if there was a huge mystery behind why my friend didn't give him her number. And he was determined to find out.


Why is it that if you don't want to go out with some guy (or give your number to some random bar guy) that the L-word comes up?  Almost as often as the "frigid witch", <word for girl that sleeps around> or tease. (often all four in the same breath.)   

They have to think you're a lesbian because otherwise they have to admit it's them you don't like. Thinking you just don't like any man that way is less threatening.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: weeblewobble on December 05, 2013, 11:45:44 AM
My sister, Elly, had one in high school. A couple years older, constantly asking her out, she constantly said no, nicely at first, but then he would try to cajole and convince, and one day he said, "I'm not going to give up on you Elly."
.

To which she said?
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: weeblewobble on December 05, 2013, 11:50:40 AM
Update!

Jenni didn't have to bring anything up to Max, he asked if he could talk to her yesterday.He said he was feeling such sadness because he knows she is not ready for a relationship now but he is the best for her.He knows what she wants and needs and would treat her better and love her more than any other man she knows.

She said the age difference was too much when all was said and done and there would be no relationship romantically..he ended it  with "well let's think about it"I told Jenni to cut ties! She may see him at the wine bar, but her friends do own it so they will have her back if he bothers her.

RED FLAG

He knows her better than she knows herself?  He is what's best for her?  Well, since he's made all of the judgements and decisions for her, I guess she should just let him conk her on the head with his club and drag her back to the cave.

There is no, "let's think about it."  She has given him her no and he refuses to hear it.  So they are no longer friends.  She needs to avoid him like a really annoying telemarketer.  seriously, there is so much wrong with his thinking, I doubt very much she is safe around him.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Raintree on December 05, 2013, 09:36:35 PM
My sister, Elly, had one in high school. A couple years older, constantly asking her out, she constantly said no, nicely at first, but then he would try to cajole and convince, and one day he said, "I'm not going to give up on you Elly."
.

To which she said?

I am not sure; I remember her talking about it but this was over 30 years ago. Knowing her, she probably looked at him in exasperation and repeated that she wasn't interested. But I don't know. I just couldn't believe (back then) that a guy would say that after being told "no" already in no uncertain terms.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: weeblewobble on December 05, 2013, 10:15:40 PM
Believe it.  It took me giving a former guy friend the cut direct (which was super-awkward considering we had a ton of mutual friends and worked together at a student organization) in order to get him to grasp that I was not a damsel in distress, waiting for him to rescue me from my unhappy life.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: RavenousEdenFleur on December 06, 2013, 12:06:52 AM
I spoke to Jenni a bit the other day and she is wracking her brain and feels bad about her role. She feels like she should have never accepted any invites or gifts, she is younger and has only been in one other relationship so she was truly thinking she made a new friend, who could be more of a mentor and friend!

Last night she got home from a date with someone she really likes and had a good 30 paragraph email from Max filled with poetry quotes and song lyrics and talking about his melancholy over her not loving him back and how they can bond in their poverty and history of abuse (Jenni is not impoverished and I don't personally know about the abuse...not sure what that is about) and how can they not be together when he loves her so much.

She talked to her friend who owns the wine bar they frequent and they said she is came alone or with others they would look out for her if Max was there and not on his best behavior.She is really uncomfortable around him now.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: ------ on December 06, 2013, 12:17:03 AM
I spoke to Jenni a bit the other day and she is wracking her brain and feels bad about her role. She feels like she should have never accepted any invites or gifts, she is younger and has only been in one other relationship so she was truly thinking she made a new friend, who could be more of a mentor and friend!

Last night she got home from a date with someone she really likes and had a good 30 paragraph email from Max filled with poetry quotes and song lyrics and talking about his melancholy over her not loving him back and how they can bond in their poverty and history of abuse (Jenni is not impoverished and I don't personally know about the abuse...not sure what that is about) and how can they not be together when he loves her so much.

She talked to her friend who owns the wine bar they frequent and they said she is came alone or with others they would look out for her if Max was there and not on his best behavior.She is really uncomfortable around him now.

Uh...she has every reason to be!

She needs to run fast and run far from this guy. He is very bad news. Your friend needs to hang on to those emails...just in case.

In the meantime, she needs to write him a letter or email expressing in no uncertain terms that she is NOT and NEVER will be romantically interested in him, and that by ignoring what she already told him, he has forfeited her friendship, too; that he is to leave her alone from now on.

I'm not kidding. That's creepy, what he did. She needs to get away from him. I don't know if she should keep going to that bar, (I probably wouldn't for a while) but then again, she shouldn't have to change her life or routine because of some creepy guy. But personally, I'd feel reluctant to go there for a while.

In any case, she needs to make it clear that there will be no relationship. Period. No discussion. And in writing.

Edited to add the following: and then no more communication with him again. Ever.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Raintree on December 06, 2013, 12:34:47 AM
I spoke to Jenni a bit the other day and she is wracking her brain and feels bad about her role. She feels like she should have never accepted any invites or gifts, she is younger and has only been in one other relationship so she was truly thinking she made a new friend, who could be more of a mentor and friend!

Last night she got home from a date with someone she really likes and had a good 30 paragraph email from Max filled with poetry quotes and song lyrics and talking about his melancholy over her not loving him back and how they can bond in their poverty and history of abuse (Jenni is not impoverished and I don't personally know about the abuse...not sure what that is about) and how can they not be together when he loves her so much.

She talked to her friend who owns the wine bar they frequent and they said she is came alone or with others they would look out for her if Max was there and not on his best behavior.She is really uncomfortable around him now.

Uh...she has every reason to be!

She needs to run fast and run far from this guy. He is very bad news. Your friend needs to hang on to those emails...just in case.

In the meantime, she needs to write him a letter or email expressing in no uncertain terms that she is NOT and NEVER will be romantically interested in him, and that by ignoring what she already told him, he has forfeited her friendship, too; that he is to leave her alone from now on.

I'm not kidding. That's creepy, what he did. She needs to get away from him. I don't know if she should keep going to that bar, (I probably wouldn't for a while) but then again, she shouldn't have to change her life or routine because of some creepy guy. But personally, I'd feel reluctant to go there for a while.

In any case, she needs to make it clear that there will be no relationship. Period. No discussion. And in writing.

Edited to add the following: and then no more communication with him again. Ever.

I agree with this. That email he sent her is creepy and not normal guy behaviour. She shouldn't feel bad for accepting invites/favours etc in the past, because she thought she just had a friend; perhaps even was a little naive, but now that she realizes what's going on she can cut all that off. I agree to send him the email as Mr. Kitty describes above, and then she has a record/proof that she has actually told him to stop contacting her. And don't delete anything.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Amara on December 06, 2013, 01:14:39 AM
If she contacts him at all she should make it short and blunt: Leave me alone! Then cut direct.

And she needs to forget her guilt. It's worse than useless to her, it's making her re-think her role in this and giving him the opening he needs. I have no doubt he knows this. That's why he is still pushing; he sees her guilt and is using that to his benefit.

Jenni really needs--and I mean now--to cut him off at the knees. There is nothing else that will work. I'd also agree that she needs to stay away from the bar for a while. It is nice of her friends to try and help her out, but given the latest update I am convinced Max will not believe them when they say she doesn't want to see him. He'll believe they are wrong and are keeping him from her when what she wants is him and may likely up his efforts, possibly into the stalking stage.

This is way beyond someone being interested in her. If she refuses to recognize this, she will find herself in deeper and deeper.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: ------ on December 06, 2013, 01:28:59 AM
If she contacts him at all she should make it short and blunt: Leave me alone! Then cut direct.

And she needs to forget her guilt. It's worse than useless to her, it's making her re-think her role in this and giving him the opening he needs. I have no doubt he knows this. That's why he is still pushing; he sees her guilt and is using that to his benefit.

Jenni really needs--and I mean now--to cut him off at the knees. There is nothing else that will work. I'd also agree that she needs to stay away from the bar for a while. It is nice of her friends to try and help her out, but given the latest update I am convinced Max will not believe them when they say she doesn't want to see him. He'll believe they are wrong and are keeping him from her when what she wants is him and may likely up his efforts, possibly into the stalking stage.

This is way beyond someone being interested in her. If she refuses to recognize this, she will find herself in deeper and deeper.

This. SO much this. Everything Amara and Raintree said is so true.

Jenni just needs to drop her guilt right now and write this off as a learning experience. Now that she knows his true intentions, there is no reason to continue any kind of relationship, since he made it clear he won't respect her boundaries.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Corvid on December 06, 2013, 06:52:30 AM
Aw, poor kid.  I've been there myself and it was startling, confusing, and uncomfortable.

The "Older Male who quasi-adopts and mentors the Female Protagonist" is a common enough trope in books and movies aimed at girls and women but it doesn't seem to play out that way very often in real life.  When I was young and dumb, I had to learn the hard way that when older men paid attention to me, it wasn't friendly mentoring they were interested in.  Maybe I saw these older men as people on a different plane of existence, so to speak, but they didn't see themselves that way.

I agree that even if this guy were Jenni's age, he's throwing up some red flags.  Jenni, whenever a man tries to guilt-trip you into pitying him so you'll do what he wants in spite of your concerns and objections, run faster than the wind dreams of blowing.

Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Goosey on December 06, 2013, 08:15:02 AM
The problem is so often in popular media/books/etc it's played out that the girl says she's not interested, but deep down inside, she really is. And if the guy is persistent, it's cute and flattering. So many guys - "nice" guys -  think if they spend time with you, support you, etc, they're owed a relationship. Every action and favor isn't just a "of course I'll do that, we're friends", it's payment towards a future relationship. When the girl doesn't pay out because she's not looking for anything beyond friendship, she's treated like she reneged on a contract even if she made that clear from the beginning. Watch, the minute Jenni starts getting firm with him and trying to break things off, he will go on the offensive - what a jerk she is, how he's a nice guy and has done so much for her, how she used him, etc. All things that are false, but she didn't give him what she wanted so she has to be the bad guy.

Sorry, obviously a pet peeve.

This guy is a creep. The minute a guy tells me that I "don't know what I want" I run. How demeaning.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: weeblewobble on December 06, 2013, 09:28:45 AM
She needs to drop the guilt because it will do her NO good, and it will hinder her ability to make good judgements concerning Max. His insistence that his feelings are more important/trump hers means he is no longer safe for her to be around. 

It's all about him.  It's all about his feelings.  She's basically a living mannequin upon which he projects all of his sad-pants-feelings.  It's no longer about wooing her and now about winning the disagreement over whether he's a viable/worthy partner for her.

She does need to contact him ONCE, in reply to his email.  "Max, your refusal to hear my "no" means you have forfeited the right to my friendship.  Do not reply to this email.  Do not contact me again.  I do not want to see you anymore."

And then she needs to take every step possible to avoid him for the next few months, even if means not going to her favorite bar.  Yes, that's unfair, since her behavior isn't the problem. But safety isn't always fair.  She should expect him to escalate, maybe even show up to her apartment, so she needs to decide now whether she is willing to call the cops on him. (I think she should.)  And have a backup plan in place.  Also, she needs to let this guy she likes/is dating what is going on, in case Max lashes out at him, approaches him with his deluded tales.

Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: gingerzing on December 06, 2013, 09:49:13 AM
She needs to drop the guilt because it will do her NO good, and it will hinder her ability to make good judgements concerning Max. His insistence that his feelings are more important/trump hers means he is no longer safe for her to be around. 

It's all about him.  It's all about his feelings.  She's basically a living mannequin upon which he projects all of his sad-pants-feelings.  It's no longer about wooing her and now about winning the disagreement over whether he's a viable/worthy partner for her.

She does need to contact him ONCE, in reply to his email.  "Max, your refusal to hear my "no" means you have forfeited the right to my friendship.  Do not reply to this email.  Do not contact me again.  I do not want to see you anymore."

And then she needs to take every step possible to avoid him for the next few months, even if means not going to her favorite bar.  Yes, that's unfair, since her behavior isn't the problem. But safety isn't always fair.  She should expect him to escalate, maybe even show up to her apartment, so she needs to decide now whether she is willing to call the cops on him. (I think she should.)  And have a backup plan in place.  Also, she needs to let this guy she likes/is dating what is going on, in case Max lashes out at him, approaches him with his deluded tales.

All of this.  Seriously. 

Just reading what OP heard from her friend set off my hinky meter.  Especially the part about their shared poverty and abuse?  Even if it was true, NOT what you base any relationship on.  And part of me read it as "Yeah, Max... are you planning on abusing her?"

This is way into creep area.  And I think she needs to be pro-active or at least have some plans in place in case he escalates this.  (Calling the police, having friends know what is going on, having exit plans if she is out)

Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 06, 2013, 11:18:58 AM
He said he was feeling such sadness because he knows she is not ready for a relationship now but he is the best for her.He knows what she wants and needs and would treat her better and love her more than any other man she knows.

I'm sorry, I was under the impression Jenni was a grown adult and could make her own decsions about what she did and did not need/want. I hate this "you're a poor helpless woman who doesn't know what she really needs, I am the big strong man who will give you what you need regardless of if want it or not because again, you don't know what you want or need you silly woman" line of thought. Jenni is a grown up. Jenni is not interested in dating him. Max needs to stop. Now.

Quote
They have to think you're a lesbian because otherwise they have to admit it's them you don't like. Thinking you just don't like any man that way is less threatening.

And yet I've had several over aggressive guys who when I say "Dude, I'm a lesbian, it ain't gonna happen", seem to think they can "fix me" or my problem is I've "never had real man". At which point I suggest they go find me one, as they clearly aren't one. A real man can respect a woman's boundaries, sexual orientation, and won't get their ego hurt because a woman isn't interested in them.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Twik on December 06, 2013, 11:23:26 AM
I think Max has been reading too many historical romance novels, honestly.

He's not Rhett Butler, and she doesn't need to be carried up the staircase.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 06, 2013, 11:30:18 AM
Last night she got home from a date with someone she really likes and had a good 30 paragraph email from Max filled with poetry quotes and song lyrics and talking about his melancholy over her not loving him back and how they can bond in their poverty and history of abuse (Jenni is not impoverished and I don't personally know about the abuse...not sure what that is about) and how can they not be together when he loves her so much.

Nope, nuh-uh, Max is a wackadoodle. Time to block all contact from Max, block in email, block is phone number, he no longer exists as far as Jenni is concerned. Jenni also no longer worries about Max's feelings, Max is clearly unconcerned about her's.

If I were Jenni (and maybe I've just watched Criminal Minds too many times), I'd print out the email and go down the the local police department to file a report. Just in case Max ups the wackadoodle and starts stalking.

The only response Jenni should give (and I'd do it in writing so there is proof) is "Max, I'm not interested. Leave me alone". 
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: EllenS on December 06, 2013, 11:41:48 AM
Ewwwwwww.

The only response I would give is "That is inappropriate, and unwelcome. Do not contact me again."
And only once.  Email block and route straight the "crazy evidence I might need later" folder. She shouldn't even read them.

I hope she doesn't get caught up in guilt- that is part of the vortex. Shut it down, walk away.  Stand strong, Jenni!
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: DavidH on December 06, 2013, 11:42:08 AM
Yeah, this has gone way past confusion and mixed signals.  As others have said, next time she sees him she needs to say Max, you obviously haven't heard me, I'm not interested, leave me alone.  And that should be the last time she talks to him. 

I agree that avoiding the wine bar might be a good idea, unfair, but a good idea never the less.  Alternatively only go with at least one other person, to avoid the situation of being alone if he comes in and tries to make conversation.  If there is someone there who she knows, it will be much easier to avoid interacting with him than if she's there alone.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Pen^2 on December 06, 2013, 03:18:54 PM
Quote
They have to think you're a lesbian because otherwise they have to admit it's them you don't like. Thinking you just don't like any man that way is less threatening.

And yet I've had several over aggressive guys who when I say "Dude, I'm a lesbian, it ain't gonna happen", seem to think they can "fix me" or my problem is I've "never had real man". At which point I suggest they go find me one, as they clearly aren't one. A real man can respect a woman's boundaries, sexual orientation, and won't get their ego hurt because a woman isn't interested in them.

DH and I are of different races. I've had guys of the same race as me say basically the same as the above. "You really want a [race] man, you've just never had a real one. But don't worry, your life is better now, because I'll fix that for you." It doesn't matter what the reason is, if they 'want' you, then you're in the wrong for not automatically 'wanting' them back. Finding a reason is trivial.

Some troglodytes* out there simply believe the world revolves around them. They decide that if they have an interest in someone, then that someone is obliged to return their interest. If they don't, then it's a tremendous insult, and is the fault of the other person. Some of these troglodytes consider themselves kind and respectful to offer to fix the other person's abhorrent fault. Seriously, they see their pressuring, refusal to accept 'no' as an answer, emotional manipulations, negging, etc. as a kindness on their part. If their incredibly generous and selfless offer isn't accepted, it's an even bigger insult.

I don't know if Max is this kind of person or if he's just plain old koo-koo. Whatever the reason, he no longer has the excuse of Jenni giving mixed signals. As others have said, she needs to tell him "no" and to leave her alone once only once more, without any reasons or JADEing, keep a copy of the email, and not go to the bar alone for quite a while. This situation is becoming legitimately concerning and I sincerely hope he backs off.

**I apologise to the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). I realise that they generally aren't nearly as screwed up as people like this are, and it's not fair to demean them by making such comparisons, but the word I really want to use isn't appropriate in polite company.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: blarg314 on December 07, 2013, 09:01:55 PM

If your friend is feeling guilty/conflicted at this point, I have two very strong recommendations.

First - she should get some counselling, to help her learn how to understand and set useful boundaries. If she feels bad/is wondering what she has done wrong/doesn't want to be mean with someone who has gone this far over the bounds of reasonable behaviour, she's a danger to herself. She doesn't know how to recognize someone who is a danger to her, and she doesn't have the ability or judgement to protect herself before she gets in real trouble.

The second - he's escalating. I think she needs to talk to the non-emergency police line or legal assistance for advice, because he's gone past lonely socially inept guy to scary.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: veronaz on December 07, 2013, 09:08:22 PM
Quote
The second - he's escalating. I think she needs to talk to the non-emergency police line or legal assistance for advice, because he's gone past lonely socially inept guy to scary.

Agree, but first she needs to send reply to his email and simply say: "Leave me alone.  I'm not interested.  Do not contact me again in any form."  Print/keep a copy.


Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: LifeOnPluto on December 07, 2013, 09:29:44 PM
Wow. I don't really have anything to add to everyone's excellent advice. I agree that this isn't a case of "social cluelessness and mixed signals" but rather a case of "Max is a complete creep".

Jenni needs to email him back saying "Do not contact me again" (or some variation thereof). Personally, I'd avoid going to that bar for a few months. Yep, it's totally unfair, but I think it's best if she doesn't put herself in a position where she'll have any contact with Max.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Petticoats on December 08, 2013, 11:15:29 AM
Is anyone else as anxious as I am for an update in which Jenni gives this guy a firm "do not contact" message?
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: FauxFoodist on December 08, 2013, 11:36:39 AM
Not anxious, but I'm hoping she did what I've done in the past after I've stated I'm not interested and the guy didn't take no for an answer -- simply ceased contact and blocked any further communication reaching me (this was online).  In person, I'd probably stop going to the wine bar for a little bit (a few weeks since OP likes going there -- longer if she can deal with longer).  If not that, I'd have to admit I'd likely enlist the help of a guy friend to start going with me (or even a female friend) so I'd have a buffer while still being able to go to the wine bar.

Not polite, but I did resort to yelling at some guy to "Leave me the f*** alone!" in front of a group of people when in high school because he just would not take no for an answer (he was mentally disabled as I recall).  He did finally stop screaming (yes, literally) my name across the campus to get my attention just so he could say hello after I yelled at him, but I noticed he started lurking around corners to stare at me (because I'd catch the quick movement to hide when I'd turn my head in whatever direction he was).
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: RavenousEdenFleur on December 08, 2013, 02:53:36 PM
She did send him a very firm email saying "leave me alone, you have not respected my wishes and I won't be contacting you again" While yes it is a bummer when your feelings are not reciprocated I have been there once this year and possibly twice with this new person I am seeing...:( but the best thing is always "I understand" and yes you may be sad and you may cry or listen to Adele or eat ice cream...but if you don't want to burn bridges and make people uncomfortable you cannot talk to someone like that.

She also talked to her friends at the wine place. They said again they would look out for her and her guy friend said Max was there on Wednesday night and was all melancholy and he told him that he needs to back off of her and he had to have known nothing was going to come from their friendship.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Mel the Redcap on December 08, 2013, 03:01:50 PM
Good - hopefully that will be the end of it, but unfortunately it's likely to trail on for ages of guilt trips and annoyance. :P

May I recommend CaptainAwkward.com for anyone who finds themselves in a situation where etiquette is no longer the problem and it's edging into problems of safety (or Evil Bees)? There is some swearing and the advice tends to be fairly blunt, aimed at mildly socially awkward people trying to deal with relationship problems of one type or another, but it's very VERY good.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Winterlight on December 08, 2013, 03:03:28 PM
 Good for her. Now, block his email and phone number.

And don't feel guilty.

Seconding Captain Awkward.
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Pen^2 on December 08, 2013, 04:15:57 PM
Good update, thanks. I sincerely hope that's the end of it.

Holy cow Captain Awkward is fantastic. Great link! I'm off to pour over it...
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Petticoats on December 08, 2013, 05:41:47 PM
Glad to see the good update!

I am now strenuously resisting the urge to check out Captain Awkward, because I have let myself be derailed too long already by the interwebs. Must... resist...
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Mel the Redcap on December 08, 2013, 05:58:49 PM
Glad to see the good update!

I am now strenuously resisting the urge to check out Captain Awkward, because I have let myself be derailed too long already by the interwebs. Must... resist...

Pick a week when you have nothing more important to do and then dive into the archives. I suggest starting from the first post and working your way forward in chronological order, because then you get to find out about Evil Bees and Firthing without being confused by them in later posts.  ;D

ETA: and read the comments. DEFINITELY read the comments!
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Calypso on December 09, 2013, 11:34:27 AM
Kudos to your friend for standing up for herself!

And if she has the slightest twinge of guilt, remind her that he's essentially saying this:

"You should be in a relationship with me because I'll be sad at you as hard as I can if you don't. Also, we're both flawed and damaged people, so we're perfect for each other. Also, you're so unlovable that I am the ONLY man for you.

What, you aren't overwhelmed by my charm yet? OK, here's a data dump with all my self pity and a lifetime's worth of my romantic notions, none of which I've bothered to notice you don't share, all vomited out for your approval.. You've GOT to want me now, right? RIGHT?"
Title: Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
Post by: Firecat on December 09, 2013, 12:32:57 PM
Kudos to your friend for standing up for herself!

And if she has the slightest twinge of guilt, remind her that he's essentially saying this:

"You should be in a relationship with me because I'll be sad at you as hard as I can if you don't. Also, we're both flawed and damaged people, so we're perfect for each other. Also, you're so unlovable that I am the ONLY man for you.

What, you aren't overwhelmed by my charm yet? OK, here's a data dump with all my self pity and a lifetime's worth of my romantic notions, none of which I've bothered to notice you don't share, all vomited out for your approval.. You've GOT to want me now, right? RIGHT?"

...and if you don't, I'll be sad at you some more. And I'll tell everyone around us who will listen how sad I am, and try to get them to be my flying monkeys and tell you how sweet I am and how you should just give me a chance.

(And Captain Awkward is awesome. Paging Dr. Nerdlove has some good stuff, too.)