Author Topic: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush  (Read 8711 times)

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Allyson

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Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« on: January 23, 2012, 02:21:45 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. 

TurtleDove

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2012, 02:31:30 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. 
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 02:43:35 PM by TurtleDove »

Reason

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2012, 02:42:12 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).

Sterling

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2012, 03:22:29 PM »
If the genders were reversed how would you suggest this be handled?

93 93/93

bah12

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2012, 03:25:52 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.

TurtleDove

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2012, 03:33:42 PM »
Yeah, I don't think the genders matter at all.

O'Dell

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2012, 03:36:04 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
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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lellah

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2012, 03:36:19 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. 

shivering

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2012, 03:39:12 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.

Akka

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2012, 03:39:25 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?

Goodness

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2012, 03:46:59 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!

Carotte

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2012, 04:06:43 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.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 04:14:09 PM by Carotte »

SleepyKitty

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2012, 04:25:17 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."

Surianne

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2012, 08:18:59 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."

TurtleDove

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Re: Is it acceptable to 'pre reject' someone OR the pining crush
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2012, 09:40:13 PM »
Surianne, I cringed for you!  How flatteringly creepy!!!!!