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Author Topic: Letting a Friend Down Easy.  (Read 33836 times)

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Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« 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.


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #1 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.


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #2 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.


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #3 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.


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #4 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.


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #5 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,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.


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #6 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".


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #7 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.
"A true gentleman is one who is never unintentionally rude."  - Oscar Wilde


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #8 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. 


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #9 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.


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #10 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.


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #11 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.

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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #12 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!


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #13 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.


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Re: Letting a Friend Down Easy.
« Reply #14 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. 

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