Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Of the Awk

Two awkward situations have cropped up recently. First, one of my coworkers, whom I do consider a friend, invited me to join Twitter. Of course, she doesn't know about this blog. Nor do I want her to. So I can either join Twitter with my real name and not mention my blog, or join Twitter but not friend her (or whatever you do on Twitter). So far, I've ignored her invitation and she hasn't asked about it. Whew.

Second, remember this guy? The college boyfriend who wanted to meet for lunch to catch up? Well, he's emailed me randomly a time or two since friending me and is getting progressively weirder each time. The last time, he sent me an email saying that he had had a dream that something bad happened to my father, and just wanted to make sure he was okay. So I wrote back and said, okay, that's pretty weird, yes, my dad is fine. Then, he asked me some questions about kids (he and his wife just had their first), all of which I answered. And can I just say here that I have never, in all my life, had a dream about an ex's father? I thought that was a little suspicious, but whatevs. That was back in April and I hadn't heard from him since. Until yesterday. See, yesterday was his birthday. (Which I wouldn't have remembered except for the little FB notice thingy.) So I left a message on his profile wall saying, "Happy Birthday - hope it's great!", which is my standard birthday greeting for friends. I logged in later and had the following email from him:

"Shelly-I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to wish me a Happy Birthday. I am not quite sure why, but it means a great deal to me that you would do that. I hope that some day you will be comfortable enough to catch up sometime. I would really like that. I think of you and your family so often. My Very Best- [Ex-Boyfriend]"

Oh Lord. WHAT am I supposed to do with this? What does he want? I swear, I want to write back and just say, "WHY? Why do you think of me and my family so often? I don't think about you at all. Ever." And the "comfortable enough" line! I would be perfectly comfortable around him. I just have no interest. I can't begin to imagine what we would talk about. I talked to one of my friends about it last night and she said that he needs closure, but that there's no way that I can provide that for him, so I should cut off contact. What do you think? Is she right? I'm trying to be the kinder, gentler Shelly here and not cut off contact with people just because they piss me off, so I'm hesitant to cut off contact except as a last resort. But if there's truly no way I can help him, I don't want to prolong this any more than it already has been (10 years, people!), so if cutting off contact will help him get closure, then I'll do it.

Any suggestions?

17 comments:

Jess said...

I would do a sort of half-assed cutting off of the contact. I wouldn't delete him as an FB friend, but I would start ignoring him. No more birthday messages and no responses to any messages he sends you.

Shelly said...

Jess - Yeah, I think that's probably the best way to go. Still feels a little harsh to me.

Alice said...

eh, he's making you uncomfortable, so i don't think it's too harsh to phase him out. he's definitely toe-ing the line of inappropriate, so i wouldn't worry about hurting his feelings by not being responsive at this juncture.

Fiona Picklebottom said...

The Twitter thing - if she mentions it again, tell her you don't think it's something in which you'd be interested, or have time for, or whatever.

The weird guy thing - If you want to be nice, and it sounds like you do, I would ignore him like Jess says and not initiate any contact with him. If he contacts you, be standoffishly friendly (trust me, it's possible) and as brief as possible in your responses. Only respond at all if he asks you a direct question; if he just sends some sort of news, don't respond. Unless he's a complete moron, he'll get the message.

Shelly said...

Alice - thank you, that's what I thought, too. He is toeing the line of inappropriate.

Shelly said...

Fiona - Ooh, that's a good solution, thanks!

Yeah, I think that's the best way to go. Thanks!

Gina said...

Yeah - I'm with everyone else - don't make a production of cutting him off, just half-ass it - cold but civil. Here is a guy who has a new baby, probably is feeling a little less "special" because his wife is wrapped up in their child (and we all know what new babies do to the sex life, so he's probably feeling less virile as well)

I had an old friend (sort-of boyfriend) who would pop into my life via email like that - just strike up a conversation, a little flirtatious, then suddenly disappear. And through the grapevine, I would hear things about marriage troubles and babies, etc and I finally realized that I was his damn fluffer and I was done with that nonsense.

Shelly said...

Oh my God, Gina, I think you just put your finger on it! I think that is exactly what is going on here. I am definitely not going to write back now because no way in hell am I getting in the middle of that shit!

Ree said...

I'm with Jess. Or, if that's still too harsh, tell him you're a bit uncomfortable with some of the messages - and then give him the opportunity to either back away or get pissed and leave!

Pickles and Dimes said...

I agree with Gina. I had an ex-boyfriend from college who started emailing me and wanting to talk all the time, 10 years after the fact. Then I realized he was having a midlife crisis and I totally started ignoring him. It worked. I'm now actually FB friends with his wife (another college friend), but I have yet to friend him (and he hasn't friended me). Your guy sounds like he's confused and trying to reclaim his glory days.

RE: Twitter. I try not to mix work with blog stuff, so I'd either sign up with my real name or just tell her that you don't have time for it.

Shelly said...

Hot - After all these comments, I think I'm just not going to respond. It's easier that way.

Shelly said...

Shauna - Yes, I think that's it exactly. After the baby, he stopped traveling so much, so I bet he's bored and trying to stir things up.

Shelly Overlook said...

You've already gotten some great advice and I have nothing stellar to add.

But, dude. What's up with that guy? Who thinks of an ex and his/her family "often"? Creepy!

Shelly said...

Shelly - I KNOW, RIGHT?! I can barely remember his parents' names!

Hyphen Mama said...

I'll have to go back and read the FB post you linked to, but I think the others are right. He's trying to get into your head. Depending who broke it off back in the day.... he's looking to keep you thinking about him. For whatever reason. Guys aren't typically the one saying "I think of you and your family often", regardless how close to your family he was.

I'd do what the others say... don't make a big "official" production of letting him go, just let it go.

My brother and I were having this conversation last night that he knows SEVERAL married guy friends who's marriages have been destroyed over finding old girlfriends on FB.

Hyphen Mama said...

OH!! I just read that old post and he SO WANTS TO GET INTO YOUR HEAD. 10 years or not, he's not over you. I don't think he wants closure at all. He wants to be your friend only because that's all he CAN be, but he wants to be part of your life.

I have WAY too much experience in this. I've seen it before.

Shelly said...

Hyphen - thanks so much! Wow, marriages have been destroyed over finding exes on FB?! I have to admit, it feels a little weird to be "friends" with a couple ex-bf's on FB. Fortunately, most of them live far away and I am totally uninterested in any of them.