I hope this note finds you well! I’m reaching out as I’d love your perspective on my current dating situation.
A few months ago, I was fixed up with a guy through a mutual acquaintance of ours. Before our first date, we spoke on the phone for over an hour so I was really excited to meet him. We ended up agreeing on meeting for dinner on March 12th (the day before I officially went into quarantine).
The date went great! We laughed, there was mutual chemistry, we had shared interests, it all felt very comfortable. He even asked me out on another date before we left dinner. He seemed completely engaged in the evening, we lingered for hours.
During dinner he surprised me by mentioning that he knows my best friend. I live in a city where it sometimes feels like everyone is connected through friends, family, etc. so I brushed it off and didn’t really think anything of it. Because the date went so well, I had no doubt that he would be reaching out.
To my surprise, I didn’t hear from him. So a few days after the date I texted him. This is unusual for me. I’m just traditional that way, and think a man should make that early first move. When he didn’t answer my text, I called my best friend (the girl mentioned on that date) to get the scoop on him.
She explained that a few years ago, they had gone on a couple of dates and that he apparently was more into her than she was into him. She went on to tell me that as time went by and she became more into him, he was no longer into her. Regardless, she made it seem like he was a great guy and added that they hadn’t spoken in years. She then proceeded to ask me a million questions about our date. Her intense curiosity made me feel like she was leaving out details of her own story with him, but I did not question it.
The following week she told me a little more. This time her information contradicted what she had initially told me about the two of them. When I told her that I still hadn’t heard from him after what felt to me like such a great first date, she only then indicated that they were in fact still friends and that he had called her a few weeks before my date with him. Turns out there was a good reason behind my suspicions…and they were only growing.
Over the past month and a half this guy has matched with me on several dating apps and even reached out through one of them sending me a message even though he obviously has my number and knows how to get in touch in a real way. I have not spoken to him since our date. I’m confused and hurt by his behavior. Whether we went on one date or ten, I think it’s always fair to be cordial and honest about where you stand with someone.
Throughout all of this, my best friend has been increasingly distant this past month and a half. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt but this all feels sneaky and shady. We’ve been friends for 15 years, and I hate the chasm that I feel widening between the two of us.
Bee, why didn’t he call me? It was such a nice feeling to be excited about connecting with someone. Should I reach out one more time? Do you think my friend is leaving out crucial details?
Any advice would be so appreciated.
Dear Everyone’s Intertwined,
It has taken me weeks to respond to your letter. As my own “Everyone’s Intertwined” drama painfully unfolds off camera and off Instagram, your letter struck a nerve with me. I have stared at this letter multiple times, trying to read between the lines of what you have given me to disentangle. I say it all the time – the letters that I receive I have to take at face value. I respond to what I’m given. That said, I have always prided myself in sniffing out bullshit.
Here’s the deal, my darling, “Everyone’s Intertwined,” from this moment forward that is no longer the case. YOU are no longer intertwined in someone else’s drama, this is no longer yours.
No. You are not going to call him again. The person you should be calling is that best friend of 15 years. It’s time to find out if she’s worthy of that title.
I have over the past few months, in Covid, had some really tough conversations personally. Phone calls that have led to disillusionment, disenchantments and emotional distancing that makes Corona’s social distancing, feel easy breezy. The chasm that you talk about in your letter makes my heart ache for you.
You know that saying? “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time” ~ Maya Angelou
This is a hard lesson for me. But I don’t think that Ms. Angelou meant for you to leave out crucial conversations or to just draw your own conclusions. Never in your letter to me do you mention a real come to Jesus moment with that bestie of yours. Why is your focus on texting this one-date-wonder and not on the real relationship here? The one that has stood the test of 15 years??? Three question marks sweet girl means that I am utterly confused and slightly annoyed with you!!! Three exclamation marks, oh boy, hang tight.
In my own intertwined drama here in Covid QuaranBEEn I have made countless efforts to have some very real, very painful, and very honest dialogues to resuscitate a friendship that I have believed in. It is a relationship that has brought me joy, fulfillment, connectedness and perceived sisterhood.
I don’t believe in cutting people out or giving up on relationships or friendships without a fight. But in order to fight for something you have to figure out what you’re fighting for. It’s not enough to observe the chasm and note “Gee, that it IS deep and this does make me sad,” WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT???
You are not to text this guy. He is irrelevant. He is your living proof that good dates exist. There are wonderful nights ahead filled with dining and flirting and connecting in your dating life. This was his role in your life. You are never to see him or text him again unless you are wishing him Mazel Tov as you dance the Hora at his and your best friend’s wedding. And here’s the thing, crazy shit happens in this life and you might have to do just that one day. Hopefully, your friendship will be intact and you’ll be wearing a decent bridesmaid’s dress as a tangible symbol of your love and loyalty to her.
I validate every single feeling you are feeling. It is confusing, she is being shady, it would have been nicer to have heard from him and to have understood what happened. Clearly something happened here. My guess is, she felt threatened, didn’t like that you had a great date and a mutual feeling of connection and my personal opinion is that she shit on it somehow. She called him, or texted, or DMd or sent a smoke signal and basically told him to back off. He did what any decent guy would do, he avoided drama between two dear friends. My guess is he heard from her, lunatic-style late night, and scratching his balls on the way to bathroom for one final pee before bed muttered to himself, “who the fuck needs this?”
Here’s what does matter: finding out if the friendship is the real deal. Oftentimes you don’t know the answer to that until it’s tested. This is your test. Dig deep, get to the bottom of it, don’t be afraid to examine it. Ask her what you could have done differently, ask yourself if there were missteps along the way on your part, and then own them. There is a detail of your letter missing and it nags at me. You mention that during this incredible first date he tells you that he knows your best friend. He offered that information up to you on a silver platter, why didn’t you take it and ask “Oh really, how?” I think there’s something more to be examined here. This perhaps is where your role in this saga lies, but that’s for you to figure out. Did you have more of a responsibility in that moment to ask more questions? It’s hard for me to imagine sitting across from someone who tells me that they know my best friend and not ask the simplest of questions: how?
I have not been perfect in my own version of “Everyone’s Intertwined.” I have stood on one side of the ravine in our friendship and she has stood on the other. I have been emotionally charged at times, pushed to the limits of trust and boundaries, and have not always been able to channel my inner Jackie O the way my mother tried to teach me to do. I’m a spitfire, I’m passionate, I’m hot headed, and I can be reactive. But I’m also a really good communicator, loyal AF, and know boundaries intuitively. My friend has cried. I have cried. We even did a remote therapy session together. The friendship may not ever be the same. Perhaps it will be better, perhaps it’s best left to die with whatever dignity remains. I’m still figuring that out. I ask myself each day where I can do better. I ask myself every day, what is my role in this? I look at your trio and the players and I know immediately who’s irrelevant here.
Quarantine is over. Pick up the phone, meet her for a glass of wine, pull down your N95 mask, and look her in her eyes. Ask the questions that need asking. Do your best to seek out the good and the truth, accept that you most likely will never fully know it, and then make your decisions accordingly.
A dear and very wise friend gave me a few tidbits of advice in a recent heart-to-heart over the phone.
“This. Is. Not. Your. Circus” she said slowly, putting emphasis on each word, “and you Jule, you’re no one’s clown.” I think about that often as I navigate my own situation, and I know that it won’t be the last time that I have to apply this wisdom in my life.
Today I’m passing it along to you.
This. Is. Not. Your. Circus. Wipe off your clown makeup, apply some pale pink lippy, and figure out if this is a friend that you want to exit the Big Top with hand-in-hand.
Any unbreakable bond of friendship or love is always better with the below!
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All illustrations by @courtneycoloring
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