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Handle This: He's Desperate For Friendship

Handle This: He's Desperate For Friendship

Since starting a graduate program away from home, you decided to reach out to as many peers as possible to build your network. In doing so, you quickly became friends with your class partner. Although your friendship is relegated to school, he does talk about his wife from time to time.

One night before class you run into him and decide to get coffee. As soon as you’re alone, he suddenly starts talking about his uncertainties about his marriage and his desires to experience life; at one point he leans in for an awkward hug. You immediately feel uncomfortable and make an excuse to leave. Later that night after class you get an email from him expressing his apologies for his strange behavior — he's just been stressed out. He wants to make sure that he hasn’t damaged your friendship, which he deeply values. When you don't respond, you get another email the next day. His urgency is making you feel even more rattled, but you have to work with him in class next week so how do you handle this?


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jenniferjane jenniferjane 8 years
I would avoid him. If he doesn't get the hint, keep avoiding. It's actually a very kind, un-awkward way of telling someone to leave you alone, if you think about it.
looseseal looseseal 8 years
I'd have given him a good hard swift kick in the balls as soon as he leaned in. "There's new life experience #1 for ya. There's another can of whoop-ass where that came from." Or maybe forget about the kick in the nuts and just get all contemplative, like: "You know, you got me thinking about experiencing new things in life, too. And you're just more of the same. You're just like every lying cheating scumbag I've ever seen or heard about. A total walking cliche. On the other hand, I have never experienced what it would be like to castrate a man with dull scissors." It might also be fun to jerk him around and make him jump through hoops for nothing (people like this deserve to be treated like crap, because that's exactly what they are - crap). BUT that might end up being more of a source of annoyance than amusement, so maybe not. Too much trouble to go to to take out one piece of trash.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i think that he should respect that he crossed a line with you and that you need your space and if he's not picking up on that from your ignoring his emails, then you should just let him know when you see him that you did feel uncomfortable with what he was saying/doing and that you'd rather keep things a bit more separate for a while. he obviously needs to figure out what's going on in his own relationship and he can't do that if he's coming on to you, or even involving you in it.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
I'd just be friendly with him like you would any other person in class but I wouldn't meet him alone or in a small group setting and try to keep the talk on other topics or just on school.
psterling psterling 8 years
What I'd say to do (which is tell him that you feel awkward and he needs to back off) is not at all what I would really do (email him back, tell him everything's fine and then avoid him like the plague).
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
I would tell him upfront that I feel uncomfortable and he should maintain our relationship as a business acquaintance. Even though it's school. School is business. I've had this happen many times at work and it's best to just lay it on the line. You quickly become the snob,b*ch, whatever other than office slut... but you avoid any wife or girlfriend drama.
austerity austerity 8 years
I'd keep it cordial but distant from now on. This sounds like classic behavior from someone who's looking for a nice fling. You have to keep your foot down with such types.
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