Advice about making friends

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voicelessagony2

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Advice about making friends
« on: February 10, 2015, 06:31:51 PM »
I'm beginning to think I may never learn.

I hide in my house most of the time, avoiding parties, networking events, etc., because crowds and groups of people intimidate me, and make me horrifyingly aware of my lack of purpose and identity.

However, once I am out, I can instantly make friends with any stranger I meet. To the point where, I don't think I am careful enough, and I put myself at risk.

Last week, I was walking down the block to pick up a package that was delivered to the wrong address, and the old guy was nice enough to come and tell me that he had our mail & was too old and feeble to carry it. On my way back, a neighbor a few houses down was outside, and I waved and smiled, and he introduced himself and we talked for a bit. He does construction, and I told him that we are in a never-ending state of renovation, and I asked him if he could possibly advise me on planning some of the details. We had a nice conversation, and a few days later I met him at a nearby coffee shop to talk more about the neighborhood, construction, etc.

*Now* I can see that was a mistake. Now he thinks we are "friends" and while we were at the coffee shop, he sat WAY too close to me, and gave me a friendly hug when we parted ways, which creeped me out, and I wish I had been more alert and self-protective. During our conversation, he told me that he wants to be "secret friends" that would not involve each other's partners (wife/boyfriend).  :blink:

Now I don't know what to do. He has been texting me, wants to show me his project, and I'm NOT GOING to expose myself any further. How did I let this happen? It's obvious in hind sight, I guess, but dammit, after everything I have been through, how can I continue to be so naive? I'm doing a really bad job of re-parenting my inner child, exposing her to strange men, and it's even worse because it's a neighbor, and now I don't even really feel safe in my house any more. I'm glad we have two big dogs!

*sigh*

 :doh:

So what should I do now? Should I just text him back and say, sorry, I can't be your "friend", please forgive me if I gave the wrong impression?

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Anamiame

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2015, 06:51:56 PM »
I totally get what you are saying.  I thought of three possibilities but I don't know if I would be able to carry them out myself and I don't know your circumstances...so I'd probably just not reply and hope the problem goes away.  LOL  My way of solving everything.  Anyway, here were my ideas:

1.  Yes, text him back and say no thank you.
2.  Text him back and tell him that the whole 'secret' friend thing creeped you out and you are not interested in a relationship with him.
3.  Tell your partner what happened and let him confront the creepy guy. 

FWIW...

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marycontrary

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2015, 08:37:01 PM »
Sounds like an icky weirdo sex addict....RUN!! :stars:

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voicelessagony2

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2015, 08:43:23 PM »
Thanks Ana, I ended up texting him and just saying, I'm sorry, I thought I was ready to make friends but I'm not. I didn't say anything about being weirded out or anything at all. I just took full blame, but made it clear also, that I'm not available for anything.

I just wish I had protected my boundaries in the first place, why would I let someone hug me when I really didn't want to? Why didn't I just make more space for myself and say "no" to the hug instead of just allowing him to be invasive? It just brings up sooooo much from the SA's, self blame, shame, helplessness, fear.... I just don't trust men I guess. I don't really trust anybody until they prove otherwise. I just wish I would use that mistrust to protect my own boundaries, and I don't know how it is possible for me to be so mistrustful and yet so negligent at the same time.

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Anamiame

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2015, 12:41:05 AM »
That's interesting and probably would be an interesting thread.  (I say interesting alot on here :doh:

Like I've said before, I've been with my therapist for 12 years--not continuously, as needed, etc.  So, when I'm leaving, she hugs me. 

Now that I'm going through this, I don't like it.  I don't like it at all and it triggers me. 

For several weeks I told her I was uncomfortable with her hugging me or touching me in any manner. 

So this past week, I looked her straight in the eyes and told her I did not want to hug her. 

She hugged me anyway.  :bighug: :disappear: :aaauuugh:  (You need a barfing icon). 

I'm really raw right now, how do I get her to hear me?  I'm thinking I just have to go in with my analytical persona and tell her at the start that this bothers me alot. 

And no, I don't let anyone touch me.  Of course I cuddled my children when they were little but one of the damaging effects of my trauma for them is we are not a physically demonstrative family.  Sucks, I know, but it's how it has to be. 

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C.

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2015, 02:06:25 AM »
Hello Voiceless, 

I just wanted to say that you did nothing wrong.   He did.  You've been programmed to "be nice" and follow the other person's lead, hence the hug, so it takes a while to re-program.  Again, he was the one who was inappropriate.

I had a similar situation with a neighbor and it was really unpleasant for me for a little while too.   A neighbor's BF invited himself into my home and was flirting with me in the hallway, then the neighbor came out and yelled at him and me while I was telling him to get lost...awkward.

I was also thinking about how our antenna for "weirdos" has been warped...I've read how healthy people recognize an unsafe person and simply do not engage in contact with them.  I wonder what signs, if any, might have been there early on?  Just for reflection for other situations. 

Finally, it sounds like you handled the situation well.  You set a boundary.  You sought support here.  You learned.  Kudos to you.

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voicelessagony2

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2015, 03:25:47 AM »
Ana, wow your therapist sounds like she has her own PD possibly?? Definitely sounds like the total opposite of what therapists are supposed to do. Unprofessional. Grrr!

C, thank you... I guess I needed some reassurance, I was feeling really bad about myself. My radar is definitely broken. I've known that but it keeps happening! :(

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C.

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2015, 04:13:44 AM »
I'm happy that you felt reassured.  Everyone needs reassurance sometimes.  It's not a sign of weakness.  And I hope you remember that the radar problem isn't your fault.  For whatever reason it was not taught to us before,  and we can learn to make the radar work better as adults!

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C.

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2015, 04:25:21 AM »
Ana,  I also wanted to mention my surprise at your T's response about the hug.  I had a very similar situation.  I saw a T for about 7 years and eventually realized that she wasn't very healthy herself or respectful of boundaries.  She did something similar with the hug with me.  The first 4 years I think she helped me, but eventually she did not.  Fortunately I was able to end respectfully and find someone else.  I know every situation is different and I hope that your T can see the significance of the hug situation even if she really "likes" you and wants to give you a hug, to remember she's the T and play that role well enough.

Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2015, 10:56:55 AM »
I want to second what C said. You did nothing wrong. After all, you spotted the danger straight away. As soon as he dropped his mask: BING! Warning bells, red lights flashing. And in my opinion, a non-traumatized person might have felt tempted to brush this under the carpet. "Oh, a simple misunderstanding." She might have felt unable to do more than hint the guy away. "Mustn't be rude to a neighbour." You, on the other hand, instantly spotted how predatory he was, and you're doing your best to gain distance to him. Good!

About the hug - I'd say it's a trap. A test. Testing the waters, inching closer. Predatory people often do that. Teeny-tiny little things that you'd feel churlish to say no to. Things they can quickly explain away. Things they can easily pressure you about. "Oh, but it's only a hug, I don't mean anything by it, come on, don't be that way." Testing how you responded. Paving the way for greater and greater infractions. Unfortunately for him, your instinct for danger is sophisticated and powerful, and you're ready and able to take measures to stop his unwanted advances.

The point is: do NOT blame yourself for this. It was a trap. A trick. A part of the way he was weaselling up to you. You could NOT have foreseen this! Was he playing fair? No. Did he tell you outright what he was planning? Not until he'd already softened you up. Normal, ordinary, decent people do NOT assume that you're up for grabs simply because you chat to them about DIY. Your entire chat and the meeting in the coffeeshop would be common neighbourliness, normally. And I think he knew that. I think he was doing that on purpose. Sidling up to you like the skunk he is. That you didn't spot this earlier is NOT saying anything about you, it solely says something about HIM - about how roundabout and sneaky and tricksterish he went about this.

In short: he's a spineless, predatory weasel. He's a slime. He's a con man who gives all the good men out there a bad name - because guy like him make women like us think that this is NORMAL, that we should have seen it coming, that we can't simply just trust a guy to be normally polite to us without instantly having to scan him for ulterior motives. He sprung a trap on you and you spotted it at once. He tried to trick you but you saw through him. He tried to lure you in, but you're having none of it. I think you've been brilliant. :applause:  :cheer:   :applause:  Able to trust someone who seemed normal - and able to see through him once he crossed a line - and able to protect yourself now. Kudos to you! You have plenty of reasons to be proud of yourself. Stand tall! Take the shame you're feeling and fling it right back at him. That's where it belongs.

Sorry for the swearing, I actually edited some words out...
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 11:58:55 AM by schrödinger's cat »

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Butterfly

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2015, 11:13:49 AM »
Oh my! I didn't get to read in detail all the follow up but let me second third or whatever the sentiment you did nothing wrong. This person overstepped normal social boundaries. And yes I'd let my SO know - I let him know when someone just creeps me out so he can be supportive.

There would have been nothing wrong with saying 'you're out of line'  put that's totally beyond what I'd be able to muster up courage to say. We're so conditioned to come up with some 'nice' response where no niceness is called for but rather something blunt. Meet blunt with blunt and I'm working on that myself. 

You're response was appropriate and may work - for a normal person. However some people might read the 'not ready' response to mean some day you might be ready. Just saying . . . don't be surprised.

Please don't let this stop you from being friendly and saying hello to people. Perhaps a bit more medium chill and keep it to safe topics like the weather and news, community events. Nothing personal that invites someone into your life until you've had opportunity to vet them out a bit.

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voicelessagony2

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2015, 05:47:45 PM »
Oh my! I didn't get to read in detail all the follow up but let me second third or whatever the sentiment you did nothing wrong. This person overstepped normal social boundaries. And yes I'd let my SO know - I let him know when someone just creeps me out so he can be supportive.


I have not told my boyfriend, and did not intend to since I've decided to stop anything before it even starts. I also feel like he might be upset that I had coffee & didn't tell him right away. Maybe I'm not being fair to him?


There would have been nothing wrong with saying 'you're out of line'  put that's totally beyond what I'd be able to muster up courage to say. We're so conditioned to come up with some 'nice' response where no niceness is called for but rather something blunt. Meet blunt with blunt and I'm working on that myself. 


You're response was appropriate and may work - for a normal person.



I hear you, butterfly, and you are right, I have been thoroughly conditioned to "be nice" - when self-esteem is low or nonexistent, being nice seems like the only thing I have to offer anybody. It's the only thing I'm really good at. (That's what my inner critic has always told me.)

But my politeness, in this case, was more than just conditioning... it's also another self-protective measure. Serial killers and rapists are often highly sensitive to perceived insults or slights, so, after seeing how this guy was so eager to push my boundaries, I did not want to offend him in any way just in case it would trigger a retaliatory response in him.


However some people might read the 'not ready' response to mean some day you might be ready. Just saying . . . don't be surprised.

Yeah, I hope not. I'll just have to take that one day at a time.


Please don't let this stop you from being friendly and saying hello to people. Perhaps a bit more medium chill and keep it to safe topics like the weather and news, community events. Nothing personal that invites someone into your life until you've had opportunity to vet them out a bit.

That friendliness is one part of me that will probably never change. I hope someday I will learn where to draw the line, I guess that's part of learning about boundaries.

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Butterfly

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2015, 11:06:29 AM »
You know your BF best and don't let my thoughts cloud your judgement in this matter.  You thought out things so well even the serial killer part. Having good qualities like friendliness and niceness shouldn't fade because some nut took it the wrong way!

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marycontrary

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2015, 07:14:40 PM »
You know, I see this as a wonderful healing school lesson for you. YOU RECOGNIZED the boundary crashing!!! :party:

YAY! and now you are processing it the RIGHT way :applause:

So, when then next icky nasty perv tries to crash your boundaries, you will KNOW and can duck and avoid the damage.

GOOD JOB! you are are the right track!!!

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Kizzie

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Re: Advice about making friends
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2015, 09:54:13 PM »
 :yeahthat:  What Mary said. Good job VA!   :applause: