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oak

When do I speak up

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Hi, first off thanks for reading this if you are

second I’m not entirely sure if I identify as aro/ace or if it’s just a fear of intimacy but either way I thought this would be a good place to ask for advice

 

i often find myself in the situation where a guy is talking to me but I’m afraid that he doesn’t care much about being friends... I continue replying because I feel like ghosting them would be rude, but I can’t figure out when or how it’s appropriate to inform him if his only goal is to try to date me or sleep with me he will NOT get anywhere. 

I don’t wanna assume that’s the only reason they’re talking to me, but I also don’t want to risk leading them on.

Considering I haven’t fully taken the identity of aro/ace I’m not sure I want to just throw that out there, there’s friends I haven’t even told how I feel. 

Anyway my question is does anyone have a good way to casually inform someone that there is not a single chance anything romantic or sexual will spark? I don’t want to make things awkward but I don’t want to waste their time :(

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Having boundaries isn't only an aro/ace thing, so being clear about not wanting to date in general might be accepted anyway without much fuss (but definitely make the comment general, saying it while in a group of friends helps too. Being specific is where the awkward might start)

 

If you want to avoid awkwardness when talking to someone specifically then I think being non-direct is probably the best way, but obviously it isn't quite as clear as just stating dating is never going to happen. 

(one question: are you a native English speaker? just because people who aren't have had some issues with the context and subtleties of terms before)

Calling the possibly-interested guys 'Buddy' and using the word 'friend' a lot. Even as a greeting, 'Hey friend' (this works especially well if you also walk up to cats and dogs saying the same thing). I know lots of Aromantics get annoyed with the misuse of the word friend, I know I do, but in this case I see using the word 'friend' like a shield to protect from romantic expressions. When you say 'we are friends' and 'lets go to that event as friends' will make it fairly clear you are not romantically interested, and if that is all he wanted he will drift away. The ones who remain will be people who like you as a friend (though you may get a few nice guys hanging around hoping you will change your mind, but you were clear so you don't need to feel guilt over their failings)

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27 minutes ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

Having boundaries isn't only an aro/ace thing, so being clear about not wanting to date in general might be accepted anyway without much fuss (but definitely make the comment general, saying it while in a group of friends helps too. Being specific is where the awkward might start)

 

If you want to avoid awkwardness when talking to someone specifically then I think being non-direct is probably the best way, but obviously it isn't quite as clear as just stating dating is never going to happen. 

(one question: are you a native English speaker? just because people who aren't have had some issues with the context and subtleties of terms before)

Calling the possibly-interested guys 'Buddy' and using the word 'friend' a lot. Even as a greeting, 'Hey friend' (this works especially well if you also walk up to cats and dogs saying the same thing). I know lots of Aromantics get annoyed with the misuse of the word friend, I know I do, but in this case I see using the word 'friend' like a shield to protect from romantic expressions. When you say 'we are friends' and 'lets go to that event as friends' will make it fairly clear you are not romantically interested, and if that is all he wanted he will drift away. The ones who remain will be people who like you as a friend (though you may get a few nice guys hanging around hoping you will change your mind, but you were clear so you don't need to feel guilt over their failings)

I guess that’s a good point that boundaries are normal, the only reason I’ve given up on speaking them is so many people seem to think if we talk enough, if they give me enough, or if we spend enough time together that I’ll develop feelings and it seems too hard for them to comprehend that that.... just doesn’t happen to me?? Idk

 

I am a native English speaker yes and using the word friend does make me super uncomfy but it is honestly a good idea and one of the most passive ways to go about addressing this issue so maybe I should just suck it up and do it to get my point across 

 

thank you so much for your reply! I’m not sure if quoting this gives you a notification (I’m very new here) so maybe you’ll never see this but thanks 

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@oak yeah, notifying happens when you get quoted or mentioned (which is what I did here).

It is good you are an English speaker because then you can use 'buddy' instead of 'friend' for a lot of interactions (many languages don't have an equivalent term). Buddy is the same sort of message as friend when used, but it doesn't feel quite so bad using it  because I don't feel I am misrepresenting what I feel friend means. 

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13 hours ago, oak said:

the only reason I’ve given up on speaking them is so many people seem to think if we talk enough, if they give me enough, or if we spend enough time together that I’ll develop feelings

This is definitely not an exclusively aro experience - I don't know if you're familiar with the Nice Guy™ phenomenon but it's a problem that a lot of women find they have to deal with from a lot of men. There's a pervasive narrative in a lot of media - and it is a gendered narrative - that a man who is persistent enough will eventually win over a woman he's interested in. 

 

I do get where you're coming from with this. I'm highly extraverted and have had countless situations where what I've thought was a friendly interaction has been interpreted as sexual or romantic interest on my part. I'm also very bad at interpreting unspoken or indirect communication, so miss a lot of "signals" that other people apparently find obvious. 

 

When I was younger I used to worry a lot more about "leading people on" by being friendly towards them. I tried hard to do things like call people friends to make it clear that I wasn't interested in anything more that friendship - using tactics like the ones @Apathetic Echidna suggests above, and a whole lot of other tricks I'd developed. 

 

I found it utterly exhausting.

 

And I got to a point where I was like, why should I have to do this? If people would just tell me when they're interested in something other than friendship, then I wouldn't have to do all this guessing or worrying. 

 

And from there I realised I was putting all this mental energy and effort into protecting the feelings of people who were not being open or honest about their intentions towards me. And I was like... fuck that. 

 

When it comes right down to it, someone else's unrequited feelings for me are not my problem. Of course I'll be sympathetic if someone wants more from me than I want from them - I'll give them whatever space they need to get over it, or to walk away entirely if they need to. But I have no patience for people who don't communicate their actual intentions. I shouldn't have to coddle grown adults who aren't honest with me. 

 

So my policy now is that I am as friendly as I damn well want to be, and until and unless someone tells me they want something other than friendship from me, I explicitly assume they don't. And I can't begin to describe how freeing I've found it to take this approach. Occasionally having to reject someone who actually does tell me they're romantically interested in me is a billion times easier than tiptoeing on eggshells in every new friendship, trying to find ways to casually warn them off just in case

 

Sorry that doesn't really answer your actual question @oak but for what it's worth that's my personal rant on the issue 😅

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11 hours ago, eatingcroutons said:

This is definitely not an exclusively aro experience - I don't know if you're familiar with the Nice Guy™ phenomenon but it's a problem that a lot of women find they have to deal with from a lot of men. There's a pervasive narrative in a lot of media - and it is a gendered narrative - that a man who is persistent enough will eventually win over a woman he's interested in. 

 

I do get where you're coming from with this. I'm highly extraverted and have had countless situations where what I've thought was a friendly interaction has been interpreted as sexual or romantic interest on my part. I'm also very bad at interpreting unspoken or indirect communication, so miss a lot of "signals" that other people apparently find obvious. 

 

When I was younger I used to worry a lot more about "leading people on" by being friendly towards them. I tried hard to do things like call people friends to make it clear that I wasn't interested in anything more that friendship - using tactics like the ones @Apathetic Echidna suggests above, and a whole lot of other tricks I'd developed. 

 

I found it utterly exhausting.

 

And I got to a point where I was like, why should I have to do this? If people would just tell me when they're interested in something other than friendship, then I wouldn't have to do all this guessing or worrying. 

 

And from there I realised I was putting all this mental energy and effort into protecting the feelings of people who were not being open or honest about their intentions towards me. And I was like... fuck that. 

 

When it comes right down to it, someone else's unrequited feelings for me are not my problem. Of course I'll be sympathetic if someone wants more from me than I want from them - I'll give them whatever space they need to get over it, or to walk away entirely if they need to. But I have no patience for people who don't communicate their actual intentions. I shouldn't have to coddle grown adults who aren't honest with me. 

 

So my policy now is that I am as friendly as I damn well want to be, and until and unless someone tells me they want something other than friendship from me, I explicitly assume they don't. And I can't begin to describe how freeing I've found it to take this approach. Occasionally having to reject someone who actually does tell me they're romantically interested in me is a billion times easier than tiptoeing on eggshells in every new friendship, trying to find ways to casually warn them off just in case

 

Sorry that doesn't really answer your actual question @oak but for what it's worth that's my personal rant on the issue 😅

I guess that is a good point, maybe it didn’t answer my literal question but did give another perspective and honestly a way healthier perspective... I really shouldn’t be so worried about other people that I’m stressing myself out so it’s defibitely good advice and thank you for it!

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