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punknoya

Is it wrong to feel bad that someone wasn’t as “engaged” as I hoped when I came out or that I feel bad that they seemingly don’t really acknowledge it????

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Back in July, I came out to a friend (with whom I have a sort of “romantic” history, which started before I questioned my romantic identity). I sent her a long text pouring my thoughts and feelings of confusion and discomfort out and her only reply was “if it makes you happy” and that was it. What she said isn’t the worst way to reply but I felt like, after something serious & important like that, that‘s like a “whatever”. It felt very dismissive. Now listen, I get it. Not everyone knows how to react in those situations and not everyone knows about some identities so it’s a lot to take in but still. Saying “if it makes you happy” sounds like something you tell someone when they CHOOSE to do something and we all know that these identity aspects are not choices. If felt especially weird since she herself is part of the lgbtq+ community. Idk it just hit wrong. I was definitely expecting more engagement or acknowledgement and that’s all I got, which was upsetting. It seemed like it wasn’t that important to her. After that short text convo, we went on with life like nothing happened. She still acted the same with “romantic” gestures. And I’m not uncomfortable with them all the time but sometimes I am and I’ll tell her and she’ll get upset and say “I’m just trying to be sweet and you won’t let me!! Ughh”. (Which is something she did even before I came out as aro. Now I don’t think she’s ever reacted that way to be outright rude, I understand that it’s hard in this society for people (mainly allo) to really comprehend the idea that someone wouldn’t like romance but like it’s still not an okay way to react, right???) but then I’ll tell her again that sometimes it makes me uncomfortable and she’ll just stay silent for a while until she changes the subject. Not in the obvious way of “ok……anyways” but rather she doesn’t even acknowledge that I said anything and seemingly silently waits until she thinks I’m done with it or over it and then talks about something else. My aro-ness doesn’t come up in casual conversation very often but the few times it does, it’s like she’s not really paying attention to what I say about it. I’ve brought her reactions up recently and she told me that she just didn’t/doesn’t know how to react to it. 

 

Am I in the wrong or dramatic for being upset about that?

I’m trying to be understanding but it’s just upsetting that it seems like it’s not an important thing to her and that she doesn’t even seem to acknowledge that it’s a thing. (It’s also kind of upsetting that I’m the only one that seems to be trying and putting so much effort into being understanding here…)

Edited by punknoya
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You're definitely not just being dramatic, your friend is being an outright jerk, just the passive-aggressive variety. Her text response was definitely dismissive, if you don't know how to respond to something so big you take some time to think it over and sort your thoughts before responding properly (if you think it might be a bit it's also better to actually tell the person you're taking some time to think it over so as to not leave them hanging). And whining about someone being uncomfortable with certain acts of affection as if they're a victim is extremely self-centered at best and manipulative at worst. She isn't trying to be understanding at all, she just doesn't want to acknowledge anything is different and keep having things go her way/ stay the same. (Ignoring you until you drop the subject whenever you have a complaint with her behavior is another red flag) Yes, the whole aro thing can be hard for allos to Understand, but that's not a free pass for selfish or insensitive behavior. I'd either have a serious talk with her and/or start distancing yourself if possible, you deserve better than that.

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8 minutes ago, Autumn said:

You're definitely not just being dramatic, your friend is being an outright jerk, just the passive-aggressive variety. Her text response was definitely dismissive, if you don't know how to respond to something so big you take some time to think it over and sort your thoughts before responding properly (if you think it might be a bit it's also better to actually tell the person you're taking some time to think it over so as to not leave them hanging). And whining about someone being uncomfortable with certain acts of affection as if they're a victim is extremely self-centered at best and manipulative at worst. She isn't trying to be understanding at all, she just doesn't want to acknowledge anything is different and keep having things go her way/ stay the same. (Ignoring you until you drop the subject whenever you have a complaint with her behavior is another red flag) Yes, the whole aro thing can be hard for allos to Understand, but that's not a free pass for selfish or insensitive behavior. I'd either have a serious talk with her and/or start distancing yourself if possible, you deserve better than that.

I’ve wondered a few times if maybe this friendship just isn’t right bc I’ve felt like she dismisses and ignores me regularly (in general, not even in reference to my aroness) but I keep hoping that I’m “seeing things wrong” or something. I don’t want it to seem like I’ve come out of nowhere, for no reason, and decided to end it like a bad person. Letting people go is a lot easier to talk/think about than to actually do, I guess. I keep hoping that things will be less frustrating on my end but so far they’ve stayed the same. 

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8 minutes ago, punknoya said:

I’ve wondered a few times if maybe this friendship just isn’t right bc I’ve felt like she dismisses and ignores me regularly (in general, not even in reference to my aroness) but I keep hoping that I’m “seeing things wrong” or something. I don’t want it to seem like I’ve come out of nowhere, for no reason, and decided to end it like a bad person. Letting people go is a lot easier to talk/think about than to actually do, I guess. I keep hoping that things will be less frustrating on my end but so far they’ve stayed the same. 

No yeah, ending things is definitely easier said than done, but your feelings of being ignored are valid and if you have to keep hoping things get better, then there are some real problems there to begin with. I just recommend as a course of action to start thinking about. Talking to her straightforwardly about your frustrations would generally be the first step I recommend though. But if she still ignores you... then there may not be any avoiding her thinking you're drifting apart or ending things for 'no reason' if she just doesn't think any complaint or emotional hurt matters. But that may not be the case! I don't personally know her or anything, that's just what I would assume based on the available info. But you deserve a satisfying friendship where people listen to you. I hope whatever approach you take though, things are able to work out for ya!

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Just because someone is LBGTQA+ does not mean they are understanding/ respectful of all identities and orientations.

Now with your friend specifically; I agree with @Autumn that you friend is ignorant/self-centered at best and purposely hurtful/manipulative at worst. Your identity matters and so does your boundaries. You set the boundaries you are comfortable with and have certain expectation on what you need from them as your friend. If your friend is not respecting that, then you two need to have a serious talk if you want to remain friends. If your friend can't understand why you are upset or uncomfortable, then you may need to evaluate having a relationship with them at all.

I can't guarantee that everything will work out for you and your friend, but you have to do what is best and healthy for you above all else. I wish you the best of luck in how it works out.

 

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Well one, your feelings are always valid(I will fight anyone who says otherwise), and two, I agree that her response... wasn't the greatest. She may not have been trying to imply that, or she may have. Seeing as it has stuck with you for months, and based on the fact that you guys seem close enough to know the meaning behind each others words, I would hazard a guess that she meant it the way you interpreted it. On that alone, I would agree with @Autumn, especially seeing as she to is part of the LGBTQ+ community, so she would know what she would want to hear when coming out. Furthermore, the fact that she ignores your romantic orientation when it comes up doesn't sit great with me.

The fact that she gets verbally upset when you are uncomfortable with certain acts is not okay. The whole "I'm trying to be sweet and you won't let me" is very guilt-trippy. If you express to her that you are not okay with something, then she should respect that, especially if you've told her multiple times.

Additionally, if you feel like the effort and understanding is one-sided, then there is something wrong. Just because it is a friendship does not mean you shouldn't both be contributing to it equally.

In the end, you can talk to her a million times about this, and there is a fair chance that none of them will bring about the change you want. Again, you are entitled to your feelings, and if you don't feel like she respects that, then you may have to decide whether being in that friendship is worth it to you.

(I feel like this was really pushy, but I swear I don't mean it that way, all of this is just my opinion based on limited information)

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Hmm. I'm biased to (edit: empathize) with your friend because I also feel awkward when people share sensitive information about themselves with me. I never know what to say or how to act, and I'll often literally stop listening when they're talking to me-- I'm working on being a more invested listener (most of that is very internal work and has to do with pinpointing certain thoughts or beliefs I have about myself or the others around me, and then working to understand where those thoughts come from and either accepting or working to change them, depending on the situation.) So if a friend of mine, close or not, shared a piece of their identity with me, even though I am very invested and active in queer spaces, I think I would still feel uncomfortable in that situation even if I did, in fact, support them.

So insofar as that initial message, I would give your friend the benefit of the doubt-- maybe they're going through issues of their own and simply don't have the mental energy to spend on other people. That might be unfortunate if you want or need that energy and support, and it's valid to feel frustrated or upset if they're unable to give it to you. It's also not an inherently bad thing and it doesn't make them a bad person. It might just be bad timing.

The last part of your story really strikes me too. It sounds like this friend of yours is still trying to reach out and connect, and it's in a way that unfortunately makes you uncomfortable. I can definitely see how telling them point blank that what they're doing makes you unhappy might hurt their feelings and make them defensive, that's a natural reaction. Your friend was being vulnerable by reaching out to you, and they probably felt a little attacked when you rejected them.

You have the right to stand up for yourself and put a boundary up if that's what's going to make you the most comfortable, and I've definitely had to do that with people in my past. However, sometimes in these situations you need to figure out where your priorities lie: do you value this relationship? Do you value your own safety and comfort? You don't need to decide that one is more important than the other, but you do need to figure out what is important to you. If the relationship with your friend is important and your goal is to keep it, then an important part of this process is considering their feelings in this situation as well, and responding to those with compassion and an attempt to understand.

If you want to keep this friend, I'd suggest having an open conversation with them. It helps to practice what you want to say in advance. There's a therapy exercise I've used several times before called DEAR MAN that I think might be useful here! I've used it with my family members, my friends, and even one of my bosses. It's really helpful and the structure is nice to fall back on if you feel lost. Explain to them what the problem is (their specific words and actions that make you uncomfortable), explain how that problem is affecting you (how it makes you feel), explain to them what you want (to remain friends, etc), and explain what they get out of that solution (aka. remind them that you're thinking about their feelings and point of view in this situation too, not just your own.) 

[EDIT: If your priority is more with your self-worth and the goal to feel comfortable and safe... well, if you have to lose this friend, that might be the solution. I don't know anything about your past relationship with this person, and even if I did I couldn't tell you whether or not you "should" break ties with them. But if that's what will ultimately make you feel the most safe and comfortable, and that's your ultimate goal, then letting go of this person is okay.]

I truly don't think your friend is trying to hurt you here. They might even recognize that the way they're acting is harmful, and they may already feel bad about it. They may not. You don't and you can't know what they're really thinking-- all you can do is be honest with them about yourself and ask them to work towards a solution for the both of you.

I'm really sorry that you have to go through this. It feels awful to be invalidated, and even more so to be invalidated by people who are close to you. And when I say "invalidated" I mean being told or shown that the way you feel isn't justified or deserved. So I'll say here that I think it's fantastic that you discovered this part of yourself! I know nothing about your home life, but I can imagine that it might have been difficult to pinpoint the way you feel, and it's genuinely really cool and inspiring that you managed to figure it out and found this space. I hope things turn out for the better ❤️

Edited by Queasy_Attention
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5 hours ago, Autumn said:

You're definitely not just being dramatic, your friend is being an outright jerk, just the passive-aggressive variety. Her text response was definitely dismissive, if you don't know how to respond to something so big you take some time to think it over and sort your thoughts before responding properly (if you think it might be a bit it's also better to actually tell the person you're taking some time to think it over so as to not leave them hanging). And whining about someone being uncomfortable with certain acts of affection as if they're a victim is extremely self-centered at best and manipulative at worst. She isn't trying to be understanding at all, she just doesn't want to acknowledge anything is different and keep having things go her way/ stay the same. (Ignoring you until you drop the subject whenever you have a complaint with her behavior is another red flag) Yes, the whole aro thing can be hard for allos to Understand, but that's not a free pass for selfish or insensitive behavior. I'd either have a serious talk with her and/or start distancing yourself if possible, you deserve better than that.

100000% this.

Not knowing how to respond to big/personal info is one thing but like Autumn said there's a respectful way to handle the situation even if a person doesn't know how to respond, and the way that your friend repeatedly responds to you bringing up aro things is pretty rude. It's also concerning to me that your friend seems to have no regard for your boundaries when you told her you were uncomfortable with something. Regardless of it being about romantic affection, if a friend mentions they are uncomfortable because of something then that thing should stop period end of story, and true friends will respect that.

Edited by Tired-Sparo
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I agree with what other said.

If she is just uncomfortable discussing feelings and all that because she doesn't know what to say, you should discuss with her about what you expect from her, why the current situation makes you feel bad, unvalidated and frustrated. And also why you feel like you are the only one putting the effort here (I also felt that reading your post but I don't have all information). This way both of you can make things change.

 

Then, if she jeeps denying your feeling or making you feel guilty when she is in the wrong for not respecting your bondary... then, for your own sanity,  it is probably better for you to break up the friendship. If you don't feel good in it then there is no point for you to continue. That's not easy but that may be what is best.

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I don't know your friend but to me that response sounded dismissive. Now if it was intended as dismissive that could be for various reasons. Maybe your friend feel hurt by your declaration. You say they uses romantic gestures. Maybe she wants to be in a romantic relationship with you and feel rejected. 

 

If you want to know your friends feelings better you could try asking her an open question about it. Such as How do you feel about me being aromantic? And see what she responds with. If she avoids the question you could push a bit and say that it's something important to you. If her response is still IDC then your friendship is probably not working. 

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