DAME’s Friendkeeper sorts out a sleazy situation and helps a woman parse Facebook politics between friends.
The most awkward thing happened the other night and I have no idea how to handle it. A group of us were out for a friend’s birthday—we started with dinner and moved on to drinks at a nearby bar. We weren’t raging but everyone was definitely getting pretty toasty, so the specific details of the night are a little hazy. What I do remember is that the guy one of my girlfriend’s has been dating for a good six months was almost certainly hitting on me. It’s not like he came out and asked for my number or anything, but every time my friend was busy getting a drink or in line for the bathroom, he was by my side being way too touchy-feely for a dude in a relationship, I think he almost kissed me! At one point on the dance floor he even grabbed my hips and tried to grind on me…who does that?! But the worst part is, when I went to say good-bye to my friend at the end of the night, I felt like she was giving me the cold shoulder. Now I don’t know if she saw something and thought I was instigating it, or if I imagined the whole thing. Either way, I don’t want to hang around her sleazy guy and I don’t know if or how I should bring it up with her. Please help!
Back Off Bro
Oy to the vey vey vey. I have heard a few stories of this in my life and each one makes me wince a little more. I do have to say this has never happened to me. Never once. Why? I like to think it’s because people sense that with my strong moral fiber I would never do something illicit behind a friend’s back, or, you know, maybe none of the dudes found me attractive. Regardless, I have heard about it enough to form an opinion on how it can be dealt with (you’re surprised, I know).
First thing to think about: Was this a, “He was drunk and it was a one-time error?” Or is he a total douche? If it’s the former, move on. Let it go. If it’s the latter, I would talk to your friend. Not about this, but about the relationship. My guess is if he’s fondling you on the dance floor, he probably has some other negative qualities as well.
Have lunch with your friend and get her talking. Be supportive and don’t bring up the incident, but if she’s noticing red flags, you can validate them in a way that won’t embarrass her. Sounds like she deserves way better.
When I lived in Brooklyn I was a card-carrying liberal. I still am but now that I live in a very conservative, extremely Republican town, I keep that card in my back pocket and rarely pull it out. In other words, I’m much more reserved about who I share my political leanings with, especially because my husband is a local business owner and our unpopular views could have a very real impact on our livelihood. But this morning my husband posted a photo on Facebook of himself with Hillary Clinton at a town hall. It was all well and good until I started reading the comments … some of his local friends said downright rude things about Clinton and the photo. And then one of my New York friends tore them each a new one. The thing is, I completely agree with her. But now my husband and I are in a very awkward position with the friends—and they are friends, as much as they can be when we have wildly varying political views—we see on a regular basis and I’m not sure what to do. Be mad at my friend who took matters into her own hands even though she said the exact things I was thinking? Apologize to our friends here even though that feels kind of disingenuous? Help!
Stuck Between a Liberal and a Hard Place
To take a quick detour, I recently had this debate with a close friend. He was talking about how conservative people say such horrendous things about Obama—and I agreed. He also said liberals would never have said those kinds of things about Bush when he was a sitting president—they would disagree with his politics but they wouldn’t be so rude. Then I reminded him of that Alfred E. Neuman as George W. Bush bumper sticker and he chuckled and said, “Oh yeah.” At the moment “clown car” is shorthand for the Republican GOP presidential candidates—and don’t get me wrong, I agree, I just think there’s a huge lack of respect for everyone on both sides. (Though on Tuesday night I did think the Democrats seemed much more tame and reasonable than the Republicans at their debate.)
People have always said over-the-line things about politicians, but they were saying them to their circle of friends—the people who agree that so-and-so is a buffoon and you-know-who is a liar. But on social media, you don’t know all of the veins of people that lead out from your friends. I’ve talked a lot in this column about discovering that your friends are not politically who you thought they were, but what about their friends—or colleagues? I think your friend in New York was 100 percent wrong. Of course when you see someone with an opposing viewpoint calling your candidate a liar, and the person they support is a scumbag, you want to list the reasons why their candidate is stupid and they are even stupider. But where’s that going to get you? Is someone going to say, “You know, you’re right!” No, everyone’s just going to be mad. I think your husband’s friends were wrong, too, but they aren’t your responsibility. They are his.
So it happened. What do you do now? Your friend in New York is obviously okay with being direct; tell her she can’t comment on stuff like that anymore or she’s going to get unfriended. If your husband wants to toe the line, that’s his choice. As far as apologizing for her? That seems like going too far. If they bring it up, explain that it’s difficult to have so many varying viewpoints to juggle and in the future you’re only going to post pictures of yourself with Muppet characters.
Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.
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