Human beings have a natural inclination to gather into groups. Call them cliques or social circles or the newfangled “squad”, it’s how we organize ourselves. Sometimes there’s an individual in your coterie that you’re just not as tight with. However, you tolerate them for the sake of the whole. They’re in, so you set your personal feelings aside and just roll with it because that’s how you function as part of a group.
To further complicate matters, most of us have a variety of crews. There’s our inner circle and the folks we play tennis with. We have our work friends, our theater crowd, and the peeps from the dog park. Some groups we see more than others. Sometimes that’s ok, because then you only have to deal with the Weird Guy from time to time.
Enter social media and a shrinking world. We’re connected 24-7 to everyone by status updates, tweets, and instant photos. Including that one dude that you don’t like so much. All of a sudden it’s become a bit more difficult to tolerate the Weird Guy, because he’s much more present.
(Ginger’s husband claims that social media is the root of all evil. I’m beginning to agree.)
So that’s the long winded way of saying that I have a Weird Guy. In the real world we have never had any in depth conversations, he doesn’t have my personal cell number, we’ve certainly never done anything one-on-one. I’ve never found him particularly interesting or engaging because, well he’s the Weird Guy. That being said, he’s close friends with people that I feel a strong emotional tie to, so we’ve hung out on occasion in a group setting.
Not long after The Big Breakup, Weird Guy and I became Facebook friends. (I’m not sure if that is a direct correlation or simply coincidental.) Over time he’s been increasing our interaction. There were likes, then comments, then direct messages. His tone is flirtatious, to the point of being overly familiar. In fact, we’ve graduated from innuendo to blatant overture.
Then there came inquiries about getting together. Just the two of us. He lives several hours away, so there’s the question of where will he stay and exactly what are his expectations?
Have I mentioned that he has a long-term, live-in, girlfriend?
Needless to say the whole thing makes me horribly uncomfortable. I have deflected, offered every social cue that I’m uninterested. Aside from outright saying, dude, you’re creeping me out, I’ve been as clear as I know how. He’s either oblivious or willfully misunderstanding.
And so I have made the social faux pas, and unfriended him. On one hand, it makes me anxious because I was taught to be inclusive. I feel kind of like I brought Valentines to everyone in class but him. On the other hand, I’m relieved not to have to deal with it anymore. I struggle with the idea of hurting someone’s feelings to make myself more comfortable.
Bottom line is that after a decade and a half living with a narcissist, I’ve been conditioned to feel that self-care is synonymous for selfish. That my needs are least important. That I am least important.
Let’s change that, shall we?