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Am I mean or just antisocial? Can anyone relate to this?(53 Posts)
I never understood social interaction. I’ve never had any friends, close relationships with people, etc, etc... the whole shebang, you get the picture. By age 22, I’ve come to live with it. I’m not autistic - in fact, I work in public relations, and can be superficially charming. To confuse matters further, colleagues and casual acquaintances consistently describe me as ‘pleasant to deal with’, ‘well-brought up’, ‘fascinating to talk to’ and so forth. People get back to me and enjoy my company in one-off professional situations.
But deep inside, I’m mean and profoundly antisocial. I’ve only been able to evaluate it now, after a specific incident that happened last night, but it goes way back. Last night, I went to meet a friend for dinner. She is 39, we met through work and have been meeting up for lunch and going clubbing a few times (no more than 10 in total). This is rare for me, but I went along with it because she initiated it. I have many interests and a good erudition, but all she seemed to want to talk about consistently is men. That was difficult for me, as I found it a boring topic and couldn’t contribute anything, but I went along with that, too, again because it’s unusual for me to have someone that wants to spend time with me, and I wanted to try it. She decided to join a few apps to meet a man, and eventually convinced me to do the same, just to keep her company. With my complete lack of understanding of how intimate, informal communication is meant to work, that resulted in a few odd cases as well, where I’d had to abruptly stop talking to someone because I didn’t know how to behave. But mainly, I lost interest in the apps until fairly recently, with COVID-19 and everything, my friend convinced me to join a new one.
It’s an exclusive app where the user pool is quite limited. She started seeing a man she met on the app, went to dates, slept with him. All this has been going on for about two months. Whenever we meet for dinner, she would talk about him. He sounds distant, is obviously far less interested in her than she is in him (I’ve seen text exchanges), and has just left for the US without mentioning when and whether he’s coming back. She would mostly say how he’s too distant for her liking, she needs someone more emotionally available, and I would nod along. Exactly a week ago, this man (he has a really unique name, and I mean really unique, up there with the likes of Annunziata, Larabelle and such) liked my profile on the app. He is absolutely not my style, also I’m over the entire app experience anyway, but I thought long and hard about whether I should tell her. Here’s when social interaction comes in. My mother and a few other acquaintances advised me against telling her. I felt it would be best to say something because otherwise it would be something that had happened behind her back.
Cut the long story short, I told her as we were about to have dinner. The exact words I used were, ‘I think [guy’s unique name] liked me on [app name], do you think it’s the same [guy’s unique name]. She asked when this happened, which was a few days ago. I showed her the like and was completely open. She got up and left, leaving me to pay for both our orders. That’s not what interests me here, though. I paid, had a good evening, messaged her in the morning to apologise for upsetting her if I did, but trying to explain my reasoning. Again, I was very direct, saying that if I was in her place, I would want (or even expect!) to be told. Also, I emphasised that I didn’t message him, that we had zero interaction and that I felt it was something I had to share with her, so she had a full picture of who this guy is. I then said it’s to be expected that guys on apps write to many people at once and that it’s nothing to be upset about. I would have understood if her annoyance stemmed from me having interacted with him, which I didn’t.
She replied - and here comes my real question - that ‘what I said was hurtful’ and that she ‘doesn’t understand why I would show her the like’. I again said that it’s to keep her in the loop. But I honestly don’t understand why what I did was hurtful, and I don’t understand how other people knew it would hurt her in advance. I had nothing to do with the man, nor would I want to. I understand, analytically, that we all like to shoot the messenger/bearer of bad news. But equally, we’ve known each other longer than she’s known him. My intention was for her to go and look for another guy and stop obsessing over this one, which I is the advice I would still give her if she called me tomorrow. But I see that this, seen from an outsider’s perspective, is probably mean behaviour on my part. It’s not the only time, but it’s the best and most recent example. The problem is that I wouldn’t mind if she did this to me (I did tell her that), I would have seen this behaviour as perfectly acceptable. This applies to most other situations where I feel I don’t understand human behaviour, what upsets people and why. I wouldn’t mind any of it if I was on the receiving end.
OP you were right to show her the 'like' on the app. If I understand what you mean, the man she was sleeping with liked your profile pic - is that what happened? You showed her and she flounced. You apologised for what?? Paying for her food? Being left alone in the restaurant?
She sounds really boring, self obsessed and a bit of a dick.
I think you're desperate for friends and will put up with anyone for the sake of it. I couldn't be arsed to meet up with someone and do things I didn't like and listen to them witter on about some man all night. How boring.
Yes, you’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head. Re: friends - not that I’m desperate, but I feel I have to teach myself to communicate on an intimate level, so I try to put myself in situations where I could learn this skill. And then something like the above happens. Personally, I’m v. happy alone in my flat after work...
I don't think that you're mean at all. You had good intentions when you showed the like to your friend because you didn't want her to waste her time on somebody who wasn't in the same place as her. You didn't mean to hurt her but your words and actions were hurtful. You looked at the situation logically; she was looking for someone who would react emotionally.
I've done the same thing in the past (different situations but approaching things logically) and then wondered why people were angry or upset. With hindsight, I now know that I reacted in a particular way because of my autism and I also know how I could have handled some situations differently.
You said that you aren't autistic. Do you know for sure? Have you actually been assessed? I'm in my early 50s and was only diagnosed just over a year ago.
I'm a primary school teacher and have always had good relationships with the children in my class, parents and colleagues. People say I'm easy to get on with and a good team player. To be honest, a lot of it's pretty superficial and learned behaviour. But having a job where you have to deal with people doesn't mean that you can't be autistic.
I've got a friend who is an expert on autism; she's a published author and does a lot of public speaking and training. When I told her that I'm autistic she literally stopped in her tracks because it's not immediately obvious. Lots of women are very good at mimicking appropriately behaviour and masking their traits.
You didn't mean to hurt her but your words and actions were hurtful.
Her words and actions weren't hurtful at all. How were they hurtful?
I think [guy’s unique name] liked me on [app name], do you think it’s the same [guy’s unique name].
I think John liked me on Tinder, do you think that's him?' Shows her the app.
How is that hurtful? I would show a friend who was obsessing about a man the like as well. She'll then know that he's active on the app and can decide for herself if she wants to continue to pursue the relationship.
If she stormed off, left me alone to pay the bill and expected an apology - that would be the last time I saw her. You've done nothing wrong OP. Your intentions were entirely authentic and you were trying to do the right thing. Anyone would be lucky to have you as a friend.
Your post really made me stop and think. Well, I’ve considered it. Asked my family doctor, a few other doctors, and quite a large number of people all round. While I’ll admit I’ve never gone out of my way to assess myself for autism deliberately, i.e. go in there to test a hypothesis, it seems unlikely. But I do pass the psychopathy test, scoring well over 70%. I have accepted I’m a psychopath, as I don’t feel emotions or fall in love or anything like that. I do think logically at all times and lack emotions. But anyway, that’s precisely why I posted here and why I always try to get an outsider’s perspective when it comes to people. I couldn’t see anything wrong with what I did, logically, but I was wondering if anyone else might.
Thank you so much, you get it! That’s exactly what happened and how I feel. I’m glad someone understands.
You didn't do anything wrong OP. She's probably feeling a lot of negative emotions, like embarrassment, hurt and maybe even jealousy. She feels she cannot hold him accountable for those feelings so is choosing to blame you instead. You did the right thing, in her shoes I would have wanted to know.
I fail to see that you've done anything wrong, and this is definitely a case of shooting the messenger.
@namechange12a I don't think that the op did anything wrong either. But her friend was hurt so the words were hurtful. I think that the friend overreacted but I also think that whether or not words are hurtful is subjective and the person on the receiving end is entitled to say whether or not they have been hurt.
Maybe it was the way you said it (not that I’m saying you did it ‘wrong’).
It’s not as if it was her husband but maybe she would have expected a bit of a ‘dramatic’ “now I have something to tell you (pats arm) please don’t be upset (weak smile, good eye contact) ... it’s dreadful...”. Some people are like that.
I don’t think you have done anything wrong.
words are just words. Stating objective truths. The only thing that could be hurtful is the actions of the person on the app.
Definitely a case of shooting the messenger. Interested to see the op scores high on the psychopathy scale. So do I, and yet I am often told I am a good listener and loyal friend.
I prefer to be alone than with anyone outside my immediate family.
I’m very happy you posted. I completely understand what you mean. I’m fiercely loyal and protective of my family, but not any ‘outsiders’. I’m still young, so maybe it’ll come. I honestly haven’t met anyone with whom I can interact without something like this eventually happening.
As all PP have said - you nothing wrong.
She however sounds a right bore. Sounds like she has been using you to go out as she has no friends of her own (she probably bored them away).
She sounds v odd at 39 chirping on one sided conversations about men and hanging out with a 22 year old. I think she is using you - you said she is a colleague - is she more senior - did you feel obligated to go out with her and listen politely to her fantastical drivel?
You sound a nice, kind hardworking person who has been used by a tedious, emotionally disregulated, older woman.
Why did you continue this “friendship” if you are happier doing your own thing? What did you get out of it? It doesn’t sound equal to me - seems like you may have been targeted and exploited? Is this is your expectation and experience of “friendship”? You deserve much more than this.
These emotionally volatile, disregulated bores are attracted to your calm, loyal, listening stance. They just want to offload in a selfish unilateral exploitative way. Most people don’t indulge them - but someone like you is too polite. Then the moment you contribute they kick off and flounce off - because guess what they are emotionally volatile disregulated bores.....
Next time when someone speaks much more than you, all about themselves and doesn’t do dialogue or invite or respect your opinion or contribution - consider them a dud socially and move on - they are not friendship materiel.
The man didn't go to the US, he lied to end things.
You didn't do anything wrong just confirmed what she probably suspected. She didn't want the fantasy to end yet and you unintentionally poured cold water on it.
I don’t know if I was getting anything specific out of it, probably not. She’d shown me a few places I hadn’t been, also it was just an unfamiliar experience, having someone to eat dinner with in this semi-informal manner. But I don’t think I was getting anything out of it, actually, except getting to practice my communication skills.
* I then said it’s to be expected that guys on apps write to many people at once and that it’s nothing to be upset about.*
This was mean. Yes her reaction was shit. No, it's not your fault. It doesn't mean that she wasn't invested, and got hurt,flustered and embarrassed. There's plenty of reasons to be upset if she had feelings for him, particularly since he made her look like a mug in front of you.
I don't get why other posters are so quick to berate and name call her and pat you on the back as someone amazing. They don't know either of you. Most people tend to be a mix of good and bad, awesome and dickish , depending on the circumstances and who they are interacting with.
I definitely don’t expect to be patted on the back (yes, that’s still me, I felt compelled to cut the accidental extra ‘s’ from my username). In fact I do think I was in the wrong, but to me it just goes to show I can’t do interaction and should stop trying to save myself the trouble.
i think you did the right thing i would want to know unfortunately you're damned if you do damned if you don't!!
Hi Girls you didn’t do anything working as such perhaps you delivered it on the way she thought you took pleasure in telling her ? Just a thought , I know you maybe didn’t intend it that way . Also the way you speak of how you are you reminds me of Saga Noren in The bridge , she has Asperger’s syndrome , I know it’s fiction but I remember thinking she was a good depiction of high functioning autism .
Are you 100% sure you are a psychopath??? Doesnt sound likely at all. ASD sounds much more likely.
Did anyone show you emotional connection and intimacy growing up?? Some people find intimacy incredibly hard because they have had no practice.
Are you 100% sure you are a psychopath???
Exactly, and no, I don't think the op is. If they were, they wouldn't even care what their friend feels and they wouldn't have bothered to write this pist. It wouldn't even occur to them to get an "outsider's" input. Psychopaths simply don't care what other people think or feel.
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