I was on my way to meet up with friends for dinner and drinks, when one of them called me. Let’s call her Sasha.
“Oh my God, Erin, oh my God, I can’t believe it, I can’t believe what’s just happened! OH MY GOD! I’ll be there in five minutes. GET THE WINE IN. Oh, my God, this is AWFUL!”
Mildly alarmed, I duly got the wine in and brought my other friend up to speed. Sasha arrived and sunk into her chair, reaching immediately for the glass in front of her. We stared at her expectantly.
“Oh, I can’t believe it.” She covered her face with her hands. “Of all the people! Now I’m back at square one…”
To cut a long story short, Sasha’s phone had independently called someone in her bag. To explain why this was dreadfully unfortunate, I need to go back in time.
Back in 2008, a newly-single Sasha decided it was time to try out a spot of internet dating. What’s the harm in it, after all? Well I’ll tell you what the harm is. Five years later, she still can’t get rid of this limpet she had the bad luck to connect with on Match.com. Referring to him as Limpet is a bit rude, so why don’t we call him Brian?
Although she made it excruciatingly clear after their one and only date that she wasn’t feeling it, Brian refused to let his spirits be dampened, and asked if they could be friends. Flattered, Sasha didn’t see the harm in agreeing. Fast-forward to 2013 and she’s sitting in a Battersea bar hyperventilating and gulping down wine. Don’t let this be you.
Brian is, to be entirely frank, the most boring man in the world. I have met him on two occasions, although I could be forgiven for not remembering. He is so remarkably uninteresting, undateable and unexciting that I think Match.com have stopped honouring their guarantee to give you six months’ free membership if you don’t find that special someone. He’s been at it for years – six months paid, six months free, six months paid, six months free… ad nauseum.
He’s had dates leave before the main course was served – some sending a rapid text message and suddenly getting an emergency phone call, necessitating that they rush off (unsubtle but at least polite!), some just plain telling him they weren’t wasting any more of their evening: “You couldn’t honestly think this was going well?” one asked him in disbelief. Ouch.
And so every so often – a little too often she would say – Brian’s name pops up on Sasha’s phone, his text messages littered with smiley face emoticons (at least one per sentence) – asking her how she is and does she want to go out for dinner or drinks? Sasha tries to bat him off with excuses that she’s busy, or goes for a week without replying and when she does makes it as short and terse an answer as she dares, but he doesn’t seem to get it.
So although she fends him off for longer and longer each time, the result is always the same and Sasha finds herself giving up one of her precious free evenings to sit opposite a man whose text messages make her groan in dismay and whose conversation sends her to sleep.
“I’m just going to stop replying to him,” she tells us frequently. “He’ll get the message eventually…” Except he doesn’t, he just texts again and again, or Sasha’s good heart eventually guilts her into responding… or her bloody phone rings him by accident, sending him into no doubt paroxysms of delight and her straight to the bottle…
Or: “How about I tell him I’m moving out of the country?” But he’d probably want to come visit and we’d have a Chandler-forced-to-go-to-Yemen type scenario on our hands…
Thinking he might not be so keen to meet up if he finally gets a girlfriend, Sasha has tried in vain to set Brian up. Unsurprisingly, each poor girl she’s tried that with has come to the exact same conclusion as the hundred blind dates before her – he’s just so freaking boring.
So there’s only really one option, isn’t there? She’ll have to do what – with retrospect – she should have done five years ago and tell him that, although she wishes all the best for him, no number of dinners out will ever make them natural friends and that he – with dignity – should hotfoot it out of her life and out of her phone’s inbox. Naturally, the thought of sending such a message is making her toes curl with mortification. This isn’t Year Nine – how can one twenty-something adult tell another that “I don’t want to be friends any more, stop texting me, k thx bye” ???
So I’m opening this out to the floor. How do you think this should be handled? Have you ever experienced a similar situation? Please leave a comment below and help out poor too-kind-for-her-own-good Sasha!