DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’ve known this girl since high-school, which was 5 or 6 years ago. We were pretty close for some time, before I joined the Army in 2015 and she joined the Air Force in 2016. She’s known that I “loved” her — or at least thought I loved her — since the 2nd year in our friendship. She’s politely declined and told me where she stands and her thoughts.
Cut to the middle of 2020, she was in New Orleans and Snapchatted me very cute pictures and some of them were a serious lust look and she had clearly been drinking. Our conversations carried on for a week or two before I asked her if she remembered Snapchatting at me first on such and such date, and she said she didn’t remember. That kinda hurt but I wasn’t really surprised since I had the feeling since that night.
(She the kind of girl that I would let her rip my heart out, stomp on it and leave me left for dead basically.)
She Snapchatted me last night saying someone at the bar looked like me and she was a little tipsy for sure. And then she went on for a couple minutes kind of complimenting me saying how much I’ve matured, and grown, and seem better than I was when I was in high school. She went home and she didn’t reply to my last snap, so I sent her a good night message and she opened it this morning and hasn’t responded to me sense.
We’ve never dated, kissed, or anything before. She sent me letters with her perfume on them, her senior pictures when I was in Basic Training. And we currently live 1,000 miles away from each other and we haven’t seen each other since 2018.
What should I think and or do about this situation?
Thank you for your time!
Where Do I Go From Here?
DEAR WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE: Amusingly enough, WDIGFH, this actually reminds me of an old opener that was taught back in my PUA days. It was known as “The Drunk ‘I Love You’s” opener and it went like this: “Hey, I’ve been having a discussion with my friend and I wanted to get an outsider’s/woman’s opinion on something. Do you think that drunk ‘I love you’s’ count?” And from there, either you tried to ground the story in how you thought they didn’t but your friend insisted they did, or you riffed off whatever the person you were talking to replied with.
Amusingly: men tended to say “yes”, women tended to say “no”… but only about the opposite gender.
Now that being said: this doesn’t really mean anything, WDIGFH. There are three factors at play.
The first is that you had — or have — this history of your crush on your friend and having been turned down.
The second is that you haven’t seen each other in person in two+ years, and you live more than a thousand miles apart.
The third is that she was drunk — or at least a little tipsy.
(The bonus factor is that Jesus-f--knuts-Christ, she’s going to bars and getting drunk during the goddamn pandemic??)
Now from the way you phrase things, I’m assuming that you and she were actually in contact before she snapped you from New Orleans and that this wasn’t a “notification-out-of-the-clear-blue-sky” situation. I’m also assuming that these were sent to you, specifically, and not to her entire contacts list. That would mean that it’s not unusual for you and her to talk — whether Snapchat is your primary point of contact or not. And when that’s the case… well, it’s not unusual for someone to send a “hey look I’m having fun!” message to their friends. Especially if they feel like they look great and even more so if they’re a little tipsy. Since the dawn of cheap or unlimited SMS and MMS on cellular plans, many a person has fallen to the siren call of drunk-texting friends, exes or folks you barely know… often with a “guess who’s druuuuuuuunk” message.
Just as frequently, folks have looked at their message history in the cold light of sobriety and thought “Oh…. f--k.” The morning-after shame/embarrassment of drunk-texting can be mighty indeed. This is one way that Snapchat has been a godsend; because the messages disappear after viewing, it means that there’s less evidence to bolster your regret along with your hangover. As a result, folks who’ve been a little loosened up after a couple drinks may send texts or pics or both that they would never send in the cold light of sobriety — the classic “well it seemed like a good idea at the time.” After all, if you know that the pics will vanish — and you’re alerted if someone screenshots it — then you’re less likely to be worried about the potential fallout.
Now that having been said: just because the pictures or the texts disappear doesn’t mean that the after-the-fact embarrassment or awkwardness does. For many folks — just as people have done after having had a few too many drinks and then making out with someone they wouldn’t have or spilling their guts out to someone — the answer is to just pretend that it never happened and stuff the entire thing down the memory hole. When folks bring it up — as you did, with your friend — they will pretend that they have no memory of the event and fervently hope that the other person will either believe them, or take the hint and agree that why no, they clearly have no memory of this and we should just pretend it never happened.
Which is basically what your friend is doing here. While it’s certainly possible that she has only hazy recollections of that night, it’s more likely that she realizes she may have given you the wrong idea and is trying to shut down the entire conversation.
Here’s the thing: I think that you’re reading more into this than there actually is. While she may have been having fun pulling faces for the camera in New Orleans, I suspect that your history of feelings for her is coloring your interpretation of things — a sort of d--kful thinking, if you will. I have no doubt that she views you with affection and thinks you’re a great guy. In fact, that’s pretty much what she was telling you in the more recent message: that you’ve matured a lot and seem like you’ve grown and improved since high-school. I believe she is 100% sincere about this and absolutely meant every word. But I don’t think she was telling you because she’s developing feelings or because she was drunk and horny. I think in both cases, these were alcohol-induced “thinking of my friend” moments, not “my feelings have changed”. In fact, the odds of things changing are fairly remote. While it’s true that time and growth can hit the Cosmic Reset Button on a friendship and make someone see the other in ways they didn’t before, the fact that there’s that much distance and that much time between seeing each other in person makes it far less likely. Instead, I think it’s fairly safe to say that this was a person who had a few drinks, decided to text a friend and goof around a bit. The second time, I think she was legitimately paying you a compliment about your growth as a person.
But I think that you’re reading more into things than that.
The best thing I think you can do here is follow her lead. Take these as nothing serious, accept the compliment for what it is… but realize that these are messages for a friend, not for a potential lover.
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