Dear Captain Awkward,
I recently have had the problem where I am involving myself in a new hobby, which is different from my other group of friends, whom I love and adore and have been really great to me since I moved over here a few years ago and didn’t know anyone, I can be really shy at first even though I have a bubbly personality, but thats not the problem.
I’m being nice to everyone, involving myself and helping out wherever I can, it’s a slow process making friends for me and I have a little trouble opening up. There is a small problem though, one girl who part of this new hobby i’m involving myself in (I’ve spoken to her a couple of times and she seemed nice) used to be part of my old friendship group, and long story short, they both hate each other with a vehement, in the past having public smackdowns in the past, hatred of each other. As soon as she discovered my association with them, she went from being polite to just ignoring me, making sure she is not even in the same room as me and when I do have to talk to her, I make sure I am nice and friendly and polite, but she wont even look me in the face and changes her tone and demeanour.
She’s a lot further into the group than me and I’ve told one or two people about the situation from both groups, and while they’re both understanding and I love that they aren’t getting involved or gossiping about it making harder for me, I just hate that someone has a problem with me that I didn’t cause and isn’t my fault and I’m not very good at confrontation (in fact barely despite again having a confident personality) so I don’t know how to broach this, and somedays I don’t want to show up and I haven no interest in making anyone’s life difficult or horrible.
Long story short, how do I enjoy my second hobby and not get sucked into this? I’d like to note that my friends have warned me, but are understanding, supportive and know its not my fault so it’s not an issue with them.
Stop trying to get this person to like you.
I know that when you “talked to friends from both groups” about what was happening you thought you were doing the right thing, but what you really did was to make the Old Business into New Business at the Place of New Hobby where she felt comfortable and safe until you showed up. Let the subject drop. If anyone picks up on her behavior and directly asks you what’s up, give a quick “I never met her before this (activity), but we know some people in common and there’s some ancient history there.” Otherwise, shrug and go back to what you’re doing.
Her avoidance of you is not fair because the stuff that happened isn’t your fault. I get that it hurts, and I understand why you want to fix it. But she still gets to not like you! She gets to avoid the shit out of you. She gets to walk out of rooms that you walk into. You get to also do this with people you don’t like. She’s actually doing this is a pretty straightforward way – she’s not spreading rumors or trying to get other people not to like you, she’s not saying mean things to you, she’s just absenting herself and setting a boundary.
And when someone doesn’t like you, and is communicating very clearly that they don’t like you? Nothing is more infuriating than a Ms. Fix-It who decides to be extra-ingratiating. It will not help and it will not make her like you.
My advice is: Enjoy your new hobby. Don’t leave it because of her. Make friends with the people who are friendly. Avoid this lady as she clearly wants to avoid you. Completely chill out about her and what happened in the past. Over time, she may see that you are not a part of what happened and warm up to you around this shared interest, but right now she’s the cat hiding under the couch and you’re the toddler that drags the cat out because you want to pet the nice kitty.
Leave the kitty alone! She bites.