#1380: “He’s been playing games since I told him that I think he’s attractive.”


This is my first post here! 🙂

This guy (22, he/him) was super into me (21, she/her). I told him that I found him attractive a day before leaving for home for a week. He took that very well. We even had a good, long conversation after that (the week I got back).

We stay back after class and study together but we weren’t supposed to do that the week I got back. However, he got snarky during that conversation and told me to stay back. The day before I did that, I texted him informing him that I would be staying back. He bailed on me the next day. When I confronted him about it, he said that he did see my name pop up but he had received so many messages that he didn’t read them.

He texted me the next day and apologized. I asked him what his preferred method of communication was. He got back to me EXACTLY 24 hours later and said he doesn’t use his phone much so it would be best to talk to him in person. I found that weird bc he always used to get back to me within 2 hours before that. I was too angry to reply.

Two days later, he came and stood by my table (my friends were with me) with a friend (facing it) in hopes that I would say “hi”, I didn’t. The next day, he kept staring at me as I walked by him, again I ignored him.

This week his friend (22, she/her) asked me when I would start studying with him again, I panicked and said next week.

His friend is still SUPER nice to me and I don’t know what’s happening.

He has always been super outgoing and sweet to everyone including me but he’s also a bit weird. For example, he finds out things about me (certainly through mutual friends bc we have a lot of friends in common) that I never told him and then he confirms them with me. He says like “Were A, B and C in the same class as you in grade 7?” or “Were G, H and I in the same class as you in grade 11?” which points to the fact that he has talked to them about me bc I wasn’t friends these people (nor have I added them on social media) but he is. He also found out that nobody from my sister’s college has gotten residency in her hospital after her. I don’t know how he figured this out. He said he asked around but I hadn’t told him my sister’s name (he probably stalked my social media for that tho).

He tricked me into studying with him. He said he had no idea how to study for the licensing exams and how he didn’t know anyone who had given them so I offered to study together. During our first study session he told me his cousin had given the exams this year and had matched into a residency program. Then the next week he told me about a senior (one of his close friends) is also planning on giving it this year. I thought he didn’t know anyone who had appeared/ was planning on appearing for them.

My thoughts keep racing, maybe he’s trying to reject me or maybe I’m just overreacting. Maybe he’s trying to act aloof in an attempt to make me like him more or something idk. My friend says he’s trying to manipulate me and it does make sense.

I don’t know if I should reach out. My ex was super manipulative so I’m scared that he might take advantage of me reaching out first.

Any thoughts on what he’s trying to do and what my next step should be?

Thank you,


Dear Frustrated,

Hello! This guy seems interested in:

  • Studying with you…sometimes…when he “tricks”* you into it or “snarkily” orders you to once you’ve said no. [*Tricks = lies about not knowing anyone else who’s studied for these exams and then tells you about all the people he knows who have. SMOOTH MOVE, BRO! ]
  • Combing through your social media history and auditing your relationships with others.
  • Texting you now and then to tell you that he doesn’t really read your texts but prefers to talk in person, which seems to mean hovering near you and staring at you in the hopes you’ll talk to him.
  • Deputizing his friend as an ambassador to ask questions that he could know the answer to if he’d take a minute to open either his mouth or his texting app.

I don’t have the faintest clue why he’s doing any of this or what he actually wants, but I’ve met subway platform pigeons who are more consistent in their communication, so my question is, does the way he is behaving make you feel good? You’re a survivor of one manipulative ex, perhaps your greatest defense against acquiring another is remembering how that guy’s manipulations made you feel. 

Do you feel respected? Wanted? Supported? Comfortable? Relaxed? Excited? Like opening up to him (about stuff like finding him attractive) gets you more of what you actually want? Do you feel like you can trust your own perceptions and reactions? Or do you feel confused. Off-balance. Disregarded. Like your reactions are overreactions and it’s always his move next, at which point there’s a decent chance he’ll lie if it gets him what he wants.

Look at any of the things he’s actually proposed doing together. What’s in it for you? Is studying with him benefiting you in any way or is it all a favor to him that happens at his convenience and for his (fake) reasons? Is he even bringing any skills or knowledge to those sessions that gets you closer to your own academic and career goals?

With a stern-but-loving glance backward at my 21-year-old self, my advice to you is, stop searching this guy’s interactions with you for slivers of evidence of what he’s like independent of his actual words and actions, and stop applying a Reverse-Reasonable Doubt standard to all of it. “Your honor, there’s no evidence that he’s not into me, so, I should act as if he is until I hear different, right?” No! If this guy wants something that requires your time and attention, be it study date or date-date, let him put that out there in a way that lets you say a straightforward yes or no and take his chances. Until he does, dub him “a sometimes pleasant/sometimes flaky guy from your class who is generally around” and no “I’m Ignoring You, But Loudly, So You’ll Notice”/”Hahaha, you can’t be Loudly Ignoring Me, I was already Loudly Ignoring you!”  antics are necessary.