This round: How do I deal with my mom’s anxiety about my life, how do I tell a roommate that their helpfulness is not actually helpful, how do I preserve a friendship over distance, how do I build a family relationship over distance, and for a little #ThisFuckingGuy seasoning: I planned a birthday celebration for my mom and now my StepDad has made his own totally conflicting plans.
Dear Captain Awkward,
I think my partner has a big Geek Social Fallacy problem.
We live together in a small house in an expensive area where lots of people live with parents or roommates. So, ever since before we met, he’s hosted huge blowout theme parties for his entire geeky friendgroup. He always encourages them to bring new people and expand his social circle. Partner enjoys being The Cool Fun Host.
Partner was a late bloomer socially, had terrible ostracizing experiences and some related depression issues, so now he’s trying to make up for lost time. He wants to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible. Which sounds great in theory! He’s big-hearted and just wants everyone to be his friend.
When I first moved in with Partner, I enjoyed these parties — organizing them, coming up with themes. But the more comfortable I became thinking of it as “our house” instead of “partner’s house”, the more protective I’m becoming of my living space. The more I dread the thought of prepping the house for a destructive messy horde of nerds and cleaning up after them and yielding my space for a night. I’m finding I’m enjoying hosting smaller, more controlled gatherings.
On top of this, our good friend recently pointed out a Missing Stair in this friendgroup. Missing Stair has made a few people uncomfortable, and, who knows, may be driving away others. But we just know a couple of anecdotes, and while Partner admits Missing Stair is a jerk, he doesn’t know where he should draw the line. Because inclusivity. And Missing Stair hasn’t done anything egregious and maybe a few people just don’t like him. Partner isn’t comfortable disinviting _anyone_, much less this specific Missing Stair, because he knows how it feels to be uninvited and it’s evil and horrible.
So how wrong and awful does Missing Stair have to be for Partner to disinvite him? And how do we balance how much control over the parties I get to have? Obviously I think Missing Stair should be uninvited right now. But these are still mostly Partner’s parties, even though I help host and I live here too. I hate feeling like I’m trampling all over Partner’s fun and trying control everything now that we live together.
Normally Partner and I are great at communicating, but he has a terrible blind spot here.
Dear Captain Awkward,
Next Saturday someone I consider to be one of my closer friends is having her birthday party. I have not been invited. I can’t help but feel a little bit stung about that. We have a little bit of ‘history’, I suppose, insofar as I have always liked her quite a bit, and she sort-of-rejected me over the summer, but we’re good friends, and I’ve entirely made peace with the fact that, as much as she likes me platonically, she doesn’t have any interest in me romantically.
I think there are two possible explanations for this failure to invite me. Firstly, she might just not like me that much. She has considerably more friends than I do, so while I consider her to be one of my closer pals, I’m relatively low on her list, so to speak. This is obviously a possibility that I would argue against, since we do talk fairly often and we have had ‘heart to heart’ conversations about how glad we are to have become friends etc.
The second possibility is that I’m just not really on her ‘party invitational radar’. Yesterday, I attended what was essentially my first proper house party (which I quite enjoyed and at which me and this friend spent a lot of time chatting); historically, I either haven’t been invited or, on the rare occasion that I was, been unable to go. Because I have absolutely no reputation for being interested in attending this kind of thing, perhaps she either didn’t think to invite me, or considered it, but thought I wouldn’t enjoy it?
Anyway, I was wondering firstly whether you think it might be a good idea for me to talk to her about it, directly or indirectly, and secondly, what such communication might comprise?
FWIW I am a 17-year-old male.
There are a lot of reasons your friend maybe didn’t invite you to her party. The ones you identify are actually pretty good ones. What it’s very important to understand is that they are HER reasons. You don’t have to invite everyone (even people you quite like) to gatherings. It’s not a referendum on how much she likes you, it’s a party that she wants to have for herself and invite whoever she wants.
Normally I’m all for speaking up and using words. Good for you for asking her out and handling rejection well and forming a friendship! But I think you’re still hung up on this girl. Maybe it’s not in a romantic/sexual way anymore, but you’re hung up on her affection and attention. For example (bolding mine):