A.sk Ross About Unfriending, Mixed Signals & Post-Grad Stagnation Marissa A. Ross

A.sk Ross is where I, Marissa A. Ross, answer questions you ask me. Keep in mind I am simply a girl who’s been through a lot & has acquired some wisdom along the way. I own no certificates proclaiming my word is law, so please don’t take it as so. If anything, take my advice with a grain of salt and a pinch of optimism. Have a question? Email me at A.skRossNow@gmail.com.

Marissa,

I moved to a brand new city several years ago for work. A city where I knew absolutely nobody and felt very alone for a long time. It took me literally years before I felt like I had a friend here. Then came C. C wasn’t a very good friend. In fact she let me down and made me crappy about myself more than anything else. She never came through when she said she would and constantly criticized my life choices. She is completely narcissistic and selfish, and obsessed with finding a boyfriend. Over the last few years, every time she has had a boyfriend, she would totally drop me as a friend and ignore me, then inevitably they would break up a few months later and she would come back into my life and tell me how pathetic it was that I don’t have a boyfriend. Like I said, not a very good friend, but for a single woman in her 30′s, good friends are hard to make in a brand new city (at least for me, anyway). So, she was pretty much all I had here. Things had cooled between us several months ago after we had a disagreement about life choices and we hadn’t spoken much since. A couple of weeks ago, she randomly unfriended me on Facebook. She is the kind of person that has 500+ friends on Facebook, so it’s not like her Facebook friends are part of some exclusive special circle of friends that she holds dear. Anyway, being the not-so-great friend that she had continued to be over our friendship, should I even bother trying to get in touch with her and figure out why she has done this? We have many mutual friends (more like acquaintances), but I feel like now I can’t go to a party or social gathering for fear of running into her before this gets out in the open.

Stephanie

When most people move to a new place, they seem to make what I call “convenience friends”. These friends are usually neighbors, co-workers, or people you see on a regular basis but don’t necessarily have that much in common with. That’s what this girl sounds like. I don’t know how you met C, but who gives a hoot that she unfriended you? She seems like a pretty awful person to have in your life. It sounds like she was probably doing it to make some sort of stand, but that’s the lamest stand you can take. A Facebook un-friend? Whatever. You’re better off without having to see her in your feed anyway.

Do I think you should get in contact with her about this? No. It sounds like you guys don’t get along in general, so I think you should just let it be and take this as a sign to move on with your life without her dragging you down. Plus, this is all just flat out juvenile and you don’t need to be partaking in this kind of immature nonsense.

Also, “before this gets out in the open”? Girl, who cares? This “friend” has been terrible to you, and I’m sure you’re not the only one. Just because you guys had a falling out doesn’t mean you can’t be cordial adults in social situations. Here’s what you do: be a cordial adult. If she gets crazy, that’s on her and everyone will see it. Something good to remember for all situations is only your behavior reflects upon you. Let her be a brat. You just worry about you.

And a single woman in her 30′s can make good friends. Anyone can make good friends, it’s just a matter of looking in the right places. You said you moved there several years ago, so this city isn’t particularly new. You should try being a part of new places and activities. Get a membership to a museum, go to wine tastings at local stores, or take a class. Do something that interests you where you can find people who have similar interests. Break your normal routines and habits, and put yourself out there. What you have been doing hasn’t been getting the results you’d like, so you have to try something new.

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Marissa,

I have never been that good at finding and maintaining strong relationships with men. I’m a shy person and guys have a tendency to make me nervous. That said, throughout the years I’ve had a few really close guy friends. One of my closest I met freshman year in college. We bonded over music/books and became close, confiding in each other when life got rocky with school/family relationships. We always had a very non-judgment based friendship. He transferred after one year, and since then we’ve kept up a mostly ‘virtual’ relationship, and I’ve only seen him every year or so (we now live about four hours away and are both college-student broke) and although sometimes we fall off each other’s radar, we can always jump right back in where we left off. I had initially had a bit of a crush on him, but forced myself to hide it (he had a girlfriend, and I didn’t want to mess up our friendship). He has been on and off of relationships since I’ve known him, and he is currently single.

Now, here is where it gets complicated. A few weeks ago we were texting, and things got out of hand when our usual banter turned to more racy stuff (which has never happened and is very out of character). Basically, if we hadn’t been hours away from each other, you could have called it a booty call. The next day he didn’t seem too phased by what had been said and we’ve talked– albeit a bit flirtier– normally since. But ever since, I really can’t get him out of my head.

Being confused about the signals (influx, then extreme decrease in correspondence, coupled with his recent habit of calling me ‘darling’) I talked to some friends, and they just think he’s playing me. The problem is I really do like him. I think he knows I like him (he has jokingly made comments about it in the past), but I can’t tell if he was having some fun/just wants to be friends, or if he would be interested in something more. (And by something more, I’m not looking for a random hookup with my friend) I want to ask him, but as we were both drinking during our ‘text’ incident, I don’t know if I should or how I could go about doing it without ruining our friendship. Are my friends right, is he just be playing me? I haven’t had much relationship experience and am really confused. I’ve avoided the topic because I don’t want to get hurt, but it seems to hurt me either way. Is it worth bringing it up to him? And, as we are still four hours apart, how would I do it?

Emily

What I have found in my lifetime, is that most people are attracted to their friends on some level. That’s why you’re friends; there is something about their personality you enjoy and that you are attracted to. Mix that established attraction with lowered inhibitions and the comfort of the friendship, and it’s no surprise this sort of thing happens all the time. That’s why I wouldn’t ask him about it. I don’t think it was a malicious thing (and I definitely don’t think he’s “playing” you), but it doesn’t sound like he’s trying to take you up on anything either. I would continue to monitor his behavior and if he does anything like this again, then say something.

Unless you really can’t stand being just his friend for any longer and you think the risk of losing the friendship would be worth it. It might be. I’m no longer friends with any of the dudes I didn’t tell I liked them because I was afraid of losing the friendship, so in regards to the big picture, you don’t have much to lose.

In fact, considering that personal admission, I would say just do it. He lives four hours away so you don’t have to see him all the time, and you’ll have a whole new set of friends in five years anyway.

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Hi Marissa A. Ross!

I write to you from my bedroom at my mother’s house, just to set the scene. I am a college grad as of May 2011 and I don’t have a real life job yet, and honestly, I don’t want one. I recently decided that what I majored in (broadcast journalism, i.e. news reporting/producing) is not the career path for me and am currently left with little idea of what to do with myself. I feel like I’ve wasted four years of college/loans studying something that I realized I didn’t enjoy until my final semester. So I moved back in with my mom, and have a few ideas of jobs I’m possibly interested in (leading people on hikes or being a secretary [I have an awesome telephone voice]) but everyone keeps pressuring me and asking me what my plan is! My mom is asking when I plan to start applying places and when I think I’ll move out, my grandmother is practically job searching for me, and whenever I see someone I know or people who know I just graduated, they ask me “So, what are you doing now?” My normal response is “hanging out” or “living life on the edge,” but this just doesn’t cut it for some people who don’t get that as a 22 year old I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I’m currently working at the same job I’ve worked at during the summer since high school, and they just offered me a full time job, but it’s definitely not something I’m interested in. I really do want to move out, but I’m not making enough money to support myself on my own. I’m getting frustrated with living back at home after living 7 hours away for the past four years, and it’s getting worse with people constantly asking me what my plan is. I want to yell at them and tell them that’s a terrible question for a recent grad and why would they ask such a thing, but honestly I have no plan and am so flustered I can’t even sit down to form one. I’m ready to grow up a little bit but feel I’m in a stand still. Plus, a few of my close friends already have real jobs, and it bothers me because they seem ready for it and I don’t. Any advice? I’m tired of the pressure and know it’s only going to get worse the longer I’m out of school and out of a job, but I’ve got too much pride to settle for something I don’t enjoy just to please other people. Help!

Rebecca

You’re twenty-two, so this is pretty par for the course. This is just how it goes, for everyone.

Let me start out by saying, most people never use their degrees for their intended purposes anyway, so instead of concentrating on how you wasted your time, just be thankful you have a degree. It does come in handy, and it does look good on paper, so just be grateful.

Now, we all come to standstills. It’s really hard because you get stagnate and you become unsure of how to get the water moving again. Unfortunately, the only answer is to find the vigor to push through. Your challenge is going to be finding what you’re passionate about. I would make lists of all your interests and see what jobs could align with your lists. Do research, read books, really think about how you enjoy spending your time. I bet if you look hard enough, you can find a job that incorporates that interest. I wish I had something more insightful to say, but unfortunately, this is really just a part of your journey that you have to travel.

This will all take time, but no matter what you need to keep a forward momentum. There should be no parent asking when you’re going to start applying– you should be applying to jobs you’re interested in all week. If you want to be a secretary or lead hikes, then you should be looking for those opportunities every day.

If you really want to move out, take the full-time job at your summer place while you’re figuring yourself out and save up while you’re living with your parents. I can’t tell you how many jobs I’ve had that I didn’t give a darn about while trying to get to where I am now– and I’m still working jobs I don’t have any interest in! But it pays bills, and bills are pretty important if your goal is to move out. I would definitely try to figure out a game plan in terms of career goals before moving out though, just because you don’t want to get stuck working jobs just to keep a roof over your head without any idea of where you want to go.

Don’t get stuck on other people’s jobs or what other people want from you. You need to do you. As long as you’re being proactive in your search to find what you want to do and taking care of your business, they can just bug off. Just don’t be moping on the couch or being a brat about taking a job you don’t want to. Grow up, take initiative and be responsible for your future. You can do it.

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  1. Advice based on personal experience in regards to Rebecca and getting out on her own.

    –Take that full time job! You have no idea how much that will help in the long run. of course you know that’s not what you want to do for a career, but it’s a start to get somewhere (like out of your mom’s house and supporting yourself). Although bills are a pain most of the time, it is really nice knowing you can support yourself without having to depend on someone else, even with some random job in retail for instance.

    –When career hunting, test the waters and see if your current “rinky dink” job can work with you to try it (like by going part time so that you can have a more flexible schedule). This is experience talking because I outright quit my job in retail to try a career that did not work out whatsoever. fortunately for me I got my retail job back and now work a corporate position for that company that helps pays my bills and then some. I still don’t plan on making a career out of my current job, but if i could go back in time I would have taken the advice I’m giving you now. Having a fall back is always a good thing for when something unexpected happens (and that stuff happens A LOT). Real life on your own is tough (and you will find that out, not to scare you), but it is super rewarding in the long run. If i can do it, you most certainly can.

    Oh, and Marissa you are a super genius. I LOVE your advice posts due to the fact that I can relate to most of them (and sometimes they even help me with issues i have), and because you’re a super genius obviously. I know I’ve already said this but I must reiterate because such truth must be shared twice. :)

  2. I love this series so much. Is it bad that I can relate to almost every question?

    • Nope! I think we all can relate to most of these, I try to pick ones I’ve gone through personally cause I figure others have too. Thanks for reading! <3

  3. Great advice all around Marissa! Always a joy to read. Oh, and you know my friends Adam and Allison. I was telling them I <3 your articles.

    • Oh, thank you! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. And Adam & Allison are AMAZING. I wish I saw more of them, such great, hilarious people they are.

  4. @Stephanie- I was defriended on Facebook by this dude in my residency program. It really stings!!! I did some digging, and I learned that he held a grudge against me because he thought I had requested more vegetarian sandwiches for our on call meals (For the record, it was not me. I had nothing to do with it as a person who did not even partake in on call sandwiches). Said person sent me text pages threatening to put all of the veggie sandwiches in my locker, and as I mentioned, defriended me on FB. I guess he really loves meat.

    Bottom line: You can go on ahead and assume this woman is just ridiculous and had ridiculous reasons for defriending you on FB. Good riddance (and good riddance to that ninny who defriended me)!

  5. Brittany! I love you! YES. I am a Communications major, graduated in 2010 and started at a company at the ground level as a content analyst. (Let’s just say it had nothing to do with what I spent FIVE years studying…) I was lucky that with hard work and using the skills I learned, not just INSIDE my degree, but from actually completing college. (Which, btw, I graduated in CA during the retched beginning of the financial crisis the state schools are going through.) It is totally always going to be about FRAMING. That is, unless you go to grad school and study something extremely specific for a specific job.

    And girl, if you wanna lead hikes or be a secretary… do you! It’s a hard time in the economy so I’m sure your mom and grandma are coming from a place of slight worry but mad love. As long as you do you and are happy and tenacious, they’ll start to ease off. :)

  6. Guys. I have a Women’s Studies degree… talk about specific. But honestly, it’s all about framing. While I’m not using any of my knowledge about domestic violence at my environmental communications job, I would hardly say my degree was a waste. One thing that I learned in Women’s Studies was to look at things through different lenses – which is incredibly helpful in tons of aspects of my life (both professional and personal).

    While you may not be using the specifics of your degree, you were still leaning over all skills that can likely be applied to countless jobs. Don’t get stuck on the specifics. Just look for jobs that sounds like something that you MIGHT be interested in and would be able to do. You’ll find something, and even if it’s not the most ideal situation, most people don’t stay in their first “big kid” job that long. It’s mostly a stepping stone to figuring out what you like/dislike and what you are looking for in a job. That first job out of college isn’t the end all be all.

  7. The minute somebody’s nice to me, I inevitably screw it up and am left out in the cold (it’s always my fault, i admit). I’m not proud about it. I just thought I’d share my experience with Marissa. I’m 25 years old, don’t work, don’t drive and am always chicken when it comes to approaching a girl i see for the first time and am instantly attracted to. It’s frustrating…

    • Hi Danny! A great way to boost your confidence with talking to girls, is to first boost confidence in yourself. I’m not sure what your situation is, but a job may be good for you. Or if you are unable to work right now, you should get involved with hobbies and such. Do anything that makes you feel good about yourself, and talking to the opposite sex will get easier. You just have to believe in yourself! :)

  8. Rebecca’s question looks identical to the one that I was planning to ask. Number 1, god it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels like my communications degree was a waste because I still have no idea what to do with my life. Number 2, Thank you Marissa. Friends and family are awful at giving advice about this kind of thing because it’s pretty much impossible to give completely unbiased advice. It really is exactly what I needed to hear (see?).

  9. you’re pretty smart.

    things I would add.

    To Stephanie, life is too sort for crappy friends. find a book club or a church group or any other random thing that will introduce you to new people. they are out there!

    To Emily, guy don’t put nearly the thought we give them credit for into anything so I really doubt you are being “played”. He’s your friend. be his and don’t think so much about it. Unless you want to. In that case, attack him at some point. He would probably be totally fine with it.

    Rebecca, welcome to the real world. Get a job (any job) save some money and get out of your mother’s house. It will make you a stronger person/woman if you learn that you can indeed do all for yourself even if it’s in a tiny apartment with a crap job. because you CAN.