The road not taken.

Warning: very wordy and slightly rant-ish post ahead.

The title of today’s blog is for two things: One,  I didn’t quite wear this to work. I wore the dress to work, but without the shirt and belt over it. For some reason, wearing the shirt over this dress makes it look shorter than it really is, and I didn’t think it was quite work-friendly. Which was disappointing, because I really like the way this looks.

The other reason is that I’ve run into a situation that is… not turning out the way I’d like it to, and it’s frustrating. It has to do with my beliefs and how they affect the decisions I make, and a male customer at work who I’ve gotten to know a little bit, and who wants to hang out but doesn’t understand why I don’t want to hang out one-on-one, and why I don’t generally ever hang out one-on-one with guys.

And by the way, when I say I’ve gotten to know him a little bit, I mean that he’s stopped for coffee three or four times, and he stays and talks for about half an hour when there’s nobody behind him, and he’s been to my church before. He shares my beliefs, and I was starting to feel more comfortable with talking to him since one of my co-workers said he talks to her for a long time as well. I had also said a few things that implied I wasn’t interested in him as more than a friend before today, so I figured he’d be content with just talking at work. And then today, as another car drove up behind him and a third car came to the other window, he said we needed to hang out. I didn’t say much other than “yeah?”, and he asked for my phone number so I panicked– which I do when I’m asked out or a guy asks for my phone number or Facebook and I have no time to refuse him nicely– gave him my number, and turned to help the customer at the other window.

He texted me about an hour later saying he wanted to go to dinner at a mexican restaurant nearby, and I unloaded on him that I couldn’t tell if he liked me or if he just wanted to be friends, along with a few other things… and he didn’t really seem to get the hint that I didn’t want to hang out. And in the conversation that followed (all via text), he either didn’t acknowledge that I kept saying I wasn’t comfortable hanging out with guys, or he didn’t get why I don’t hang out with guys one on one.

It’s something that is old-fashioned in me, and it’s the way I was raised. My brothers didn’t and don’t have female friends that they hang out with, and I only have one or two guy friends who I’d really call friends (the other ones are between friend and acquaintance. You know, those people that you talk to when you’re all at the same event, and you joke and know each other, but you don’t ever hang purposefully?).

In my world, if a guy wants to hang out with just me, it means we’re on a date and he likes me, and there has only ever been on exception to that guideline– a guy that I’ve known for at least ten years and who knows that I don’t “like” him and who I know doesn’t “like” me. I know that’s not how it always works, but that’s how it works with me. And every time a guy has gone out of his way to be friends with me, whether it’s online or in person, it has always turned out that he was interested in being more than just friends and I was not.

It’s a difficult concept to explain, I’m discovering. It’s more than just me not being comfortable with one certain guy. It’s based on past experiences, on beliefs, on the way I was raised, on personal preferences… it’s just… me. It’s the way I’ve always been and always will be. Maybe it’s annoyingly proper to some people, maybe it’ll turn out to kill any kind of friendship I might have had with this guy, but… I can’t change me for one person, especially when that person is asking me to change something about myself that, if changed, could end up causing a whole lot of problems.

So I have to think about a clear way to state why I’ll continue to say no thanks when he asks if we can hang out. I told him I’d explain the next time I saw him– at work–, and I’m hoping that I can explain it well enough that he’ll understand. Because if he still doesn’t understand, I’ll end up being painfully blunt with him and I don’t know where that will go.

I don’t even know if any of this is making sense to you all, but I needed to write it out somewhere. I’ve been mulling this over all day, and for a while I felt a little sick about it because I was just… nervous, I suppose. I really don’t like being asked out, being asked to hang out, being asked for my number, being asked to be Facebook friends… whatever else guys do. Because there’s the chance– which is now happening– that when I say no, they won’t understand why and I’ll have to explain it, or keep saying no… and it’s just hard to deal with.

I think I’ll just stop being nice to guys. Being nice always seems to lead to something I don’t want. (Okay, so I won’t stop being nice, but I AM seriously tempted.)

Please tell me I’m not the only one who finds it difficult to just be blunt with a guy, even though I know that from a guy’s perspective it’s not hurtful or rude. I wish that I could just say “no.” I’m good at sticking with my “no” once I’ve said it, but that first answer is so hard. I am frustrated that… I can’t be friendly and just leave it at friendly. I don’t want to make friends outside of work with male customers who regularly get coffee, even if they are nice and trustworthy. I just don’t do that. Is that weird?

[edit:] I just needed to clarify that this guy isn’t a bad guy, although he’s too pushy in my opinion, and also that I didn’t mean I was confused about how I felt, I meant that the more I try to explain it, the less I can find words to tell you all the complexities of the situation. I know exactly how I feel about this situation: I don’t want to cultivate anything outside of the chatting at work. It makes me uncomfortable, no matter how nice he is.

Anyway. I feel like I’ve exhausted this subject and that the more I type it out, the more confusing it’s getting, so… the end.

Do you love my ring and belt? I love my ring and belt. The belt was sent to me by the same lovely who sent me that bird necklace I’m so fond of. It’s fabulous, but for some reason I haven’t worn it until today. Probably because I have been running around like crazy lately.

The ring, I found at Icing, along with three others and a pair of earrings (yes, the ones I’m wearing today). It was $2. Originally $10.50.

I love sales. I mentioned that yesterday.

The shoes were also $2. I just remembered that.

Amazing alert: I’m not wearing anything from a thrift store! Are you surprised?

So am I.

I just realized I still have chocolate on my arm from work.

Yeah. I’m gonna go wash that off.

I hope you are all having a beautiful (and much less confusing and conflicted) Tuesday! That I just typed as Wednesday. Ahem. Me and days of the week are not getting along. Yesterday, I thought it was Saturday all day at work, and then I thought it was Tuesday at lunch time.

Hmm. Bye.

Details: Dress($13.98), Target; Shirt($7.09), JC Penney; Ring and Earrings ($2 each), Icing; Shoes($2), Payless; belt (awesome), gift. Approximate outfit cost: $27.07


  • Rachel

    Ugh. Why do guys have to be so complicated? I completely get what you’re saying. But, honestly, even after you say no they still sometimes don’t get the message. Why do they think we’re always playing hard to get? That game is seriously overrated.

    • Mara

      I think it’s just people that are complicated. Most guys I know will take “no” for an answer, but… I’m not sure what’s going on with this one. He hasn’t said whether he’s interested in me or whether it’s just friendship– the most clear thing he’s said is that he wants to get to know me better. I don’t know why.
      Ah well. Hopefully the situation will clear up if I can explain why I’m saying no. If not… it’ll clear up by my just having to say I’m sorry but I won’t hang out with you, period, and end it at that.
      I’m not looking forward to either situation, though.

      • Rachel

        That could be. But it’ll be clear in the end what he’s looking for. And God’ll help you figure out how to handle the situation.
        Isn’t there a quote about how if things are worth it they’re seldom easy or something like that?

  • Avra-Sha Faohla

    Ah, that is frustrating! But I’m glad you typed it up; it’s good for your mental health. (Really. It helps your immunity. Or so says my Health book. ;))

    I don’t think it’s weird to not want to be friends with the male customers. I think it’s a very good thing and perfectly understandable. Then again, I’m not your typical American, so maybe I’m the wrong person to ask. 😀

    I wish you all the luck on sorting out this situation!

    • Mara

      I agree! Typing things out always makes me feel better, even when I can’t quite word exactly what I mean (such as in this case).

      Hehe. I’m not your typical American, either, so… y’know. 😀

  • Asia Morela

    You may analyse your behaviour as related to your “old-fashionedness”, but IMHO it’s just a natural defense mechanism women have to develop against men, whether they’re old-fashioned or not. I’m not particularly, and I’ve been on dates or seen guys one-on-one plenty, and the result is that I feel exactly the way you do about the whole thing. It *is* very hard to be just friendly with a guy (though I also have two good male friends who have *never* made me feel threatened or awkward, but two is indeed not that many). And the reason why it’s hard comes from men 98% of the time.

    I think you’re being wise, not old-fashioned.

    My main reason for going out with guys I wasn’t interested in (other than on a friendly level) was always curiosity. As a writer, I enjoy experiencing weird or unusual situations, and exploring human interactions. Well, I guarantee you I had my share. I’ve received love declarations by the most unlikely men… I now tell them to my friends as jokes, but it wasn’t always very pleasant when it happened.

    Anyway. Men need to get a grip on themselves and understand that it’s NOT RIGHT for them to make us feel the way you’re feeling right now, trapped between what you must do (be friendly) and what you want (not see him one-on-one). That’s bullying, even when “nice guys” do it, it’s still bullying and it’s still wrong and not nice at all.

    • Mara

      Most people would think it’s old-fashioned that I generally don’t have male friends. But I also agree with the defense mechanism thing, and it being wise. I think if this guy hadn’t been so pushy, I might not have minded. But something bothers me about his insistence to go hang out outside of work, and his not accepting that I’m not comfortable hanging out with guys.

      I love that you did that because you’re a writer. It kind of made me laugh. 😀

      I agree– it isn’t okay for him to keep insisting after I’ve said no once. No means no. No matter how nice someone is, when I say no, it stays that way.

  • Regina

    Hi Mara!
    I read your post on my phone, and for some reason I felt the need to turn on my computer to reply properly. I´m an all time believer of love, and this are my thoughts.
    First, if you are questioning your believes, and feeling so confuse, probably is because you like this guy, and you should always be honest about your own feelings (about him or any future one).
    Second, I was like you. And I learned that if you trust God, you wont go wrong. I think you are scared about this situation. Don’t be afraid, God put this guy in your way, and He will let you know what to do with it.
    Third. No my dear, there is nothing wrong with having male friends at your age. You are a smart grown up beautiful girl. You’ll take good decissions.
    Finally, what guy in this planet wouldn’t love to get to know you better? There is nothing weird with that! you are amazing!

    Hope this helps! take care!

    PS: you can´t love something (or someone) you don´t know.

    • Mara

      Oh, goodness, no. I’m not questioning my beliefs or feelings– I meant that the more I typed about it, the more confusing it seemed because there were so many things I didn’t say. I definitely know how I feel about the situation and the guy– I don’t like it at all, and it’s making me uncomfortable.
      I’m definitely trying to trust God about how to deal with it. I’ve just never come across a guy who persisted even when I said no. It’s new to me.

      And I didn’t mean I think it’s wrong to have male friends at my age, or that I can’t have male friends, I meant that from the way I was raised and just… how I am, I don’t have a lot of male friends and I prefer it that way. There are too many complications that come from trying to be friends with guys, in my experience.

      Thank you!

  • Bethie

    I absolutely know exactly what you’re going through. Remember when I vented on my blog about that coworker? He’s the sweetest guy (moved across the state, so not even there anymore) but he asked me out to have tea one-on-one and I was panicked and upset because I could not let it get further than a friendship and I in my mind (and his) having tea alone together would be a date. And there’s no reason to lead someone on unfairly.

    I remember your advice to me was that even though it feels sad and horrible to turn someone down (especially if they’re so great) it’s only fair to both parties. You don’t want to allow any misinterpretation. Which is likely to happen if you say “Okay, we can get together, but we’re not dating.” If it quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck… you know what I’m saying.

    And if he was a really amazing guy, he wouldn’t pressure you to go out with him. He’d know you’re worth doing things the “old fashioned” way for. 😉

    • Mara

      Yes, I remember that! I love how it’s so easy to give advice, but it’s much harder to follow it on your own. Well, maybe I don’t love that, I just… think it’s funny. Or annoying. Or both. But yes, I just have to get up the… I don’t even know… I just have to figure out how to say “no” and not feel bad about it, I guess.

      Teehee. Quack quack waddle waddle… *ahem* I like that expression…

      That’s very true. I liked him (as a person, not romantically) all the way up until he started pressuring me to hang out outside of work. And now I’m annoyed.

      • Bethie

        Funny, I knew exactly what you meant by that, too. 😛 *taps head* We have a mental awareness goin’ on. Okay, I had way too much coffee this morning. But I have a good excuse! I was opening the bakery! Oh, and if you ever figure out how to say “no!” without feeling bad, let me in on the secret, because I haven’t managed it yet. 😉

        Hehehe. Anything duck related makes me giggle. 😀

        Understandable. Well, good luck! I shall pray for thee! Now I sound Amish… getting up at 3am does strange things to me…

        • Mara

          There’s no such thing as too much coffee. 😀 Just sayin’…
          I will let you in on the secret. If I figure it out. Which hopefully is possible. Bleeerrrrgh.

          Teehee. Getting up at 3am does strange things to me, too! I feel your pain! Or strangeness!

  • Jamie Rose

    Well, your outfit looks really cute even if you’re having a confusing day! I’m the opposite of you I suppose. I usually have more guy friends than girls and I’m very comfortable with them. I find them fun to hang around with and less catty and complicated than girls. Guys need things said bluntly to them for them to understand. They don’t beat around the bush so if you need to tell this guy to back off, just tell him to back off. Say you’re sorry but you’re not interested in dating him so there’s no need to ask anymore. He’ll get the picture if you keep it simple haha. Guys are simple creatures.

    • Mara

      That’s true, guys are a lot less complicated and catty. I don’t mind having guy friends, and sometimes I do like hanging out with the group of them at movie nights or whatnot, but I’m not comfortable with guys who push and push and try to get me to be friends or whatever it is that this guy wants. It’s made me trust him a whole lot less, because I must have said “I’m not comfortable with hanging out with any guy one-on-one” or “I just don’t hang out with guys alone” five or six times during our conversation, and he still persisted.
      Haha, I know. I’ve talked to one of my guy friends about how guys need things said bluntly SO much, and I still try to be nice. Which I shouldn’t. I’m much better at saying things bluntly in writing than I am in person! But getting all of the comments has really helped me to buck up the courage to just be blunt even if it feels rude. 🙂

  • Demy

    Hi. First, your outfit is awesome, I love everything about it. Really everything, your belt rocks, your rings and earrings rock! Now, onto the serious stuff.
    Ok, I’m younger, so I shouldn’t give advice or even relate, but I do know what you mean. When I think of talking to guys one-on-one, I’m ok about it. But when I even try to talk and look the guy inthe eyes, I can’t say anything except for a huge, fat NO. So I kind of understand you. In your case, though, I feel that you should take a look at your own feelings. What do you really feel about this guy? Sure, you don’t know him as good as you want to, but…do you believe he’s worth getting to know him? It’s not bad to just go out with him, no matter how nervous you may feel. Apparently, he IS feeling something about you, he wouldn’t want to know you better if he didn’t, so if you think you feel the same way, you could just try talking to him sincerely. I want to believe that he will understand you, and that he will also understand if you say no to him. And you know what? In the end of it, you could still be ‘friends’, meaning that you could still talk to him and…why not? Maybe in the future you’ll end up being two really good friends. But first, you have to check out your feelings. You don’t have to do something that is against your beliefs. Just explain to him. Jeez, why do human relationships have to be SO complicated? When we think of guys and stuff, everything seems to be so simple and perfect, but in real life, everything is so weird and awkward. I really hope you’ll figure this situation out. Please let us know. And don’t ever hesitate talking to us. I’m pretty sure that many people (like me) think of you as a friend and would help you, if you needed to.
    Bye bye! <3 😉

    • Mara

      Thank you! I loved this outfit! The shirt makes me SO happy. It’s so bright and colorful… sigh. I love it. I need more colors like that in my life.

      I don’t care about your age, you can still give advice! Advice has to do with wisdom, not age. 😉 I’m not confused about how I feel about this guy, though. I feel very ‘”NO!” about him. I hesitate to even say I like talking to him at work– I am entertained and it’s okay to chat with him at work, but I distinctly do not want to hang out with him. He seems nice, but his pushiness in trying to get me to hang out– at places that seem like “date” places to me (the zoo, a restaurant)– and his not getting that I don’t hang out with guys one-on-one has lessened any kind of trust I might have had.

      I wish relationships weren’t so complicated! It’d be nice if answers were as simple as yes or no.
      I will definitely be writing out how it goes whenever the situation is taken care of. <3 hugs!

  • audrey

    Good morning! Quite a post to start the day off with. 🙂

    Firstly – I’m sorry that you’re feeling ucky about the situation. I’ve been there – we all have? Whether it’s someone we’re truly not interested or just someone we think is awesome but who is crossing our comfort zone boundary it can be a little weird.

    Secondly – I’m a little miffed at all this ‘guys are like this’ and ‘girls are like this’ talk in the comments… because I don’t feel like women give men enough credit for being remarkable, intelligent, independent individuals with all kinds of interests, quirks and characteristics that make them unique. I’m a lady and I’ve had men and women alike hit on me, and I’ve had to rebuff my fair share (I am not a lady-loving lady, although I have no problem with that!) regardless of gender.

    The beautiful things about your beliefs is that you get to call the shots on them. If you know something will make you uncomfortable, you don’t really owe anyone an explanation as long as you are confident enough in the decisions you make. This coffee shop customer guy doesn’t need to know about your feelings, the reasons behind them or ANYTHING that you don’t want to tell him. Unless you want to tell him, then that’s a different can of worms.

    But, if he is someone you enjoy spending time with maybe it would be appropriate to invite him to hang out with you and other friends in a group, or to a meal or picnic with your family, or some other ‘safe ground’ where you feel like you have support should you need to send the gentleman packin’!

    I hope I’m not too sleep-deprived to make sense… but most of all – good luck with this situation, I hope it works out!

    • Mara

      Oh, I know. Haha! This post harkens back to the days before I was doing fashion blog posts, when all I did was write! It’s kind of nice to write about deeper things once in a while. 🙂

      Thank you. It’s definitely not in my comfort zone to have this guy pushing to hang out. And I agree– he’s not a bad guy. I like him less now because of his persistence when I”ve already said no many times, but overall he’s nice. And just having one guy be like this doesn’t lessen my faith in men in general. I know SO many guys who are incredibly good and gentlemanly and intelligent. So one guy isn’t going to make me say “all men are terrible.” Because they aren’t!

      I feel like… since I’ve been talking to him at work and we chat for half an hour or so, and because I panicked and gave him my number when I didn’t want to, I should tell him why I’m saying no. I’m just like that. I probably don’t owe him an explanation, and I do think he should take my no and let it be, but… it’s just me. I feel like I should explain why I’m saying no, especially because I gave him my phone number.
      And he might have been someone I enjoyed conversation with, but not any longer. His pushiness kind of nixed my trust in him– I wasn’t ever attracted to him, to clarify, but I was entertained when we chatted.

      No, it all made sense!

      • audrey

        Mara – it sounds like you are truly sure of your feelings and I can understand why you might feel like you owe him an explanation, since you gave him your number in a panic! I would do the same thing.

        Lots of friends and internetters sound like they’ve given you great advice – take a deep breath and tell that coffee customer what’s what! 🙂

  • Whoa

    You make perfect sense, and I agree with you.

    Basically, you don’t want them to take a cheap way out and pretending to name a ‘crush’ a ‘friendship’. Smart, safe. I’m jealous that you are sticking to your ideals so thoroughly. Keep at it. 🙂

    Men won’t like it. Here’s my 2 cents why: They like to start with a friendship. It’s less scary to them. Then, they try to develop it. If it chimes right – great. If not – no loss. These women persist on being ‘friends’.

    I have about 6 male ‘friends’, who have all, at one time or another, implied that we should try to be more than friends. It haunts the friendship, in my eyes. Just as the female friends that my boyfriend has haunt ME. 🙂

    • Mara

      Haha, I think part of why I’m sticking to my ideals so thoroughly is that I’m stubborn. 😀 But I also don’t like that he’s trying to push me to do something I do not want to do. Which makes me more stubborn. 😉

      That’s very true. When I told him I couldn’t tell if he liked me or if he just wanted to be friends, he said something like it was too much to roll out so early on. And I was like… no… no, it’s not. That’s the first thing that should be clarified, in my opinion. If a guy likes me, he should tell me. If not, I definitely want to know. I hate leaving things up in the air, because I’ve been through that and it’s not something I want to inflict on other people. So I tell guys straightaway that I’m only interested in friendship, and if my feelings change I will let them know. Y’know?

      Yeah, I only have a handful of male friends who haven’t implied that we should be more than friends, but those guys aren’t really guys I know very well. So they’re the in-betweens (not close enough to be friends, not far enough to be acquaintances.)

  • Snigdha

    Amazing dress, as usual. 🙂
    And the thrift store I told you about? It’s amazing. I got a cute purple tee (which I hope to post someday)

    “I think I’ll just stop being nice to guys. Being nice always seems to lead to something I don’t want.”——– Totally correct. When you be nice to them, they often get the impression that they may get whatever they wish for, which is certainly not the case.
    In your case, I just wish he understands, and respects it. I’m pretty sure he will, since you mentioned he shares your beliefs.
    Keep all of us posted. I hope it works out with you. My best wishes.

    Mara, being righteous is the best thing a human is capable of, and I can bet that he, if he likes you even a friend, would definitely respect your ideas and well, then of course, giving him a chance won’t hurt you.

    Good luck! 🙂

    Love you,
    Snigdha <3

    • Mara

      Oh, I’m glad! I was hoping your thrift store would be fun and good! Because there are thrift stores that are just junky and no fun at all. 😀 Let me know if you post your cute shirt! I want to see it.

      I do hope that he will get the message when I explain why I’m not comfortable hanging out with him. I need to just be upfront and blunt, because as someone else said (and as my guy friends have said), boys just need to be told plainly and simply what’s going on. With girls, you can imply and beat around the bush and they get it. With guys… not usually so much. 🙂
      <3 Thank you!

      • Snigdha

        Sure will! Around my birthday, which is just 26 days away ! 😀

        Yes, that’s correct. Guys are quite inanimate objects who need to spelled out every word to– they don’t catch hints.
        But still, I sincerely hope it works out for you. You are amazing, and any person who is a part of it, is incredibly lucky (that’s what I consider myself) 🙂


  • Karen

    Hi Mara,
    I think you are right to stick to your guns. If something about him makes you feel uncomfortable there may be good reason for that and you should trust that instinctive feeling. His interest in you may be completely innocent but there is such a thing as a wolf in sheeps clothing and it’s best to be on your guard. Btw, love your blog and the earrings.

  • Sarah

    Hey, so first off I LOVE this outfit.

    Now on to the deep stuff…

    As some have already said, guys really need things put plainly which to us girls might feel rude or blunt, but not really to them (okay not all guys are like this, but most of them are). It’s quite possible that even if you explain your position on this to him a million times he won’t get it, but if you just simply say that you’re not interested in him then he’ll understand. He might be being pushy because he is receiving mixed signals, not that you’re sending mixed signals, but that he is misunderstanding. For example, you said no, but you also did give him your number, and he might see that as you saying maybe. Another reason to be plain and blunt, and there is a way to do that without being rude.

    SO that’s my two cents…