~Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Relationship Status: Single

Late last week, I picked up my office phone and called Schmoozer.

"What's up?" he asked.

"I finally got the link to my Warrior Dash pictures, but the website is blocked at work. Can you click on the link and tell me if you see anything, like me jumping over fire?"


I heard him type away. "Nope. Nothing yet."

"Argh. Anyway I was looking at more races. Did you know there's another one three hours from here in Tennessee in September? You'd love it. Will you go with me?"

"I don't think I'll be around then," he said.

Schmoozer had been increasingly complaining about Katie. He went so far as to tell a mutual girlfriend he didn't know that well that he wasn't into Katie anymore.

"But you'll still hang out with me after you're gone?!" I whined.

"I want to take some trips this summer. I'm going to be traveling then. That's what I meant," he told me.

Oooohhh nooo. I assumed he was talking about no longer being with Katie. I basically just dismissed his entire relationship.

"Right then. Welp, I gotta go!" I cheerfully compensated. I put the receiver back in its cradle and sank my head into my hands at my desk. I just screwed up. I wonder if he's mad. I debated calling back and apologizing but ultimately decided to sweep it under the rug.

It was quiet in the office; I'm usually one of the last people to leave. I heard my phone quietly vibrate. It was a text message from Schmoozer.

Have you left work yet?

Nope, in a few minutes.

Come meet me at happy hour.


He couldn't have been that mad if he immediately contacted me back and invited me out. Our office buildings are separated by a bar. That's where I met him.

I walked in and squinted, my eyes not being able to adjust to the darkness of the wine bar. I saw a figure wave and stand up. I assumed it was Schmoozer. I took a few steps and recognized him. He reached down to hug me, then he turned around and introduced me to his eight coworkers. He grabbed another chair and brought it to the table for me. I sat between him and his best friend.

His coworkers were laid back and I immediately fell into step in the conversation. We talked about zip-lining, white-water rafting and Warrior Dash, all things I've done in the last year.

Schmoozer took a swig of his beer and turned to me. "I'm ending things with Katie," he announced. "After the group goes out tomorrow."

"That's been postponed!" I began to laugh at him. "You know Katie moved that outing to mid-July, right?"

He shook his head. "I can't wait that long."

I put my pint glass down and faced him. "What are you going to say to her? Practice on me."

Schmoozer cleared his throat. "Well I'm going to ask her how she thinks things are going--"

I immediately cut him off. "You can't do that. That's asking an open-ended question, leaving her room to say 'I really like you and I'm hoping for more commitment.'"

Schmoozer's best friend cut in. "She's right, man."

"Let me tell you what Valdosta told me, because he did it right. And if this is template break-up language, please don't tell me because I really respected him for it and I don't want that memory tainted."

Schmoozer smirked.

"I'm serious!" I laughed, batting his arm. "Don't tell me!"

"He said when he started dating me he was honest in his intentions and hoped that deeper feelings would develop, but it just didn't happen for him."

"Wait," he said, sitting up straighter. "That's actually really good. Say that again."

I repeated myself. Schmoozer pretended to write it down.

He got up to use the restroom. As I sat there, I realized that I just told my guyfriend that I've known for less than a year how to breakup with my girlfriend of five years. I became somber. I felt immensely disloyal to Katie. And maybe I was disloyal to her. Maybe instead of helping with a gentle breakup, I should have pushed him to stay with her and talk about how awesome she is. But I've been spending a lot of time with Schmoozer over the past couple of months—after Warrior Dash, Schmoozer called me and not Katie to see how it went. I've watched his feelings wane; I knew there was no talking him out of it.

"You're a bad friend, you realize that?" piped up Schmoozer's best friend, verbalizing my thoughts.


"Katie. I thought you were friends with her."

"I was. I am."

I was flustered because I couldn't articulate my feelings. My relationship with Katie is very different than my relationship with Schmoozer. Katie, to my disappointment, is a fair-weather friend. We don't hang out one on one. She's not great at responding to texts, e-mails or phone calls. We don't chat; we see each other in group settings. But, if I was in a crisis, she'd be there for me.

Schmoozer, I spent a lot of one-on-one time with. Not only does he return every text, e-mail and phone call, he also initiates them to me. Lately, I've been confiding in him. When I've fought with various people in the group, he remains impartial and listens. I had an incident with Jenna back in March and I was quickly losing my temper. It was Schmoozer who grabbed me and took me outside, calmed me down and fixed the situation as best he could.

You have different relationships with different people. And Schmoozer is the kind of relationship that we can talk about breakups; Katie's is not.

"I've become closer with Schmoozer," I said lamely. It was neither a thought I knew how to articulate nor a thought I wanted to acknowledge. Just the acknowledgment felt like I was betraying a girl who had never done a single thing to me.


The following evening I received a text from Schmoozer.

It is done. I am a free man.


Jai said...

I wouldnt say you were a horrible friend to Katie bc who would want thier friend to be in a relationship with a person who doesnt really like them anymore..you just gave him a dignified way of lettin her go that maybe wouldnt hurt as bad..where the complication will come is if he then falls for you....(which i think he already has)...and i think you have also fallen for him...Sarah,Sarah Sarah.....

Denise said...

I have to agree with Jai. From all that you've said about kickball guy (I still like that name better), you two do seem pretty compatible. I just hope in the long-run your core group of friends will get their heads out of the sand and see it too.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh interesting!

I'm Sarah too and glad I stumbled upon your blog similar to mine!

Anonymous said...

I've been in a similar position before, but I did not help nor encourage the significant other to break up with my friend (even though I knew it was doomed). I mean what kind of person tells a friend's girlfriend that yes, she should break up with that friend?? Well what happened? The girl ended up leaving my friend for another man a few months later. Ouch. Had she just ended things before that point, it would have been a lot more civil and clean.

So I think you've taken the right course of action, but as Jai says, the messy, complicated part has yet to arrive.

NP Odyssey said...

Almost sounds like you have a thing for shmoozer, or he has a thing for you.

Syd said...

I'm glad he stepped up and did it, although I feel like you are going to get shit from your friends for it. (unfairly so)

Anonymous said...

I think you were a better friend to Katie for not encouraging him to stay with her. If he's done, he's done and he's the one that decides it.

Just roll with whatever happens from here, I'm sure there will be some form of discord in the group over it, but remain true to who you are and do not blame yourself for not having the magical power to make him love Katie.

And just roll with your friendship with Schmoozer too. If something happens between you two, you are smart enough to know if it feels right for YOU (remember you, not everyone else).

Anonymous said...

Sarah, I'm begging you please...I'm on my knees girl...please date Schmoozer...go on those summer holidays with him.

Erm...obviously after waiting a few weeks/months for Katie and the group to heal from their split.

You and Schmoozer are compatible on so many levels, it's crazy!

He made a mistake going for Katie. He should have stuck with you.

Seine said...

tricky situation... the battle lines are drawn, and you're in a tough position even if everything is 100% platonic between you and schmoozer.

be there for katie (if she asks), but be honest with yourself too as to how much you can give of yourself in comforting her. good luck.

Anonymous said...

i don't think you crossed any lines. people can think what they want.

you just gave advice.

hopefully katie [or anyone] put two and two together with wording of said advice....or else you could be in trouble.

but it is true. i would hope we all start out with good intentions and sometimes that relationship just doesn't develop the way you thought and it's time to move on. No one wants to be in a one sided relationship. I personally think you did help both people in the relationship.

raspberry sundae said...

Well there are two sides to this - on the one hand, I think that you were a good friend to Katie by not encouraging him to stay with her even though he's clearly *not* into her, and you gave him a good way to do it gently.

The other side of it is, of course, that she won't see it that way if she ever finds out. So be ready for potential fallout.

(long time reader, first time commenter. heh.)

xo - raspberrysundae.

J said...

Dude was gonna break up with Katie anyway, and you just told him how to do it with care. If a guy was breaking up with me and started it off by asking me "how do you think this is going", I guarantee you he would get a fist to the face. Your advice probably made for a less painful breakup discussion, and that can only be a good thing.

Je m'appelle Danielle said...

You knew they were not going to make it anyway, you said that in a previous post that Katie was looking for commitment and Schmoozer wasn't going to be that guy for her, but you pushed him to her.

I think you had the best intentions for them, they just weren't going to make it.

if Katie gets mad at you all you should ask her is "would you rather hurt now, or let the relationship drag on longer and hurt later?"

Pretty simple.

Anonymous said...

I think you were right in giving your advice. Feelings will be hurt (maybe), but she'll get over it.

Anonymous said...

Good friends always are there. She is more of an aquaintance than anything. He is a real friend. He and you, will have to deal with a lot of shit over him breaking up with her. Your circle of "friends" will blame you, even though it was his decision that he has been thinking about for a long time. It is very silly, but they may dismiss you as a friend. Be strong, and screw them. You can find true friends.

jo said...

i agree with everyone who said that you weren't a bad friend to katie, you just taught a guy to break up with her properly and gently, or as properly and gently as you can get. and i have to say though that that Valdosta break-up "template" is really good.

Bathwater said...

I don't know what to say anymore. I still don't think you did anything wrong. I usually have this motto that says friends before relationships but I am beginning to wonder.

I do agree with everyone else, you and Kickball Guy should be together for where we stand.

freckledk said...

If you continue to hang out with Schmoozer, you can kiss your friendship with Katie goodbye, but it sounds like she really hasn't been much of a friend to you, so hopefully you'll be okay with that. At the end of the day, we just want for Sarah to be happy. I can sympathize with your cast of characters somewhat but, really, it's you whose happiness I most care about.

Red Stethoscope said...

Well, we knew that it was only a matter of time. I don't think that you're a bad friend to Katie. Their relationship wasn't working and by your own admission, the two of you aren't that close. Also, Schmoozer totally wants you, so there's...that. :)

Scrumps said...

What's done is done. I am really bad at friendship advice but at the end of the day friendships change as people change. Just because you were friends once, doesn't mean you always will be. Hopefully Katie will see that Schmoozer wasn't happy with her and that was mostly down to her.
I have friends and I have acquaintances. Friends who make up the group. Don't fret about it too much. :)

(useless comment I know but hopefully you'll be getting used to them by now!)


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