Ask the Rev: Awkward Hookups

Dear Rev,

I hooked up with a friend last weekend because I was bored, but almost immediately I realized that it wasn’t working and that I wanted it to end. After an uninspired and uneventful hour or so, they left. How do I get out of this situation without awkwardness?

I’m going to start by saying that almost everyone has had a similar experience, so it’s wonderful to get to discuss some of the stuff it brings up.

First of all, we must ask, how do we get ourselves into these situations in the first place? Curiosity, alcoholic dis-inhibition, boredom (as you said)—there are a million reasons. The point is that, no matter what the reason was, there definitely was a reason, and some part of you wanted and needed to do it, so don’t beat yourself up about it! It was meant to happen, even if it was a negative experience. We can’t be batting 1.000 in our hook-ups: there are far, far too many people that we just don’t click with. Everyone is so different; you’re bound to catch a few that are just not right for you. The truth is that there’s only one way to find that out, and if you become afraid of taking the chance of having a poor hook-up, you very well may miss that great one you’ve been waiting for. Live life with no regrets. If it’s a bad experience, you’ll learn from it, and that curious or bored streak can be directed towards new and exciting things.

Next important issue: once you’ve discovered that the chemistry is just not there (not their fault or your fault, just not the right combination), how do you get out of it? Generally, you’ve determined whether it’s working for you or not within a few minutes. If it’s not, the next hour(s) is just spent hating yourself / planning your escape / fantasizing about a late night burrito or basically doing anything else.

Assertiveness in this situation is equally critical and excruciatingly difficult. You know what you want, but what’s stopping you? AWKWARDNESS! Sometimes we’re so afraid of the uncomfortable tension associated with telling someone off that we’ll do anything to prevent it. I know it’s not easy, and it will definitely be awkward for at least five seconds, but I guarantee you that it will be worth it, and that afterwards, you will feel absolutely great about yourself. The awkwardness is inevitable—you’re in the middle of a bad hook-up, it’s already awkward. Pull it off like a band-aid, get it out of the way, get on with your life, and you won’t have to deal with the awkwardness of trying to avoid this person because they think you’re still interested.

Best way to go about it? I don’t encourage lying, but when it’s your friend and you don’t want to say “you suck,” which is just mean, it might be the right time to tell them you’re too tired to deal with this, or you’re feeling sick, or your friend just called (but your phone’s on silent?), or anything else you can think of. Accept the truth: you’re not feeling it. I know you don’t want to hurt them, but this is your life we’re talking about, so take control of it and be assertive! Being afraid to hurt someone’s feelings is not a reason to betray your true self and your true feelings.

All love,

The Rev

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