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Topic is serious but not catered elsewhere
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fisher71 - July 21

Hello. I am a 42 year old male. I've tried to join a few groups this morning to ask about this and am hoping this can go well here. Something happened recently with a female friend which I feel I dealt with disappointingly and which I want to be better prepared for. I've known the friend a year, but only a few months with any closeness. (It's nearly irrelevent but my friend has been told she can expect early menopause as a side effect o health issues.)

I was out with my female friend and her two daughters. (It's platonic, although I had briefly tried to make it a romantic relationship but was keen to go on as friends when she declined my suggestions. I'm fine with this overall. I wouldn't abandon her.) It was a long day, essentially a seven hour picnic although with entertainment on in the background. My friend is younger by several years and is a survivor of several abusive and violent relationships. She has some health issues which may be pre-exisiting or may have a psychogenic component. On this occasion near the end of the day my friend had a borderline public case of diorrhoea. That is, although we were caught out, away from facilities, but were able to move to where she was initially able to be out of sight, a group of ten or so young teenagers appeared to be coming our way, on the way to where they were going. Some of the boys stopped and looked and seemed amused and the older daughter called for them to go away and was racially abusive (it was a group of mixed ethnic groups in fact). I was sort of frozen, which I'm ashamed about, though additionally I didn't want to compound the racial nature of the antagonism from our perceived side. I was sort of willing them to just walk on and I hoped that without antagonism they would as some of their group did. Some of them dispersed, maybe brought up better than the piggish ones who were amused. After a little bit too long I began to walk towards them thinking I would just 'wing it', I didn't know what to say or what would happen but self-loathing had made me belatedly active. "Come on now lads, she's not well, imagine that was your mum or your sister," I thought I'd say, or something like that. They all dispersed then anyway, though not in reaction to my approach I think.

I feel like the daughters, always friendly and seemingly happy that her mum has someone coming round, are probably angry with me or disappointed now and may have expected me to shout and get violent and to have been quicker. They live on a rough estate where some shocking and repugnant stuff has happened and although I don't want to excuse myself primarily it is because I am dithering in my efforts to be unlike many men including my dad and the men on my friend's estate that I'm stumped in situations of comfrontation. I go for years with little or no company and am not prepared for this sort of nonsense when it happens.

I like the friend very much, I feel for her knowing her history and current struggles, and am glad to know her and her daughters and want them to understand me back, and have thought about trying to have a big chat with them without trying to seem like a replacement for the dad they didn't grow up with. I think my friend needs someone like me, as useless as I was in this incident, because I'm not arrogant, we can talk and she has had a lot of unhealthy friendships to the extent that except for brief chats with mums I am her one current visiting friend.

I do know that I didn't do enough and that I may be better placed to another time as a result of some constructive stewing. I want to ask the friend if we can do anything to be better prepared for if the dietary issue recurs in the same way.

I want to know good or bad what people think here. I'm not after absolution and I know many people would say I'm a nerd or a loser or weak and useless, or even 'emasculated'. I'm not going to take self-defence classes or be an aggressor and I would rather be murdered in the act of civilly trying to do better in this sort of situation than act like an ape. There is an authentic, civilised path somewhere and somehow without any Iron John or MRA nonsense. Many thanks.

 

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