Reunion with an old pen pal leads to mixed messages
I’ve got a cute story to share, which unfortunately ends up with me being annoyed and confused. I’m in England and nearly 20 years ago I had an American pen pal (anyone else remember MSN messenger?
) and a few months ago I received an email from her, totally out of the blue. She’s living in London now and after a few days of txting each other we meet up. Very exciting!
London’s about an hours train journey away from me so we travel the city, seeing some sites, etc. Things don’t get overtly romantically, and I’m certainly no Casanova, but we hold hands for a bit and when it’s time to say goodbye we have a lil kiss (nothing especially sexy, but definitely not friendly either if you know what I mean!). Now, I’m not really into relationships where you’ll realistically only see each other a few times a month, but I’m a sucker a happy ending, so the idea of finding love with a wayward pen pal seemed worth exploring. We meet again and it’s fun; she’s constantly looking for things for us to do and seems determined to keep me with her for as long as possible, but eventually it’s time for me to go. She promises to come down my way next time, rather than dragging me to London again.
So, here’s where things get a little weird. A few days later she emails me saying that she won’t be able to see me anytime soon and also she’s not looking for any kind of relationship. Okay, that’s a bummer, but I’m not too bothered because of my aforementioned aversion to distance relationships, and I tell her that. She immediately gets defensive, saying that London isn’t that far, but whatever. We start talking less, but still regularly. She says she still wants to come see me at some point. Okay, I’m cool with that, I’m not one of these people who can’t be friends with a girl who I’m not going to sleep with and we had fun with our clothes on before. But whenever we talk about the future or travelling, or even potential property investments/business ventures, (I’ll admit these were mostly day dreams; neither of us are rich or anything) she seems to imply that we’ll be doing it all together?? She also starts asking about my local area and saying she’s going to move closer to me.
All through this, if I so much as made a slightly raunchy joke she’d get offended - I want to be clear that I don’t have a gross sense of humour, but for example, she was talking about maybe seeing a male strip show for her birthday and I joked that I had to quit being a stripper after they took away my tiny, leather pants allowance. Apparently a group of naked men swinging their penises in her face was okay, but a joke about pants offended her because she had a conservative Christian upbringing.
By this point I’m starting to realise that my long, lost pen pal is somewhat humourless and annoying. We do get along and have a lot in common, plus our opinions align on most subjects, but eventually I find conversation with her more frustrating than stimulating and just stop responding to her texts and phone calls. Confusingly, she still sends me a text every few weeks, trying to start a conversation. In her latest one, she says that there was some HR screw up at her work and she might have to go back to America because it meant her visa wouldn’t get renewed. This sounded odd to me because 1) she works for the NHS, which is a government organisation and has an army of foreign workers and 2) there’s an appeals process for visas to cover any sort of mistakes that aren’t the applicants fault.
Now, what I want to know is...
-Does it seem like this girl is into me or not? I think I’ve got a decent case for a plea of ‘mixed messages’.
-If she isn’t, why does she keep trying to contact me? In my experience, people don’t persistently pursue someone just to be friends.
-If she is, do you think it’s worth trying to get something started? Considering that we do seem very compatible and things only got strained after she claimed not to want a relationship.
-Lastly, if on the off chance you know anything about visas, how likely does her story sound to you? Is she reaching out because we genuinely might never see each other again or just trying to regain my attention?
If you’re still reading, then thank you for sticking with me; I appreciate I’ve written a small novel here! And thanks in advance to anyone who can provide any insight, this is something that’s been winding me up for some months now.
Your story was a fun read, and I've been trying to write up a response for a while now. I'll just get to it:
"1. Does it seem like this girl is into me or not? I think I’ve got a decent case for a plea of ‘mixed messages’."
I have had some long-lasting Internet "friendships". Two of my longest-lasting Internet friends I've known for about 15 years and 10 years respectively, but I have never met either of them in person. And while we have discussed the possibility of meeting and hanging out with them one day, that still seems like a costly and far-off thing. Neither are female, either.
Contrast that to your situation. Here you have a lady that lived in another country, across the ocean. You knew each other 20 years ago (I'm still not clear on when you last talked, or if you still talked leading up to her moving there, but I will assume you lost contact for a while, even.), lost contact for a few years, and then she eventually moves to England and makes it a point to reconnect with you after all of this time.
At the very least, I think it is clear that your friendship means a lot to this woman, enough for her to want to resume your friendship in person and become better friends.
I don't know whether she feels a greater connection to you than that or not, but it is possible. I'd say there is a good chance, at least.
Her continued contact with you recently is, I'd say, not something you should just ignore. She is making a real effort to stay in contact with you, so I would try to see the value in that.
"2. If she isn’t, why does she keep trying to contact me? In my experience, people don’t persistently pursue someone just to be friends."
It's hard to say. Women are complicated. I know, speaking for myself as a male, that there have been times I have tried to go above and beyond for friendship. Maybe she just really values someone who is real and genuine, or who cares, and sees those qualities in you. Maybe it's as simple as you were one of her many online friends who happened to live where she moved to, and she thought it would be fun to reconnect with you since you both would live so close?
I guess I haven't had too many ladies show a lot of interest in me and want to talk to me, so it's difficult to give good advice on this one. I'd chalk it up to her just valuing your friendship a lot and not wanting to lose that.
"3. If she is, do you think it’s worth trying to get something started? Considering that we do seem very compatible and things only got strained after she claimed not to want a relationship."
Sure, why not? I mean, as long as you don't make her feel uncomfortable and awkward if she isn't interested and has to say no. The way I see it is, what have you got to lose? If she is a great friend, you will keep on being great friends if she isn't interested. If she is interested, then you already have a happy friendship as a base for something more.
On the male stripper thing, do you think it is possible she was testing you, to see how you would react to her wanting to go, and to see if you would get jealous? Or maybe she was trying to make a joke more in line with your kind of humor and it went over your head? Or maybe she just does have a different sense of humor, which isn't necessarily a deal-breaker.
"4. Lastly, if on the off chance you know anything about visas, how likely does her story sound to you? Is she reaching out because we genuinely might never see each other again or just trying to regain my attention?"
I know next to nothing about visas. But it's possible her story is true. Or a plea for attention. Either way, as I said up above, she is interested in talking to you and that is good. You don't want to be in a situation where she doesn't seem interested in talking to you, because that is never fun.
I hope my advice proves useful in some way!