I have had a few friends since high school. We remained friends even after we graduated, went to different colleges, lived over an hour apart, after I moved out of state, but now I’m back, and one of my friends moved less than 10 minutes from me for the first time.
We’ve been on the same Discord server and are all online more than once a week. However, I’ve been feeling distant from them much more, because they got into livestreaming. Now in theory, this shouldn’t change anything, but in practice, everything is so much worse. They almost always are playing a game I REALLY don’t like, to the point that it makes me feel much more bored and down when I play it. So I don’t. The problem is, it’s a game that they are always communicating during it, and any time I try to say anything, I just get ignored or a “I can’t talk now, I’m busy with this.” And then they play it for hours on end.
Even when they don’t play that, stuff still isn’t the same. Like, I can’t talk about anything remotely political with them, I can’t talk about anything personal, and even though it’s not their profession and they’re not particularly famous, they do get a small amount of viewers, so I have to always watch what I say and I can’t be myself when they’re streaming. At least one of them is streaming almost every day of the week, and it’s always while I have free time. It’s just exhausting to have to constantly be watching what I say, even around my closest friends, especially after a day of work. I’ve also been going through other things emotionally, and I can’t even talk about it, because I can’t say it on a livestream, because it would be taking attention from the streamer and it’s something any audience member wouldn’t want to hear.
I don’t want to make them stop, because they seem to enjoy it and I don’t want to be a funwrecker, but I just want my social and friend life back with them, especially after a long day of work. I also don’t want to keep this bottled up, before I do or say something I regret and can never take back. But I also just want my social life with them back… What do I do about this?
Video Game Widower
This is one of the times when you should be talking to your friends, not to a loudmouth with an advice column, VGW.
The core conflict here is fairly simple: your friends have a new hobby that they’re currently wrapped up in and it’s not one that you dig. It’s taking up a lot of their time and attention and the very nature of it precludes hanging out with them while they do it. The problem is that you’ve presented yourself with a false dichotomy; it’s not a case of “make them stop” vs. lose your friends, it’s telling them “hey guys, I haven’t hung out with you all in forever, and I’d like to do something other than stream games.”
(We’ll pause to appreciate the irony of my writing this after having just finished watching the Mighty Nein vs. Vox Machina stream…)
Honestly, that’s the first step: let them know you want to hang out in person, and not during a stream or making your hangout part of their stream session. You can even start with proposing doing something specific — go play mini-golf, go for beers and watch the UFC match at a bar somewhere, go bowling… something that isn’t just “hang out on cam, playing a game for the livestream”. Having a specific event at a specific date and time means that spending time with them won’t just turn into another livestream session; you’re going to be out and about and — ideally — not broadcasting it with GoPros or smartphones.
Now, this may end up requiring some compromises. If they’re streaming on the regular, they may have set times when they’re live; you may have to work around their streaming schedule. Or it may be that you have to plan to get together a few days (or even weeks) in advance as you try to find a time that it works for everyone. That may not be what you want, especially if you’re used to hanging with your friends at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, the need to plan seeing friends days or weeks ahead of time is something that happens more and more often as we all get older and have increased responsibilities with work, relationships, family and so on.
However, you may also end up dealing with the fact that your friends are prioritizing streaming over hanging out. If that’s the case, then yeah, you’re going to have to use your words. But again, that doesn’t mean that you’re left with “tell them to quit streaming or else.” Laying down an ultimatum like that isn’t going to work out well. You don’t have the leverage to make them do anything. The only leverage you have is your presence in their lives… and that’s what you’re going to have to use.
What you need to do is make it clear that this is about you wanting to see your friends, not subsume your friendship into being part of their Twitch stream. Let them know that this is the first time in years when you all have been close enough to see each other regularly, that you’re not into streaming and that you don’t feel comfortable hanging out with them and a live studio audience. You don’t feel like you can actually spend quality time with them while they’re focused on being “on”, nor do you feel that you can be your authentic and unguarded self while they’re on stream. You would rather spend time with them when the point is for you all to spend time together as friends, not as part of what’s ultimately a show for other people and you don’t like the idea of mixing friendship and monetizing their hobby.
If they decide that streaming is more important to them right now than hanging out with one of their old friends… well, then they’ve made their choice. We all grow and change as people, and our interests and priorities change with us. And that, unfortunately, means that sometimes those changes include friendships coming to an end. It’s not because you or they didn’t put enough effort into making it work, it’s just because as everyone has changed, they have changed in ways that mean you and they aren’t compatible the way you were before. As a result, it may well be that you and they have outgrown your old friendship. If that’s the case, unfortunately, there’s not really anything else you can do besides mourn the end of that friendship and move on.
However, regardless, of whether you find a compromise and hang out away from the cameras and capture rigs or your friendship with them gets downgraded, I think it would be a good idea to put some effort into making new friends. Having diverse — and separate — social circles can be a good thing; you can have friendships based around different interests or activities, rather than having a small group of people who are supposed to be all things to you and vice versa. And it would also mean that your friendships aren’t going to be contingent on somebody else’s Twitch schedule.
Hello Dr. NerdLove,
I appreciate everything you do for people trying to connect with other people.
I have an issue, that’s probably not a really big deal, regarding someone I have gone on a 3 dates with. I am a 27 year old virgin (not an issue, I understand it doesn’t define me), and actually putting in effort to go on dates with women is so new to me. This is the first time I have decided to truly take my love life into my own hands.
Anyway, I have gone on dates with this wonderful person, who I think is very cute and I enjoy spending time with. She also seems to really enjoy my company as well. Dates that I have gone on with other women, especially conversation heavy ones, run very slow and the incompatibility is very clear, but when I sit and talk with her, time seems to fly by.
My issue comes about where I find her cute, but I don’t seem to be in a rush to be physically intimate with her. I definitely don’t have the lustful urges I have had for other women, and maybe that is starting to concern me a little. Because I’ve never made it past a first date before, or had sex for that matter, I don’t know if that is typical or if there is a time frame for this sort of thing.
I can’t tell if being nervous to be physically intimate with a women for the first time, is keeping me from that more lustful form of attraction, or I just want to be friends with this girl. I can’t help but feel the urge to decide now, before we go on more dates. I don’t want to lead her on if I end up just wanting to be friends, but I’m also not sure if I have given it a long enough time to know how I feel about her. I will say, that even if I found myself constantly lusting after a woman, I would still want to get to know them quite a bit before we have sex (that is a common behavior I have regardless of who they are), it’s just I don’t seem to have the lustful component with this one. I know all relationships are different, and some are more passionate than others, but this still has me worried.
I met her on Hinge, and she initiated the interaction by liking my profile. I immediately matched her because I found her profile attractive and wanted to talk to her. And honestly, if it doesn’t work out romantically, I could see us being good friends. I enjoy her company a great deal, and we have fun together and make each other laugh. I know it sounds like I want to just be friends, but I legitimately don’t know how I feel about her yet, and have no clue about how the typical dating process goes, or what to expect.
So, my questions are: what is the time frame people develop sexual desires for someone they don’t have from the jump? Is there a time frame? How do you know when/if you just want to be friends? If I do decide I just want to continue to see her as a friend, how do I make that transition?
Cue The Butterflies In Stomach
There’s no real standard timeline for love and attraction, CTBS. People are wild and varied, and everybody tends to have their own patterns and schedules. Some people know right away whether someone is a potential sexual or romantic partner, a platonic friend, or someone they’re just not that into at all. Other folks need time to decide; they may have a history of picking the wrong people or mistaking infatuation or sexual attraction for love and compatibility, or they may prefer to establish trust and connection before considering a sexual relationship. Some folks are demisexual and need time before they develop sexual feelings for another person. Some folks are asexual or aromantic and never develop those feelings for other people and may take other factors into consideration when deciding on what kind of relationship to pursue.
Since you’ve mentioned being sexually attracted to other women, it doesn’t sound like your demisexual… it honestly just sounds like you made a friend. And hey, that’s awesome; not every date (or series of dates) needs to fall into a binary of “relationship” or “go away forever”. Sometimes you meet folks who you have emotional chemistry with, but no sexual or physical chemistry and that’s fine. That’s just part of dating. Dating is, at its core, a numbers game, especially when it comes to dating apps. There’re a host of factors that dictate who we are and aren’t attracted to that can only be experienced in person — whether its their smell, the way they taste when you kiss or even just how they treat waitstaff or service industry employees. It’s incredibly common to meet folks on Hinge or Bumble or what-have-you who have great photos and who you click with over text… but who you discover you have no interest in when you meet up in person. That’s not a failure on your part or theirs; it’s just the nature of the game. You’re going to get false positives on dating apps; we’re a species wired for face-to-face, in person connections.
(You might get false negatives — people you swipe left on when you encounter them on the app, but you might have mad chemistry with if you met them in person instead.)
This, incidentally, is one of the reasons why I’m a big believer in getting off the apps and meeting in person as soon as is reasonable. You want to establish whether or not there’s mutual interest and chemistry as quickly as possible, rather than getting over-invested before you even meet and ending up disappointed when you get together for the first time.
As you continue to match, meet and go on dates, you’ll find folks that you like and are attracted to right off the bat as well as the ones that you’re just “meh” about. It’s just a matter of finding the right people.
Now all that having been said: I do think that in the case of your current match, it’s better to call it early. It sounds to me like you’ve made a potential friend, and that’s great. However, it’s better to let her know that you like her and want to be friends now — especially since you’re three dates in — so that she has the option to decide how she feels. Telling her now is the considerate thing to do. It means that if she’s only looking for a love match or potential romantic relationship, she won’t be spending time on building something with you that isn’t going to lead to where she wants. It’s better to tell her now, so that she can be free to find someone who’s on the same page as her.
Telling her now is also better if she is only feeling friendship as well; this means that she knows you and she actually are on the same page and she isn’t going to have to call things off with you, lest she end up leading you on.
As a general rule, I’m an advocate of telling people sooner rather than later. It’s kinder all around and means that nobody wastes their time. But at the end of the day, it’s very much a “do unto others” scenario. When and how would you prefer someone tell you that they like you as a friend, but not a romantic partner? Consider that and let it be your guide towards how to proceed with this woman.