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Bartender Hides Feelings for a Close Friend, But When She’s Subsequently Excluded From Their Hangout Spot, the Group Faces an Unexpected Void.

In a tight-knit group of old friends, the Original Poster (OP), a bartender at his family-owned bar, navigates the treacherous waters of unrequited love for his friend, Zoe. As their once harmonious group is tested by the revelation of his feelings and Zoe’s subsequent actions, the tension rises, culminating in a dramatic confrontation. Will the bond between these friends withstand the strain or shatter under the weight of this unexpected complication?

Unexpected Feelings

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OP, a 26-year-old man, has been a part of a close-knit friend group since high school. He harbors a subtle crush on Zoe, a 25-year-old woman who joined the group during their college years. While the crush is known to some women in the group, they have kept it a secret for OP’s sake.

The Late-Night Message

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In a drunken haze, OP sends a late-night message to Zoe, suggesting they spend some time together. The next morning, Zoe responds positively, but only in the context of remaining friends. OP takes this in stride, although he interprets the message as a rejection and thus chooses not to follow up on it.

The Family Bar

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OP’s parents own a local bar where he tends to bartend on weekends. His friend group, including Zoe, are regulars here. OP uses his position to attract his friends to the bar by sending out invites and occasional special offers.

The Unsettling Encounter

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One day, Zoe arrives at the bar after OP includes her in a group invite. She engages in conversation with him, but he’s busy with work and brushes her off. OP stops offering her the typical friendly discounts he used to, causing Zoe to complain to the other girls.

The Arrival of a New Girl

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In an attempt to move on, OP invites another girl to the bar to join the pre-game party. Zoe notices this and introduces herself to the new girl, causing a stir. In their conversation, Zoe reveals that OP had asked her out in the past, leading to awkward explanations from OP.

Tension Grows

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After this incident, OP sends Zoe a message asking her not to show up at his bar. He suggests she can join the group later when they go out. This message is a result of OP wanting to avoid further complications with Zoe while he’s working.

Friends Taking Sides

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Zoe’s friends confront OP at the bar, accusing him of isolating her. They argue that by barring Zoe from the bar, he’s essentially excluding her from the friend group. OP defends himself, stating that everyone is free to choose another bar if they wish to include Zoe.

The Group’s Dilemma

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OP’s stance on Zoe attending the bar creates a divide within the friend group. The women feel that Zoe is being unfairly singled out, while his male friends support his decision. The situation adds tension to their usual gatherings.

Zoe’s Impact

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The friend group begins to feel Zoe’s absence. Her exclusion from the bar activities creates an unusual dynamic within the group. Their shared social space is now associated with this unresolved conflict.

Another Confrontation

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OP’s friends confront him again about the unfairness of Zoe’s exclusion from the bar. They pressure him to let her back in, highlighting the discomfort they feel with the situation. OP holds his ground, stating that Zoe’s actions have caused these issues.

OP’s Stubbornness

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OP insists on his decision, claiming that Zoe has been creating problems. He refuses to bend to the pressure from his friends. The discord within the group continues to escalate due to this conflict.

Taking Sides

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The friend group is forced to choose sides, creating further divisions, polarizing the friend group, and damaging their long-standing bond. The ongoing issue starts to affect the atmosphere at the bar, with some of OP’s friends avoiding the place due to the tension. The bar that once was their social hub is now a source of discomfort.

Zoe’s Decision

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Zoe, feeling the strain her presence has been causing, decides to step away from the group. She feels that her continued involvement only brings further discord. Zoe’s self-imposed exile leaves a noticeable void as the group struggles to regain their previous camaraderie.

The Group’s Future

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Amidst all the turmoil, the group’s once-strong bond has been significantly damaged. Friendships that stood for years are now strained, and the future of the group seems uncertain. The conflict revolving around OP and Zoe has transformed their shared social scene into a battleground of loyalties.

Was The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?

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Contemplating the consequences of his actions, OP is left wondering if he could have prevented the fallout. He posts his story online for feedback. Here are some of the responses from the community forum:

Forum Responds

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One reader said, “You made a drunken late-night move on someone who even you seem to acknowledge you didn’t have any reason to believe returned your feelings, and when that didn’t work out the way you wanted it to, you immediately revealed your friendship was entirely built on the hope that one day you’d get to sleep with her.”

Another Commenter Thinks

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Another responder wrote, “So you supply this girl with drinks, for what seems like months if not years, in the hopes that she will hook up with you, and when she doesn’t want to, you punish her?”

A Third View on The Story

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A different person stated, “I fully believe Zoe knew full well OP had a crush on her. She turned him down. After that, she had to know the free drink express was closed, especially if OP generally doesn’t give out free drinks all the time and he doesn’t own the bar. His family does.”

A Final Perspective on the Matter

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Another reader commented, “How is everyone missing that he only asked her to stop coming to the bar AFTER she intentionally tried to mess up his chances with a new girl? The ‘drink thing’ is a little weird, but for someone who says she wants to be friends, she isn’t acting like a friend to OP.”

What Do You Think?

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What are your thoughts on their actions?

What would you have done in this situation?

This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.

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