Monday, November 01, 2010

Someone is Missing the Clues

One friend wants more. HESITANT IN FLORIDA wrote in to Dear Abby:

I'm in love with my best friend.
That can be a very good thing or a very bad thing.

It seems so simple when I say it, but when it comes to telling him, the words never come out right.
I'm assuming this was written by a teen girl or a college-aged woman who doesn't have much relationship experience.

Maybe you can say more with actions instead of words?

I don't know if I should even say anything.
Whatever you do, you should not pine away, doing nothing about it.

What if it ruins the amazing friendship we already have?
That certainly is a risk, if your friendship was really based on your attraction to him. But if you truly developed a mutual friendship and then fell for him, you should still be able to be friends either way.

Is it worth risking it all?
Yes. Because it will either emotionally free you to date others, or you'll discover he has mutual feelings.

Dear Abby responded:

Yes, it is, so tell him how you feel. If he has feelings for you, you'll get what you're angling for. If he doesn't, it does not mean your friendship must end.
But the friendship will end if it was based on her attraction to him and she can't stand the rejection.

If the writer is as young as I think she is, she shouldn't get so wrapped up in a romantic relationship anyway. It would be great if they have mutual feelings... he'll feel like he hit the jackpot and it will be great to have a date who is also your best friend for all of those social events. But neither of them should close off the possibility of dating others, or let their education suffer.

But think it through. If he doesn't find her attractive, then he may be friends with her because he likes having a female friend without that tension, and that will change if she expresses her feelings for him. If he has mutual feelings for her, he hasn't done anything about it and that means he's shy and/or lacking in confidence (or is forbidden by his parents from dating). Is that really what she wants? I'm writing this as a guy who had crushes in school (granted, none of them were my best friends) that I let go on way too long without saying anything to the girls I was adminiring. In the cases I where I did say something the results were, what I felt at the time, disastrous. But I was the guy, so maybe my situation was inherently different than hers. And, I was able to be friends with past girlfriends.

One more caution that just occurred to me. Maybe the guy is gay. If he is, hopefully he will not take the opportunity to use her as a beard to aid him in staying in the closet. He may already be doing so. If he is gay, he just might tell her (which would be better than using her as a beard) and then they can continue being best friends with no sexual tension.

It is much easier to find a romantic partner and then become best friends than the other way around. That is because almost always, when a woman first meets a man and she places him in the "friend" category rather than the "he's hot/cute/otherwise attractive" category, she will never truly let him be any more than a friend. That is why I wonder if this guy became her "best friend" because she found him attractive all along.

Do you have experience with a situation like this? I suspect the girl I suspect the girl with whom I went to the senior prom and had a light relationship with through high school had been harboring a crush on me for a while before she got my attention. In more recent years but before I married, someone with whom I had worked made a statement (in front of a room full of others) that alerted me that she has been harboring a crush on me. But those were rare events, because I'm not the kind of guy who wants into a room and turns the heads of women.

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