I’m currently in high school. Last year, I was in a relationship, and it totally broke me apart. So, during the time I was going through all this, I had my guy best friend who was my whole-time support system. It was only because of him that I finally got through my past. Recently, this year, I’ve started to have feelings for for my guy best friend. I approached him and he was quite cool with it… I even caught him blushing more than once! He was also quite shy during the conversation when I told him that I liked him—which is strange, because he’s a total extrovert, I never imagined him getting shy.
So afterwards one day he approached me during lunch at school and told me that he was dating another girl. I was shocked. What was I supposed to do?! I congratulated him and tried not to freak out. Since then, he’s started ignoring me and raves about his girlfriend everyday. It’s like i never existed for him. I was very upset about this whole thing, and I still am.
So I told him that I couldn’t get emotionally attached to him, because I didn’t want him to be my weakness. His response wasn’t good: his face was pale, his eyes telling me not to leave. Later, he talked to my best friend about it, and she relayed everything to me. I texted him about how sorry I was for what I said. He just said it was okay, and that he understands my feelings and he didn’t feel bad about it. But now, our friendship is completely strained. I don’t know what to do—I really don’t want to lose him as a friend.
Well, here’s the thing, sweet pea. If what matters to you most is that you salvage your relationship, and that you remain friends with this guy despite how he may or may not feel about you, then—and you might want to sit down for this, because I’m about to hit you with a reality bomb—the very first and most important thing you can do is to stop taking all your moves from the pages of the Great Big Golden Playbook for Making It Weird.
Which is probably the last thing you were hoping to hear, I know. But this is the truth: right now, everything you’ve done and said in this situation—and the way you perceive what’s being done and said to you, too—is being filtered through a very particular lens of maximum drama, with maybe a light dusting of wishful thinking sprinkled on top. I hate to have to tell you this, but when you tell a guy you’re crushing on him, and his response is to get all quiet and fidgety, and turn all kinds of funny colors, and then show up shortly thereafter dating another girl who he talks about all the time? That’s… not encouraging. Your friend may have been quite cool about your confession, but he also sent you a lot of clear signals in the aftermath that he doesn’t share your feelings and you need to slow your roll—and that all things considered, it was probably not the best time to come back at him with a big, heavy, theatrical pronouncement like “I don’t want you to be my weakness.”
All of which is to say: if you don’t want your friendship to be strained, you’d be wise to avoid the kind of boundary-pushing, awkward-making stuff that makes for a strained friendship—especially when your buddy is sending you all kinds of signs that you need to not do that right now.
The good news is, that puts the ball very much in your court. So if you can bring yourself to dial it back and be casual and enjoy this guy’s company on a platonic basis (and if you’re ready to well and truly give up on trying to make fetch happen with this crush), it sounds like a friendship is still very much in the cards for you, if you want one. He’s made it clear that he’s prepared to move past the awkwardness. Are you? Can you be cool with a relationship on the terms he’s offering? Do you want to be friends? Or have you been forcing the issue not just out of persistent hope, but because your feelings are too strong for you to be content with anything but a romantic relationship?
Spend some time asking yourself these questions, and take a little time and space from the relationship while you do. It’ll give you some clarity—and if what you decide is that you need more time and more space before you can return to a strictly-platonic friendship, it’ll give you a head start on getting over the crush and moving past it to a place where you can be friends again. But either way, whenever you do resume normal contact with this guy, make a point to listen to what he’s saying rather than listening for what you want to hear. Not just because it’ll help you read the signs and avoid making things weird in the future, but because it makes for a better, easier, and more enjoyable friendship no matter what.
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