Anon asks: Hey Isaac, I’ve liked this girl for a while now but I’ve never explicitly told her, and now she’s interested in my friend. I really want to tell her but I risk upsetting the other man in question. Any advice?
Hey, gidday mate! I was in a similar friend zone situation when I was a teenager. I was semi-obsessed with this friend of mine, and I never 100% told her, and then she fell for one of our friends and they started dating and it sucked.
Here’s the thing: If you’re anything like me, your lady-friend probably knows. We males are not the most subtle creatures, so no doubt she’s noticed you looking at her and wanting to be close to her and hitting her up to hang out all the time and everything else that guys do when they’re romantically interested in a girl. (Ladies, NB: When a guy likes you, he goes out of his way to spend time with you. Who’d’ve thought!)
Looking back now I realize that it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d straight up told her or not, because she didn’t feel the same way. We spent a huge amount of time together and there was every opportunity for the relationship to go in a romantic direction, and it didn’t, and that’s because the feelings were largely one-sided. She probably had some quasi-interest in me, and she definitely loved hanging out with me, but that major spark wasn’t there for her.
In my experience, if you hang with a girl and she wants to talk about other guys she likes, she’s probably not that interested in you. Unless, of course, she’s playing games and intentionally trying to make you jealous, but if she’s willing to date one of your friends in an attempt to make you jealous then you’re probably better off without her.
And if she’s not trying to make you jealous, then she’s probably only interested in you platonically. So either way, I can’t imagine there’s a fairytale ending on the other side of this rainbow.
So what you do next is really up to you. You can tell her you like her and deal with the repercussions, or you can suck it up and get over it. And if you can’t get over it, then perhaps you should rethink the friendship. It’s not fair to hang out with someone when you’re always hoping for more, because if they can’t give it to you, then there’s going to be some degree of resentment or unhappiness or pain attached to the friendship, and that’s kinda the opposite point of a friendship.
My advice for the future is to be upfront from the beginning. If you like a girl, tell her, and listen to her response. It’ll save you all kinds of time and energy and trouble later down the track.
Whatever you decide to do in this situation, best of luck. If you’re undecided, take a little bit of time off from hanging out with her, and see how you feel. My therapist always tells me, “The less you do, the more you’ll see.” Distance affords perspective, and perspective assists enormously in making good decisions.
Hope that helps.
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