He Wants to Be More Than Friends

What happens when one person in a platonic guy/girl friendship wants more than the other? 

Originally appeared at She Said He Said

Dear Sexes: Before one of my close guy friends left for the summer, he told me that he’s into me. We have one more year left of college together, and I’m moving overseas right after that. I have no real plans to start a relationship, but I told him we can give it a try in the fall. The more I think about it though, the more I realize that I really want to concentrate on my career, and perhaps more importantly, I don’t want to lead him on and give him false hope. Should I still ‘give it a try’?

She Said: When it’s time to give it a try, you’ll know it. You’ll know it in your gut, your heart and… well… you know where!

Until then, keep the friendship platonic. Great friends are hard to come by, no need risking what you two have now. Just remember to act normal and happy and just like your old self when you interact, even after you say you just want to be friends.

If you want another opinion, check out Hugo Schwyzer’s The Dangers of Underestimating Sexual Compatibility.

He Said: If you have to give yourself a pep talk just to “give it a try”, then try something else. Focus on your studies, focus on your career, focus on someone else.  Just don’t lead your friend on. If you were into it (and him) you wouldn’t have to debate the pros and cons of it. And if you were really into it, you probably would have already explored (and acted on) a romance with this guy.

Sure, flattery and attention are fun. But there’s nothing fun about taking advantage of a friend’s flattery, just for the ego boost. If your feelings aren’t mutual, politely decline his invitation to romance. In the long run, your friendship will thank you. And in the meantime, you’ll be free to have some real “fun” overseas. Bon voyage!



Photo of young people hiking courtesy of Shutterstock 

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About She Said He Said

Eli and Josie, friends since college, realized how lucky they were to have one another—an honest friend of the opposite sex who tells it like it is. They wanted to share that with the world and so www.shesaidhesaid.me was born.

Comments

  1. Perhaps it’s from watching Disney movies of true love as a kid, but much of our culture buys into an assumption that “good” relationships should be obvious and irresistible. If you have to work, you’re by definition “doing it wrong”.

    Now, many enumerate the obvious flaws in such logic, but almost exclusively considering a longer-term relationship. They make arguments like, “relationships aren’t constant butterflies and rainbows, over time they take work to maintain.” The implication is that the relationship began blissfully perfect but now has regressed back to the real world where things are hard and happiness isn’t easy. The solution: work. By putting conscious effort into the relationship, one continues to draw strength from it, as well as other benefits.

    I’d argue the same logic applies to the beginning of some relationships. Why must every couple begin with fireworks? Just as they take work to maintain, some relationships take work to establish. I’ve been in the position of having to seriously woo someone and it required patients, persistence, and a work ethic. Perhaps because I’m a straight male I’ve never experienced the reverse myself, so I can’t speak to that exactly, but I guess what I’m saying is leave yourself open to the idea.
    I’ve also chosen not to pursue certain individuals because of “work, sports, friends, prior commitments, blahI’mSoBusy” or “well the timing just isn’t right”, and I’ve seriously regretted it. In the words of the great Wayne Gretzky “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.

    She Said made the obvious “don’t risk the friendship” counter-argument, but I’d contest that logic rest upon the flawed assumption that friendships last forever. In my experience even great friendships hold no guarantees. As in, you could just as easily move abroad and lose touch, without the possibility of experiencing a lovely year together. You are both obviously compatible; after all, you’re friends in the first place. In fact, a relationship might leave you both more invested in staying in contact. And if work and other commitments become too much, allow the relationship to lapse, if that’s what you still want. I believe that as long as you communicate what you want and how you’re feeling clearly and honestly, you can walk away from this still friends.

    On the other hand, you shouldn’t date this dude just because he’s your friend and you don’t want to hurt his feelings. Don’t let him pressure you into the relationship. However, something did make you want to try it in the first place. I would just caution you from missing out on a great opportunity because the timing works out poorly.

  2. Tough situation, but if you’ve already said you can try it later and you don’t follow through with it, be prepared that it may crush his spirits enough that he doesn’t want to continue the friendship. Love can be painful. But this doesn’t mean force yourself to date him, just choose wisely.

  3. Terence Manuel says:

    “I don’t want to lead him on and give him false hope. Should I still ‘give it a try’?”

    No.

    You should tell him the truth even if it might cost you the friendship. Please be honest with the man.

    You’re both adults, though young. Do the right thing!

  4. Hallucis says:

    You are a woman, he is a man and i hope that by now you have figured out that love is not just some drug-like transitory feeling but is an act of benevolence that creates a state of symbiosis. and it takes hard work and dedication. it is the nature of interaction between the sexes to progress to higher levels of intimacy unless this process is interrupted by one of the participants.
    you have interrupted it.
    your career is a higher priority to you now than the progression of your relationship with this fellow.
    have the integrity to honor his admiration for you by telling him the honest truth about where he sits in your list of priorities.
    you want to work on your career?
    you dont want a “relationship”?
    ok then get it done, get your career out of the way and until then put this flirty stuff on hold.
    Dont start things you are not in a position to actually to go through with should the possibility arise, if he is feeling this way about you its because you have been “playing realationship” with him.
    knock it off, its really lame when people do that..

  5. I doubt the question would have arisen if she found him attractive.

    My view of dating is that things should go naturally and effortlessly and its only after you’ve become intimate to a certain extent that the question of ‘where to take things from here’ comes up.

    Most people are already hooking up before they ‘formally’ begin dating each other. And I think Most friendships between men and women drift towards Friend With Benefit zone, unless one of them is not attracted to the other or they have some other self-imposed limitations.

    Its beyond me if 2 ppl who get along perfectly, find each other physically attractive, are single and have no inhibitions of other kind, are not doing each other.

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