Hi Dr. Aesha,
I have a complicated dating question. I have a crush on a friend. A very good friend. I literally liked him the moment I saw him. Not sexual attraction, but I could read that he had a good spirit. I met him because one of his best friends and I dated for a month (!) BUT we both decided very quickly that we weren’t a good fit (he’s since moved out of state and is happily involved). Over the last few years, him and I became relatively close, and usually hang out in groups. I still like him but I’m more sensitive and guarded since a bad situationship, so I’m more avoidant. I definitely care for him sincerely as a friend. I would say we have a special connection, but if he were interested, he would have said so already. I just want to let it go now.
One of our mutual friends thinks he likes me but that he can’t tell that I like him so he won’t say anything to mess up our friendship. She is suggesting I let him know before I let it go. NOW – I don’t believe in pursuing men at all ESPECIALLY if the stakes are this high (I could be rejected, lose a friend, things could get terribly awkward) but I also know that nothing good comes without some risk. What do you think?
I can’t tell you exactly what to do, but I can help you think through some things that may have prevented your friendship from blossoming into a romantic relationship. First of all, you’re assuming that if your friend were interested in something more, he would have said something to you by now.
However, you have been subconsciously sending him a big signal that you’re the one who isn’t interested. I can tell because of this line:
“I still like him but I’m more sensitive and guarded since a bad situationship, so I’m more avoidant.”
Feeling guarded and avoidant is a heart issue that creates an invisible wall around you. You’ll send mixed signals and a vibe that says, “don’t get too close!” Here’s why:
Your body language is revealing your private thoughts. You’re either pushing people away or attracting them like a magnet.
You say the stakes are too high for YOU because you could be rejected, lose a friend, or make things awkward…and that’s exactly how he could feel. In fact, he probably doesn’t think you’re interested because of the Invisible Wall you’ve put up around your heart to protect you from getting hurt.
I’d suggest you listen to your friend and have a heart to heart with this man. You’ll need to be open and vulnerable with him, telling him how you’ve always admired him because of the kind of man he is and that over the years, your feelings for him have grown. You could let him know that you’ve thought about not saying anything because you didn’t want to lose him as a friend. Tell him that you hope that things don’t get awkward between you both, but that you wanted to make things crystal clear since you’ve been giving him mixed signals due to your fear of getting hurt.
Ask what he thinks about how you feel, and listen to him without interruption.
No matter what happens, you can feel good that you were courageous enough to let him know how you felt. That act alone will start to dismantle the wall you’ve put up around your heart and will help you move past the things that are you holding you back from love.
Let me know how it goes,