Originally Published 12/1/11
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I told my friend (who is a girl) that I have feelings for her, and she shot me down. We have moved past it though and have remained good friends. Is there a chance that one day she will grow to have feelings for me?
I have tried to move on, but haven’t had much luck. Is it because I’m still friends with her? If that’s the case, should I try to distance myself from her?
A month ago we had a guy shooting down a friend who was a girl. Now we have the reverse. Seems only fair, though I’m truly sorry to hear you’re going through it, Ben. I’ve been there, and it’s no fun. I do want to applaud you for being honest with your friend about your feelings. I know there are people out there who would advise you to not risk a friendship and keep it to yourself, but the truth is, these things have a way of bubbling to the surface no matter what. If you hadn’t spoken to her about it, it might have been a drunk dial in the middle of the night. Or maybe you would have picked a fight with her when she started seeing a new guy. Plus, I’ve always thought it better to risk getting hurt (and being embarrassed), than playing it cool and having regrets later.
Is it possible that she could develop feelings for you over time? Yes, I suppose that could happen. But you should make choices based on the assumption that she won’t change her mind. Otherwise, you’ll be carrying around a large burden. Trying to wait for someone to like you is stressful and exhausting. Maybe if I wear this sweater, she’ll see me in a new light. Maybe if I lose ten pounds she’ll go home with me. Maybe if make her laugh, it will be enough. I think there’s this perception in the contemporary dating experience that romance is no longer about simple attraction, it’s about manipulation. Like you have to trick someone into wanting to date you.
It happens. A lot.
A few months ago I was chatting with my esthetician, and she was gushing over a new guy she’d met: “…and he called the day after we went out! Can you believe it? He didn’t wait THE three days!” I remember thinking, seriously, she’s this excited simply because the man called the next day to say he had a nice time? That used to be just common courtesy, now we’re rewarding this behavior with a parade. So what I’m saying, Ben, is that it’s not your responsibility to change her mind about you. She knows who you are and what you have to offer. I think you’d be doing yourself a disservice by holding out for her.
As much as I know it probably hurts to consider distancing yourself from her, you really have to. I’d say this to someone trying to get over being dumped, too. It’s essentially the same situation. You want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you. Spending time with said person is a constant reminder of why you are interested in this person, and the fact that they are not interested in you.
The cure? Get busy. Heyoooo, zing! Good gravy, I love a double entendre, my friends. Make plans with friends, throw extra hours at a work project to impress the boss, stack up books by your bedside table, play pick-up basketball on Sunday afternoons, etc. And, start chasing skirts. It will be a good reminder that you have qualities that are desired by other women, and that you have the ability to enjoy the company of other women.
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