When friends don’t want to be friends
September 11, 2014 § 1 Comment
Ah, the heart-warming world of unrequited love. Going out for a drink, laughing and joking, one person admits their undying love for the other, awkward silence followed by a heartbreaking conversation. Idyllic.
Gosh I do love these situations. I went to a gig in Norwich this week with my friend, we’ll call him Barry, and we were having an extremely pleasant evening together. He gave me a little tour of the city, me not having really seen it before, then we went to dinner at a very cute little place. I know this sounds date-y, but tell me, if I did all these things with a girl, would you automatically assume we were together? I’m really tired of people assuming that men and women can’t have platonic relationships. Though then again, I probably can’t start this rant and then talk about my close male friend who fancies me…
So good times ensued; very nice intimate gig in some hipster basement (I secretly love that crap), then drinks at the local pub. Drinks are always a good idea (*cries into gin and tonic*). I ended up tipsily lecturing Barry on why everyone ought to take chances in life, and that living with regret was pointless etc. etc. (I’m super deep as you can probably tell), and he took this to mean that he should confess his feelings for me. Fabulous. Nothing kills the mood more than talking about feelings, God (I realise there are possibly some deep-seated issues here, but we’ll save those for another time).
Is there any good way to respond to that statement? Of course, other than, “Omg, no way! Same.”
Unfortunately that wasn’t really an option. I sat there in stunned silence for a few minutes, which probably answered his question for him, but I still had to say something. I eventually settled on, “Barry, you know I adore you, but… as a friend”
Even as the words came out of my mouth I felt like the most horrid person on the planet. I realise it’s not my fault I’m not attracted to the guy, but it’s awful just because he is one of the nicest, sweetest people you could possibly meet, and deserves nothing more than a lovely girlfriend, and I know that in my rejecting him it’ll probably just lower his self-confidence even more.
I did everything I could think of at the time, by spluttering out a series of clichés including, but not limited to:
But you’re so great/sweet/[insert meaningless complement here]
There’s plenty other girls out there, who I’m sure are equally as fond of Doctor Who and choral music as you
And for good measure, a sprinkling of self-deprecation: “No, no, I’m really shit, I promise”
But I felt even shitter saying these, because I knew he wouldn’t really believe any of them.
Then I did something stupid.
“Would it really confuse you…if I kissed you?”
Nothing like ending the evening on a mixed-message high. I’m still not really sure why I did it. I just knew at the time it was what I wanted to do. Not because I was suddenly interested in him, but because I knew I was hurting him, and felt an intense need to do something about it.
He still knows where I stand, and I don’t regret it, I just hope that he doesn’t hold it as some sort of hope that I might change my mind.
He messaged me the next day, friendly as ever, not talking about anything in particular. I’m inclined to take that as his “I still want to be friends and for everything to be exactly as it was” attempt. Though we both know that it’s not the same, and that really saddens me.
Is there any way to avoid this outcome? Anyone else been through a similar experience and had it go back to normal?