I have feelings for my friend, and trouble with boundaries

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refs0n1c asks:

I met this girl a year ago, and we have been inseparable since. I see her very often, we help each other get work done, play with her mouse, hang out at her house loads mostly on our own. She is part of my wider group of friends but we are basically best friends. About 6 months ago I realized I had feelings for her. Shes just the most hilarious woman I’ve ever known. Anyway… I was gonna tell her but on the day I decided to man up she was seeing a guy on tinder, So I thought “well lets find out if that’s serious, then if it’s not, I will tell her.” Turns out she did want it to become serious and they are now together.

The problem is, because of my feelings towards her I find myself dropping everything whenever she asks me to hang out. Last night she couldn’t sleep so I stayed up til 1 am talking to her and now I’m shattered. The other day she needed help motivating herself planning lessons ( she’s a maths teacher) and I blew off my plans to play video games all day to see her and help her do her stuff.

We are friends, I’m aware that there is not romantic feeling on her side, what I’m asking is, how do I overcome my feelings towards her to get this relationship more balanced and healthy? I am ok with the fact I’m a total nice guy friendzone victim, but I’m happy to be her friend as I like being around her, I just need to learn how to have boundaries like I would have with a normal friend (aka one I wasn’t secretly in love with). I just feel like I’m a fraud for liking her as more than a friend and not saying it to her?

Any advice?


Demetrius says:

First things first, because I like you and I hate to see the people I like say stupid things: You’re not a victim. Getting over the fact that you think you’re a victim would do wonders toward making you feel like you’re a bit more in control of your feelings in this situation. Seriously, when I say these things, I really want them to sink in:You are not a victim. You don’t deserve the affection of people just because you’re attracted to them. Women owe you nothing. You can’t always get what you want.

With all that said, I don’t think you’re a bad guy or anything, you’re just dealing with being in a position where you want to set boundaries, but you also kind of don’t want to. This crush you have on your friend is sort of like my relationship to ice-cream. I fucking love ice-cream. Seriously, there are few things that I love more than ice-cream. I’m also lactose intolerant. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.  It always sucks to eat ice-cream, but while I’m doing it, it’s the best thing in the entire universe and no one could tell me otherwise. Now, if I ate ice-cream everyday I’d be a bloated, completely in pain, blobby mess, but I can’t do that because of reasons related my own well-being, so I’ve set boundaries on when I eat ice-cream and how often I do it. It’s tough to stick to, because seriously have you ever had basically any flavor of Talenti? Or the Ben and Jerry’s Spectacular Speculoos Cookie Core ice-cream, or the Red Bean ice-cream from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory? Ugggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Anyway, yeah, boundaries. You have to set them and stick to them. Or at least try your hardest to stick to them.

You can shoot for actual preset boundaries, like hanging out with her on a limited scale, or you can set more of a nebulous boundary. If it’s a preset boundary, shoot for something either prescribed in number of times, say once a week, or only specific activities, like say, things that have no romantic overtones whatsoever. Dinner with just you two? Nope! Drinks with all your friends? Yup! Things like that. If it’s a little bit more nebulous, I’ve got a great idea and strategy to implement. When she’s in a situation where she either asks to hangout or asks for your help, you need to ask yourself this: “Would I do this for a friend I wasn’t attracted to?”. It’s a simple test really. Would you do the things you’re doing for a friend you have no attraction to? Skipping a day of playing video games to help someone with their job? Sure, I’d do that for a friend regardless of my attraction to them. Staying up until 1am talking to a friend because they can’t sleep? No, sorry, I have things to do tomorrow no thank you STEVE! I’m not saying that you need to treat your friend like a stranger, but learn to treat her like a friend, not a friend you’re attracted to. There are some boundaries that you’ll have to learn on your own but think to yourself “If a bro asked me to do this, would I do this?”. If a friend, asked you to stay up until 1am the day before you had to be up for work or school you’d say “What the hell STEVE, take a sleeping pill dude!” and you know, maybe you’d be too harsh on Steve by saying that, so tone it down a bit jeez, but yeah, if you wouldn’t do it for Steve, don’t do it for her.

One final option, and it’s a “pull the ripcord” option, but maybe if you’re this obsessed with her you just can’t be friends with her. If you keep dwelling on the friendzone, the only real way to extricate yourself from it is to either get over her, and if you can’t do that, take her out of the picture. There are plenty of people out there who are so attracted to someone that because of that they can’t put boundaries in place,so much so that it becomes painful to be around them. If you’re one of those types, you might be better served by being upfront and saying that you’re attracted to her, and you can’t be friends, because it’s torture. This is a last-ditch effort though, because losing a friend is painful for both parties and I wouldn’t recommend it lightly, but if being around her makes you miserable, you might need to take her out of the picture.

No matter what you decide to do, I’d really like to encourage you to get out there and date. You lost your shot with one person, but don’t dwell on that or consider yourself a victim. Go out there, build connections, and meet someone who wants to date you as much as you want to date them.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

5 thoughts on “I have feelings for my friend, and trouble with boundaries

    • January 6, 2016 at 9:44 am
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      I’ve actually had friends who were friends first, then dated, then friends again and at some point they had to cut ties for a bit just to get over it. Sometimes it really is the best option.

      Reply
  • January 7, 2016 at 9:34 am
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    Yeah I went through this in college luckily I learned quick how unhealthy it was and the stress it made me go through.

    Reply
  • July 5, 2016 at 12:24 am
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    Reblogged this on Beers, Balls and Bacchae and commented:
    Man this just hit hard.

    I myself am actually hosting a ‘friend’ that was very recently a love interest that wasn’t interested in a relationship at this point in her life. She’s sleeping on my couch as she had a bad and possibly dangerous roommate situation last week and is now in-between apartments.

    We had had a falling out about a month ago because of my frustrations, but we had slowly come to an understanding over some intermittent text messages. But somehow, I’m the person that she called at 2AM when she was having a panic attack – I’m one of the few people who she has gotten close to here in NYC.

    I talked her through it, and although it was a hard decision for her to temporarily stay with me while she tries to get approved for an apartment, I didn’t hesitate to offer my space to her. Would I do this for a friend? Probably.

    But the boundary thing has to be established. She could surely sleep with me in my bed as she had done many times before, and my couch is not comfortable at all, but she has to sleep there. She did invite me out for fireworks, but I was tired. In the past, I’d surely force myself to accompany her but we are on really good friendship terms right now and that is ultimately all I’m going to get from her right now. I’m not going to put myself in a position to want to violate those boundaries – its what put us on eggshells before. Everything becomes fake and unnatural and women will see right through that and become uncomfortable.

    Yeah, its hard. Yeah, its frustrating. But ultimately you have to make sure you stay happy and fulfilled by yourself, and that means living your life, forging other friendships and relationships, and trusting that you can find something else fulfilling. And you never really know what the future holds, but if you allow yourself to remain in that frustrating situation, it will likely become toxic for both of you. That’s what almost happen to me recently, but we were lucky that we had been very open and honest with each other from the beginning. Although this isn’t the type of relationship I wanted, I’ve also come to terms with it and become very very conscious of what boundaries I need to set up to remain happy and maintain good interactions with her. I can walk away being satisfied with that.

    Now, should I have given her a set of keys so I don’t have to wake up and open the door when she gets back late from the fireworks? Yep. Oops.

    Reply
    • July 5, 2016 at 3:25 pm
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      Thanks for sharing your experience, I genuinely appreciate it. Sounds like a tough situation to be in, but at least you’ve got a handle on your boundaries.

      Reply

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