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My Friend is moving on

Leanne wrote:

Dear Ask Anon,

I have a question that I really need to ask. My friend, who I've known for about 3 years now, I'm not sure what to do. We're both in 8th grade at the same school now but in 6th grade since he first met me he started sitting by me at lunch to talk though we didnt have any classes together.

He's a Gemini and I'm a Virgo, though each time I took a quiz it said I should be a Libra so I'm pretty much like a very laid-back Libra-Virgo mix (more on Libra). Since 6th grade there have been many changes. He's always been outgoing and fun and takes such good care of people. I asked him one time in 6th grade if he liked me and he said, "a little bit."

In 6th grade I was like a really nerdy type of person but in 7th grade I suffered from severe anorexia nervosa and I would never talk or eat or feel good at all, and though other people stopped talking to me, every day he would ask me "what's wrong?" whenever he saw me. Then my parents really helped me pull through and recover, which was difficult, but I became bubbly and happy, more than ever, again and my friends returned. He started talking to me more and he really showed signs that he liked me but I didn't have any classes with him.

Two weeks before Valentine's Day in 7th grade, he gave me a super-huge jumbo valentine's day card that said, "top ten reasons why you're my valentine," and it listed all the reasons. "And the number one reason..." and it opened up on the inside to say in huge letters, "I Love You!" I was incredibly surprised, but I only liked him as a friend, so I gave him, like I did everyone, candy for Valentine's Day.

Around the end of 7th grade, I was still oblivious to his liking me, though my friends all told me. One day, he was just as nice as ever, and at the end of that day he covered my eyes from behind me at my locker, and asked me to guess who (I didn't know). I got onto instant messenger that day and he asked me out. I'm not allowed to date, and I didn't feel the same way about him, so I gently told him no. He never acted any differently after that and was as sweet as ever.

Over the summer, he invited me to his b'day party, but that's all I saw of him. But we are at a brand new school for 8th grade. I have two classes with him and at the beginning, he would always be mr. wonderful, always hugging me and giving me compliments, even more than before. I had spent the summer hardly seeing any of my friends, and now I'm kinda insecure, not sure of myself or how to act (I'm a person whose life revolves around what happens externally around me). I still felt like I didn't like him.

Suddenly, one day, all his supersweetness towards me stopped. I thought he probably jus woke up one morning and felt like, "oh I don't like her anymore." But I asked my mom and she said he probably realized I don't like him so stopped trying. Besides, he became student council president and suddenly, though I didn't realize until my friend commented, he's become kind of dictator-like. whenever he hugs me now, I turn red in the face, but I still don't feel like I like him, though on occasion I do. I don't mean to hurt him in any way. I have to say I want him to like me, even though I dont (think I) like him, but that is awfully selfish of me. he is the sweetest guy I've ever met in my life. I know I could learn to like him. I'm not sure what's going on or what should I do? Can you help?

Dear Leanne

It seems that you really don't want a serious relationship with him - and that's fine, no need for guilt about that. But you clearly like him as a friend, and want him around. And you are worried about his 'change'.

So what is going on? When someone really, really cares for you, there's no rule that says you have to feel the same way, and no rule that says you must (or should) 'learn to like him' in that way. But if he's genuine, and this one is clearly not a threat or a stalker, you do need to let him down gently - that kind of respect is the least you can do.

And I believe you've tried to do that. But ask yourself what do you really want from him, and have you really been as honest with him as you should?

It is flattering to have a fan, and too, too easy to leave them that little bit of hope, so that you can continue to enjoy the attention. The clue is that you are jealous of his new-found other interests, and a little bit resentful that you are not the center of his universe anymore.

Sadly, a nice guy like him will sooner or later take his attention to someone that does feel the same way, and, for all you know, this may be beginning to happen. On the other hand, his recent 'change' may be pure coincidence, nothing to do with you.

So where to now? I'm not sure. I think it's worth talking it over with him (which I suspect hasn't happened recently), but only if you are prepared to tell him that you don't want to stop him moving on, though you seriously value his friendship.

Also be thinking about your own needs generally - is there someone else for you, or is this guy a handy excuse not to deal with other people? You probably both need to move on, and you both need to accept that while the friendship was good and supportive, you both now need other things in your lives.

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