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#193: “I used my words and told the Shy Guy how I felt…repeatedly. Now what?”

Miracle Max from The Princess Bride

"It would take a miracle for this guy take you out for an M.L.T."

Hello, Awkwardeers, I’ve had the good problems of paid freelance work, social fun times with friends, and trying to get a movie project off the ground, so posting has been and will continue to be spotty.

First, I’d like to signal-boost this post which perfectly sums up everything I hate about the idea of the Friend Zone. We all get crushes, right? And sometimes those crushes are on our friends, or we get crushes that turn into friendships. If your friends are awesome, and you’re with me on the “don’t date people who aren’t as cool as your friends” train, it’s bound to happen to you sooner or later. Describing that as “The Friend Zone” implies that you feel a sense of entitlement towards that person and think they owed you something different. If it’s not a friendship that sustains itself once the possibility of getting laid/loved is off the table? Simple. Don’t be friends with people you don’t value for their own sake.

Second, this question came in as a comment on the “A Shy Guy Caught My Eye” post, but I think it deserves its own answer.

Hi Jennifer

I read all of this and thought you gave great advice. So i wanted to ask for your advice. I really like this super awkward shy guy. I’ve liked him off and on for 4yrs. I’ve tryed to talk to him threw text and facebook, for about a year. but he only gives me a few word answers and doesn’t convo back to much. Also last summer we hungout one night and drank a few beers and ended up making out. Well we sat there for alittle bit talking and he was so nerves he keep ripping up the grass we were sitting on. And he told me he liked me for the last 6 months. Well i made the mistake of saying i had liked him for the last 3 years. But i ment to say i liked him off and on for 3 years lol. He was like “Really that’s along time” then i ended up writing him the next day and pouring out my heart (like you said not to do above) (I pretty much did everything above lol). Well he never wrote me back. So I can’t tell if he likes me.

I gave him a painting i did about a month after that. Which i ended up having to give someone else to give to him because i was to nervous. Then he moved to cali for a few months and about a month in he sent me a picture of my painting hanging on his wall out in cali. He didn’t have to send me a picture. i would of never known if he took it with him or not. so i felt like he was trying to show me he cared about it enough that he did take it. Which confused me and i took it as he liked me. He only took two bags, so i felt like if he made room to take my painting, that had to mean something. But then i didn’t really hear from him the few months he was out there. Well now he’s back for about 2-3weeks now and last week i talked to him twice threw facebook chat and he seemed to be opening up alittle more. then within the last week i’ve wrote him a message twice on facebook and i haven’t heard anything back and i see that he has his facebook hooked to his phone.

Then he wrote a status on his facebook wall “if anybody knows where i can find a girlfriend, please god let me know, I’m so lonely”, Well this confused me even more because it didn’t sound like him. Iam 99% sure he’s never had a girlfriend. (Ive been told that he has a fear of girls and he always acts really awkward around them) And then under it he tryed to play it off and say “Yeah your right that is a bad status lol”. So now iam sooo confused that iam scared to text him or write him anymore. Or even go furthur and ask him to hangout.I don’t know what to do PLEASE HELP!!

Welcome to the land of This Is Not Going To Happen. I’m your host, Captain Awkward.

First, forget the three years where you crushed on him but didn’t say anything. Those years never happened….for him, and he doesn’t owe you anything about them or for them. That was in your own head. So let’s pick this up around the time of your nervous, awkward, beer-soaked makeout session.

You made out.

You confessed your mutual crushes.

You sent FEELINGSMAIL.

You gave him a painting. I kind of like the story of how he sent you a photo of it on his wall in a “That would go in an indie romcom as a nice piece of visual storytelling” kind of way, but in the real world it’s still not making the case that this is happening.

The dude knows how you feel. You have made it VERY clear. He knows how to get in touch with you. From his phone, which he probably carries with him at all times.

So either a) he doesn’t feel the same way (even if he has flirted with the idea and made out with you and Vaguebooked about wishing he had a girlfriend) or b) he is too shy and oblivious to actually be a good dating partner for you and is not ready for your fine fine jelly. From where I am sitting, these two possibilities look indistinguishable from each other.

My advice to you is to stop trying to make this happen. Stop pouring out your feelings to someone who ignores you (or acts like he ignores you). When you say “I have many feelings about you! Here they are!” and the other person doesn’t respond? That non-response is your answer.

It suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks. You have all these feelings! You worked your courage up to say them out loud! You painted them into a painting! He occasionally gave you small scraps of what looks like validation!

Sorry, love. Release this one back into Shy Weird Dude genpop. Grieve for a little while, and then look around for a less shy, less weird dude and try again, with some ground rules learned from experience. As in, don’t wait 3 years to say something and get all overinvested, look for reciprocity, and hold off on FEELINGSMAIL and FEELINGSART until you’re having regular communication with someone and a certain portion of that communication is in the form of MAKEOUTS and the words “I like you and we should date each other.”

I use The Force to hug you in the Jedi Fashion.

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57 comments
  1. Cady said:

    Walk away. Block him on Facebook (same effect as unfriending, with less drama!) and forget him.

    Shy Guy or not, you told him your many feelings, and he did nothing. Too bad for him.

    You sound young (no offense, it’s the typing/spelling/etc.) and at any age, we are all way too young to settle for this type of ridiculous behaviour.

    • Cady said:

      Um, what was I typing there? That last bit should read:

      at any age, we are **never** too young to settle for this type of ridiculous behaviour.

  2. mbbennet said:

    Ok, I have to comment on this because YES. THANK YOU. I’ve been in this situation before (swap the painting for a postcard) and as sweet as the guy can be, eventually you have got to have enough of this I-like-you-but-I’m-gonna-keep-you-hanging-on-because-I-don’t-know-how-to-go-about-it. I get that sometimes we want to cut people some slack because shyness suck, and we like them so much, but there is a line.

    For me that line was sending a Christmas card (I decided to include him in the last minute in a “well, fuck, he’s nice, he deserves a card” moment), and after getting a call on New Year’s Eve (“I made a list of people I wanted to call and you were on it”), I got a postcard from him in the mail. It was a postcard he started to write A YEAR before when he was abroad but ended up not sending it, where he wished he’d have a chance to see me when he got back (he did). He ended the “new” postcard wishing he he’d have a chance to see me again.

    WELL, FUCK ME GENTLY WITH A CHAINSAW WHILE I SIT AND WAIT. I mean, really? Dude hangs my postcard on his bedroom wall but can’t send me a card? He hopes he can see me again? He knows where I live and how to get here, so either get here or shut up. If you’re go out of your way to do something nice for someone and they don’t reciprocate, stop.doing.nice.things.for.them.*

    *this not apply to parents who love you.

    • AshKW said:

      Soooo much love for the phrase “fuck me gently with a chainsaw while I sit and wait.” Sooooo much love. May I borrow? Please?

      • Cady said:

        “Fuck me gently with a chainsaw!”

        Classic line from ‘Heathers': http://youtu.be/LQ-3rikUQ34

        • mbbennet said:

          the saddest thing about life is that you can’t really go around saying “well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw” to every idiotic thing you hear. I mean, I say it in my head, but I’d love to say it aloud.

        • RedSonja said:

          My husband uses “fuck me running!” all the time. Now I may try to get him to upgrade to “fuck me running with a chainsaw!”

          • MorkaisChosen said:

            Fuck me with a running chainsaw!

  3. Bethany said:

    *jedi hugs* to the Letter Writer.

    It sucks to be in this kind of situation, but he can’t be sending “not gonna happen” signals any more clearly. I know you feel like there are some mixed signals there, but you made out and told him your feelings and then he basically quit speaking to you. He never responded to your FEELINGSMAIL. Not even a little. Although you don’t specifically say, it seems like he basically never again brings up those feelings that he knows exist. It’s really not going to happen.

    It seems like it’s been a while, so maybe he was hoping some of the awkward could pass and you guys could hang out without FEELINGSBOMBS happening. That doesn’t appear to be the case, so I’d stick to safer communication routes like Facebook or the like, if that. He quit talking to you for a while, so you may have to quit talking to him to help with grieving What Might Have Been. Try to make it as easy on yourself as possible to accept that it ain’t happening.

  4. Ensign Perception said:

    Oh, oh, so many jedihugs for you. No, this ain’t happening.

    You know what the hardest part will likely be, if you’re the analytical type? You need to not dwell over the things you did “wrong” that TOTES OBVS derailed the amazing romance you two would’ve had if not for feelingsmail and feelingsart. There is no way to guarantee yourself a relationship by “doing everything right”, you didn’t torpedo this thing all by your lonesome. Maybe even without feelingsmail, the guy wouldn’t have been up for a relationship. Maybe he is just super-shy and uncomfortable around women right now, and the only way he can temporarily push his anxieties to the back of his mind involves a whole lot of beer. Maybe dude knew he was moving away, and didn’t want to start up anything super-serious in your town. You will never know – but just because you’ll never know what was going on on his end, does not mean it was somehow all your fault.

    Now, your tactics weren’t optimal, and I’m pretty sure you’re aware of that, which is good. Artwork and walls of internet text are kind of the textbook definition of “coming on strong”. You knew “I’ve liked you for three years” was kind of an overly intense thing to say the second it came out of your mouth.

    But guess what – live and learn! You’ll be fine.

    • Copcher said:

      Yes! That is totally the worst part of being rejected (in my experience, at least). Looking so hard for the one (or two or seven million) thing(s) you did that were either too strong or not strong enough that made the person decide you aren’t the one for them. And then, of course, trying to think of how you can undo that thing, so that they will see you really are perfect for each other. Just, no. Anyone who really likes you won’t turn you down because of one thing you did that screwed the whole thing up. Maybe this dude is kind of an ass, or maybe he just isn’t very good at rejecting people (is anybody?). Either way, you have your answer.

      • maggie said:

        Oh my god I have the best proof ever of that! My now-husband liked me even after the first day we met which involved nudity (yay!)…and then hives over my entire body, passing out, and blood (uh, opposite of yay).

        He liked me for me, and he let me know, and he actively promoted it (he told me he wanted to see me again, and we ended up spending the next weekend together). Even though it was not the most romantic start ever.

        That’s what we should all be looking for, for friends or anything else. Someone who will actively participate to be with you! Much more fun that way.

  5. NessieMonster said:

    Aww, crap. I’ve been in a very similar situation, LW, so you have my commiserations and jedi hugs. The sentence:”He occasionally gave you small scraps of what looks like validation!” was the worst kicker.

    I used my words to call a dude out on his fankly shitty behaviour and said how I felt. And came across as a crazy bitch, alas. No dignity left, I have blocked/unfriended on FB etc. If I see him in public again, we will nod and smile and pretend I never sent that text. le sigh. One day, I might learn how to used my words with grace a poise. I can but hope!

    Best of luck everyone.

  6. Elodie said:

    Agreed with the Captain, my dear. From your language and spelling, I would guess that you are in high school.** And that makes me want to jedi-smoosh-hug you even more. You are so sincere. You are so young. You really, really had all kinds of intense feelings for this guy. Art!Feelings. Smooch!Feelings. Pants!Feelings. And this guy pretty much said that he has Zero!Feelings for you. In the hierarchy of what he cares about in his life, he has rated you lower than Facebook Loneliness. That’s got to hurt, and your natural reaction, since you’ve invested so much in him, is that you’re somehow….

    INTERPRETING HIM WRONG!!

    Perhaps he was giving you signals, but it was in Boy Code! Perhaps when you thought you were speaking English, you were actually speaking Incomprehensible Girl! Perhaps your art was too subtle. Maybe the Failbook status was a carefully calculated ploy to make you publicly states your feelings and beg for his smooches. Maybe a signal got crossed somewhere.

    No. Despite everything you have read in magazines and books. Boys are humans. Girls are humans. Humans use human language with each other to communicate their needs and feelings. You used ALL THE LANGUAGE with this damn boy. Art language! Talking language! Makeout language! And he in turn used absolutely no language with you, indicating that he was not, in fact, interested in having a conversation with you.

    Stop being so generous to him; stop making excuses for him; stop trying to figure out what you did wrong, or what you could do to Press A Magical Button and Make Him Love You Back. He’s made his position clear. You can do infinitely better. You don’t even know. There are seven billion people in the world! You are a passionate person who is compassionate and makes art! Multiple people will be attracted to you and will make you pretty happy.
    <3

    ** Apologies if I'm wrong. ;)

    • Cady said:

      I love this comment. LOVE IT.

      I would love (but do not recommend!) that LW comment on his whiny girlfriend-lacking Facebook status and say “I crushed on you for 3 years… but I’m over it now! Good luck with the whole girlfriend thing.”

      Again, NOT RECOMMENDING THIS AS A COURSE OF ACTION. But it would/could be awesome.

      (Also, if his FB status really says “if anybody knows where i can find a girlfriend” … eye roll.)

      • JenniferP said:

        Yeah, don’t post that Facebook status please.

        • Ensign Perception said:

          Seriously, Mutually Assured Vaguebooking is a terrible terrible idea.

  7. Schadenfreude said:

    Yeah, anybody who Vaguebooks sadly about wanting a girlfriend? Not ready for a relationship and all the intricacies of human interaction and communication it requires. Cut that one loose.

    • JenniferP said:

      This is the truth.

      • Christen said:

        Ugh. This. He’s either trying to send her a covert message (unlikely, IMO) or not even thinking about the fact that she’ll see the post, and how she might react. Not that I vet everything I post to every social network to protect everyone’s sensibilities (most of my posts are about politics, and lots of my high school friends are very conservative), but either way. Weak. Sauce.

      • meerkat said:

        Hmm, this is actually a thing that I was thinking about asking you about, Captain Awkward. What should I do when I am refraining from venting on FaceBook about how incredibly depressed/worthless/unloveable I am? My friends are busy moving and being exploited by their new jobs, sometimes it’s 4 a.m., my mom is the only person who cares or even occasionally understands but she’s also the one who is most hurt by my suffering, there is no money for therapy which I have already tried enough to establish it doesn’t work, and I have read enough self-help books to know that they all say the same thing and it doesn’t work either. (Cognitive therapy has the same problem as affirmations–I don’t believe that positive self talk you are suggesting so I just get even sadder thinking about how not-true it is.) That is, I have tried a lot of things and they do not work. I haven’t done it in a while but Facebook may have been one of the better outcomes, because sometimes people try to cheer you up! And then if you find it embarrassing the next day you can delete it. (But since I think that, I am not ready for a relationship, right? What exactly is it I need to do to get ready, since it’s not something I just happened to do over the last 30 years?)

  8. karinacinerina said:

    You do sound very young, so the good news is that you have many years to practice new crushes and communication and reading Captain Awkward ahead of you.

    We so very much want to hear what we hope to hear when we’re all crushed out and invested. Oh, he looked at me a little longer than he looked at that other person. I AM SPECIAL! It’s easy to take crumbs of attention to try and fashion them into a cake of love, but really, that ain’t no cake.

    By way of explaining his behavior – not to excuse, but hopefully to help put what he’s doing in perspective – it’s possible that he likes the ego-lifting of a girl who likes him, but doesn’t have the mature words to say “oh gosh, no, I don’t feel that way.” Maybe he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. Maybe he wants to keep you on the hook because you’re all the positive female energy coming his way. Either way, that isn’t reciprocation of the feelings (and it’s not particularly cool, though not always flat-out mean on purpose), but it does continue to FEEL like he is engaging with you. And it is a little mean by accident.

    Until someone says “Yes, I completely agree, we should date,” anything that seems like it could maybe go either way if you just LOVE HIM BETTER isn’t anything more than just engaging with you and prolonging your anxiety. He will need to learn how to deal with rejecting women he isn’t into – and it’s not your job to teach him. Until then he will post angsty “so lonely” posts until he figures out how to take and how to decline the LoveMuffins laid before him.

    Jedi Hugs! I recommend avoiding his Facebook altogether. Try just one whole month and see!

    • drst said:

      It’s easy to take crumbs of attention to try and fashion them into a cake of love, but really, that ain’t no cake.

      Yeah. Been there. Done that. It was definitely not cake. It wasn’t even really bad cake. It didn’t have the basic component elements of cake. Paste, maybe. No sugar, no milk, just flour and water. That’s dried up and become hard as a rock in the measuring cup.

      Sorry, I’m beating this metaphor into the ground, but it reminds me of a lot of stuff I went through when I was younger that still makes me wince. At least I know now, and LW I hope you know too, you deserve real cake. With frosting and sprinkles on top.

  9. RodeoBob said:

    My take on the “Friendzone” – yup, it’s a douchey term that both denies bad communication on one party’s part and implies bad faith on the other’s, and it usually does come from a place of entitlement.

    I think most people really hate attempts to deflect romantic intent with gentle, “easing-the-blow-of-rejection” bits. Not only that, but any one who is duplicitious enough to try and sneak/creep/stealth into romance through ‘friendly’ gestures should be called out on their bullshit, not told they are a “friend”. The “Friendzone” doesn’t do anybody any favors. It fails to call out poor communication and entitlement, and it also fails as a transparent attempt to avoid conflict.

    If you’re really opposed to the concept of the “friendzone”, then as the Captain says, use your words.

    If you’re crushing on someone, don’t try to imply romantic intent with time, attention, gifts, nice gestures or whatever. Explicitly state, up front, before you volunteer to help them move into a 3rd story walk-up, that you’re attracted to them. If they says they’re not looking for romance/not into you, either walk away or let it go! Anything else is deceptive, weaselly, and this is not what friendship looks like! Seriously, I want the last panel ofthis strip embossed onto a leather paddle I can use to leave raised markings on people’s foreheads.

    If you have a new friend who suddenly expresses romantic interest after being especially helpful/generous/attentive (or, if you suspect they might be getting ready to express such an interest) I recommend a mix of shock, confusion, and mild horror. Something like “Oh god, you only bought me a spa gift certificate because you wanted to date me? Why didn’t you just ask me out? I liked hanging out with someone who was friendly, but if you were only doing it because you didn’t have the guts to ask me out, that’s just used-car-salesman creepy!”

    I guess my (derailing) point is that the Friendzone happens because both parties are unwilling/unable to be direct. Don’t like the term? Don’t give duplicitious douche-bags a pass on their bad communication.

    • MorkaisChosen said:

      This is good as far as it goes, but I don’t think it addresses the possibility of being genuine honest-to-$DEITY/UNIVERSALCONCEPT friends as well as crushing on someone. I don’t like the term either, as it implies the friendship wasn’t enough- if a good friend says “Sorry, don’t feel that way,” it definitely doesn’t invalidate the friendship- but I think there are people who’d use it to describe that sort of situation, at least when they’re not in it. I’ll admit that the sort of person to say it isn’t the sort who’s likely to feel the way I do about this sort of thing…

  10. commanderlogic said:

    Friend, you may be 18, 27, 32, or 53, but this is still going to hurt. You’re going to feel the feelings you feel, and that’s okay and not a failure.

    I wish I could tell you that he was using a Secret Doodz Code, and he really truly loves you with all his heart, and he’s planning a ride in a hot air balloon to profess his love to you! With Champagne! And stuff! I wish that we could verify this for you, and that your comment thread would be full of “YEP! THAT’S LOVE!” comments and congratulations.

    Alas, that is not so. There isn’t any code. He is not responding because he doesn’t love you. And that sucks.

    BUT! You deserve someone who responds. He is not that guy. You deserve someone who lights up when he just thinks of you. He is not that guy either. You deserve someone who lives near you, or is willing to drive through the night just to go to coffee with you before your morning shift. He is really not that guy.

    He’s the guy who showed you what being ignored is like, so that when that amazing responsive, lighting up, driving through the night guy shows up, you know what’s what. Pine, and then move on. You are worth making an effort for.

    • sendingHUGZ said:

      +1 commanderlogic. LOVE your answer!

  11. turtle said:

    I just want to say you don’t sound like you’re so young to me, since that seems to be the perception of a few of the commenters here, and it can be annoying to have someone assume that about you.

    You sound like just another person muddling through how to interact with people you want to date. It’s tough figuring out how to act, no matter what age you are. I am definitely not young and I definitely get it wrong a lot.

    You did some things you’re cringing at now. Even if you hadn’t, he acted weirdly towards you too. The end result is, now it looks unlikely that you’ll date. You have to cut your losses and move on.

    What’s frustrating is that you liked him and he apparently liked you, and by all rights, that should be enough! If two people both like each other and they are both single, what on earth is stopping them from dating? So your impulse is to retrace your steps and try to figure out what went wrong, exactly, and maybe to put it right, but at the very least just identify the missteps so you can learn from them for next time.

    But, first of all, the missteps were not all yours, and second of all, the missteps that were yours are not things you can make better by revisiting them. You’ve already identified what they were for next time (don’t wait 3 years to confess a crush. don’t send feelingsmail/art unless you have a better sense that your feelings are reciprocated) and so you’ve already gotten all the positive things you can from this situation. Time to put it behind you.

  12. Tinpantithesis said:

    I have totally, totally been in the LW’s shoes. Like, a LOT. The first time I ever told a boy I liked him, we were on the phone, in the middle of this conversation that was half-flirting, half an argument on the Iowa caucuses. (So suave, am I.) He said something like “well, how would I even KNOW if you like me, you haven’t asked me out!”

    So I took a deep breath and crossed my fingers and said, “Well, would you like to go out with me?” “No!”

    I have also gotten “I think after six weeks we would hate each other,” “Sorry,” “I will need a loooooong time to make that decision,” and “Maybe if we were the last two people alive, and there were no sheep. Are there sheep?” I have also gotten non-answers and evasive bullshit, like the LW got here.

    So, LW, I know that it hurts to gather all your feelings and give them to someone and not get what you want. It hurts especially because you did the right thing — you were all emotionally mature! You created awesome words/paintings/songs/GODDAMN ART for this person! That is what people do, when they like someone! And then all of your feelings get smashed with a hammer. It feels unfair. It IS unfair.

    The Captain is totally right about this boy: he has signaled that whatever he wants right now, it is not what you want. That doesn’t (necessarily) make him a bad person. (Although it can be helpful to think of him as a Giant Jerk for the immediate future.) It just means he is not going to do what you want.

    And I’m sorry, because there’s nothing you can do about it. No song you can sing, no poem you can write, no painting you can paint, no persuasive speech you can deliver (not even with charts and infographics! I mean, no, I’ve never done that) — nothing. Nothing you can do. There is no cheat code for this.

    What does this all mean, LW? It means that you are not wrong for liking this boy. You are not wrong for telling him. You are not wrong for making art (seriously, you are never wrong for making art!) and you are not wrong for giving it to him. What it means is, you did the right thing. And it hurt, and you didn’t get what you want. And the next time you like someone? Guess what. You have to do the right thing again. It might hurt. You still might not get what you want.

    I know, that SUCKS, right? But it is the best thing you can do — better than being passive-aggressively flirty, better than being noncommittal, better than expecting people to be psychic and knowing what you want. And it’s better than giving up on relationships. Even though it hurts. No, I know, but seriously. It is.

    Lots of Jedi hugs.

  13. Sheelzebub said:

    Coming in late here–I’ve been in a similar situation. Please know that while it’s old fashioned and unrealistic to expect a guy to do everything, he’s got to show some clear interest in you and act on it–and he has not. When you told him you had a huge crush on him for the past 3 years, that was the time for the “shyness” to evaporate. It didn’t–it’s not like he was all, “Well, damn! Let’s hang out then!” If there are Much Larger Issues at play here, you can’t know that and you can’t fix that. And you should not put your life on hold Just In Case There Are Larger Issues At Play. The more likely explanation is that he’s a) not that into you and/or b) somewhat passive. Neither is particularly appealing. You deserve someone who likes you, respects you, and lusts after you.

  14. absinthe_robette said:

    Hi LW,

    I guess you know already that it would be nice to move on, and hopefully captain and the awkwardeers have helped you accept that. Maybe your next question is ‘how?’.

    For me, after a sad breakup, I felt like a stuck record, with the same thoughts going round in my head again and again. It was really hard to move forward to a place where he didn’t matter any more, but it happened!

    I think there were 2 parts to this: Firstly, I did new things. I reconnected with some old friends, made some new ones, went on a holiday (that he would have HATED), and took up some new hobbies. The more ‘new’ things I added to my life (however small), the more it seemed that I was growing, and growing away from him. Secondly, I took a break from him. I didn’t know what he was doing with his time, how we was etc, because I took a long break from contacting him, didn’t ask mutual friends how he was & blocked him on facebook too. The fact I didn’t know what he was up to, no juicy gossip or news, or photos of his new hairstyle or whatever is what helped him fade into the background. Because there was no news about him, he was old news. And I had more interesting things to think about.

    In short – to help move on from someone who is taking up too much headspace, get busy, have fun, and do new things. And take a nice long break from hearing about them.

    Best of luck,

    Robette

  15. That whole “friend zone” thing is problematic in that I know people that almost feel like it’s a race-against-the-clock situation: If they don’t date by a specified time, they’ll be doomed to be “just friends”, forever.

    Knowing someone longer should give you MORE reasons to like them. Hell, the times I’ve most regretted dating someone is when I knew very little about them and rushed into something, only to discover almost immediately after, giant red flags or deal breakers that would have been quickly evident had we been friends first.

    Also, “feelingsmail” is my new favourite word.

    • Christen said:

      I, too, crushed on a gentleman for three years once but it didn’t go anywhere in that time because we were never single at the time time, so we were just occasional beer buddies. Then while I was dealing with a breakup and some other hard stuff, we hung out and he kissed me goodnight. We confessed longstanding mutual attraction, went on a couple actual Dates, then he balked and asked to go back to just being friends. Apart from one evening about which nobody used their words, that was how it was.

      Then he started showing up to things with Someone Else. On the advice of a friend who thought we had SUCH GREAT CHEMISTRY and BELONGED TOGETHER, I sent him a FEELINGSMAIL. He responded by saying while he’d always been attracted to me, he also had gotten used to thinking of me “in a certain way” and it seemed unchangeable, that he just wanted to stay friends.

      I think that’s the kind of thing people are talking about when they talk about the friendzone sometimes. Sometimes waiting too long to act on the sexy crushy feelings leads to those feelings dissipating altogether, or to it just feeling more normal to just flirt with someone from across the table than actually kiss or touch them. Over the year after I sent the FEELINGSMAIL, my friendship with the fellow slowly disintegrated, and while he didn’t give it as the reason for putting in distance, I think the intensity of the FEELINGSMAIL made him really uncomfortable with me thereafter. Which, FUCK. FUUUUUUCK.

      And that is how I learned that cute romcom chemistry and cute romcom conversational rapport do not actually add up to BELONGING TOGETHER, not out here in the world. I think if we really BELONGED TOGETHER it wouldn’t have felt that weird to cross the precipice from sexually-heated beer-buddyship to sexually-heated sex-having. I don’t think there was an expiration date that we just kind of passed. But if there was, you know what? That’s too bad. And also OK.

      • MorkaisChosen said:

        If you have strong feelings that way, then yes, it’s sad if they don’t agree or it doesn’t work out, but I think you should appreciate the friendship you do have.

        So, yeah. Also OK.

        • Christen said:

          We don’t speak at all anymore. One of the sad things about that situation was learning the hard way that we weren’t that great of friends to begin with. Otherwise, I think we would have survived that weird period without hard feelings. He did some stuff during that time that was really not cool, but so did I — namely, choosing the moment where I felt jealous and butthurt and confused to drop the FEELINGSBOMB and admit I really wanted to be more than Just Friends. Totally not fair.

  16. Dorothy said:

    As a woman who has had mad crushes on men frequently over the years that lasted – gasp – YEARS, and yes, the men were always unavailable in some way, I can really feel for you, LW! Whoa, it threw me way, way back. During my younger years I sat at home more times than I care to admit and dreamed about my future life with these men while they went out and lived their lives. Rivers of tears on my part. I took each word, each look, each action as important steppingstones, and if there were hints of sadness or unhappiness on the guys’ parts, I was sure that I could be the one to turn their sadness to happiness if they’d only say the word.

    Yes, it sucks, as Captain has said. The crushes have absolutely no reality unless they’re turned into a full-blown relationship with two people, not one.

    Never once did I become involved with a crush, and my advice is to walk the other way, no matter how difficult it is to do, and become acquainted with guys who like and appreciate you right off the bat and don’t give you hesitant, mysterious answers that keep you swinging back and forth like a pendulum.

    Whether this guy wants a relationship with you in the future is not the issue. The issue is how fast you can get back on the road after being waylaid a bit and go on with your own life, finding people who will be honest with you at the outset, and become focused on your art or whatever it is that you want to make your life’s work. You’ve given this guy all the time in the world to be assertive instead of shy, and the fact that he’s asking if anyone on Facebook knows someone he could be involved with is – well, it would definitely knock some sense into even me, who’s been a diehard crush woman.

    Again, I feel for you, LW, and it’s not enjoyable to be crazy about a guy who is not giving you straight answers. I wish you all the best!!

  17. RedSonja said:

    A high school friend of mine posted a piece on Facebook about how being “friends zoned” is like applying for a job, being rejected, and then the company calling you up repeatedly to complain about how bad the person is that they hired instead of you.

    I tried to point out that if you aren’t willing to listen to your friend’s problems unless she’s willing to fuck you then perhaps you aren’t really her friend. I was ignored.

    • Awkward Niece said:

      “I tried to point out that if you aren’t willing to listen to your friend’s problems unless she’s willing to fuck you then perhaps you aren’t really her friend.”

      Why aren’t you boss of the universe?

  18. Lis said:

    CA, I love your repeated emphasis on, “You got your answer.” It’s kind of like enthusiastic consent, in a way–don’t settle for someone who awkwardly stands there while you make relationship dancemoves around them. You deserve someone who jumps right into the dance with you.

  19. bellacoker said:

    When I was in middle school a friend once told me, regarding a crush I was harboring, “It’s like Green Day says, You can’t go forcing something if it’s just not right.” She was wise for a twelve-year old.

  20. Mary said:

    Something to maybe keep in mind when deciding whether to continue being in contact with this guy is that at some point it may turn out that he can be decisive and open about his desire… for someone else. This can be a really sucky experience to go through. I guess it applies to most unrequited feelings though, when you get definitive proof that it wasn’t that is incapable of desire generally, but that they didn’t feel it towards you :(

  21. MissPrism said:

    Oh cripes, I have been this person. Listen to the good Capt., LW. Nothing good can come of telling someone more than once that you have feelings for them.

  22. Tosca said:

    LW, you and I are kindred spirits. This was basically my MO for love during my formative years and sometime after. Major crushes on unavailable, “meh” guys*. I even pushed away the guy who is now my husband a few times because I never crushed unrequitedly all over him.
    Looking back from my vantage point in my 30s, I realize that because I was shy and really nerdy and living in my head, I put myself through all these crushes because they were easier than a real, live relationship! I was terrified of actual messy intimate relationships; keeping everything inside my own head and acting out my yearnings furtively saved me from the experience of the real thing. I never realized it at the time, of course, and if you’d have asked me back then, the very idea that it was “easier” would have been insulting. But it was. These crushes didn’t really require me to put myself out there, honestly and openly, like an adult. Sure, sometimes my FEELINGS would come to a head and I’d send my crush FEELINGSMAIL, and he would get freaked and run, and I would be very hurt (oh yes, I have sinned with the FEELINGSMAIL!). The anguish of those times really sucked**. But for the most part, I got to construct the “relationship” in MY head. I got to imagine the words he would say to me, rather than deal with the unpleasantness of his real thoughts and feelings which might not go according to script!
    I hope I don’t come across as harsh, I speak from a place of love, honestly. And it may not be relevant to your situation at all, but I thought I’d share how I figured out my own issues with you in case it helps. :)

    * one of those “meh” guys back in high school turned out to be gay, and he wasn’t out, so that wasn’t really his fault. Sorry, Matt! *waves* Sorry I was so weird!
    ** most of the time, the anguish came not from confessions spurned or FEELINGSMAIL unacknowledged, but from the simple rejection of my crush finding a girlfriend. Who was not me. And never would be. Mary is sooooo right. 9 times out of 10 I got to watch this happen and it killed me every time. :(

  23. Jiggs said:

    Ugh, Friend Zone. I just had a conversation about this with my husband the other day. We were schmooping on each other about how we met, and I was saying something like “I couldn’t believe how nice you were to me!” (The context being I had just gotten out of a really awful relationship when we met, coupled with extreme youth, so when I met and dated an actual Nice Person I about died of shock and delight.)

    He said “Yeah, and I couldn’t believe you actually liked me. All the other girls I was nice to put me in the Friend Zone.” And when I finished gagging I was like dude, that’s because you were just wandering around being nice to girls who didn’t want to fuck you. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it’s just being a friendly person, it’s not a girlfriend strategy.

    I really think this needs to be built into sex education – Why Thou Shouldnst Describe Having Friends as the Friend Zone 101.

    • MorkaisChosen said:

      THIS.

      Except Shouldnst offends the pedant in me; if we’re being archaic it should be Why Thou Shouldst Not Describe… ;-)

      • Jiggs said:

        Come on, it’s like the LOLcat of archaic class titles! It knows not what it does.

  24. BadSack said:

    Hey LW — trust me on this — this guy is giving you signals of HIS dysfunction of the highest order. It doesn’t really matter whether he is maladjusted, painfully shy, unable to comprehend your plain as day communication, and maybe liked you or maybe didn’t like you THAT way.

    IF you did find yourself in a relationship with this guy, you would have to strap yourself in for a horrible rollercoaster ride of his self-involvement, obliviousness and self loathing. You would expend lots of effort to accommodate his moods, his whims, his interests, while being emotionally manipulated while you are kept guessing(and your needs won’t get met while you are kept on a string). This is not the sort of relationship you or anyone else should have. A healthy person who actually likes you will communicate that they like you to you. It may come out a little awkward or goofy — and if you like them back then you can communicate this and then you can have a relationship — hopefully a healthy and sane relationship. Your communication was clear — though perhaps a little strong for starting at the start.

    I know — this news SUCKS ! I sure wish someone had sat me down and laid it out for me when I was younger. It would have helped a lot.

    • FemmeForever said:

      Co-signed. I actually don’t buy the shy guy myth at all.

  25. Don’t send FEELINGSMAIL. That always ends in awkward heart break. I did it, and after, I was like “that was stupid and made no one feel better.”

  26. John said:

    I have a different take on this from most posters on here. I was a big fat guy growing up and if a girl showed interest in me it was only because I was about to be the butt of a cruel joke. I’ve lost ~100 pounds since high school but even now I have a devil on my shoulder telling me no one can like me and if a lady gives me signals I have trouble believing it. It may not mean I don’t like that person, although being that emotionally backwards probably renders me useless for dating anyway.

    • JenniferP said:

      Self-pity is a bad cologne. Drive that sexy fat ass like you stole it, my friend!

      • John said:

        Aye aye, cap’n! (Easier said than done though). So you’re a real filmmaker huh? I have this screenplay and I was wondering… (No I don’t I’ve just never communicated with a filmmaker and it’s the only thing I know to say)

        Your blog is awesome I love it and that’s not a lie!

      • John said:

        Thanks commanderlogic, no matter how many times I’ve been told that it still may take just one more to make it really real in my mind. Your advice is always stunningly… logical

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