Monday, June 14, 2010

He's Just Not That Into You

Dear Jocelyn,

I have a guy friend who I've known for a really long time. We've had some rough patches where he had feelings for me and I didn't return them and vice versa, but we made sure that our friendship lasted through it. Things started falling apart within the past year when I started realizing that I was always the one to initiate conversation and plan times to hang out. I got really mad at him and told him how I felt. I asked him if he even wanted to be friends anymore. He said that he wanted to be friends that hang out and keep in touch on a regular basis, but since he never tries to talk to me first, I feel like he was lying. Even though we always have a really good time when we do hang out, I still feel like if I didn't make an effort to see him, I never would. Part of me thinks that he just still has a lot of growing up to do and that I should give him a break since he hasn't really done anything to me, but on the other hand, I'm sick of making excuses for him.

Just the other day I saw him and I didn't go up to talk to him because I was so angry. He didn't come over to talk to me either, but he kept looking at me like, "Why aren't you talking to me?" When he was about to leave, we made eye contact and he yelled across the room and said “Hi” and asked me how I was. I made it obvious that I didn't want to talk him and I'm pretty sure that he understood. I hated being rude to him, but I don't want to have to seek him out anymore to tell him how I feel. Should I continue to ignore him and drop the friendship if he doesn't make any effort to talk to me? This is someone I've know all my life and it's really hard to think about never talking to him again, but I want to do what is best for me.
     -Hurting Friend

Dear Hurting,
It's hard to tell from your letter that you two are friends, considering the pain and anger you described. While I think any friendship you have had for your whole life is worth fighting for, this friend sounds like he's perhaps moving on. You described feelings of confusion over his words and his actions, so let me give you a simple rule: People do what they want to do. Although your friend stated that he wants to spend time with you, if he really wanted to, his actions would demonstrate that. There could be valid reasons why he is not initiating time with you, but it is not your responsibility to find them out. It is his job to work through those and take the appropriate action. All you can do is respond to what he is doing—which is nothing.

Since you've already shared with him how his actions make you feel, I recommend simply not initiating friendship with him anymore. You expressed some anger in your letter, which I think stems from your hurt over his lack of consistency between words and actions. Understand that he is probably not being intentionally malicious; he is just immature. There is no need to act angry or rude toward him—simply show him the consequences of his actions by not spending any more time on pursuing a friendship with him. You should be polite and civil to him, just like you would any other acquaintance. It is now up to him to show you whether he values your friendship anymore. Take the time you’ve been spending to ponder his actions, and use it to make new friends. 
     -Jocelyn

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