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"We're friends but I want to date him"

About 4 months ago, the love of my life broke up with me. We’re still good friends, but he's now dating a close friend of mine. I was kind of jealous at first, but not anymore.

There is a guy right now who I have known for well over a year. Just recently, I started to have feelings for him and it seems that I really, really like him. He's such a great friend of mine and I would love to go out with him, but I’m not really sure what to do.

He’s really sweet, really kind, really funny and we have a lot in common and he’s so much fun to be around. One day, I was talking to him and I started talking about how I was kind of happy with being single from my ex. He claims that he enjoys being single as well right now, and I can understand that. Only, it seems that I’m just starting to like him more and more as time goes on.

I have told a few of my friends about how I feel and they all agreed that we would be a cute couple. But, I don’t want to tell him how I feel because I’m afraid of how he'll react.

I’ve been rejected and hurt before and I guess I’m afraid of being rejected once more.

I really, really like him and I would love to be able to tell him how I feel, but I’m just not sure of what to do.

12 Oct 2006
Name: Laura
Age: 16

Dear Laura,

First off, as tough as this is to do, especially after you’ve been hurt before, you cannot let fear of rejection stop you from going after what you want. Everything in life worth going after – including our crushes – involves taking risks. Sure, there’s always a chance we may wind up hurt, but there’s also a chance (perhaps an even greater chance?) that we’ll end up getting exactly what we want; and in your case, an awesome new boyfriend!

To me, this situation seems great. You two are close friends, which means not only do you already know intimate things about the other, but you both enjoy spending time together, too. Obviously he loves your company, or else he wouldn’t hang with you as often as he does, and he probably wouldn’t be having such profound conversations with you and sharing such deep details about himself if he didn’t trust you and value your friendship. Sure it’s possible that the two of you are just friends and nothing more, but from the type of relationship you’re describing here, and the intense chemistry I’m sensing between the two of you, I’d say there’s definitely a little something-something brewing!

So if he’s into you, why did he say he was happy being single? Because you said it first! Think about it. If he’s crushing on you – and I do believe he is – then he’s trying to play it cool with you and follow your lead. Just the same way that you feel nervous about telling him how you feel, he’s not about to go divulging his feelings for you if he doesn’t think you feel the same way. And after you told him that you’re happy being single, aside from probably feeling a shot straight through his heart, he responded by saying he feels the same way. It’s a pride-conservation thing – we all do it. We say things we don’t mean in an effort to protect ourselves and appear calm, collected and cool.

So now are you supposed to get down on your hands and knees and declare your undying love to your crush? Not exactly. I suggest you keep on doing what you’re doing (minus all the “I really love being single” talk, of course!).

I’m a believer that when two people feel something for one another, things happen naturally. Forcing a situation to happen can get awkward – especially when the two contenders in the romantic ring are close friends. The last thing you want to do is ruin your friendship. So continue to spend time with him and keep building your already great relationship.

Start sharing more intimate details about yourself with him – not only will this make the two of you closer, but he’ll feel really special that you’re choosing him to share these things with, rather than any of the other boys. Likewise, treat him a little differently than all the other guys. Pay him more attention, ask him to hang with you on the weekends (doesn’t have to be a romantic date – could be as simple as a run through the park or a game of tennis), ask him to work with you on your next partner-project in class, etc. The point is, these little gestures will show him you care (and ‘show don’t tell’ can be a great motto to keep in mind when it comes to cluing someone in to how you feel about them).

Little by little, the more you shower him with attention and the closer you two become, he’ll hopefully get the hint that what the reason you’re thrilled to no longer be with your ex, is because that means now you’re free to be with HIM!

I see great potential here, so go for it. And in the meantime, have fun with it and enjoy!

Good luck!

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