Dear Avi and Adele,
I’ve been friends with Josh for more than two years now. I really adore him as a friend and enjoy his company. However, he’s been clear that he wants me to be his girlfriend. And as many times as I tell him I just want to be FRIENDS, he says he understands … and then keeps trying to ask me out. The final straw? He sent me an amazing bouquet of flowers. What can I do to get the message through his keppelah (head) that I just want to be friends?
Dear Friendly Fanny,
Oy, the drama of heterosexual friendships! You know, since Moses parted the Red Sea, the issue of male-female friendship has plagued humankind. And back then, just as it is now, men and women see it differently.
You say you “adore him” and “enjoy his company.” He probably tolerates your incessantly female girly friendship ways: you rattle on and on and on about your day at work (and in his head, he hears the voice of the teacher from Charlie Brown). Since he’s a “friend,” you don’t have to dress up to hang-out with him or have any agenda, really, because that’s what friends do: they hang out. And because you’re probably good at being friends with people in general, you’re probably kind, occasionally complimentary, and considerate to him.
But he sees something very different. He sees that you feel you can confide in him, which feels very much like what a girlfriend might do. He sees that you’re comfortable in your own skin in a no-fuss way, which is how girlfriends are after the initial courting stage. And your kindness, politeness, and positivity surely mean that you think he’s special.
Like the girlfriend that you are.
The only problem is … you aren’t.
Girls look at guy friends like their girl friends. Guys look at female friends as future girlfriends. Your would-be suitor is thinking that it’s just a matter of time before he wins you over. He’s going to try every angle and it will have little to do with what you say.
It’s all about what you do, not what you say. In this case, as long as you’re still having a conversation, or you’re willing to talk about your non-relationship relationship, you’re still fair game. Our suggestion? Don’t invite him anywhere. If you must keep him in your circle, only associate with him in a group. And if one more mention of this comes up, end the friendship.
If he were truly a friend, he’d hear what you’re saying and back off.
Livin’ and Lovin’,
Avi and Adele
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