The two of you get along great. You have a lot of shared hobbies and really enjoy each other’s company. He develops feelings. She doesn’t. He asks her out. She says she’s not interested. He drops the friendship.
I haven’t experienced this for myself, so instead, I asked my co-worker, Caroline, for her opinion. She said that the times that it has happened to her, she was just left wondering if he was only spending time with her because he wanted to sleep with her. And once that was off the table, he was no longer interested in spending time with her. It made her feel dirty and used, and made her question his motives for their entire friendship.
I feel like I can sympathise with this view more than the other one. I asked Bruce whether he enjoyed spending time with the girl he was interested in while she was single. He said he did. After he found out she was dating someone else, I asked if he enjoyed spending time with her, doing those same things. He said no. I asked him why her being single vs in a relationship would have an impact over the same activity, at the same place, with the same person. If you think about it, the only difference now is her relationship status. Her personality is still the same, she still looks the same, they are doing the same thing they did together for months and months. He said he didn’t enjoy being with her at all.
To be fair to him, he did confess to me that he had been losing interest in her, but it seems so astonishing to me to go from thinking about someone every day to cordial, overly-formal responses over such a short period of time.
At the heart of it, we can’t control who we are attracted to (otherwise things would be so much easier, and we’d want to date people who were logically good for us, rather than the people who make sparks fly, and give us butterflies in our stomach). If you get lucky, and the person you are attracted to also finds you attractive, then hooray. If not, then bad luck. But why does being attracted to someone affect your enjoyment of your time together? If you enjoyed going sailing with someone while they were single, wouldn’t you enjoy it while they’re not? The act of sailing isn’t impacted by their singledom.
Which is why I can understand Caroline’s point of view. If they only thing that has changed is your relationship status, and someone has gone from enjoying your time together to avoiding you like the plague, then it must have just been about wanting a relationship / sex.
It’s funny, now that I’m trying to write from the other point of view, I have a lot more sympathy for the other party. I’m thinking about Bruce’s statement about how spending time with her is a reminder of the pain (even though it’s an indirect rejection, i.e. it’s not like she rejected you, she just picked someone else). It’s a bit like how you can be eating a salad, and you bite on an olive that wasn’t meant to be in there. I don’t like olives, and I feel like even though it was just one olive, the memory of that permeates through the rest of the salad, and each bite has you a bit on edge, worried if there’s going to be another accidental olive.
If it’s just a case of one person not being attracted to the other, and the other person accepts that, then all is good, move along, nothing to see here. What I do see on reddit, are some comments about how a guy gets friendzoned. A topical reddit post: When you meet a girl (that you are interested in) is it better to come off like a nice friend or to flirt from the start?
A large majority of the responses say to flirt (with this guide to flirting linked). The main theme being, if you go in acting like a friend, you’ll be a friend. If you want to become something more, you have to act like you want something more. I’m trying to think of MrFodder ever flirted with me. I asked him, and he said he doesn’t remember. He said he doesn’t know how to flirt. I don’t remember flirting with him. I feel like I have no idea how to flirt either, but I asked Special K about a conversation I had with someone else at work, and she said it was borderline flirting. :( I thought I was just being honest, and I have no romantic interest in my conversation partner anyway.
But I don’t know if MrFodder and I are just weird outliers, due to our nerdy nature, or if flirting first isn’t the best strategy. As someone in the post asked, how do you know whether someone is worth flirting with until you get to know them better? Do people just flirt with everyone? Should I even be reading this guide to flirting article?! So many unanswered questions.
Went on a huge tangent, so I just wanted to sum-up by saying I’m still on the “it’s sad to end a friendship because of feelings” boat, but I am a bit more sympathetic towards why someone may choose that path. Unrequited love is great in movies, sucks when you’re the main character.