liking someone’s friend

Reader N. R. asks:

I met a someone a while ago and we’ve been seeing each other and hanging out with his friends, which is great, except I think I’ve started to really like one of his friends romantically, and I kinda’ think the friend feels the same way. What should I do?

Dear N.R.:

Isn’t it sad that our mating/chemistry instincts never ask us what we want, or what would be tactful, or what would be convenient, before they take off and make us like someone that should really be off limits?

man's real best friend

At least I still have Fido. Image: Cecelia / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yeah, well, that’s what’s just happened to you, so, prepare for the awkward!

Deep down in my heart I believe it is a really, really bad idea to go sniping some guy’s friends. You will forever be “THAT GIRL” (or “that guy”, since you didn’t tell me what gender it is you identify as), especially since it probably won’t last between you and the friend, and you will have ruined his friendship anyway. And imagine how you would feel if the guy you’re seeing now told you he’s actually kind of more interested in your friend. It’s a really great way to induce mind-numbing drama for the rest of your days. So my first advice to you is dump them both and run far, far away. That’s your safest bet.

Still, these things do happen, and honestly, you have every right to proceed with your horny little desires. The head can’t tell the heart what to do, even in the case of etiquette. And it’s no longer cool to pine for someone in an unrequited fashion like it was in the middle ages. (Yes, everyone, chivalry is dead and you heard it here first. Or third. Or whatever.) So hopefully all parties can deal with what comes next.

First off: dump the current guy. It’s the right thing to do. Be prepared to walk away empty-handed here. Don’t be a goober and go testing the waters to make sure you’ve secured the feelings of the friend before you ditch the current fling. You’ve already made your choice; if it ends up the friend doesn’t actually want you, you’re stuck without either of them. Plus, depending on how noble the friend is, he may not be interested in going through with dating his friend’s sloppy seconds, anyway. Guys have their own unspoken rules, and every friendship is different. Your only chance is to take the leap of faith and break up with the guy (the noble thing to do) instead of just offending everyone you possibly can.

Now the question of how to go about having your affair with the friend. You may want to keep it a secret until you really know you like each other. (Again, be prepared to walk away empty-handed.) Go on a few dates alone together. It may end up you really don’t like him, and then, yeah, you’re SOL, but at least you gave it a try. If and when you decide to be serious, you can break the news to everyone else, but if it’s just going to be casual, there’s no need to stir the drama pot.

When/if you do go the serious route with the new friend, as tacky as it sounds, I’d actually let the friend tell the now-ex. While I’m a huge advocate of total honesty, hearing the story from you might be a bit much to take and make the now-ex more upset than hearing it from his long-time friend. Most level-headed individuals would be completely understanding and congratulate you and your new lover on having found whatever it is you’ve found. Some people might still be jealous and uncomfortable. That’s his right. You did dump him for his friend, after all, which is kind of a dick move.

You’re definitely going to have to quit hanging out with the now-ex, by the way, particularly in the beginning of your trial with the friend. Especially if you’ve slept with him or he likes you a lot, it’s going to be extremely difficult to hang out with now-ex while you’re holding his friend’s hand. And don’t expect other friends in the group to support your decision to go out with the friend, either. You will probably be uninvited from any social gatherings you might have enjoyed when you were out with now-ex, and you’re probably going to lose all those other friendships. In fact, they may take to calling you terrible nicknames in or out of your presence. They might even ignore you. People can get crazy about this sort of thing.

But if everyone can hold his or her ego in check and/or recognize that true love (or really, fleeting sexual attraction) conquers all, you might be able to have a fulfilling few weeks with your new fling before he, too, gets old and you replace him.

Or you’ll get married and stay together forever. Whatever. That’s your prerogative.


3 Responses to “liking someone’s friend”

  1. 1 Zkeller
    July 7, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    First off, I personally would just like to say that chivalry is not dead. Those of us that still follow the ancient code are the last of a dying breed, but we are out there. Secondly, Bro-Code article number 150 is: No sex with you Bro’s ex. Ever. The only exception to this would include a length of time double that of the original relationship, and hand-written and signed permission from Bro number 1 to Bro number 2 that gives permission to sleep with the ex. And even then…. it’s a touchy situation.

  2. 3 Zkeller
    July 7, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Not a problem. I happen to be a Bro-Code scholar. Feel free to ask for consultation whenever you deem necessary. 🙂

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