not acting on a crush

Reader R. G. writes:

I have a crush on this guy. He has told me that he really likes me, but he doesn’t want to ruin what we already have as friends. He has proclaimed that he is afraid that if we spend time alone together that we will hook up and ruin the friendship… and that eventually I will hate him. I don’t understand this situation. If we both like each other, why shouldn’t we do something about it?

Dear R. G.:

While it may sound stupid that he’s not willing to jump head first into some sort of romantic relationship with you, I think you need to take a step back and give the boy his space. He could mean a whole bunch of things by what he’s saying.

First off, appreciate his honesty. Imagine if he got into a relationship with you and then decided he didn’t think he could hack it. You’d probably be a little heartbroken. And while being heartbroken is good for you, sometimes it’s nice to be spared the trouble.


Do these spiders freak anyone else out? Image: AKARAKINGDOMS / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Consider this: Did he recently break up with someone? If so, no wonder he’s reticent to jump back in. Even if he likes you 100%, he’s already swimming in so many feelings right now that he just needs a break. Depending on where he’s at in his relationship cycle, he may only be able to give you his rebound game, as opposed to his real game.

Next up, remember that while girls often put guys in a friend zone from whence they may never escape, guys rarely do this to girls. If he likes you now, he will probably like you still in a few months, unless you grow apart or do something heinous. So don’t rush him. You’ve got time. If he’s not ready to do anything with you now, he may change his mind soon enough. And if he doesn’t change his mind soon, you may either find someone you like, or start to feel the same way he does.

Of course, if you don’t want the relationship to be anything serious yourself and are just interested in sex or a fling, you’re going to ignore my advice anyway. Whatever happens, go with the flow, and probably the next time you’re alone together he’ll cave to your wily ways. Just don’t expect a guy who has expressly told you that he wants to keep your friendship the way it is to be completely responsive after you’ve cornered him and hooked up with him. He may get embarrassed about succumbing to his sexual desires when his heart wasn’t ready.

Or he may react by jumping in head first. It depends on if he’s protecting his heart because he’s truly not ready, or because he just doesn’t think he’s ready (which you’ve got to respect to some extent, either way), or because he doesn’t actually like you but doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.

Yeah, I said it. He may be lying to you.

This is what I would normally say is going on in this situation: he’s trying to spare your feelings. Okay, it’s dishonest, but you have to give him some points for being kind. How will you know if he really does like you and is protecting himself vs. he’s just being nice by telling you he likes you when he doesn’t? Just check for the “I actually like you” signs — does he lean into you when he talks? Does he find ways to touch you? Is he responsive to your calls, emails, texts, IMs, Facebook messages? Does he find time to hang out with you beyond what a normal “friend” would?

If not, I’d definitely push the “more space” prescription, even further than I would if you were just to take him at face value on his having a crush back. You know how you feel, and you can take him on his word for what he feels. But if he’s only saying he’s crushing back, even if it is just to preserve the friendship you have, I’d be wary of letting your heart out into this situation uncensored. Keep a leash on it, for the sake of your feelings and your dignity.

My basic advice is, and always will be: let the person come to you when they’re ready. If things are going to work out, you’ll meet halfway. If they’re not going to work out, you’ll just be pressuring him until he breaks, and he’ll either break by caving in and regretting it, or by splitting from you entirely.


2 Responses to “not acting on a crush”

  1. December 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I would tend to agree with the later part of the advice. He’s just sparing your feelings, as hard as it is, be glad you are finding out now instead of when your crush gets bigger and you develop stronger feelings. If I have learned anything about guys it is that if a guy likes a girl he is acting on it, he doesn’t care about the friendship. Yes, I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, but in general this is true.

  2. 2 Richard
    December 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Kat pretty much nailed this one, but I’ll add a few male refinements.

    He’s either just sparing your feelings -or- you took him by surprise. Some men are just that way. He may have simply never considered you with prurient intent. Making a pass at him may be all it takes to trigger those thoughts. Give him some time for the thoughts to gel. Be available, but not uncomfortably so. He’ll act on it if it’s there. Booze helps.

    If he doesn’t act on it soon, he was just being kind. He isn’t interested at all. Believe it or not, many men do have a “keep off of there” list. You might be on it for some reason.

    Also, every man has a thing for a particular body type and/or coloration. If you match, he comes a-sniffin’. The further you get from his type, the less initial interest he’ll have. Note the word “initial”. You can still rock his world but you have to get him started down that path.

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