between friends

Reader W. J. writes:

I just got out of a long-term relationship and have been trying to teach myself how to play the field. I met a guy at a show while I was on a date with another guy and, thanks to the wonders of Facebook, found him and started flirting with him. I went on a date with the new guy and had a blast. The problem is that these guys are friends. Since the date with the second guy, the first guy has told me that he’s really into me. But I think I’m more interested in his friend. I also think guy #1 has told guy #2 of his interest, and this has made guy #2 back off. (I haven’t heard from him since our date.) So what should I do?

Dear W.J.:

Sticky sticky sticky!

One of my top rules of dating in multiples is not to double dip your stick into the same pot, i.e. don’t date guys from the same friend group. I can stretch it a bit here and clarify that you shouldn’t SERIOUSLY date guys from the same friend group, and/or sleep with them, just for the sake of being a classy dame. Apparently, many guys have absolutely no problem hooking up with a girl one of their buddies has let her go, but I just think it’s a tacky thing for a girl to do and avoid it at all costs personally.

two boys

Go ahead, pick one. Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On the flipside, I won’t hook up with anyone a good friend has hooked up with for the same reasons. I like to eschew drama when and where I can. And if guy #2 is avoiding you because guy #1 has spilled his guts about being enamored of you, it’s possible guy #2 feels the same way I do about letting friends claim their own territory.

However, your feelings are what matter. And if you’re not interested in guy #1 and would like to pursue something with guy #2, then you should make that clear. To both of them.

Furthermore, since you’re being honest and saying you’re trying to play the field, you have the advantage of not necessarily wanting things to get serious with anyone.

Tell them separately what your feelings are. You can tell guy #1 that you’re not interested in him without bringing up the fact that you’re interested in guy #2, but it’ll probably be easier if the long run if you’re completely honest about it and say that you’re interested in dating guy #2, because guy #1 is going to find out eventually if things go forward between you two. You should probably also point out that the reason(s) you’re not interested in guy #1 isn’t because you want to date guy #2. You don’t have to tell guy #1 it’s because he’s a slob, or not very smart, or you don’t find him physically attractive. But he may want to know your reasons if he’s a glutton for punishment.

After you’ve settled things with guy #1, I think it’s fair to tell guy #2 that you like him. Tell him you’ve talked about it with his friend, too. (Boys don’t communicate with each other about these things. It’s the darndest thing.) Let him know that if he feels the same way, you’d like to pursue something with him. But leave it open. Again, you’re not in a hurry and you’ve got other fish to fry. No need to settle on someone right now, since you’re just out of a relationship. That should relieve a lot of the pressure, too.

The best rule of thumb here is to know what you feel and be honest and open about it. The only person you have to answer to is yourself.


3 Responses to “between friends”

  1. 1 Brian
    December 29, 2010 at 11:12 am

    What if guy #2 isn’t interested? Now you’ve burned your bridge to guy #1. Wouldn’t it be better to ensure you have another vine in your hand before letting go of the one you’re on?

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