Author Topic: Need some advice for a friend.  (Read 5125 times)

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GreenEyedHawk

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Need some advice for a friend.
« on: May 26, 2014, 11:47:17 PM »
So, a male friend of mine approached me with this today, asking for advice and I'm kind of at a loss as to what to tell him.

He (We'll call him James) has a platonic female friend (Emma) who is in a relationship with another man.  James and Emma hang out fairly frequently and are good friends, but lately James is starting to think he's developing feelings for Emma.  He hasn't said anything to her because he just doesn't know what he should say to her, if anything at all.

I...really don't know.  Part of me says "Just tell her" because I know how miserable it can be harbouring romantic feelings for a friend and not saying anything and later feeling regret over "what might have been".  However, that seems like it would be good advice if Emma weren't in a relationship...I'm wondering if James confessing his feelings for Emma will make Emma feel put on the spot, or like she's being put in a position where she now has to choose.

What should I tell him, eHell?
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guihong

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2014, 11:58:42 PM »
I would tell him absolutely not to say a word to Emma, and in fact, he should put some distance in the friendship.



shhh its me

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 12:05:09 AM »
  I'm going to go with , "no" he shouldn't say anything.  I'd be 50/50 if she wasn't in a relationship (I'm assuming relationship means something serious?)

My perspective is there is no reason to confess feelings if your hope isn't  to pursue a romantic relationship. IF my platonic friend asked me to start a relationship while I was already in one that would make me uncomfortable and not just a little uncomfortable , like maybe we cant be friends anymore uncomfortable.   

 

purple

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2014, 12:07:22 AM »
I think he can tell her if he wants to.

What she does with that information is for her to decide.

She might declare her love for him right back! She might not.  She might end the friendship.  Who knows? It could go a thousand different ways.

dawbs

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2014, 12:24:55 AM »
what would it gain him to tell her?

If she said "GREAT, let me dump Charles {randomly chosen name.  Chuck didn't sound right}, and we can start dating tomorrow" would he actually *want* that response?  (keeping in mind what that response says about him and about her.)

If he doesn't tell her, will the friendship keep going as it is, or will he need to back off for his own protection?  If he does tell her, will that be easier or harder?

I tend to think that telling only works if someone is in a position where they can (and should) say 'yes'.  But I also think that continuing a friendship that is motivated by secret 'I like you" can carry some heavy "Nice Guy (r)" connotations, that the guy has been pursuing the friendship as a way of getting something more--if the friendship is not an adequate 'consolation prize', he should step back sooner, rather than later.

MariaE

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2014, 12:48:37 AM »
I would tell him absolutely not to say a word to Emma, and in fact, he should put some distance in the friendship.

I agree with this. If Emma was single, it would be one thing, but the fact that she's in a relationship makes all the difference.

I've been in the position of having a friend tell me he had feelings for me while I was in a relationship. I wouldn't wish that heartache on my worst enemy. Our friendship never recovered. Better if he had just done the fade - at least then I wouldn't be blaming myself  :-[
 
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Wintergreen

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2014, 01:56:57 AM »
I agree on not to tell, but do some mental gymnastics and get rid of the feelings if he wants to keep the friendship. It might be useful to slightly tone down the friendship for a while. To avoid more intimate settings and maybe meet with other friends and Emma's boyfriend in picture too. Maybe do active searching if there would be other nice (and free) ladies he might be interested to pursue relationship with. It's not easy, but it is doable. And I might advise on creating friendship with Emma's boyfriend to get to the mental state where the question is not "can I get Emma to love me" but "would it be right of me to think of trying to break the relationship of my two good friends".

I think there is quite small change that telling will cause something good.

TurtleDove

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2014, 07:41:25 AM »
I agree with everyone else. It matters what kind/depth of relationship Emma is in, though. If they were all 16 year olds, I might say go ahead and take the chance - tell her! If Emma and Charles have kids, or are discussing marriage, of have been happily dating for years, absolutely don't say anything and probably back away until "feelings" go away. Unrequited love hurts, but spreading that hurt to innocent others (like Emma and her BF) is not the way to go!

shhh its me

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2014, 07:51:19 AM »
I agree with everyone else. It matters what kind/depth of relationship Emma is in, though. If they were all 16 year olds, I might say go ahead and take the chance - tell her! If Emma and Charles have kids, or are discussing marriage, of have been happily dating for years, absolutely don't say anything and probably back away until "feelings" go away. Unrequited love hurts, but spreading that hurt to innocent others (like Emma and her BF) is not the way to go!

I agree it matters what relationship means ...if it a 4th date and Emma just said" I think I like this guy" I think its very different then "well they have been dating for 3 years"

On the other hand if Emma just started dating this guy it brings out the "ohh so you just noticed these feeling now. The moment I  started dating someone else, really? So this isn't some form of jealousy?"

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2014, 08:50:30 AM »
If Emma were single, I'd advise him to tell her.

If her relationship is solid and/or involves kids, I'd advise him to keep his mouth shut and pull back a bit, if he needs to.

But between the two lies the tricky part.  If he has reason to believe the relationship isn't solid, I, personally, wouldn't come straight out and tell her but maybe push the envelope a little.  Like if they would normally just hug, add a kiss on the cheek or the forehead and see what she does/says.  Be slightly more demonstrative without being creepy - a fine line, I know.  And then whether or not he tells her depends on how she reacts.

I was Emma at one point.  My best friend was male.  Unbeknownst to me, he had feelings for me.  I was single; he never said a word.  Then we were both in relationships and that's when he told me he had had feelings for me in the past.  I was a bit floored.  But I didn't feel the same way.  Then he ended up meeting the girl who he married.  We were still friends right through until the wedding and then I got cut off completely.  Haven't spoken to him in almost 25 years.  I still wonder, if he had told me sooner, if we could have gotten past it and been able to remain friends after he got married because his wife wouldn't have been as threatened.
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jmarvellous

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2014, 09:25:18 AM »
Don't tell Emma!

I mean, unless your friend wants the awkwardness factor ratcheted up by a factor of a thousand (or at least a little), wants to put Emma in the position of having to rethink their friendship, and wants to risk ending his friendship with her. If so, then blab away.

I would not want to be friends with someone who put this on me, honestly. I'm married, so it'd be all the more awkward, but even before, it would have been a waste of my friend's energy because I'm not the type to go, "Oh, really, you might have feelings for me? I guess I better go break up with my perfectly decent boyfriend just in case you actually do have those feelings, since I might have feelings for you, too, if I dump this guy to give you a shot." (It'd probably be more like, "Oh, really, you might have feelings for me? Good thing relationships are a two-way street, and I'm already in one with someone else!")

His time is better spent refocusing--on other friendships, on dating other people, etc.

Kaypeep

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2014, 09:57:49 AM »
So, a male friend of mine approached me with this today, asking for advice and I'm kind of at a loss as to what to tell him.

He (We'll call him James) has a platonic female friend (Emma) who is in a relationship with another man.  James and Emma hang out fairly frequently and are good friends, but lately James is starting to think he's developing feelings for Emma.  He hasn't said anything to her because he just doesn't know what he should say to her, if anything at all.

I...really don't know.  Part of me says "Just tell her" because I know how miserable it can be harbouring romantic feelings for a friend and not saying anything and later feeling regret over "what might have been".  However, that seems like it would be good advice if Emma weren't in a relationship...I'm wondering if James confessing his feelings for Emma will make Emma feel put on the spot, or like she's being put in a position where she now has to choose.

What should I tell him, eHell?

I knew a guy like this, who only seemed to have feelings for women who were unattainable.  (In a relationship, single moms with kids who were not looking for serious relationships because they were busy living their lives and raising their families, women at work who he saw only in office settings and never outside the office.)  Is James like this?  Does he only ever seem to like women who are hard to get?  If so, tell him to leave Emma alone and find someone who is available.

If not, I'd still point out to him that she is not available.  It's possible that this is the first time he's seeing Emma in a relationship, and that relationship agrees with her so she's always happy and seems more outgoing or whatever, and that might be attractive to him.  However, he should realize she is not this way because of James, she's like this because of how she feels with someone else.  So he's deluding himself into thinking he might have a chance with her when she's obviously happy with someone else.  He needs to realize he is perhaps attracted to the possibilities that come with being in a relationship, and not necessarily Emma herself.  Again, he should take that and try dating some other women and find something like that for himself. 

miranova

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2014, 10:27:38 AM »
She's not available.  There is nothing to be gained by telling her, and potentially a friendship to lose.  I am a firm believer in the idea that not everything you feel should be said.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2014, 10:38:39 AM »
A friend of mine met a guy at school.  He asked her what she was doing one weekend; she told him and carried on with her plans.  Much later, he asked her to go to dinner with him.  After they'd dated for quite a while, he asked her why she'd turned him down the first time he asked her out.  She was totally confused; apparently, asking what she was doing on the weekend was asking her on a date.  She had no clue.  They eventually got married.

So there can be some obliviousness on the part of both people in a friendship.  Maybe Emma has feelings for James, too, but never thought they were reciprocated and that's why she started dating Charles.

But the time to tell her is NOT when she is in a relationship with Charles.  If they break up and James still feels the same way, he can approach her then.  But James would still have to weigh whether or not it was worth losing the friendship over if she doesn't feel the same way.
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bah12

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Re: Need some advice for a friend.
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2014, 10:59:35 AM »
If he cares about her as a friend, then he'd have respect for her relationship.  I agree that telling her is not in either of their best interest at this time.  And I do think he needs to maybe pull back from the friendship until (hopefully), he can get his feelings in check.   At the same time, it will kind of suck for her not to understand why he's pulling back...so if (and only if) she confronts him about it, he can say "I realized that I started to develop feelings innappropriate for the friendship we share.  You are in a relationship and I care about you, so I chose to put some distance between us until I can quell those feelings."