How can I avoid leading a guy on when he won't come out and state his attraction?
posted by chocolatemilkshakes to human relations (28 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I have an aquaintence who has been showing increasingly obvious signs of attraction to me. I guess you could say we are friend. We are friendly, but we haven't really shared enough time/experiences together for me to consider us real friends yet. He's a nice guy, very generous, and I enjoy hanging out with him sometimes. But there's no chemistry for me in a romantic sense.
Anyways, although I've been pretty sure he liked me for awhile, lately he's been dropping super obvious hints, and I actually overheard him tell someone else that he is very romantically interested in me. My issue that I come to you for advice is, he isn't saying anything to me directly, nor asking me anything directly. So I can't give him a kind but firm no thanks - because he hasn't ever told me that he is interested in a relationship, even though it's clear that's what he's hoping for.
The thing is he has super low self-esteem. I don't know if he's ever been in a relationship before. He always is making deroggatory comments about his looks, his weight, etc. and always saying I can't get women because _______ fill in the blank with some self deprecating comment. I generally will say, that's just not true and you know it. Although lately I just kind of ignore it. I also refuse to give some sort of compliment when he says these things, although I feel like that is what he wants. I feel like it's re-inforcing a maladaptive behavior and teaching him that the way to get compliments or feel better about yourself is to put yourself down in front of other people. He also seems to have a feeling that he is an outsider or something.
Anyways, I get the feeling that he is staking a lot on me and the hopes that I return his romantic feelings. I get the feeling he is going to be super crushed if he finds out I'm just not interested. Trust me, I'm not saying that in a self inflated way, honestly he doesn't hardly know me, so any great stock he is putting in me is just his imaginary creation that he thinks is me.
Anyways, I kind of tend to be super nice, like in a fluffy way - especially with people I am not super close with. I just laugh a lot and am not very confrontational. Sometimes I think people interpret that as us connecting really well or something. I often get this experience where I will hang out with someone a few times, and they will suddenly think we are way closer/better friends than we are yet. I guess I often say things like - "this was super fun we should hang out again," or just generally have a good time and express that, and then it is interpretted as a cue to move forward in the friendship more than I intended. It's not that I dislike hanging out with these people, I'm serious when I say I'm having fun. Yet I guess I sort of give off a we're best friends vibe, when that's not the case. That explaination to say, I think the same thing is sort of happening with him, I think I am giving off a vibe that indicates more interest than is true. So I'm worried about stringing him along, and don't want to put him through needless pain.
He has never asked me out or told me he likes me, it's all sort of passive. He does ask me to do things, but there is usually an excuse - "Oh, I'm trying to write this song, but I don't play any instruments, and I know you're a guitarist, I was wondering if you could come over and help me write out the music." "I just bought a dog. Do you want to bring your poodle to that dog park in town, and help me train my chiuaua. I don't know how to train a dog." Lately he's invited me to some social things too.
How can I avoid sending him interested signals while still accepting some of his invitations and being a friend? If he doesn't want to be friends if I'm not romantically interested, that's fine too, I understand. But right now I guess I feel like if I keep being friends with him he is taking it as a sign that I'm interested.
Also, clouding my ability to know how to send uninterested signals, I very recently was on the other side of a really intense unreturned crush, and realize I wasn't the most mature well adjusted adult in that situation, I'm sure I probably made the object of my affection feel uncomfortable, and also was super insecure. Although the circumstances were different, I definitely feel like a huge hypocrite and a bit guilty because I didn't give the guy I liked a whole lot of respect for his obvious prerogative to not return the sentiment. So now I feel guilty because I expect the guy that's starry eyed for me to respect my prerogative not to be interested in him : /
Also, how can I turn down invitations without making excuses? Is it ok to just say, no I don't want to go eat, no I don't feel like hanging out with you? Is that mean? I don't know if I currently am even able to say, no I don't want to. When I don't want to do things or feel uncomfortable doing them, I generally try to think up a valid excuse...I'm pretty busy so I usually have one. But I know that's not a very mature way of handling things.
Thanks in advance!