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Guy friend being confusing
January 2, 2013 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Is my close guy friend into me, confused or just being flirty?

So, I've known this guy, Alex, for about two years and we have become pretty close friends. He was a great friend during a breakup about a year ago. We also have a lot of mutual friends and share a lot of similar activities.

I never really thought romantically of Alex, but recently a spark developed and I find myself wanting to be around him a lot more than usual. I'm not sure what brought it on. I've dated some casually since my ex, but nothing serious. During these instances, I could tell Alex would get jealous. He would ask myself and mutual friends about the guys I was dating and sometimes couldn't even be in the same room when I was there. I know that both of us are a little apprehensive to move this to another level, in fear of losing a great friendship, but I figured we were heading in that direction. He even confessed to having feelings for me.

The problem is is that he's a total flirt. He texts girl friends all the time, but he acts differently around me. We're both in our 30's and he's always play fighting with me and teasingly mean to me (which sometimes I feel is a little immature). Last week, he texted and called a lot to hang out and we had a good time... now he's gone cold again.

We haven't done anything physical yet- again, my skepticism, so maybe I just scared him off? I just don't want to get hurt again. My ex was a commitment-phobe and disappeared when things got serious. I don't want to fall for another commitment-phobe. I feel like Alex does have feelings for me and he claims that he wants to settle down, but I just don't know. He's being so confusing. Maybe he just wants what he can't have (or the chase)

I feel like I'm too close in the situation to think clearly. What do you all think? Did I just get played?
posted by Butterflye1010 to Human Relations (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I would be in a quantum superposition of being into you, confused, and just being flirty.
posted by krilli at 4:20 PM on January 2, 2013


(I'm serious.)

What it means is that it is clay - the situation is malleable.
posted by krilli at 4:20 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The next time you see this guy, kiss him. You're both adults. Call his bluff and see what happens. If he reacts weirdly, tell him he's been sending you a lot of signals that he needs to get under control and then go along your merry way. No use being anxious about this -- either he's into you and will react well, or he's being a dumbass and you're better off without that kind of drama floating in and out of your life.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 4:29 PM on January 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


What do you all think? Did I just get played?

No. You're playing each other and you're both waiting for some sort of sign from the other. Take the initiative. There is no way you can be certain you won't get your heart broken - commitmentphobia or not. It's like this with every relationship. He's into you and the coldness is because he thinks you're stringing him along. Just ask him out and see what happens.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 4:30 PM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe from his side he just hung out a lot with a friend he has a crush on, started to feel bummed about not being more, and decided to take a step back because you probably aren't interested.

Without putting your cards on the table it will be hard for you to get an answer, because as far as he knows you are not interested in him. Thus (based on your description) he is acting towards you as an unrequited crush, and not a woman he is dating/in a relationship with.
posted by bunderful at 4:31 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Even with a lot more information than you've provided, nobody here is inside Alex's head, so there's really no way to be sure whether you're getting played or not.

But you know, if you're reluctant to talk to him about this, maybe it's worth considering whether this spark is something worth acting on or asking about. Speaking as someone who's asked friends about taking things a step further, nervousness is totally natural, but in neither case was I wondering about being played or found the people involved unpredictable. But in both cases, I was pretty sure that if I asked a straightforward question, I'd get a straightforward answer, and whatever weirdness might result would be temporary. In neither case was I successful at turning a friendship into something else, either, and yes, there was awkwardness, but it passed.

If you're unsure about any of that with Alex, maybe it'd better squelch the spark in the interest of not stressing your friendship.
posted by EvaDestruction at 4:35 PM on January 2, 2013


He even confessed to having feelings for me.

There's your answer: he is into you.
posted by John Cohen at 4:39 PM on January 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


The question seems more to be whether or not you have feelings for him. It totally sounds like you are in a great position to ask him out on a date if you are into him, but there's no way to know whether or how much he is into you until you give it a shot. If you like this guy, just ask him if he wants to go out on a date sometime. Present it that way ("would you like to go on a date to the movies" not "would you like to go out to the movies") so that he knows you aren't just talking about the regular friends-hanging-out stuff that you two already do.
posted by Scientist at 5:00 PM on January 2, 2013


Ah, that early miving from awesome guy-friend on to something more... My situation was complicated by a religious difference... He gave on that one. He was always teasing. Hevstill does. He teases everyone because he loves to make people laugh and smile. It's been great for me, he'd do anything for me and I would for him. Sounds like he's worth taking a chance on.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:11 PM on January 2, 2013


The problem is is that he's a total flirt.

he's always play fighting with me and teasingly mean to me (which sometimes I feel is a little immature).

Last week, he texted and called a lot to hang out and we had a good time... now he's gone cold again.

I just don't want to get hurt again. My ex was a commitment-phobe and disappeared when things got serious. I don't want to fall for another commitment-phobe. I feel like Alex does have feelings for me and he claims that he wants to settle down, but I just don't know. He's being so confusing.


Gut response: he likes you, there's chemistry, but you might be emotionally incompatible at this time. Watch what he does, not what he says, and pay attention to warning feelings of invalidation or disrespect. There's always a bit of a dance at the start of things, but you should still feel safe, not shafted; intrigued, not outright confused.
posted by nelljie at 5:35 PM on January 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


He's gone cold?

That's what happens when you give confusing messages mixed with over-thinking. You have to give clear signs, or better, expess exactly what you want and follow through.
posted by Kruger5 at 5:40 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Hey Alex do you want to go with me to La Cachette Intime for a dinner date?"
posted by tel3path at 6:06 PM on January 2, 2013


teasingly mean to me

He's in his 30s? Urk. Whether or not he played you, and whether or not you choose to pursue some sort of romance with him, I would suggest keeping an eye on this type of behavior. It's not cool in a friendship, and it's doubly not-cool in an intimate relationship.
posted by nacho fries at 6:08 PM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Don't text the invitation, write it on perfumed paper and mail it to him.

But yes, I also notice you say he is "mean" to you and for that reason, in your place, I would be tuning Alex out and putting my attention elsewhere. Mean people do not get sweeter as familiarity progresses.
posted by tel3path at 6:11 PM on January 2, 2013


he is "mean" to you and for that reason, in your place, I would be tuning Alex out and putting my attention elsewhere.

It is worthwhile to understand how she feels about "teasingly mean" before judging the dude, because there are many women who like a man who's "mean" in a way that adds an "edge" to their interaction (as long as it's harmless and understood). In other words, not all women see teasingly mean as a negative.
posted by Kruger5 at 6:26 PM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hmm, I don't know, he has directly told you that he likes you and that he's interested.

It sounds like you did not answer him either way about your own feelings and interest in him.

Can you blame him for decreasing the frequency of his texts and calls if you're not responding in kind? From what you describe, he may have had these feelings for you for quite some time (over the past year) and maybe he is getting frustrated and upset that you are not returning the feelings and he needs some time away from you if you are not going to be willing to give things a shot with him. Have you considered that you might be the one who is coming off as a commitment-phobe?
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:32 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other words, disappearing "when things got serious" (your ex) is a hell of a lot different from disappearing when your friend who you've confessed you have feelings for does not appear to be interested in pursuing a relationship with you (Alex)....
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:33 PM on January 2, 2013


Thanks all for your input! He did confess feelings, but he's always joking so it was hard to know if he was being serious. And I agree- actions speak louder than words.
posted by Butterflye1010 at 6:37 PM on January 2, 2013


I'm guessing he was serious and joking at the same time. However, the key word here is "guessing," since I don't know him and don't get to observe his demeanor. You do.
posted by John Cohen at 6:54 PM on January 2, 2013


HE does sound immature, in that he'd rather play games that keep you guessing than deliver a direct, sincere statement of interest. How much of the shadow-play are you willing to put up with?
posted by Miko at 8:45 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is difficult to get close to someone. So don't be discouraged. Alex likes women and may be dating some. But he likes you. He is likely scared. One way is to let him know that you like him. Have you reciprocated?

The falling for a friend requires a little more understanding and frankly, slowness. You're already friends so you're already close. That can be scary.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:50 PM on January 2, 2013


It seems that both of you are interested but both of you are waiting for the other person to make the first move. One of you is going to have to say something in a calm, reasonable fashion for things to progress any further.

You know how you're wishing he'd just come out and say something about whether he's interested or not? He could be thinking the exact same thing.

If you want to get with this guy, then say so. That's the most expedient way to get things moving.
posted by Solomon at 12:23 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks again. You are right. I have definitely been scared to make a move- in all honesty, I haven't really felt butterflies for anyone since my ex and this being a close friend adds another layer.
posted by Butterflye1010 at 4:28 AM on January 3, 2013


personally I don't think you should get involved with a guy who is in his thirties and a "total flirt." Don't fool yourself into thinking this behavior will stop once you're in a relationship.
posted by timsneezed at 5:16 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just don't want to get hurt again. My ex was a commitment-phobe and disappeared when things got serious. I don't want to fall for another commitment-phobe. I feel like Alex does have feelings for me and he claims that he wants to settle down, but I just don't know. He's being so confusing.

This is the problem. You can't have romance in your life and still be completely safe from disappointment and rejection.

Getting involved with a new person always involves a bit of emotional risk. And, I mean, it's good to approach that risk sensibly — by avoiding guys who are giving off clear "I'm an asshole" warning signs, by approaching commitment as a series of steps rather than one giant flying leap, by calling out things that worry or upset you about a guy's behavior. But being sensible like that only hedges and reduces the risk. You can't make the risk go away entirely. Any time you expose your emotions to someone, there's a chance things will go badly.

For that matter, saying "no" to someone is also emotionally risky. You might regret it later! You might wish you'd said yes! It might be too late! And again, you can't make that risk go away, all you can do is take sensible precautions and approach it with a level head.

So, look, I don't have a strong opinion on whether you should get involved with this guy or not. But you should do something. Maybe that means "make a move." Maybe it means "tell him it's never gonna happen, and go find someone else." Maybe it means "tell him to cool it on the mixed signals — he needs to quit flirting ambiguously, and either ask you out or act like a platonic friend, the ball's in his court." I don't care. Your choice. You just need to make the choice already and see what happens.

Tl;dr: This business where you try to keep all your options open and look for a totally risk-free solution is not going to work out. Pick the option that looks the most promising, take a deep breath, and go for it.
posted by and so but then, we at 7:00 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


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