How to stay friends when there's a one-way crush?
April 9, 2012 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Made a new friend, developed feelings that went unreturned. Now what?

Late last year I met a woman through a mutual friend. After meeting her in person and talking a good bit, I found her on Facebook. Over the ensuing weeks, we chatted online, eventually deciding to have lunch. More online chats, more lunches together. In that span of time we discovered we had a lot in common. And, for the first time since a major break-up, I was interested in someone.

Last month we hung out for the first time without the restriction of her hour-long lunch break. And at the end of the night, I told her how I felt. Unfortunately, she didn't--doesn't--have any romantic feelings toward me. I haven't spoken to her since then, just over two weeks ago, because I figured I'd need to process that. Even mild rejection sucks. But I'm moving away (long-term but not permanently) at the end of the summer, so I really don't want to isolate myself. I don't want to make things awkward either.

Do I just tamp down my emotions and hang out with her when possible, given our hectic schedules and my impending move? Any suggestions for how to squelch what I feel?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Generally speaking, you don't get over someone as long as you are having contact with them. You're still getting a romantic fix even if she's not reciprocating.

Honestly, I'd say to not hang out with her again until you stop having Those Feelings. Anything else in the middle--especially maintaining a "friendship" when you aren't feeling platonically friendly-- just makes it harder for you to get over.

That's my opinion, anyway. Some folks manage to get over these things faster and go to regular ol' friendship, some don't. But putting fuel on the fire by hanging out with her is generally known to not help you get over it faster. To me, it sounds more convenient that you not have contact if you have hectic schedules and a move anyway.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:46 AM on April 9, 2012 [6 favorites]

If we could stop feeling shitty emotions by sheer force of will, the pharmaceutical, liquor and illegal drug cartel industries would be in deep shit. So, that's not going to happen because you want it to. Best you can do is not put yourself in situations where you end up feeling that and let it go away on its own. Of course, that means not hanging out with her if it's really that bad.

Is it? Can you go see her and not have every other thought be the desire to tell her how you feel and how strongly you feel it? Can you just have an normal ole conversation where she might bring up dates she's been on, and other parts of her life you'd to be involved in but won't be? If so, well, sure, go hang out. Plenty of people are friends with people form whom they had an attraction to. Unless one of you sets out to make things awkward, it won't be awkward. So if you're gonna go hang out with her, you try your best to keep schtum about Lingering Feelings and hope she's not going to be weird about it.
posted by griphus at 10:51 AM on April 9, 2012

You can't just sort of decide not to feel that way about her. You can take time and space to process it, or you can meet someone new. Either of these tend to work, I find.

But as long as you still feel that way - as long as some tiny part of you is hoping that she'll come around on this - it might be a good idea to find excuses not to see her for the time being.

Something else, though: Did you tell her that you needed to process things and would be out of touch for a while, or have you just not spoken to her for two weeks without telling her why?

I ask because it's going to be important among all this to have some inkling of how she feels about it. If you told her about this and then dropped out of contact without saying why, it might convey to her the impression that you viewed her friendship only as a stepping stone to a relationship.

On the other hand, if you told her why, then your best bet is to take whatever time you need to get over this, and then shoot her a message saying something like, "Hey, it's Anonymous - I'm sorry if things were weird for a while there, I'm over it and wanted to let you know I'm around if you want to hang out sometime."

Then just leave it alone. Confessing a crush doesn't necessarily have to permanently alter a friendship, but sometimes it just kind of does.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:52 AM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

...and by "try your best" I mean if you fail, you probably shouldn't try hanging out with her again.
posted by griphus at 10:52 AM on April 9, 2012

Look at it as her doing the right thing for her, and silently wish her the best at finding her own happiness. It's tough to begrudge a friend searching for the best in life that they deserve.

Squish the bit where you take it personally that you can't be that source of joy.

I'd keep things casual. You'll be leaving soon, so spread your time out between a lot of friends and max out your enjoyment. If you find she's souring your experience, seek other company.
posted by griselda at 10:53 AM on April 9, 2012

But I'm moving away (long-term but not permanently) at the end of the summer, so I really don't want to isolate myself.

Not spending time with this person wouldn't be isolating yourself, as she was only someone you met recently and you have other friends to socialize with before you move.
posted by headnsouth at 11:19 AM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

I always feel weird about these situations. I just sorta stop talking to the crush. Then again, i can't really be friends with someone I'm attracted to.
posted by eq21 at 3:52 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

100% no contact is the best way to get over someone, so delete her phone number, block her on Facebook, and try to avoid bumping into her in real life. It'll pass, I promise.
posted by lotusmish at 8:53 AM on April 28, 2012

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