My friend constantly flirts with my crush. What should I do?
December 9, 2014 2:17 PM   Subscribe

Hello, I'm a college student and I've had a crush on a classmate for a while now. We don't talk very often so he doesn't know I like him. In one of the classes, he sits next to my friend and I've noticed them talking and laughing to each other. I saw him bringing her coffee in the morning sometimes or inviting her to lunch. The whole time my friend knew that I have a crush on this guy yet she continued to flirt with him. She's very sociable and flirty around all guys in general. She already has a boyfriend so I don't know if she likes my crush or not. One time, I told her that I think my crush likes her and only pays attention to her in class. I was hinting that she should back off of him because I really like him. Since then, she pretended like we never had the conversation and continued to flirt with him. She even sent me snapshots of their text convos and based on the texts, I can tell he really likes her. I'm really sad and I don't know what I should do in this situation. Please advise. Thank you!
posted by missybitsy to Human Relations (33 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
He likes her, you back off. He's attracted to her. You can't blame her for that or make him unattracted to her.

If you want to tell her she hurt your feelings, that's fine but you can't call "dibs" on another human being.

I advise you get over the crush.
posted by discopolo at 2:21 PM on December 9, 2014 [47 favorites]

She even sent me snapshots of their text convos

she did this after you hinted to her that you really like him so she's either trying to convey dude, he's not interested in you or she's just being a bitch. Hey, maybe it's both! In her defense, you didn't have an open conversation where you spoke directly about this -- you just hinted instead.

If this guy is sitting next to someone else, bringing her coffee in the morning and inviting her to lunch, he is trying to woo her away from her current boyfriend. She is enjoying the attention. There is no room for you here. Move on and crush on someone else: to do anything else will lead to heartbreak and drama.
posted by kate blank at 2:22 PM on December 9, 2014 [18 favorites]

There really is nothing you can do. You don't get to call dibs on people. If that was your goal telling her she likes him was possibly the worst thing you could do . I would take it as a statement of support. That you want me to go out with that person not a statement of warning. Tell your friend you like him. Expect her not to back off. You also need to decide if you are going to compete with her and are willing to lose a friend in a situation where in my view you would be in the wrong. She has claim she's acted and you've only thought about him and your warnings were unclear.

Edit: I just noticed the boyfriend thing. Its appropriate to compete but she doesn't have to make way for you. Some people don't like gaps between SO's and there is nothing wrong with that. Its not my style but there is really nothing wrong with that.
posted by Rubbstone at 2:23 PM on December 9, 2014

This sounds like the start of some really petty drama. I'd advise removing yourself from it.
Be an adult - either tell the crush you like him and ask him if he'd like to grab coffee/dinner sometime, or resign yourself to the fact that you won't ever have him.

In an ideal world your friend, already having a boyfriend of her own, might offer to set you up with him, but that isn't happening. Maybe she's unhappy with her boyfriend and is fishing for a new relationship before she ends the current one because she doesn't want to be single. Maybe she has low self-esteem and the idea of flirting with your crush (and sharing it with you) makes her feel better about herself because she's getting the attention that you secretly want from him. But ultimately, her motives don't matter. You can't control her behavior or his.

You need to decide - can you still be friends with your friend after this type of behavior, or not? If not, just gradually distance yourself from her and move on. College is all about exploring and making new friends - so drop her and find someone new to hang out with if that's what you need to do.
posted by trivia genius at 2:24 PM on December 9, 2014 [13 favorites]

Also, she's not your friend. She seems twisted. I can't imagine ever treating my girlfriends like that. Make better friends, real friends.
posted by discopolo at 2:24 PM on December 9, 2014 [14 favorites]

You don't own people you have a crush on.

Next time perhaps you could try talking yourself to someone who interests you.

Also, if this is the same friend you've posted about before, looks like being very sympathetic, versus jokey and lighthearted, isn't her thing. Lose her or recognize and accept she's not ever going to opt to be terribly supportive.
posted by bearwife at 2:27 PM on December 9, 2014 [8 favorites]

I was hinting that she should back off of him because I really like him.

Don't hint, be explicit. If you want friendships that where y'all don't pounce on each others crushes, the only way to do that is too say so. She clearly has different thoughts on the matter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:29 PM on December 9, 2014 [10 favorites]

Previous commenters are correct that you can't call dibs on a person. Your crush and your "friend" seem to really like each other, and it would be best for you to move on.

However, I would take a long hard look at your "friend". Her behavior sounds selfish, inconsiderate, and mean. I don't know what her issues are, but the next time you meet a guy that you like, I advise you not to share that information with her. She's clearly not to be trusted.
posted by cleverevans at 2:30 PM on December 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

Shit or get off the pot? It's almost 2015, go talk to him.
posted by Oktober at 2:34 PM on December 9, 2014 [22 favorites]

Ask him out. He either says yes and you get along and start dating, in which case you can ask him not to flirt with other people if it bothers you, or he says no, in which case you move on.
posted by metasarah at 2:34 PM on December 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yeah, ask him out. If you don't you have no leg to stand on with your friend.
posted by Justinian at 2:41 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

He's not into you, he's into her. She's more than happy to lead him on, or to flirt back and perhaps they'll be BF and GF before Christmas break.

Let this be a lesson, if you like someone, make a move. Either they like you back or they don't. You can't make him stop paying attention to her and it's silly to ask her not to talk with him just because you like him.

Also, how is he supposed to divine that you like him and that you want to go out with him? Speak up or resign yourself to watching other people have the life you should be living.

As for this 'friend' I'd pay attention to other people for awhile. She's all about the DRAMAZ and is acting infantile. If you've told her you like this guy, then she's being a bitch to you on purpose. If you expected her to know this via the same osmosis you think the dude should know you like him...your vibes are pretty fucking shitty.

I promise, you will get over this. Get on OKC, date other people, join a couple of clubs, get busy.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:43 PM on December 9, 2014 [9 favorites]

This is pretty much the very definition of the kind of dysfunctional relationship crap you youngs get yourself involved in, which drives us olds kind of crazy.

If you're into that guy, invite him out for a cup of coffee. If he says yes, maybe he's interested, and you'll have to, like, talk to him on that coffee date and see if anything comes of it. If he says no thanks then you're finished with him because he's not into you.

If that girl was sending you those texts to try to gently show you he's into her, not you, then maybe she's a real friend and you could explicitly talk to her about stuff like your relationship questions.

If she showed you those texts to be a big old bitch, stop being friends with her.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:43 PM on December 9, 2014 [17 favorites]

1) Ask him out or start flirting yourself. Otherwise, what's your end goal? You get to crush on him silently without anyone else flirting with him?

2) Seems like he likes her, but that's not to say he may not like you, from your post I don't even know how much he knows you. Does he know you?

3) Friend seems shitty regardless.
posted by Crystalinne at 2:45 PM on December 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'd go for the double win. Clearly your friend has weaponized her flirting ability... so you need to say to her, "I really want to ask Mr. X out but I'm terrified. You are so good at flirting, help me!"

she will reel him in and throw him at your feet.
posted by bobdow at 2:45 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

We gave you a bunch of advice the last time you asked about this guy (I assume it's the same guy; if not the same advice stands).

If you have a crush on someone go talk to them. Don't hint at friends or whatever. Be upfront and direct.

You've also asked three different questions about having crushes on people in six weeks. Maybe it's time to sit back and reflect on what you are and are not doing, and why.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:49 PM on December 9, 2014 [19 favorites]

You may be misinterpreting it.

She might have shared the texts with you in hopes that it would somehow help you connect to him. Yes, it is also possible she had bitchier reasons for doing so. Since she is human, it is even possible she had both nice and nasty reasons, part of her wanting to help you out and part of her wanting something not nice out of it.

It is common for people who are in a relationship to feel more at ease talking with members of the opposite sex because they are in a relationship. It can make it easier to be just friendly, knowing that "relationship" is currently off the table. So she may not be flirting exactly, she may just be socializing. It sounds like she is a lot more extroverted than you are. What you think is real intimate and flirty may be a lot more casual and superficial in her book.

And, as others have said, you crushing on someone while you take no action to try to make contact means absolutely nothing at all. Take some kind of action here or find a way to move on emotionally. Also, if it is too late to salvage this, at least try to learn from it and not make similar mistakes in the future. A relationship requires input from both parties. It is not just whatever feels you have inside of you that have never really been expressed. It isn't even you gossiping to a mutual friend that you have feels. You have to make some kind of connection to the crush, or it's just a fantasy, all in your head.

Trust me, I have had lots of relationships in my head over the years. If the rubber doesn't hit the road, it isn't really a relationship. Right now, his only actual relationship to you is "classmate." That's it. What you feel privately without expressing it doesn't make it anything more than that.
posted by Michele in California at 2:49 PM on December 9, 2014 [6 favorites]

Yep, you need to actually cultivate some kind of relationship with this fellow, as your friend clearly has. From how you've described it, she's a lot more present in his life right now than you. You can even this out by actually, you know, talking to him.

Don't think of it as competition because, frankly, (it seems like) you don't even know much about him yet, which is what makes this a crush and not some inevitable love situation. Relax - are you curious about this guy? Ask him stuff, see what he's into. See if your interests line up and ask him to join you for coffee or a concert or a movie or dinner, whatever.
posted by destructive cactus at 3:14 PM on December 9, 2014

I'm really sad and I don't know what I should do in this situation. Please advise. Thank you!

Ask your crush out.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:39 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can't call "dibs" on a crush, but it's crappy of a friend (especially if she has a boyfriend) to act like that. However I agree with other posters that if you want a chance with him you need to at least talk to him. I know it's hard when you're shy but it's the only way things are going to progress.
posted by radioamy at 3:46 PM on December 9, 2014

What you should do is stop being friends with this woman - or at least stop telling her about your crushes - and the next crush you get, talk to him, ask him to coffee, like that. Use words.
posted by rtha at 3:50 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ask him out, ditch the "friend".
posted by dbiedny at 3:58 PM on December 9, 2014

I know you're focused on this guy that you're crushing on, but I think you should take note of the way your 'friend' is acting and also look at how your general relationship with her is going, and decide whether or not she is really a friend or not.

Think about conversations you have with your friend. Do you talk about stuff you want to talk about and stuff that she wants to talk about? Or is it all her? Or is it all you?

Who initiates contact? Is it 50/50 you/her? Or do you always initiate? Or do you only hear from her when she wants something from you?

Does she ask you for favors? Can you count on her to return a favor?

I'm not trying to make you paranoid, but the point of the questions above is that they will have reasonably objective answers, which you can then - I hope - use to figure out if your friend is really a friend, or if she's one of those unfortunate "toxic" friends we all run across from time to time.

Because if she is toxic, you really need to ditch her, lest she continue to get into the middle of every crush you have for the next umpteen years.

Sorry to be blunt, but: I think this guy is a lost cause. But there are many, many guys out there.
posted by doctor tough love at 3:59 PM on December 9, 2014

In middle school you can call dibs on crushes, but in real life you need to put yourself out there or risk losing your shot.
posted by fox problems at 4:21 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Ask him out. You can't call dibs on him. Your friend may be having a normal friendly connection with him and you're interpreting it as flirting. Regardless, your friend is unavailable, so she's not going to date him even if he does like her.

Sit by him and reconnect and ask him to go get coffee or a meal. You can't sit on the sidelines and tell everyone else to stay away. Go after what you want.
posted by quince at 4:37 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

I was hinting that she should back off of him because I really like him.

Read tangerine's classic Ask vs. Guess culture post. You surely seem like a guesser. I would hazard that she's an asker. Merely "hinting" at her isn't going to get her to realize that you're interested in this guy.
posted by kdar at 5:18 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

She is no friend of yours. Secondly she is a flirt and leads men on. Both not good for your social life :) so drop her and this guy and move on. The next time you will have better luck.
posted by jellyjam at 5:20 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

A lot of people are telling you that you need to leave this guy alone because he's into her and not you and I agree with them. But to me this isn't about having dibs on a human being, it's more about whether or not you can trust your "friend."

She's bragging to you about his attention towards her and showing you his texts. She obviously knows you like him. It doesn't seem like you've been very discreet about that. I made a lot of mistakes in my life in regards to friendships and I've learned certain things the hard way. Don't learn this one the hard way. In my view, this guy is neither here nor there. He doesn't really matter and he's not interested in you anyway so move on. The real issue here is that she is not someone you can trust. I wouldn't be surprised if she's told him some of your secrets already- including the fact that you have a crush on him. To stop this drama you need to keep this person at arm's length. Don't be mean to her, but she's not your friend no matter what she says so don't share certain things with her. And forget about him too. If they start to date give them your blessing and mean it. You don't need this.
posted by rancher at 6:27 PM on December 9, 2014

Regardless of whether or not she's being a crappy friend by flirting with the guy that she knows you like (and yes, I do think she's being a crappy friend and you'd be better off keeping polite distance from someone who treats their friends this way)... if you want to go out with someone, you have to talk to them. I know that it's hard. I have a hard time talking to guys I have crushes on. But if I don't put some steel in my spine and actually talk to a guy I have a crush on, then I have absolutely no chance of going out with him. You've been too scared to talk to this guy... and now it looks like you've lost your shot with him. Don't let that happen again. Here are a few AskMe questions about overcoming shyness and/or anxiety in dating situations, maybe you can find some useful advice in there about how to talk to the next guy you have a crush on, instead of sitting back and letting someone else swoop in and get the boyfriend you want because they weren't too scared to talk to him.

This stuff is hard. It's okay to not be good at it, lots of people aren't good at talking to their crushes without feeling all weird and awkward and freaked out. It takes practice. But look, you got yourself through college and now you're in grad school... obviously you can do hard things. Talking to a crush is WAY easier than being in grad school.
posted by palomar at 6:43 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

this is love and all's fair. I used to think play it nice, but I've changed my mind as I've gotten older.

So I advise you walk up to her and ask her where [name of her boyfriend is]. Seriously, you're supposed to back off because your taken friend has decided to get friendly with your crush?

this is not a friend but an enemy. start treating her like that.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:19 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just to try to be devil's advocate regarding the friend: you said that your friend "knows" you have a crush on the guy. But does she really? Did you tell her directly, in words, or did you just hint around like you did in the other situation?

One time, I told her that I think my crush likes her and only pays attention to her in class. I was hinting that she should back off of him because I really like him.

Maybe there's more background you didn't put here, but I don't know how the first sentence would equal the second sentence to anyone. Like other posters said upthread, it sounds more like a show of support ("go for it! sounds like he likes you!") than anything else. If your telling her about your crush was as completely missable as that other hint was, I wouldn't count on her knowing your feelings and being insensitive to them on purpose. If you've actually said "Hey, I really like Guy a lot. How did you get together with Boyfriend? Any ideas on how I should make a move on Guy? I really want to date him." or something like that, then her behavior starts sounding a lot less excusable. (I would also reassess how good of a friend she actually is to you, as doctor tough love very wisely pointed out.)

If this is the sort of friend who would be positively receptive to it, maybe a heartfelt, explicit conversation would help: "Friend, I've tried to tell you this before, but I really have a big crush on Guy. It's kind of painful for me to see you flirt with him and hear all about it. I know you have a good thing going with Boyfriend, and you probably don't intend to make Guy jealous, but it sounds like he likes you. I'd really like to ask him out; do you have any ideas on how I can make that happen?" Maybe omit the thing about her boyfriend or making the guy jealous if you think actually pointing those things out won't go over well, and just tell her about your crush, share that it's painful to see/hear the flirting, and ask her how to make your move.

But if she's one of those people who likes having a relationship and getting a lot of attention/stringing other people along at the same time, this may not help. It may make things worse. If she's not really a good friend, she may or may not use that knowledge against you to the guy. If you're direct and she's dodgy, watch out. ("Oh, but we're just friends!" "OK, maybe you think that, but I can tell he likes you as more. If you care about him as a friend, don't string him along." Someone who really just wanted to be friends would be aghast that their unintended actions could appear any other way and would be glad for the reality check to set better boundaries, not unreasonably defensive and justifying about it.)

But mostly, you're just going to have to actually express interest in and flirt with your crush yourself. Even if you talk to her, you have to talk to him, and try to get his attention independently of whether or not you ask her to back off. All other things being equal, we tend to like the people who like us. Chances are, he reponds to her because she's flattering and they now have a history of positive interactions; you could probably have that too, if you tried. Sweep him off his feet! Seems like he's already susceptible to a little well-placed flattery and flirtatiousness.

Try to form a relationship with him that is independent of anything having to do with her or your shared class. Talk to him during a class that you two share but she doesn't; walk with him to the class you and Guy have that is in the same building and in the opposite direction as your friend's next class. Strike up an e-mail friendship that's different from her text one, or centered around a topic you share but which she has no knowledge of or interest in. Ask him to lunch early, and try to make it so she can't be there too (because then it will be as friends and you will be the third wheel to their shared lunch-history). But pay attention. If he already likes her, he might not be susceptible to liking you too. This is why you should act quickly when you know you like someone.

Who knows, maybe someday you can double date. That might be a ballsy move: asking him out in front of her, and suggesting that you double date with her and her boyfriend (which by the way you know she has, right?).
posted by spelunkingplato at 9:13 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

He's a lost cause, because he's not interested in you, he's interested in her.
And she's not a friend.
posted by stormyteal at 10:16 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

This friend shared a private conversation that she had with someone else, with you? I'd get rid of her for that alone. That's a really inappropriate thing to do. Who knows what she's shared about you with other people.

If you want things to go somewhere with this guy then you need to make them go somewhere. It's on you to do that, nobody else. Do exactly what your friend is doing: flirt and make contact with your crush. She's even showing you how to do it.
posted by Solomon at 1:37 AM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

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