how likely is sticking around eventually going to get them to come around?
June 11, 2007 11:35 PM   Subscribe

is it a waste of your awesomeness to stick around, hoping a friend will finally see the light and fall in love with you?

a couple of friends and i were sitting around the other night talking about rejection. namely, when you have confessed to having romantic feelings for someone whose company you really do enjoy and would be loathe to give up but who doesn't return your feelings because while s/he might think you are "super cute, fun, smart, awesome, etc, and just love hanging out with you" they just aren't physically attracted to you. s/he isn't a bitch or an ass so it isn't a matter of being able to drop that person from your life by reasoning, "well, s/he's a jerk anyway, so eff that!"

male friend cautions not to waste one's awesomeness on that person when you still have unrequited feelings because it's like s/he will get their cake and eat it too, leaving you…with crumbs (not to mention it hampers the whole moving on process). and i completely agree. but then he turns around and says, however, he's stuck around and did the friend thing forever and eventually the girl fell for him.

i say this is far more likely to work on girls. i've been there myself: eventually crushed out on one of my best male friends because of his personality and how much fun we always had despite previously not having an overwhelming urge to jump his bones. i'm not so convinced getting a guy to fall for you when he's already decided he isn't physically attracted to you is as likely. i've heard of other girls eventually falling for the friend but i've haven't heard any stories where the reverse was true.

so how much awesomeness should you waste, if any?
posted by violetk to Human Relations (33 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
If you're just hanging about waiting, and not doing anything, you're probably not wasting too much awesomeness.
posted by pompomtom at 11:38 PM on June 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

i'd say waste not the awesomeness, but if you want to stick around and make a game of it, spread the love a little and try to make the crush jealous. tricky!
posted by sarelicar at 11:39 PM on June 11, 2007

None? There's nothing wrong with sticking around as friends, but experience dictates that unless you're moving on with someone else, or you have a period of little to no contact, you're not going to get over them.

The Friends-Forever-Turned-Lovers bit is possible, but I wouldn't hold my breath. It's like the idea that High School sweethearts are certainly possible and more than a few MeFites will testify to that, but you wouldn't bet your whole life on any High School relationship, would you?

Stick around because you enjoy their company, not because you want them to fall in love with you. Treat them as a friend, which is the only fair thing for both of you. If something happens further down the road, perk. If not, you still have a friend.

I had a crush on my current best friend for two years. Took forever getting over him. Found a new guy (who is awesome, and with whom I'm still together), and my friendship with the first guy is strong enough for him to come to me with all his relationship woes and for me to mock him about it the way a sister would. That, to me, is success. So what if he didn't fall in love with me? I still have an awesome friend.
posted by Phire at 11:42 PM on June 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

The only thing unrequited love is good for is writing poems, plays and songs. Once you've written a few good ones, quit wasting your awesomeness.

And I'm actually all for professing your undying love for them, too. Because maybe they feel the same way, and you'll never know if you don't ask.
posted by The World Famous at 11:49 PM on June 11, 2007 [3 favorites]

Depends. Keep looking, while keeping an eye on the other--if it gets to painful, back off. This stuff does happen.

Eye contact is usually good.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:54 PM on June 11, 2007

If you knew it's never going to happen, you would want to move on immediately.
If it might happen, it might be a case of "they don't know what they had until it's no-longer available 24/7", in which case you would want to prompt that dawning realisation by moving on immediately.

I suggest moving on immediately. Maybe something will happen in a few years. In the meantime, love, learn, and grow. That way, in a few years, when nothing happens, you won't have missed anything.

I reserve the right for this advice to be terrible.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:25 AM on June 12, 2007

90% of the time it's not going to happen.

Some people say this is not up to you.
posted by OrangeDrink at 12:31 AM on June 12, 2007

oh man this must be going around, it's all the talk amongst people I know lately. I think that if crushing on him is making you miserable, and if telling him about it isn't gonna make it any better for you, just try and minimize the drama and yet simultaneously minimize your interactions with him and keep your eyes (and heart) open and ready for someone else. Which means no more staying up until dawn "platonically cuddling" or whatever it is you do with your best guy friends on whom you're secretly crushing. Keep it to group interactions or non-romantic, non-alcoholic situations, and you'll probably have an easier time re-classifying him in your head.

It'll take a while to get over it of course, but if you know he's not attracted to you, you should start the 'getting over it process.' And try not to let it affect your own view of your own awesomeness. I think that spending a lot of emotional energy cutting someone out of your life whom you'd rather not cut out can be more draining and ultimately harmful than just letting things be what they are, even if it's a bit of a constant dull pain. Until it goes away, eventually.

The one thing that's really good to remember is that you can't really ever -make- someone fall in love with you, no matter how perfect you are for them, no matter how much they might know it and you might know it. It's out of your hands, ultimately, and that's the thing that sucks.
posted by np312 at 12:47 AM on June 12, 2007 [2 favorites]

Either way, I think it's probably best to go ahead and tell the crush how you feel. Otherwise, how can you be sure?
It's going to be substantially awkward for a while, but just keep a respectful distance, and avoid awkward one-on-one situations, the awkward will fade before you know it. Also, if they start crushin' on you, you've got the one-up, as a) they know you felt like that once, and b) since you told them, they're more likely to do the same.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:08 AM on June 12, 2007

to directly answer (sorry for not doing that before), as long as you still genuinley enjoy their company, it's not a waste of anything. Although it is best to push the notion of them 'coming around' or 'seeing the light' as far back in your head as possible, because it's not a very common occurence, and it's not worth it to wait around, sitting on your hands.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:11 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

oh, i have no delusions that one can make anyone fall in love with oneself. relationships are really the one thing in life that you have no control because it involves another person, thus the most frustrating.

we are just curious as to other people's opinions and/or experiences regarding the likelihood of that scenario happening, or how to deal with determining how much of yourself/your awesomeness to keep bestowing whether or not you think his/her feelings will change.
posted by violetk at 1:14 AM on June 12, 2007

I just meant by the "make" comment that you shouldn't put yourself in a position with your friend-crush where you are constantly, subtly trying to demonstrate to them how "worthy" you are of their love. How perfect you are for them, or whatever. "You like waterskiing in the nude? How funny, I've always wanted to try waterskiing in the nude! What a coincidence, how often do two people both love nude waterskiing?" Etc.

If you catch yourself doing that, maybe it's not worth the continued bestowing of your awesomeness because it's such a drain to be putting that much mental energy into someone who might never feel that you're right for them, even if you do manage to -intellectually- convince them of it. Or even if you genuinely do like nude waterskiing. (it's late, forgive the randomness.)
posted by np312 at 1:42 AM on June 12, 2007

Waiting around passively is just a waste. If you like the girl, tell her. If she likes you back you will know, if she doesn't, move on.
posted by caddis at 4:37 AM on June 12, 2007

I don't think unrequited love is very healthy if it's keeping you from exploring other romantic options.

But this is coming from someone who is getting very sick of having to hear about a friend's unrequited interest every day for the past four years and then have the same friend fret about being almost 40 with no prospects.
posted by Jess the Mess at 5:01 AM on June 12, 2007

i hope this doesn't get too aside the point, but in terms of one of said friend's situation: she has told the friend/object of her crush of her feelings and they appear to have had a very mature discussion of what might have led her to believe he felt the same—she's very careful about exposing herself emotionally like that to someone unless she feels there is ample evidence that he may return the interest (and we all believed there was–but that would be an entire other post). he's new to the wider social circle, younger, pretty inexperienced in a lot of ways, and has dealt with severe self-esteem issues his whole life; she's older, very confident, successful, well-loved by their mutual friends, and challenges him in a positive way—and we think he really responds to that and definitely loves that about her. while we don't think it's intentional, we do think that he definitely enjoys the fact that someone like her would be interested in him (when he isn't outright rejecting the idea that someone like her would be interested in him) and want to spend time with him. it's not as though she would reject offers for dates from others (in fact, she has not), but obviously we can't switch off our feelings for someone like a light. if the situation were mine, i wouldn't know what to do either.

another friend has identical dilemma, but with an ex with whom she wanted to get back together. intellectually, you do want to be cautious about how much access to your fabulousness you give to someone who does not return your romantic feelings (because it becomes an unbalanced investment from both sides—thus, the have his cake and eating it too comment); emotionally, not so easy to give up the company of someone you really like and with whom have a blast.

thus, our discussion.
posted by violetk at 5:35 AM on June 12, 2007

so how much awesomeness should you waste, if any?

None. "Waste" is the operative word here.
posted by Solomon at 5:36 AM on June 12, 2007

If you want someone to like you, date someone ELSE.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:40 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

According to the movies, you are supposed to remain friends, fall in love with someone else and actually get engaged. Then they crash your wedding right before you say "I do". (Sometimes they even feel inspired to crash through the church stained glass window using a hang glider!) Or they show up on New Year's Eve and declare their love. Or stuff like that. I've heard this totally works.

Then you can choose to tell them "too late" or "finally!" But, in the meantime, you've gone on and lived your life, thus multiplying your awesomeness.
posted by jeanmari at 7:26 AM on June 12, 2007 [3 favorites]

I don't know about the rest of y'all, but my fund of awesomeness continually replenishes itself. I can't give it away fast enough.

Mooning after someone who might or might not return your feelings = teh suck. Having an honest conversation about those feelings = teh good. Chicks might also try simply grabbing the object of their interest and snogging intensely (this doesn't work so well for guys). Continuing to carry a torch for someone after it has become clear they do not reciprocate = teh stupid.
posted by adamrice at 7:32 AM on June 12, 2007 [4 favorites]

I've been the girl who turned down a friend who liked her, stayed friends, and eventually fell for him a few years later. I've also been the girl turned down by a guy, stayed friends, only to have him unexpectedly be interested a few years later.

I think years is an important keyword here, though. With the guy who turned me down but later asked me out, I had gained a lot of confidence, done a lot more things with my life, and started to take a lot better care of myself and my appearance than I had before. Mind you, I didn't do any of these things for him, just for myself. There was very little pining for him after he turned me down, although we did manage to stay friends. And although he was still a good friend, I was no longer interested in him romantically when he did ask me out.

My advice to you is to not give him up as a friend, but try to mentally move on as best you can. Still be awesome in his presence, still casually flirt with him, but be looking for other awesome people all the while and don't let yourself take any of the friendly flirting too seriously.
posted by Squee at 8:18 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

i'm a girl who fell for a guy that crushed on me for 2 years, for 1.9 of which i kept telling him that although he's a great guy "i'm just not attracted to him". so for 2 years we were friends and then something happened, something changed, i'm now the happiest i've ever been with any guy.

i do not know if it's different for guys but in general i feel that people change. their tastes change. their desires and the perceptions of their wants and needs change too. so, stick around, take it easy, as someone already said, be open to other people and other relationships. keep in mind, though, that pushing for it today may not work, but easing into it in a year or two is a possibility. good luck.
posted by barrakuda at 9:13 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ever heard that song "Too Many Fish in the Sea"? There are some wise words in that song, IMO.

Well, if the fish isn't on your line
Bait your hook and keep on trying
Don't let him get you down
There's other boys around
Because there's too many fish in the sea
Too many fish in the sea
I said, there's short ones, tall ones, fine ones, kind ones
Too many fish in the sea

posted by treepour at 9:23 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

So basically, the operative vibe here is to not appear that you are stuck on one person. Just be prepared for the friendship dynamics to change in either direction once you start dating other could go away or not feel the same...or there could be a sudden interest...that's just the way it is, keep on truckin'
posted by samsara at 9:48 AM on June 12, 2007

re: squee and barrakuda: exactly one of my (and afrementioned male friend's) points. it seems like this phenomenon of reversing one's initial lack of physical attraction is more common on the girl's side (it took a couple of years as well).

any mefi dudes out there care to chime in on that?
posted by violetk at 10:25 AM on June 12, 2007

sorry, i meant that it took me a couple of years to come around as well.
posted by violetk at 10:26 AM on June 12, 2007

awesomeness is in the eyes of the beholder
posted by matteo at 11:28 AM on June 12, 2007

well, let's just say for the sake of argument that when we hear from a mutual friend that her crush/friend has (on numerous occasions and without prompting) proclaimed that she is not only awesome, but one of the "raddest" girls he's ever met. i think in this case, it's safe to assume, the awesomeness applies.
posted by violetk at 11:33 AM on June 12, 2007

Several years back, I met two great guys, both of whom I was attracted to instantly, neither of which I could date right then. I wasn't single, Guy A wasn't single, and Guy B was a bit young. I made my feelings clear to Guy A after he ended his relationship, and when mine drew to a close, ended up dating him. As these things happen, we ended up married. Eight years on, still friends with Guy B, and we've talked about how, if we were ever both single, we'd probably hook up in an instant, because we are both so full of awesome. That isn't likely to happen any time soon (I hope), so we're just good friends.

I guess, the way it went is this: I've crushed on two great guys who I had to wait around for, ended up marrying one, and being really good friends who share an attraction with the other. The waiting worked, I suppose. YMMV.
posted by ysabet at 3:32 PM on June 12, 2007

I did it once, and after several years, it "worked." But in "working," a friendship I valued evolved into a thing that sucked like a stab to the lung.

The lesson I took away from that is: don't do the friends-to-lovers thing unless you're prepared to lose the friendship. Even if things start out brilliantly, it really may not be worth it in the end.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:26 PM on June 12, 2007

not a particular waste of awesomeness, imho, if you've got nothing better to do at the time. just don't go putting all your eggs in the one basket.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:50 AM on June 13, 2007

i'm not so convinced getting a guy to fall for you when he's already decided he isn't physically attracted to you is as likely. i've heard of other girls eventually falling for the friend but i've haven't heard any stories where the reverse was true.

A bit of a chatfiltery afterthought:

I'm wondering now whether or not you could model a difference between the sexes as some sort of two-part 'test', with the criteria being:

a) physical / sexual attractiveness (not meaning strictly looks here)
b) everything else (intelligence, wit, career, stability, lifestyle, interests etc)

I'm guessing that most guys evaluate a) first, before even considering b). If you drop out of the running at a), it's pretty unlikely that even total awesomeness in b) is really gonna put you back in the race. Then, you simply end up as the awesome friend.

OTOH, women may evaluate both equally, or even place b) first, with a) as more of a supplementary bonus prize, or a veto in case of physical hideousness. In other words, not passing muster on a) does not necessarily act as a showstopper.

This could explain why the friend-to-lover transition seems to usually only happen in the one direction, as you state.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:18 PM on June 13, 2007 [3 favorites]

I know I'm way late to the party, but I think the best comment in this thread is this last one, from UbuRoivas

If a woman fails the "a" part of the criteria, the best possible outcome is that she'll become a cool friend to have around. I've never personally experienced a reversal of that rule, nor have I ever heard of it.

Interestingly enough, I've also found that (personally, and through anecdotal stories from friends) - if a man finds you attractive at first, there's almost nothing (shy of many many years of aging and/or a horribly disfiguring accident) that will change his mind. Even my worst ex-girlfriends of all time, whom I'd love nothing more than to see spend the rest of their lives alone and miserable, I still find attractive and would probably have a tough time turning down a casual hook-up with someday in the future.

So, there's not much lee-way with "part a" for men.
posted by revmitcz at 3:59 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Extremely late to the party here, so no one may read this, but I wanted to share the story of my best friend, who used to be my boyfriend.

We met at a party and hit it off immediately, talked for hours, and started dating almost immediately. He said he had never met anyone who was as easy to talk to as me, and our relationship progressed very quickly. For five months we spent every day together, and then, after a long vacation, he called me in tears and told me that he'd realized he wasn't attracted to me.

Our relationship had been so sucessful on every other level that he'd never had second thoughts, but once we were apart he realized that, physically, there was nothing there for him. But he wanted to stay friends, and in our case, we had been such good friends within the relationship that we were able to maintain it. Now we are each others' best friends, we talk every day and discuss our futures- in which we assume we will remain close, and possibly even move to the same city- far more comfortably than when we were dating.

I think UbuRoivas is right on the money. "B" was so important for us that, while the lack of "A" was a dealbreaker for the romantic relationship, we were able to stay as close as we had been before.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:41 AM on July 3, 2007

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