How do I go about dating a friend?
July 29, 2007 11:59 PM   Subscribe

How do I go about dating a friend?

I've known this girl lets call her Amy for about a year and a half. She used to be my best friends girlfriend when I first met her. They only dated for about 3 months or so. Afterwards she started dating this other guy whom I didn't know at the time, but we eventually became pretty good friends too. I have a hard time opening myself up to girls, for fear of rejection I guess. And when I see a girl I don't know, I never think "she might be a good friend", I always think in dating or sexual terms. Anyways, so I got to know Amy and I wasnt thinking the thoughts I normally do because she was off limits and it allowed myself to be open with her and to be myself. So about 3 months ago she breaks up with this guy that she has been dating since her and my best friend broke up bout a year and a half. I started seeing her in a totally different light, but I didn't want it to be too soon to try anything though.

Then last week her and I kind of had a weird thing happen. We were both drunk and just got back from her friends place and she laid in my bed with me and we started watching a movie. We've done this plently of times before, kind of cuddle buddies. Anyways that night we fooled around a little bit. Afterwards I thought, I hope this doesnt get weird. And it wasnt at first. The next night she came back after a party and broke into my room while i slept, woke me up, and started messing with me again. So naturally i reciprocated. We didn't have sex though, which i'm thankful for now. The next day I went over to her place and I guess kind of acted like we were dating or whatever. I would rub her feet, shoulders, kiss her and stuff. But she didn't really seem like she was down with it.

Apparently what I hear from the grapevine (you know how that is) is that shes really confused right now or something and doesn't want to just hook up with me, she thinks im the most awesome guy she knows, and she can see herself in a relationship with me but she has to get her shit together first. She has been drinking like every night since her and Robbie broke up. :-\

She didnt say anything to me about this, just kind of acted strange so I told her that we shouldnt continue what we are doing right now, maybe a little later when the time is right.

Ok SO! (thanks for staying with me if you are still here) should I try and pursue this? And if so, How so? I really like her, and I know she likes me too. It just seems like the give it more time thing is just one of the things girls say that is a load of crap when really they just dont want to be with you. I still see her everyday almost (we work together too), and she might be staying at my house for awhile while she is in transition from moving out of her apt and into the dorms.
posted by thefamousmoe to Human Relations (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Give her time. Whether or not she wants to be with you is up to her.
You could just straight out tell her that you are interested in her, and does she really just need more time? Tell her that either way is okay with you and that you respect whatever she decides.
posted by jammnrose at 12:12 AM on July 30, 2007

Sounds like you're both feeling awkward about sex, and that shouldn't be a huge surprise, given that you're working together. If she's feeling "weird" it's most likely that she feels she has more to lose from a sexual relationship (grapevine, see?) after her breakup. Give her some space but don't expect too much. You seem to be young and dating within a tight group and the politics in a situation like that can be pretty harsh.
posted by maryh at 12:20 AM on July 30, 2007

Just try and be a friend for her, and let her know by your actions that she can trust in you. Keep her morale up after the negative situation she's just been in. To put it in a touchy-feely way, make her associate you with good thoughts and emotions. Compliment her, but be sincere and don't allow her to think you're just doing it to take advantage of her being newly single.

Don't let her dwell on her recent breakup, and make an effort to prevent her from drinking her problems away. It's easy to want to leave someone alone when they're sad, but if they're resorting to drinking, you should take a stand, even just as her friend.

Be assertive in trying to make her feel better about herself, but also step back by not pushing for a relationship. She's probably too snakebitten to jump into a new one right away, but considering the things you've already done together in a more-than-friends way, you're probably not in danger of falling into the infamous "friend zone," and she knows there's potential for something when she's ready.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:58 AM on July 30, 2007

Here's the tough balance.

If you act like absolutely nothing's changed, you're putting all the onus on her to advance. That's not wildly attractive.

If you act like OMG NOW'S MY CHANCE, you're pitiful. That's also not wildly attractive.

You basically want both your interest and your patience to be well understood. She's messed up, and doesn't want you just for a rebound. Critical to realize is that she _has_ to live with you right now -- that makes things very scary if you two were to stop being such close friends. But it also means she has an excuse to spend a bunch of time around you.

If you're looking for any of this to be rational, heh. It's not. I will warn you, lots of people will tell you to do absolutely nothing, give it time, don't show any interest. You definitely need to show interest! You just need to not:

a) Assume she's yours now (oh wow that's a disaster, especially when you start taking it for granted)
b) Become too excitable, whiny, jealous, etc. Don't be that guy.

Regarding her drinking -- she's in a pit of despair. Get her mind off of wallowing in drink by finding her other things to do. The theme really is -- life goes on! Drinking with her can be fine, as you can limit her pace to yours.

If she's drinking to blackout levels, yeah, you may need to say you're a little worried. But identifying a problem isn't as good as doing something about it.

The hookup you guys already had was somewhat of a rebound. She doesn't want just that and neither do you. Expect starting from scratch at some point, preferably after she's moved out, but possibly before.

Good luck!
posted by effugas at 2:27 AM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]

You fool around when she's drunk, but when she's sober you think that she's pretty indifferent about the sexy stuff. She's been drinking a lot since the breakup. You've been her "cuddle buddy" many times before (while she's been dating other guys?), without it going anywhere too fun. She might be staying at your place for a while during her moving transition.

I think you're pretty solidly in the friend zone, and the only reason that it kind of looks like you aren't sometimes is because she's having trouble coping with her breakup, and you have proven to be willing to give her male attention without demanding sex.

If you want to find out where you stand, do this. Next time she shows up in your room drunk, kick her out politely but firmly. The next morning, tell her that you feel weird about the drunken hookup thing but that you're into her and you'd love to go on a date with her. In this way, you've shielded yourself from pain of rejection somewhat because she is responsible for this conversation about "us" by winding up in your bed over and over. Whether she digs you or not, she's probably going to apologize and say that she needs some time to figure things out. If she doesn't dig you that way, which I think is unfortunately pretty darn likely, the drunken visits will stop and you will continue to be friends and she'll never mention anything about this ever again. If she digs you, she'll find a way to let you know now that she knows you like her--maybe by continuing to drunkenly find her way into your bed and kicking things up a notch.
posted by Kwine at 2:43 AM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

here's a thought: do you really want to be her rebound guy? because it sounds like that's what she's looking for - no strings attached.

if the answer is no, then give it time. let her get that out of her system, and she'll (hopefully) come back to you later.
posted by wayward vagabond at 5:35 AM on July 30, 2007

When I read your question, all I could think was: so straight women do this to straight guys, too!--not just to lesbians. It's common for us to offer a shoulder to cry on, be a cuddle buddie, etc., in hopes that someday she'll see how much I love her and she'll realize she's gay. Lots of hearts get broken that way. Back away and start locking your bedroom door. She's using you.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:53 AM on July 30, 2007

You feel safe and open around her because you've become friends. She apparently feels the same, which is why you have been a "safe" person for her to fool around with in this confusing period. It doesn't mean she wants a relationship with you though. Unfortunately, it means that she's using you-- not maliciously perhaps, and maybe not even consciously. She's using you to re-enact the physical contact and emotional security she had (or longed for) in her relationship, and unfotunately I'm sure her guilt an confusion are feeding off of this and making it harder to communicate with you about any of it.

To be a good man, and even better, a good friend, what you need to do is NOT LET THIS HAPPEN ANYMORE. If she makes a moves, decline graciously, and say you'd rather just talk, you don't want to make things more confusing. If she's hurt and weak, then you have to be the strong one and be there for her. If you have any interest in seriously dating her, this is practically the only way out of the trap you're currently in.

Knock off the feet-rubs and touchy-feely and be a solid friend to her until she's in a state of mind that allows her to see how lucky she'd be to have you.
posted by hermitosis at 5:55 AM on July 30, 2007

I'd do what Kwine said. Set the bar high. If she wants to be with you, she has to say so (or at least act that way) when she's sober. Show that you have high standards. You value yourself more than to let yourself be someone's drunken hookup. You want her, but only if she really wants you too.
posted by salvia at 6:15 AM on July 30, 2007

She's fucking with you. With your mind, that is.
She gets drunk and "breaks" into your room to "mess" with you.
On the next day she's "not down" with you coming on to her.
Again on the other hand the spreads word that you are "awsome" making sure that you get it through the grapvine (that she planted) and stay put.
Sounds like a control game to me.

Ask your good friends she was dating before why it didn't work out between them and her to find out more. Maybe there is something useful to be learned.

Otherwise, IMNDS: Get out of there and find someone else.

Good luck!

P.S.: IMNDS = I am not Dan Savage
posted by ollsen at 6:15 AM on July 30, 2007

I see the "friend zone / relationship zone" posse is out in force. That's reasonable advice.

Act like something has happened, don't rely on third-party information that's coming to you through the grapevine, and try to at least loosely define what's going on. With her possibly staying with you, being coworkers, and having a shared group of friends there is a lot that can go painfully, painfully wrong.

My advice, of the "do as I say, not as I have done" variety, would be to be the best possible friend for now. Laugh off the fooling around a little, be a little cautious without making it look like you're keeping her at arm's length, and be a solid friend if you can do so without tearing yourself apart. When she's living back in the dorms, she'll have more things to occupy her time and it might help her get back on her feet. That is when you should be looking at her as something other than a friend.

I can't say that this is the most opportune situation. When it comes down to it, it's hard to stay closer with the friend (or rebound relationship) that you've leaned on.
posted by mikeh at 6:42 AM on July 30, 2007

Oh man — I dated this girl before. (Not really, but you know what I mean). Stay away. Or at least know what you're going to get.

What you have now — lots of uncertainty, messing with your head, little communication, punctuated with occassional flights of joy — is the best you're gonna get.
posted by argybarg at 8:10 AM on July 30, 2007

Stop sussing out a potential partner through "the grapevine." It's childish and ineffectual.

If you really think you might like a relationship with this girl then show some stones and call her up and ask her out on an actual date. Yes, this risks rejection more than tentative go-to-her-house-and-rub-her-feet actions. On the other hand it's more mature and has better odds of success.

And success can include not having a relationship with her. Your current path is clearly not causing you joy or even getting you laid. Success is determining what the fuck is going on one way or the other.

So ask her out. Tell her you hadn't thought she'd be interested in dating you before these snogging sessions but you're interested in her. Who dares, wins.
posted by phearlez at 9:32 AM on July 30, 2007

First of all, DO NOT tell her that she's pretty. Find other reasons to like her: encourage her to share herself with you, and share yourself with her. Compliment her on things other than her looks. You need to justify, to her, why you want her besides the same reason why every other guy in the world wants her.

Also, don't be clingy or act like getting a little action is a big deal to you. DO NOT say "I like you". It'll freak a girl out and make you appear to be weak and needy. This is difficult if you haven't been laid in a while, but you basically need to act like you get laid all the time -- because you're a great guy, right? A pretty girl wants to be with a great guy, not just a horny guy.

It can be hard to get one, particular girl, especially when you've probably already poisoned the waters, IMO. In reality, you should be talking with lotsa girls, basically tryin to figure out which is best/right for you. This is as opposed to just hooking up with whomever will have you. If it doesn't work out with this one girl, don't despair -- treat it as a learning experience, the first of literally thousands.

Good luck, but remember there are many, many cute lil fishies in the sea! Beauty is common.
posted by LordSludge at 9:43 AM on July 30, 2007

If you think there's anything to the Ladder Theory (saw this linked here the other day) you're clearly on her friends ladder, not her real ladder. You're at the top of the ladder and get certain benefits, like cuddling, but you're still on the wrong ladder.

I don't know if the theory actually has much to do with real life but it was the first thing that came to mind when I read your question. It does seem to be possibly backed up by what Carol Anne stated: It's common for us to offer a shoulder to cry on, be a cuddle buddie, etc., in hopes that someday she'll see how much I love her and she'll realize she's gay. Lots of hearts get broken that way.
posted by 6550 at 10:56 AM on July 30, 2007

Of course substitute gay for likes you.
posted by 6550 at 10:57 AM on July 30, 2007

Stop sussing out a potential partner through "the grapevine." It's childish and ineffectual.

ICAM, to the nth power. That stuff is cute in junior high but when grownups do it? Not so much. Those two sentences should be printed on billboards, t-shirts, coffee cups, license plate frames...
posted by fuse theorem at 6:42 PM on July 30, 2007

I'm always dying with curiosity about how these situations turn out, and yet we seldom hear the results, temporary or otherwise. Without prying too much, is there anything new, Moe?
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:10 AM on August 2, 2007

I just kinda decided to leave her alone and try to stay friends for now. It was noticeably awkward. And now I am awake at 6 in the morning when i start my new job tomorrow, and I'm hearing her fucking one of my best friends/roommate.

My chest is really tight, my heartbeat is through the roof and i feel like i'm going to go crazy. i keep having thoughts of breaking things and telling her to get the fuck out, but...she would have no where to go being as shes homeless right now. so I hold it in and bottle it up so one day i can really explode. welp thats the update. kinda planning on telling her to find a new place to crash tomorrow. i havent really decided yet. deep breaths...
posted by thefamousmoe at 3:25 AM on August 4, 2007

I can't say I've been in exactly the situation, but while it's been pretty close, I can't imagine what kind of torture it must be for you.

If anything, let her stick around, but if she does anything that she'd think would be uncomfortable for you, have her go outside of the house, which is yours after all. She owes you quite a bit just for letting her stay there in the first place.

Not knowing anything else about the situation, like whether her state of mind has improved, I'm not sure we can offer anything more just yet. But whatever you do, think every possible scenario through. Sometimes your mind overfills with all these random thoughts that you want to blurt out, but it's best that you only actually say to her what's appropriate.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:48 PM on August 4, 2007

Famousmoe, I"m sorry to hear how it turned out. But be glad that you found out this early on that it wouldn't have worked.

As for your anger, you most likely wouldn't, but ... don't do anything stupid. Find a healthy outlet for your anger: I believe I remember reading somewhere that exercise is one of the most effective anger reducers out there. So go running, or weight-lifting, or whatever your flavor is.
posted by WCityMike at 1:18 PM on August 5, 2007

well as of now. shes going home for a little while. she drank too much last night apparently and had to go to the hospital cause she went into a seisure. So myself and a few friends had an intervention type deal and shes going to be going home for a few weeks so her parents can watch her and hopefully she can get her life together again before school starts. Apparently when Robbie and her broke up it really really messed with her. I talked to both my friend and her about what happened, they both deny having sex but said that they did fool around (even though it sounded a whole whole lot like sex). But either way i think (hope) good things will eventually come from this. Thanks for all your guys support and suggestions.
posted by thefamousmoe at 9:04 PM on August 5, 2007

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