So there’s a girl that I like, but she really only likes me as a friend. I made it clear early on that I wanted to date her, and she was open to the idea but didn’t want to start dating because she was going on an internship for the spring. Now she’s there and has started dating another guy, but still really wants to stay friends with me and asks me to hang out a lot and it’s really fun to, but every time afterwards it just makes me really sad. Do I just suck it up and try to stay her friend, or try to create some distance between the two of us?—Jersey Mike
First of all, I like getting to give advice to a young man with a head on his shoulders, asking a question that isn’t all “ayo, how can I get this girl to get with this?” Secondly, your name is making me hungry. I remember back in college, I could barely afford Quizno’s, and now, I can buy a large on the reg at Jersey Mike’s and not even have to check with my wife. Grown-ass man over here.
Now, on to the task at-hand: this girl is/was being nice/fair to you, from the way it sounds. You made your intentions clear, and so did she. The heart wants what it wants, as they say, and in this case, y’all ain’t seeing heart-to-heart. Even for those of us who barely had email address when we were in school, it’s hard for good people to be very direct and just say, “That’s not something I’m interested in.” Which is why the reason for non-reciprocation often gets shifted to a more palatable, “internship coming up,” as a soft let-down. It sounds like she wants to spend time with with you, too, hence the reason to not want to burn someone down who’s a good hang. One should never “suck it up,” in situation, because that sad little feeling in your belly is just gonna become an issue over time—not unlike a large Jersey Mike’s sub.
Step away. Be as kind as she has been to you about expectations and desire, and respectfully let her know that, for now, it is going to cause too much of a problem for you to stay in friend mode. She may be disappointed, but don’t confuse that with having done something wrong. You never have to apologize for being fair to yourself and her. It’s as difficult and necessary as Friday classes, but time and separation are the only cures for such a situation. In a few weeks or a month’s time, you will both have a better idea of what space you’re supposed to take up in each other’s lives. Maybe your feelings will pass. You may realize without any romantic potential, you’re not as interested in the friendship. But, if you still do, and you want to feel good about moving on without destroying that future potential, and she’ll appreciate the maturity, even if she’s bummed about not getting to text you GIFs of puppies whenever she wants. In the end, I hope it works out. If it does, write me back and I’ll let you repay me with a (small) sub.