Dear Dr. Brian:
I’m 23 and met a guy that I like a few months ago. I tried to kiss him on the second date, but he refused. Since then, I’ve been getting mixed signals from him. He calls me and we talk for hours on the phone. But when I’m alone with him in-person, he treats me as a friend and nothing more. Why does he talk to me for hours on the phone when he knows how I feel about him?_________________________________________________________________________________________
What a frustrating situation! Nothing is worse than liking somebody, but they don’t reciprocate back those same feelings!
From the way you describe it, it does not appear that he has ever given any intentions of his desire for more than anything but just a friendship with you. Unless there are other signals he is sending you other than what you’ve written, his talking to you on the telephone for long hours does not necessarily constitute his wanting to be more than “just friends.” It appears that if nothing else, this guy has found a very good friend in you and values this kind of relationship with you. And that’s a wonderful thing! Don’t underestimate the power of this as great friendships can be hard to find!
If he is in actuality sending you other mixed messages and has no intention of taking things to another level, then this would indeed be a very cruel thing for him to be doing, particularly since he is aware of your attraction to him. And if this is the case, I would encourage you to ask yourself why you would be interested in someone who would try to hurt you in this way. This would not be the type of maturity and integrity that you would deserve in a boyfriend and it would be important for you to protect yourself against that. But be careful here too…it’s also a possibility that your perception of his sending you mixed signals may not be accurate from his view of things and you don’t want to make any assumptions. He either may not be aware of what he’s doing or could very well only be sending “friendship vibes.” Perception is everything.
Another option could be for you to sit down with him and discuss the relationship that the two of you have. Your approach would be better received if you could be low-key and casual so as not to scare him off or make him feel threatened or uncomfortable. You could explain to him how much your relationship means to him and that you continue to maintain a strong attraction for him. You could let him know of your desire to date him and get to know him better but that you’ve been having difficulty “reading” him and have been unsure of where he might stand on this issue. Let him know that you’re not sure of how to be looking at him…as purely a friend, or someone with whom there could be the potential for a dating relationship. Then take your cues from what he says. This is a very vulnerable option because it puts your heart out there on the line, but it is the most direct approach and you’ll get your answer so you’ll then know how to proceed with your life.
If he truly wants nothing more than pure friendship with you, it will be important for you to grieve your disappointment and decide whether you can continue contact with him in the short-term. Sometimes it can be difficult to “downshift” to being “just friends” when you’ve been living in a fantasy of what “could have been” all this time and maybe a short break away might give you that time you’d need to regain your perspective and learn how to negotiate a platonic friendship with him while you channel your dating energies elsewhere. Everybody is different…some people are able to maintain an ongoing friendship while others find this too difficult to entertain. Only you can decide by knowing yourself and your own reactions and by taking stock of how much value you place in what you’ve developed thus far in your affiliation with this guy.
I wish you all the best with this! Remember that you deserve to be with someone who is as enthusiastic about being with you as you are him! You shouldn’t have to convince anyone of your fabulousness! Take care and best wishes!