I have a friend in my church who would probably like to pursue a romantic relationship with me if I would let him. My problem is that I don't love him that way and I never will. Right now, our interactions are awkward because I know he wants to talk/flirt with me but I don't want to lead him on by carrying long, involved conversations with him. What hurts is that I miss speaking to him freely like the big brother I wish I had but if I do he'll take it as a sign of attraction. Can anybody tell me how to broach this subject without sounding presumptuous and ruining our sibling-like relationship?
Just treat him like a friend, or however you were treating him before. If he starts to flirt or anything like that, just be an adult and tell him you're not interested in him that way. Acting different around him is going to make things worse, and you'll just come across as a bitch.
like >>2 says
Best off being mature about it and say you aren't interested and just act as you always were... he will most likely pull back from it, but its better then him constantly flirting with you... its up to you to reach out after too...
you are being selfish. the best thing for him in this situation goes against what you want. if he is infatuated with you, you have to either ignore him and let him know that type of attention is unwanted, or as a previous poster said, just confront him directly when he displays unwanted behavior. it is NEVER best to beat around the bush. no one likes that.
>>4 perhaps you are right... If there was any way we could go back to the way we were, I'd do it. Then again, I had a feeling that going back to those days is almost impossible now. But, please tell me that we can be friends again...even if we won't be as close as we used to be. I would rather be good acquaintances rather than awkward strangers.
Well, it depends on the both of you and how much you mean to him. There's a chance that he could be heartbroken and not want anything to do with you anymore, though, if you try enough to show that you're willing to "just be friends" he might try to get over the awkwardness of being around you and act like you used to. It's not impossible to get it back, but you'll both have to try hard to get it like it used to be.
>>5 with social networking the way it is today, the word 'friend' is thrown around very easily so id say you could certainly remain friends that are at least attend social gatherings together without being completely awkward. but i wouldnt hold out hope for a quality platonic relationship unless his infatuation is only minor.
>>7 You have a good point about me not wanting to discuss the validity/degree of his attraction. My main issue, though, is what to do. I'm hoping that the situation is like you say ("...he isnt as interested as you think he is..."). But on the off-chance it isn't (and this is my gut-feeling), I'm wondering what I should do. My mother says to keep my distance, which makes sense but makes me feel like I'm being bitchy. Others say that I should be more upfront, which would allow both of us to deal with it directly but it also has the risk of making things terribly painful/awkward. This is my dilemma. I don't want to hurt him, but I can't let both of us suffer.
It's pretty much like what several posters have said already. Treat him like normal and only say something about it if he starts to show any interest. Agreeing with >>7 here, chances are he really ISN'T interested in you like that, or if he is, not to the extremes you seem to imagine, despite what your hunch is telling you.
That's LIFE and love sometimes. Embarrassing typo to make.
>> This is my dilemma. I don't want to hurt him, but I can't let both of us suffer.
this really sounds more dramatic than it needs to be. for the sake of argument lets pretend hes madly in love with you. in that case, 'not wanting to hurt him' would be the worst possible thing you could ever do. if he was obsessed with you, every little nice thing you said would be misinterpreted as a confession of love. now tone the situation back to a mild infatuation and hes just going to feel like hes being led on if you refuse to be honest about how you feel.
Stop being a selfish bitch. Reject him and stop letting him devote his time and affection to you. If he really cares for you he cant just be your friend.
Every time you condone his behavior, you make eventual emotional shattering worse.
not confronting him directly is just as bad as leading him on
I did tell the person and so far we are okay. It's a little awkward, but what else can I expect? Anyway, thanks for the help everybody. And for poster #12, I'm sorry that you've had such a terrible experience. I only hope that my person isn't too hurt and that you'll have better luck next time.
#12 here. Sorry I was a bit gruff. Things we're particularly bad that day.
No worries...^_^ Everybody's entitled to be grumpy once in a while. I know I'd go insane if I didn't! (btws, I hope everything became better the next day.)