Can I still be friends with her?


Exponential_Mango asks:

I met this girl, we went on a date and had a kiss. Then…I messed things up. I got clingy asking for more dates, she got mad and she dodged me. I then told her I just wanted to be friends since she apparently wasn’t romantically interested in me. Huge argument through texts but she said not to call her. I of course self-detonated and wished her happiness and that I wouldn’t bother her again. Now though, I just realize we’re better off as friends due to having the same interests.

My question is, how long should I wait for her to cool off to ask if we can be friends and what should I say?

Demetrius says:

Okay this is going to be one of those posts where the answer is easy, but the advice is a bit tough. You’re asking three things here:

  • Can you still be friends with her?
  • How long to wait before you try to be friends?
  • What should you say to connect as friends?

To which I have these answers for you: NO. FOREVER. NOTHING. I understand where you’re coming from and I get it. You’re a perfect example of a very specific type of person, and there isn’t anything wrong with your sentiments, but your enthusiasm toward this person is incredibly misplaced. I’m sure she’s a lovely girl, and I’m sure you’re just a nice guy who made a series of mistakes, but what exactly are you trying to salvage here? Seriously, ask yourself this: What am I trying to save?

I love making connections with like-minded people, and I think that good friendships are incredibly important. I also know that just because I have the same interests as someone, that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be friends. Let’s assume that I have 100 different interests. Most of my closest friends share about 33% of those interests, maybe 50% at the most. A lot of my friends really only share something like 20% to 25% of the same interests as me. Mutual interests are cool, but I don’t need my friends who connect with me on fantasy football to also be interested in comics, watching terrible horror movies, or be really knowledgeable about the evolution and growth of gaming culture. All this to say, don’t put too much stock in having mutual interests. It doesn’t matter as much as you think.

You have to face something about yourself: You’re a romantic, specifically a Chivalric romantic. Chivalric love is usually described in terms of brave and noble men, winning the affections of women by facing quests and overcoming hardships. If we take it into modern-day, the sort of person who subscribes to a philosophy of chivalric romance (whether they realize it or not) will often pursue people they like even if the obstacles to attaining their love are incredibly difficult or nigh impossible. You know, like trying to be friends with someone after telling them that you shouldn’t contact them anymore. I’m not sure why this sort of ideal has survived into modern times, but every time a guy gives me the whole “I like her, she clearly isn’t into me, I’m gonna fight for her anyway” speech all I think of is Don Quixote, tilting at windmills, trying to resurrect chivalry as an ideal. Most guys with this personality type like to think of themselves as more of a Lloyd Dobler type, the guy who fights for the girl and wins, when really they are way more like Duckie, the guy who fights for the girl and never had a sliver of a chance. My point is, and I hate to say it, but you’re wasting your time. It’s cool that you think she’s worth fighting for, even to remain as friends, but what the hell are you fighting for here?

Here’s what you’re fighting for: The friendship of a person you’ve known for a brief amount of time where most of that time was acrimonious. You’re trying to save a friendship that doesn’t exist and I promise you, that feeling is one-sided. There is no way in hell that she’s interested in being the friend of someone who in the short time they’ve known her has done the following:

  • Been clingy and come on too strong after one date and A KISS
  • Told her that you just wanted to be friends
  • Had a huge argument over texts
  • Wished her happiness and promised not to bother her again

As a fun mental exercise, let’s flip this situation. Pretend you had a platonic friend who you were not attracted to in the slightest, and you were in the position that the object of your affections is in. Within a short time frame (it sounds like this all went down over 2 weeks, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say it was a month) that friend proceeds to do all the things you did, vacillating between extreme ends of the attraction and rejection spectrum. If they then reached out to you and said “Hey, I’m a relative stranger to you and I recognize that my wildly erratic behavior was completely off-putting. Now that I’m in a more stable mindset, I realize that my initial affection was misplaced and now I think we should be friends because we share mutual interests” what would your response be? If someone who you didn’t want to date said that to you, would you say “Absolutely, this is totally a great way to start a friendship” or, like most people, would you cut your loses, accept their apology, and just move on? That’s a hypothetical question. Trust me, I know what you’d do in that situation.

You have to accept that what you’re trying to fight for isn’t worth fighting for. You might be infatuated with this girl, but it’s all surface. You probably know enough about her to fill a thimble, but you’re convinced that she’s worth fighting for to salvage a friendship that just isn’t there. Sorry, but that’s a terrible idea. There are literally millions of people around the world that share your interests. I don’t care who you are, or what your interests are, there are literally MILLIONS OF PEOPLE who share that interest. You don’t have to pursue a friendship with someone based on mutual interests, and you definitely shouldn’t pursue a friendship where the foundation is so unstable.

Don’t try to make this friendship happen. Let her go, and move on. Seriously. Let her go. You dug yourself a deep hole and there’s no way to come back from it. Learn from your mistakes, move on, and if you insist upon working hard for relationships, do it with people who want to put in the same level of work.

Good Luck Out There.

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