Is it Selfish to not want to pursue her?


thisonetimeIwasasked asks:

Does this sound selfish?

I am still new to my city. I have one really good friend here, but that’s about it. The other night I went out with one of my friend’s group of friends for the first time (sans my good friend) and was asked out. I said sure, but probably came off as a bit surprised and hesitant. I’d like to date in general (I’m a 36-year-old guy), but do not want to pursue her, because she is part of this friend circle that is connected to my only good friend. I don’t want to risk any relationship drama over gaining possible new friends.

I want to tell her this, but in my head it only sounds really selfish. Any tips on how to present this dilemma to her and still keep her as a new friend? She seems genuinely nice, and I want to handle this well. Any thoughts?

Demetrius says:

Alright kids, it’s time for an English lesson. Many people use the term selfish or selfishness to refer to a few things, that I would not consider selfish. I think it’s important to actually define what it means to be “selfish”. Here’s what it means according to


devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

To be selfish you need to place your own wants, needs, and desires above all else, which I think is what trips people up. There’s a thin line between caring for yourself (and others) and only caring for yourself.  If your love life isn’t a charity, that means that at some point, you have to look out for yourself, right? A lot of people think that looking out for yourself is the same as being selfish. It’s not. Do you know what makes someone selfish? The focus on ONLY caring for oneself. Everyone should care about themselves, but what makes people selfish is ONLY caring about themselves, and no one else. The fact that you’re even concerned about whether or not you’re being selfish is probably a sign that you’re not selfish.

So the question really is, at its core, whether or not it’s selfish to not want to pursue someone romantically because of your concerns about maintaining a platonic relationship. Nah. You’re good. I don’t think it’s selfish in the slightest. Now, assuming that the woman in question is into you, it might hurt her to know that you’re not a romantic option for her, but that’s different from being selfish. When you reject someone for the right reasons, it might feel selfish because you want to do no harm, and hurting people feels like a selfish act. I understand not wanting to hurt people, but I think it’s more selfish to avoid hurting someone in the short-term to protect your own image of yourself as a “nice” person. What would be selfish is to date someone who you don’t want to date so that you can feel like you’re doing the right thing. What would be selfish is leading someone on because you don’t have the guts to end things. What would be selfish is ghosting.

Sometimes you have to hurt good people in dating, and it’d be more selfish to not tell someone you don’t want to date them.


My advice is this: Tell her you aren’t interested in taking things further….but leave out all the stuff you referred to as a “dilemma”. Here’s a tip, in general, and for this situation in particular: When you reject someone, you don’t need to give them all of the minutiae of why you can’t or wont date them, just give them a big picture rejection. “Sorry, I like you but there is no chemistry” is much better than saying something like “I don’t see how I, or anyone, could ever find you sexually attractive”, you know? The thing that would be selfish would be getting into the reasons why you’re rejecting someone unless it’s something they can change to win you over. If you didn’t want to date her because she was dating someone else, fine, say that because it’s a fix that can happen if she chose to do so. If you’re choosing not to date someone because of your own fears, telling them about your fears when they can do nothing about them would be selfish, because it really only serves you by assuaging your guilt. By the way, stop feeling guilty about giving rejections. People get rejected every day, she’ll be fine.
Instead of telling her about your “dilemma”, tell her that you’re just not interested in pursuing something romantically with her. Anything other than that, would be selfish.
Good Luck Out There.
p.s. Remember how awesome  "Dilemma" by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland was? No? Well now you do. Enjoy!

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