Chris Listens: Sparklers Respond to Dropping the F
As we suspected, a lot of Sparklers are crushing hard on their BFFs, and while many don't know what to do about it, almost all of them want to do something. Based on the comments and electronic mails and smoke signals I received, it seems that BFF crushes can lead to blissful relationships. But it all depends on your approach. For example:
I was best friends with a guy for about two years and we just kind of waited things out. I'd say we used the flirt tactic. We've been dating for two years and we're getting married in May. :)
Patience, in the case of BFF crushes, is a major virtue. And so is taking a direct, active approach. Here's what can happen when meddling friends get involved:
The moral of this story is essentially that I wish he would have told me himself! Even if I would have said no, it would have made things soooo much less awkward! Because his friend told me and everyone found out, it was a total disaster, and now we have to kind of rebuild our friendship.
Last time around, I asked you to submit your own personal Dropping the F conundrums, and you did not disappoint. I wish I could respond to all of the questions I got. (If I had to dispense some general advice to all those stuck in B(F)F limbo, it would be: Go for it!) Now I'll take a crack at some of the more heart-wrenching and brain-confuzzling cases.
Everyone thinks I'm dating my best friend (a guy), which I'm totally not. And, every time a dance comes around, I get, "Well, isn't so-and-so taking you?" And I say, “Duh no! We're just friends.” I seriously had someone ask me last year in math how homecoming was and I said I didn't go and he's like, “What? I thought you were going with so-and-so! I wanted to ask you!" Now that was awkward. Can girls and guys not be friends anymore?
This is an eternal problem with no easy solution. Girls and guys absolutely can be friends, but people external to those relationships will always project some romance onto the situation because a) they are busybodies who want to find gossip in every nook and cranny of human existence, b) they believe the girl and guy in said friendship would actually make a great couple, or c) they've noticed chemistry you haven't spotted yourself or have spotted and are trying to ignore. The easiest way to combat wrong assumptions about you and your male pal is for one or both of you to date someone else—although I don’t recommending doing so just to prove a point. (You should only date a person if you actually want to!) As for the way you are perceived by others, you’ll just have to do your best to not worry about it. You can’t control how other people think about you, and it’s more important to pursue the friendships that make you happy. And if that friendship is with a gentleman, they’ll just have to deal with it.
*Sigh* I'm a 14-year-old girl who seems to be falling for one of my friends. The problem is I introduced him to my best friend and she likes him too. Now that we confessed to each other that we both like him, our friendship has turned sour and awkward. But I think he may like me too, but I would never want to hurt her feelings by going out with him. I'm very confused, what should I do?
Ooo, a touchy subject, to be sure. In this instance, I think your friend comes first, and you should try to salvage your BFF relationship before pursuing anything with the guy. If you truly are best friends, you can be honest with each other and not let a boy come between you. It may take some time to heal your friendship, but it can happen if you work at it, and you’re patient. If you do save your friendship, you should probably put the boy on hold, at least for a while. You'll have to wait it out and see what happens. Of course, it may turn out that your best-friendship is over, and that this boy happened to be the tipping point. If that’s the case, I would give things a little time to blow over, then move ahead with your pursuit if it feels like the right thing to do. You might still hurt your ex-BFF’s feelings, but your feelings, in this case, are more important.
I’m a girl and I have a male friend right now who I'm attracted to. Here's a twist for you—he's bi, in love with a different girl (who has a long-term boyfriend, by the way), and he's crushing on another guy. I'd like to be closer to him as a friend as well, more than I want to go out with him really, but it's difficult cause I constantly feel I need to keep a bit of distance. And he tells me about lots of really personal problems he has, and I do the same to him, but it still feels like we don't connect as much as I'd like. UGH. Any ideas?
Well, if you are sharing lots of personal problems with each other, it sounds like you are connecting pretty well. But if your immediate goal is to become better friends with him, the best thing you can do is be patient. With rare exceptions, close friendships take time to build. You can help things along a little by initiating hangout sessions and doing trust falls, but generally you’re going to have to spend some time in this frustrated state of semi-distance before you get super tight. Re: your attraction to him, I wouldn’t deny those feelings, but I’m not sure you want to express them to someone who’s already in love with a girl and crushing on a guy. It sounds like it could be slightly complicated. But since you’re his friend, you’ll probably still have the thrill of hearing all the complicated gossip!
Hey, this is in response to your post about falling for your best friend, but my situation is a bit more complicated than most of those cases. You see I am a guy and I have two close female friends who just happen to be twins. Now my problem is that I have a pretty good notion that one of them has a thing for me, I mean all the signs point to it... not the least being that her sister told me so. And though I like her as a friend (and she is one of my best friends) I like her sister (who is also a really close friend), however I don't know if she (the second one) has feelings for me. How do you propose I handle this situation considering I would prefer a more active approach?
You’re in a tough spot. If you know for sure that one of the twins likes you, it would be pretty hard to take an active approach with the other one because you’ll probably cause some major strife in their relationship. And while some guys may dream of having twins fight over him, I don’t think it would be productive in your case. Thus I recommend the trusty wait-and-see approach. Stay friends with both of them and watch how your (and their) feelings develop. One twin may stop liking you, and the other may pick up where the first twin left off, and you’ll be living the life. But if their feelings remain as they are now, it’s probably best to keep things strictly friendly. You don't really want to turn yourself into the wedge that drives apart a pair of twins—I saw it happen once and the guy ended up with major bruises on his face and neck, not to mention completely alone.
Regarding the article about Dropping the F, the special case “What if my BFF is gay or bi, and I’m not?" section caught my attention. However, it's the other way around... sort of. I'm a girl and I'm bi, but not "out." I have no idea if my BFF is [gay or bi] or not, even though I really should. I've had a crush on her for the longest time. I really want to tell her, but we had a big fight recently and I don't know if telling her would make her freak out, especially now, when our friendship is in the recovery stage. In addition, I have a boyfriend, but I feel like I'm more in love with my BFF than I am with him. It feels like cheating. Is it? Can you think of any signs to look for that might indicate if she was also interested in girls? I'm so confused! Help!
First of all, having a crush on your BFF is not cheating because you haven’t acted on it. However, I suspect that you might not be giving your boyfriend all of the emotional attention he needs, so you might want to take a hard look at that relationship to see whether you still want to be in it. Is it fair to him? Where your BFF is concerned, have you ever had any reason to think that she is gay or bi? Does she have a boyfriend? Has she ever had one? If the answer is yes, it’s likely that she is not gay, although she could still be bi. There's not really any concrete way to determine a person's sexual preferences unless she tells you, and even then things can be fuzzy. If you are trying to rehabilitate your relationship, expressing that you have a crush on her right now might very well freak her out, and it’s possible that she might take it badly. Be aware that not only would you be telling your friend that you have a crush on her, you’d also be coming out, which is an even more momentous act. Are you prepared for that? If your friend doesn’t even know you are bi, it could be a huge surprise to her. You might want to consider a multi-stage approach—come out, then determine what to do with your boyfriend, then tackle the crush on your best friend. Or you can switch steps one and two—fix the boyfriend issue, then come out. You have a lot on your plate, and I don't recommend bringing your BFF crush into the mix just yet.
I've had a best guy friend in Fidel for four (going on five) years. In the beginning, though, we both would flirt with each other a lot. We got over it, but he continually reminds me that I'm pretty, even when I'm feeling schlub-like. (Get what I mean?) He's the kind of guy that everyone at school knows and loves, and I cannot count the number of times girls have come up to me asking me if I was his girlfriend or if I could get them that same position. Every time, though, I'd get all super-protective and say they need to step off my jock (or something to that effect). Even the guys flock to him since he's such a cool dude. A little background information for you: Fidel is extremely religious while I am extremely... not. We've never let that get between us, though, even when I get all preachy about gay marriage. (BTW, he just smiles whenever I get flustered. Smiles and shakes his head, as if I'm being ridiculous.) He's INTENSELY focused on his schoolwork, and would kill to get into MIT at this point. He's constantly chastising me to exercise, which used to make me feel like I wasn't good enough before it dawned on me that he was just worried I'd go overboard with the Snacky S'mores and end up with serious health issues. We're seriously on opposite sides of the spectrum, and the only things we have in common are our ambitions, our love for laughter, and enjoyment of him winning at Halo. Now, my problem really lies in whether or not I do like him. I'm trying my hardest every day to not think about him, and when I happen to have a fleeting thought or image of him, I get angry with myself and focus on something to keep it at bay. Is it possible that I'm so afraid of leaving home for college next year that I'm clinging to the most familiar thing I have in my life? I mean, I'm planning on leaving the state; could it be that I'm just trying to keep a piece of my soon-to-be-old life? Or is it more likely that I have a serious crush on Fidel? Because that would really suck right now.
Actually, it sounds like you don’t really have a serious crush on Fidel. If you’re no longer flirting a lot or obsessing over him, you’re likely just really good friends, and that’s great. It’s natural for you to be protective of him and tell people to step off your jock—whenever someone wants something we could potentially have, we get possessive. Don't try to NOT think about him. If he happens to pop into your brain for a moment or five, let it happen. While he’s an important part of your life, you don’t seem to be clinging to him. He's your best friend, so naturally you'll want to hold on to him in this time before you head off to college. Hopefully you’ll both go to separate schools, pursue your separate ambitions, continue to enjoy his winning at Halo, and keep your friendship intact. It’s possible that something more could develop between you, but from what you’ve told me, it seems like you’re still in the BFF zone. In this case, the F has not been dropped.
Okay so I am really not sure what to do at all! I met my best friend [who is a guy] the summer before sophomore year and we are now seniors. I actually started talking to him and really being friends with him the December of sophomore year and by the end of that year we were best friends! It was awesome! :) Well, I started liking him in about March or April that year. At the time I didn't know it but he liked me too. So we were hanging out just being friends that whole summer before junior year and when junior year started we went to his school's homecoming together and then I took him to my school's homecoming. He asked me out the day of my school’s homecoming, which was in November of last year. We dated until July of this summer, so a little over seven months, and I broke up with him because it just wasn’t working and I was unhappy and there were other reasons for that as well. Well, two days later we hung out together just as friends and it was lots of fun like nothing was weird. It continued to be fine until a week after we broke up he left me a note saying that he wanted to talk about getting back together because he didn’t think that it was the right decision and so I became very confused and unsure especially since the day after he left the note he left for three weeks. He came back after three weeks and we are both involved in the same thing so we had to go to camp together. Camp was really awkward for the first like two or three days but once we got used to each other being around again and talking to each other we were fine! And we became automatic best friends again, and everything was cool, even though that note and everything was still there in the back of our minds. Well by the end of camp we were attached at the hip again just like we had been but this time we were even closer friends than before we even dated it was really weird but I didn’t mind. Well we kept getting closer and while we were getting closer we started flirting and everyone could tell so then they all started saying that we would get back together, but we haven’t yet. We are still really close friends and everything but I am not sure what to do because despite what I thought was going to happen I want to get back together with him and try again and as far as I know he wants to as well. The reason I am unsure is because after we became really close again we remained really close until one day it just seemed to stop, don’t get me wrong we are still really close! But it doesn’t feel the same way as it did at camp and for about three weeks after. He asked me to homecoming again this year, which I believe to be a good sign and I wanted him to ask me so it’s great! :) But for some reason there’s just something that is telling me even though I want to get back together with him I shouldn’t tell him.... Also he never goes on Facebook ever! And he used to go on once a day just to see if I had sent him a message or written on his wall but once we just started texting and calling it wasn’t necessary so he stopped. Well, as of right now he isn’t going on everyday but he is going on every couple of days and responding to his one friend who is a girl and its a really confusing situation that I cant explain just because it involves his mom and nationality and you would be here forever but I can say that he is 100% Ukrainian and I am not... but this other girl is and he went to camp for three weeks with her. I want to tell him that I want to get back together but I am not 100% sure if I should tell him anymore or if maybe the reason things started to die between us was because of this girl??? I have no idea and it’s killing me! And every time I try to sit down and talk to him privately about us getting back together something always comes up. So I’m really lost. Can you help???
Your question is long, but my advice is short: You need to go for it with this boy. If it works out, he’ll be the love of your life (or at least part of your life) because you are already such close friends and you have a really strong foundation on which to base your relationship. If you give it another shot and have to break up again, it’s probably not meant to be. But I don’t think you can write off the possibility of a successful relationship at this point. The fact that he never goes on Facebook is actually encouraging to me—it probably means he’s not that obsessed with what everyone else is doing (always a good sign in my book). And he’s probably just as lost as you are, which is why he hasn’t brought it up. So schedule a weekend lunch date or long after-school walk or midnight IM convo and get to the bottom of it. No matter how the conversation goes, both of you will likely feel a lot better once it's done.
Got some good advice for one (or all) of these Sparkler situations? Drop it into the comments! And as always, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.