Ask Jono: Your Friend Likes Someone, And So Do You, Maybe, Perhaps
Okay. My best friend—we'll call her Lilly—likes this one guy that I've known since 5th grade (Seth). She has been wanting me to ask him if he has a girlfriend, because she's interested in him but she literally fell on her face one time she was talking to him in French class, and in the same day she ended up injuring him by kicking him. Of course, that wasn't on purpose, but that's not the point.
The problem is that, I don't know if there IS a problem. Explanation: Today and... well... many other days... I've tried to ask him if he has a girlfriend. I rehearsed what to say, because the thought of asking him made me nervous because 1) I'm kinda shy and 2) HELLO, awkward! What if he started thinking I'm the one who likes him? So I thought of a way to ask him that was worded so he'd know I'm not interested, but... I'm pretty sure that I am. Notice: I said pretty sure.
I had a dream last night where... uh... well, he kissed me, and I enjoyed it in this dreamland, yet I felt terrible and guilty for it (during and after the dream) because I mean... my BFF likes him! She has low self-esteem and she already has said how she thinks I am all-over "better than her" (but she IS clinically depressed so she isn't exactly Mrs. Positive anyways). If Seth went for ME instead of HER, she'd be completely furious at me and we JUST got over this huge fight.
I know dreams are like the brain's way of making sense of what has been going on in your life, and I've noticed little things like how I mess with my hair around him because he makes me nervous in a sort-of good way and how I'm always fidgeting with my clothes for the same reasons. We joke around with each other and he's funny, and cute and all that, but... I'm not mature enough for a relationship and I know it. I'm just not ready.
I'm getting the sense that he's interested because he actually bothered to learn my friend's name even though he has never met her and never speaks to her. He's always saying hi in the hallway and sometimes he'll do this irritating thing where he touches (example) my right shoulder and when I look over my right shoulder, I figure out that he's actually on my left. And then he'll say some stupid, funny thing and I'll laugh.
But this all happened AFTER Lilly told me she likes him. I NEVER had interest in Seth like this until Lilly told me that. So what the heck is going on? Is it jealousy, or what? Why did I just magically start liking this guy? I seriously never thought of Sam like that until Lilly told me...just...what does that MEAN?! I feel like some sick, terrible friend. What kind of person starts liking the same guy their friend does simply because that friend said she likes that guy?! SERIOUSLY, what the heck is wrong with me?
And the other thing is, it's not like I'm stuck on Seth or anything. If any other cute guy walked past, I'd think, "Oh, he's cute." It's not like my mind doesn't wander away from Seth. But Seth is the only guy that I'd consider dating (even though at this point I don't want to date) simply because I KNOW him better than any other guy. He's like, my only real guy friend.
Can you help me figure out my whacko brain? I don't get it.
This one is loaded with stuff I want to address, so I'll get right to it.
First, it's kind of you to think of your friend before thinking of yourself. I'm pretty sure that I would not have been this mature in high school. (That is, I would have shoved my best friend down a well and then told the girl that he moved to Turkmenistan and that we could date now.) But you're right; insofar as there are dibs in these situations, I think she has them. I will come back to this.
Second, dreams aren't necessarily your brain's way of solving problems. Dreams are often your brain's way of going BEEP BOOP BRAIN ERROR and blurting out a bunch of nonsense. Sometimes they're just the random result of all the accumulated things that have crossed your mind recently, or ever, and you are much more likely to find their content meaningful if you already agree with it. If you dream that you like a hot dude, you conclude that you like the hot dude; if you dream that you like the mailman, and then you are flying, and then you're in your kitchen but it's not really your kitchen, you conclude that dreams are stupid.
However: yeah, you like this guy. Not because of the dream, but because of your behavior around him, and also because you think you like him. (Guys rarely have this problem; then know when they like someone, but in all fairness that's because guys always like everyone.) If you think you like a guy, you do, or at least you like the things about him you've seen. I have occasionally brought up women's seeming inability to detect when guys are actually jerks at heart, but that issue is a whole other ball of worms.
What you're feeling here isn't exactly jealousy, but it's similar. There's a well-documented effect that guys who are already taken suddenly become hotter. You can show women pictures of some generic single guy, and they'll responding with an overwhelming "meh," but if you show them the same exact guy and explain that he's dating, they'll rate his physical characteristics as more attractive. And this is sensible; if someone else wants him, he's probably not a dangerous lunatic, right? I think this effect partially applies to you. I think you're mature enough to realize you already sort of like him and this isn't 100% due to Stupid Things That Brains Do. But I also think you might never have confronted that fact if your friend hadn't forced the issue.
The TLDR here is that you are not weird or a bad friend. Your reaction means that you subconsciously find it better to like a person someone else finds likeable, which proves only that you are a human being and not a crafty robot in disguise. I think you should support your friend in her attempts with this guy, because that's what good friends do, although the "my friend whom you never talk to likes you!!" approach almost never develops into anything. Or support her until it becomes apparent that he's not interested in her (which is the impression I'm getting). If you and Seth are right for each other, and like each other, and you decide that you want to date... well, you'll cross that bridge when you come to it. Maybe in the future, it will be Lilly's turn to be supportive of you while you pursue the relationship that you want. I am not saying "yes you may kiss his face parts immediately" here. Right now, just be patient and be a good friend.
What would you do in this situation?