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Starting a friendship

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  • #82819
    HealingWords
    Participant

    There is a guy who I feel like I have a good connection with and someone I really want to be friends with. When we went on school events together we found me had many things in common. Months ago I tried inviting him to hang out with a group or sometimes just the two of us and at first he said that he was busy. Then he admitted that he was afraid I liked him and was avoiding me. I had told him I didnt feel that way.
    He went away for the summer so I gave him space and expected for us to pretty much ignore each other when we returned to school since he seemed to have no intention to be friends with me. But we didn’t. Despite me persisting to give him space he talked to me often.
    I have been so confused by his actions, he seems very interested in being around me when we work together, finds excuses to say something to me, is friendly and tries to help me often, yet does not try to get involved with me otherwise. I want to ask him to hang out again but I dont want to make him uncomfortable, so I hope he askes me but he doesn’t. I do not know if it is a lost cause but I don’t want to let go of a possible friendship because I have never met anyone who I feel so connected too.

    I do not know how to break the barriers between us or if I should just let it go and move on. I feel like he is hiding something from me, or from everyone. I get a feeling that he is afraid to get close to people.
    How can I get closer to him, or should I not bother because he doesn’t put an effort toward it? What are things I can do to help friendships grow?

    #82830
    Brian
    Participant

    Laure,

    As someone who is afraid of connection myself, I find myself empathizing with the guy you’re interested in being friends with. I of course don’t know you or him or what his motivations are. I think it’s good that he admitted to you that he’s afraid of you liking him–it seems to be an honest admission. Given he’s finding excuses to talk to you, it sounds like he is indeed interested in you at least as a friend. On the other hand, there could be something he doesn’t want to admit, as you say.

    What do you think would happen if you simply asked him, “Is there something you’re afraid of?”? Do you think he’d run away and not speak to you again? I don’t know what his hangup is.

    I don’t know how old you are, or how old he is. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. But when I was in my teens I couldn’t admit anything to anyone. Now that I’m a good deal older I find that I’m more forthcoming with how I am and/or what I feel.

    So then, if he’s hiding from you or everyone, I would ask him about it. He does seem interested, but afraid. Ultimately, he is going to need to be the one to open up to you, if you’re trying and he’s afraid of trying.

    #82845
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laure:

    I would write him a letter and give it to him to read in his own time. Write in there what you expressed in this post, your feelings, your thoughts, your questions about his fears, motivations, your willingness and ability- if true- to talk to him about whatever it is. You can share some of your fears and let him know that you need help with those and would like to have a relationship where you can help each other with your individual fears, that you are willing to take it slow, friends only if needed, keep an open mind, take it in small increments-

    All this if it is true to you, if you are willing and capable of such- not as his psychotherapist-like, but as a fellow human with fears and insecurities and needs as well. You can offer him a partnership of some sort with the goal of helping each other.

    Once you give him the letter, and you have a copy of it, you will know that you did your best in offering something good between you and him, and you give him the time to consider it when he is alone and relatively safe. He will have time to think of it without the pressure of answering right there and then.

    anita

    #82922
    HealingWords
    Participant

    Brian,
    We are both in our 20’s, in college, but share no classes right now. I feel like it is hard enough to talk to him in private, I do not think I would get a chance to ask him if there is something he is afraid of. Or if he is hiding something.

    I have always had a hard time expressing my feelings and being open toward people, and now I am doing better. Having come from that standpoint, I keep thinking that maybe he is the same. I remember him mentioning, in a easygoing joking around manner, saying that he has a hard time with emotions. But I know he meant it. I want to be open with him and just tell him things bluntly, but at the same time I do not want to scare him away or bother him. For all I know I could be some annoying girl to him. It is frustrating to me, not being able to understand his motives and not knowing how to straight up ask him.

    Anita,
    I often write letters to people that I never send, to collect my thoughts. Although I like the idea of a letter, I have had a lot of backlash with that type of thing in the past. I do not know if I would be able to give it to him, and I am not going to lie that I would be devastated if he ignored it. I also will have to work with him at some point in the future and I do not want to put him in an awkward position where he is stuck around me after he rejected a friendship between us, if that were the case.

    Has letters worked well for you?

    #82924
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laure:

    When i think of letters I wrote, that is before emails, well… I don’t remember giving a letter to a guy. Important letters to my mother and my sister were either ignored or otherwise not appreciated. Maybe it is not the best mode of communication. It probably is not a good idea then. I stand corrected.

    Do you know what music this guy likes? What kinds of things does he like to read? What is his favorite subject in college? It could be possible to communicate about your emotions, his and yours, indirectly through music, literature, history, etc.

    anita

    #82927
    HealingWords
    Participant

    Anita,

    Letters are often unappreciated in this age, which is sad. I gave my mother a letter a few times and, like you it was either ignored or not appreciated. I do not know his view of letters so maybe he would not understand.
    I know a lot of his interests, and maybe I can indirectly communicate to him and slide it into a conversation. It might be hard and take time, but I think that is a great idea to ease the subject without being forceful!

    #83076
    Matt Turner
    Participant

    Hi Laure,

    I’m sorry to hear the struggles you are having in this friendship. If I can offer you some help, here it is:

    Connecting with another human being on any level can be difficult. This is because we all carry our own vulnerability, our own issues and our own experiences and stories. Each of us has different levels of relationship trauma from our families, past relationships and friendships. When we try to connect with others we come up against this, but its confusing when we can’t pinpoint exactly what we are battling against.

    Good fertilizer for any relationship to develop is a healthy level of self-esteem, acceptance of our own feelings, the ability to empathize with others, the desire to respect your own boundaries and understand the boundaries of others, the desire and ability to communicate in a fashion that is free of blame and expresses how you feel in a non-confrontational way.

    Try to take a look at each of these areas and see how you show up and what comes up for you. From there, you’ll be able to see if you’re able to make this relationship work or not right now.

    Best of luck and much love!

    Matt.
    http://www.seedslifecoaching.com/

    #83184
    Brian
    Participant

    Laure,

    Sorry it’s taken so long to respond. I’ve had some crises going on. You may not even still check this. But I wanted to acknowledge that I read your reply, and respond. I myself don’t know about letters. I mean, I’ve been misinterpreted so many times via the written word that often I just want to give up and speak in person only. But I can’t really do that because it’s not feasible to do that in a very timely fashion when someone lives a ways away from me and/or doesn’t have time to meet.

    I think a letter can be good if it’s simply impossible to hang out with him (due to his roadblocks, yours, or whomever’s). But so much is conveyed via body language, eye contact, posture etc that I think in-person is the way to go…if he’ll do it.

    Hmm…when I was younger I can remember being liked by a girl I didn’t like. It was very uncomfortable, but I had to tell her so as not to unintentionally lead her on. But that seems not the case here, since he kept contacting you. I know I said this before, but it seems like he really wants connection with you, but is scared of it.

    How are things going now with him?

    #83415
    HealingWords
    Participant

    Matt,
    that is great solid advice I will keep in mind when trying to develop friendships. Some times when I see people like him I think that he is not vulnerable, but I have been trying to remember that all people have their hardships. I know with him I need to be a good communicator, accepting and empathetic. I struggle with opening up, and I usually do not have the best self-esteem, and maybe that has been one of the reasons why we may not have connected completely.

    Brian,
    I think it is better to communicate with him in person, especially since every time I have texted him it hasn’t gone well. Maybe a letter would be different but I think that would be something better saved for a different time.
    I some times doubt that he actually wants a connection. We occasionally end up seeing each other at school and besides that I never see him. Currently I see him maybe once a week if I am lucky. he never puts an effort toward meeting outside of school, and I won’t anymore because I feel like I am bothering him. This to me is so stupid and frustrating because we have the same interests that we don’t often share with many people.
    I saw him last week at a program at school where we both work, and it was extremely awkward and I do not even know why. We didn’t even really talk. So things are not going well thus far. I am not so sure this is something that can be “fixed” and I do not know when it is the time to just let it go. I am starting to feel like if a friendship was going to happen it would have by now.

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