Q: My best guy friend and I have been super-close (and platonic) for close to four years. We share a lot of the same interests and do everything together, but lately I have been getting the vibe that he wants it to be something more. He keeps planning intimate, romantic dinners and he is starting to be very touchy-feely and complimentary about my body. I love him, but only as a friend, and I have no desire to take things to the next level. What should I do?
A:It sounds to me like your suspicions are probably correct. If you used to go out for wings and beers, and suddenly he is starting to take you to romantic dinners for two, I would certainly think that he has something up his sleeve. Add to that the fact that he is touching you and complimenting you in nonplatonic ways, and I would say that he is probably starting to think of you in a different light.
Since you are his friend, I think you need to do the honest and right thing, which is to cut things off at the pass. It will likely be very hard and awkward to do, especially as you don’t want to hurt his feelings or harm the friendship. However, telling him the truth will be the kindest thing to do, not to mention the surest way to end the tension and get you back on a platonic track.
Find a time when the two of you can talk privately, and say something like, “This might sound crazy, but lately I have been picking up a vibe from you that you might want to be more than just friends. If I am off base here, let’s just laugh it off and agree that I am a tad full of myself — but if not, I think we need to talk about it, because I love you a great deal, but only as a friend.” Be honest and clear, and reassure him that you value your friendship immensely. Inject a bit of humor to make the situation a little less tense, and once the matter has been discussed, move on and don’t mention it again (even in jest). After all, guys have feelings, too!
Lastly, I might also suggest that the two of you take a little break from each other. You can still be friends, but you say that you do “everything” together, which means that both of you might be missing out on connections with other people. A cute guy isn’t likely to approach you at a bar if you are already with a guy, and you aren’t going to have many nights free to meet available people if you are both joined at the hip.
Even if you aren’t in the market for a guy right now, it sounds like your friend is certainly in the market for a girl, so do him a favor by encouraging him to have some guys’ nights and to explore his own interests. Once he meets his Miss Right, all that awkward tension will dissipate and you can go back to being just buds again. Good luck!
— Dr. Laura Berman