The Guy’s Perspective: Can a guy and girl really be friends?
I’m 18, and have a platonic friendship with a guy who’s 21. We’ve been friends for almost four years. We share everything; we respect each other; we’re protective of one another; we trust one another and always encourage and want only the best for one another. And admittedly I do love him to pieces but in a strictly platonic way. Recently some of the things he’s said and done have caused me to wonder about how he sees our friendship compared to the way I see it. Two things. I’ve been told he’s exaggerated to some guy friends about our friendship, possibly hinting that more is going on than it is. Also, I recently started dating a guy and my guy friend met him once. He immediately said he didn’t like him, and told me my new guy friend was a creep, and that he didn’t trust him. This seemed a bit extreme, since he just met him. Is he being overprotective of me or does he see our friendship in a different way than I do? If so what should I do?
Thanks for your question. The answer starts with you. What do you want? Let’s say he was interested in being more than friends with you—I think he might be. Would you be interested in him romantically? Because how you proceed will be based on how you answer that question. You need to be completely honest with yourself. Could you see him as more than a friend? Not, do you wish you could see him as more than a friend, but could you actually see yourself romantically involved with him? Or do you strictly view him as your closest friend?
I get the sense he likes you but isn’t certain how you feel. And it’s a risk for him to tell you. He’s afraid if he says something one of three things might happen. 1. He’ll lose your friendship. 2. He’ll embarrass himself. 3. He’ll lose any chance of dating you down the road. (If he doesn’t say anything now he can always hope that he still might have a chance with you. If he says something and you don’t feel the same way, then the opportunity is lost forever.)
So once again Jillian, what do you want?
If you only see him as a friend you need to start establishing clearer boundaries. He shouldn’t be getting involved in your romantic interests, and he has no right to comment about the guys you are interested in unless you ask his opinion directly. He also needs to back off the overprotective guy mode and remember the two of you are just close friends. And finally he needs to stop exaggerating about your relationship to other people. That’s just a subtle way of gaining control over you, like he can steer this relationship in the direction he wants. However, these parameters need to come from you. You’re going to have to say something, otherwise he’s going to continue behaving this way.
I wish I could give you a definitive answer, but alas, the decision is up to you. Have you thought about having a talk with him to find out what’s really going on? If you want more from him, have you thought of telling him? At some point—probably sooner rather than later—the two of you need to hash all of these things out. Otherwise this could boil over into a situation where you need to “break up” with him.
Saelen Ghose is the head writer for The Guy’s Perspective, a popular relationship blog and website. Over the course of his tenure he has responded to thousands of relationship questions, and while he hasn’t solved every problem, he has provided a thoughtful perspective on every question received. If you have a relationship question of your own, please email email@example.com. Saelen will do his best to answer your question. Please limit your question to 200 words or less. For more from The Guy’s Perspective, visit www.theguysperspective.com.