Dear Joey,

I have been in love with a friend of mine for two years now and I hate it. If Friendzone was on Yelp, I would be the Duke of it. Any relationship I try to have to help me overcome this only works for so long before failing (as relationships do) and I know it’s not fair to them. I would do the whole “distance oneself from the problem” but we are both part of a core social circle and I don’t want to lose all of them too because of something I can’t get over.

Although my feelings have never been spoken outright, it’s probably as obvious as a tattoo on my forehead that I have feelings for them. However, I honestly have no idea. They are also single, have been for a while, and I think if there had been any interest, a move on their part would have already been made. I just wish I could make my feelings go away. It would be so much easier.

Help me, obi-wan Ke-Joey.

Sincerely,

Arms tired from carrying this damn torch

Dear Arms Tired,

Being in a one-sided love crush sucks. Literally. It will suck the joy and hope right out of your life. Every interaction gets analyzed for hidden meanings and glimmers of possibility. Every goodbye makes you miserable again. Surely they must know, right?

Maybe. But maybe not.

I talked a little about this in Whoosh Factor, but what may seem obvious to you may be totally unnoticed by someone else.  I’ve had guys tell me that they asked me out or hit on me, and I really had no idea.  Even when I feel like someone is flirting with me, I’ll often talk myself out of believing it – it’s easier to justify that they are talking that way because I’m the organizer of the function we are at, or that they know that I’m a natural flippant flirt, or some other reason.

If you have watched the web series “The Guild” by Felicia Day- there is an example of this in the very first season.  To online gamer Zaboo, his love for fellow guildmate Codex should have been obvious.  He gave her game gold, they exchanged winking smiley faces, he crafted for her and helped her level.  She should know they were in a relationship, and so therefore, not be surprised when he showed up to her home and planned to move in. She, however, had no idea.

In your case, you admit, you have carried this torch for 2 years – so now what?  Well, put down the torch, and throw down the gauntlet too.  You have to tell them – just to make sure they know.  They may not have made a move because they have been just as scared as you, and thought you would make some sort of move showing you were open.  Or they could be just oblivious. Stop guessing and just put it out there.

I did this recently – and even though the guy and I never went on a date – it at least purged it out of my system.  Once I faced my fear and just asked him out, and got his answer, the torture was over.

It can be as simple as an email.  That’s what I did.  I just sent him an email and said – “Hey – I just want you to know – I think you are cute as heck and would love to go have a drink sometime.  If you are not interested, that’s cool – no harm, no foul.  But I figured if I never asked – I’d never know.”

He originally said yes, then he cancelled due to work and didn’t offer to reschedule.  Fair enough – point taken.  I saw him again at the next group thing, we gave each other hugs, and just acted normal.  You have to fake it at first – but then you know.  And that makes it easier.

Don’t worry about your friends.  They don’t even have to know.  As long as you remain chill, and your object of affection remains chill, and operate “business as normal” if it is not a match, then things will go on as normal, or transition back to normal.  No true friend is going to fault you for making your feelings known.  And any friend that does, as long as you don’t go all Sting “Every Breath You Take” stalker mode, is not a friend worth having.

The group will survive.  Don’t let the group keep you from pursuing happiness.  If I was being honest, anytime I’ve used my friends or my position as a reason for not making a move, the real reason was just that I was (bawk bawk bawk) chicken.   Because holding the torch was better than being empty-handed. Not having someone to pine over, for me, meant that I would have to start again in my quest for love.  That can be daunting, can’t it?

I’m proud of you for recognizing that carrying the torch isn’t healthy.  That shows you are strong enough to find out the truth and move forward with whatever result you get.  Please let me know the outcome – I’m happy to be your sounding board along the way.  Us love questers have to stick together!

Wishing you love and happiness –

–Joey