So I’m 18, and have a platonic friendship with a guy who’s 21. We’ve been friends for almost four years but the last two years our friendship really became a solid one.
We used to argue a lot when we were younger and we did have our problems, to the point where I needed a break and cut him out of my life for six months. But after that break we got talking again and we’ve eventually regained our friendship. We haven’t had a single argument in the past nine months; we’re equals to each other; we share everything; we know each other inside out; we can express how we feel or if the other has annoyed us we can tell each other without it becoming a problem or turning into an argument; we respect each other; we care; we’re protective of one another (him more so over me than what I am over him); we trust one another and always encourage and want only the best for one another. And admittedly I do love him to pieces and I know he loves me, but in a strictly platonic way. He’s my go to guy, the one I want to call when I have good or bad news, and he’s the guy who calls me from the other side of the world to ask me how an interview went. The one person who always sees the best in me and can always make me smile.
Now my question is, that’s how I see our friendship. 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.
For example, recently a guy who I’ve known for a while—he knows him too, but doesn’t know him personally—became a romantic interest of mine. And my guy friend doesn’t like him. He doesn’t know him or anything about him, but after one incident where this guy walked me home and tried it on, which I refused his advances, my guy best friend automatically does not like him. He tells me this guys a creep, that if this guy ever wants to walk me home again, he needs to have his permission to do so. He’s involving himself too much in my personal life, and I don’t even involve myself in his. He’s told me that every time he sees this guy he feels irritated and wants to tell him to “fuck off.”
Then recently after a night out, he was about to walk a girl home and we bumped into each other. We hugged and he asked me to text him when I got home to know I was safe. He then called me (drunk) and told me the girl had asked who I was and he’d told her that I was his “friend with benefits.” (When our friendship is nothing of the sort and nothing like that had ever happened between us in the whole four years we’ve known each other.) So you can understand why I paused in my response as I didn’t know what to say to that.
Is he just being overprotective with this guy who’s shown and interest in me or does he see our friendship in a different way that I do? If so what should I do?
Thanks for your question. Here’s a related question we previously answered: What does my best friend want?
The answer starts with you. What do you want? Let’s say he was interested in being more than friends with you—we think he might be. Would you be interested in him romantically? Because how you proceed will be based on how you answer those questions. 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?
It’s a risk for either of you to express that you might want more from the relationship. He’s skirting around the issue, dropping hints, exaggerating to other people about your relationship, being overprotective, and frankly, protecting his “territory.” Don’t get upset. That’s just how guys are when they care about a woman. It’s not that he sees you as someone who needs protecting, or who even wants it, it’s just his guy instincts kicking in.
It’s unlikely he’ll come right out and tell you he wants more from you, unless he’s drunk again. It’s too much of a risk for three reasons. 1. He doesn’t want to lose your friendship. 2. He doesn’t want to embarrass himself. 3. If he doesn’t say anything 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 Elle, what do you want?
It is possible we could be misinterpreting his actions, but it seems we see what you do. At least we’re assuming, otherwise why would you have written to us wondering what was going on.
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. But unfortunately these parameters need to come from you. You’re going to have to say something, otherwise he’s going to continue behaving this way.
We wish we could give you a definitive answer, but alas, the decision is up to you. Have you thought of having a talk with him about 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” for a time, like you did before.
What do you think? Leave us a comment, or a follow up question in the comment’s section below.
Also, we’re hoping you’ll share our site with your friends. Also share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, or wherever you tend to frequent. We’d appreciate it. Thanks!
ps. And as always, we do accept donations through our PayPal button on the right side of any page. No donation is too small or too big. Thanks!