By Alma Gill (NNPA Newswire Columnist)
I’ve been friends with a woman for over 10 years. We went to high school together. I left for college and she stayed in our hometown. We continued our friendship, visits, hanging out, traveling together, partying together and all that. After graduation I relocated to New York and I love it. She started coming to visit from time to time and two months ago also relocated to the city. Of course I told her she could stay with me until she finds a place and here’s where things started to change. When we are hanging out now all of a sudden she touches me inappropriately. Sometimes when we’re at home, and even when we’re out at bars and restaurants, she will hug me intimately and kiss me on the lips. She touches my breast and I don’t like it. It’s weird. I just don’t get it. I’ve told her to stop, but she keeps doing it. No, she’s not gay and no, this has never happened until now. I’ve had enough, how do I get her to take me seriously?
Dear Awkward Friend,
Sweet Pea, is it just me or does she like you in a way that you may not be ready to admit? It’s great that you two have maintained such a wonderful friendship over the years, and I’d venture to say her newfound freedom, in a new city has brought about a new attitude. It could be that she’s had feelings for you all along and just recently gathered enough nerve to act on them. You said she kisses you on the lips – hugs and touches you – did it tingle? If so, ahhhh, yeah, she likes you. And she’s dropping hints like a trail of peppermints. LOL.
Back up now, here comes the tricky part. If the feelings aren’t mutual, you’ve gotta make it clear, respectfully and maturely. Ummmm, that’s why she isn’t taking you seriously. Pick a specific place and time. Confidently let her know you treasure the friendship but you aren’t interested in a relationship. Honor her feelings, don’t brush them off as if they don’t exist. Although it will be awkward since you’re living together, clarify and ask her, “Are you trying to get with me?” Give it a minute to cool down and settle in. I really don’t think there’s a need to end the friendship, unless she wants to, because you guys have so much history. Obviously, it would be good to come up with a deadline for her to find a place. This is gonna be tough on her, so don’t expect all the puzzle pieces to just fall back into place. Being rejected is painful and crushes you to the core.
Basically, the two of you have to be honest with each other and have this brutal conversation. You can’t go forward without it. Time will heal these broken pieces so don’t give up so easily. This may be complex, but clarity is just around the corner. Be the longtime friend you’d seek if the shoe were on the other foot. Love is brutal when it’s not reciprocated.
Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.