I’m so confused about this situation

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  • Lucy
    October 27, 2022 at 1:50 pm #1116671

    Just a warning before I go into this, I have a habit of overthinking and over analyzing certain situations so if you think I’m doing that and I’m wrong about all this just tell me lol. I’m hoping for thoughts and opinions on this situation. But basically I have a very close male friend, we’ve been friends for about a year. Many people think this guy likes me and I think so too, but then again I’m not sure. Unfortunately, he has an extremely hard time being open about his feelings and stuff like that.

    He has told me a few times I’m the only one he feels this close to and all his other friends are just people he hangs out with, like surface level friends if that makes sense. He also has had a VERY tough childhood and doesn’t have the best home life, so getting close to people and being vulnerable is hard for him sadly. Some days he will be very sweet, calling me beautiful and pretty, hugging me a lot, making excuses to hold my hand and just things like that. He acts very differently around me vs his other friends.

    Then when he gets too close, he will distance himself. I have a tendency to always take things personally and i constantly feel like I did something wrong, so I ask the people who I’m close to for advice. They tell me (some also know him) when he gets too close to me he’ll pull away, afraid of how I’ll react and think. A few days ago he opened up to me and told me something he said he had never told anyone before, something super personal and not good. Then the next day at school he acted kinda nervous around me and distanced himself a lot. He talks to other people in class and down at lunch but mostly avoids me, which someone told me was because I had the power to “hurt” him and he was vulnerable with me.

    Of course I don’t know all of this for 100% certain, Im just making assumptions based on how he acts. I could sadly never ask him cuz he would just deny it all, again afraid of fully opening up. I texted him and said I’m
    Here for you, and Ive noticed you getting distant and you know you can trust me, and he replied saying nothing is wrong and he talks to me all the time (not true at the moment). I asked my mother for advice and she said he is deflecting and isn’t being honest with me, she also believes everything I’ve said. Also this is what other people have observed as well. Just another note, I have OCD so even if I believe something like this, my thoughts will convince me I’m wrong about the situation, so it helps to get other peoples thoughts.

    October 27, 2022 at 6:09 pm #1116677

    I think this is what it looks like, a kid who’s pretty messed up and doesn’t know how to get close to someone. It sounds exhausting.

    Also, I think your generation thinks oversharing some secret about yourself = intimacy. It doesn’t. Or you think that it’s either you don’t “let down your walls” at all, or you completely over share and become “vulnerable.” I don’t think you all actually know how to just get to know someone organically anymore because you didn’t develop the communication skills that older generations did.

    So yeah, I think this kid has no idea how to communicate, and he went too far and told you something he shouldn’t have, and now he’s like, “oh shit.” What was it, by the way? I hope he didn’t hurt an animal or something.

    I would not chase after him at this point. Take a step back.

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    October 28, 2022 at 1:58 pm #1116692

    IMO, someone with a difficult upbringing who has not spent any time working through their past/on themselves/dealing with their baggage will make for an unfulfilling person to be in a relationship with. He may like you in his own way — whatever that means to him at whatever age you are (you sound young) — but I’d not pursue him if that’s what you’re asking about. He sounds emotionally unavailable and the pulling back when he feels too close thing is how people with an avoidant attachment style operate (not trying to diagnose him though). That feeling that you’ve done something wrong? Yeah, it won’t go away if you start dating. He won’t magically be able to open up about his feelings and he will continue to pull away any time he feels like he’s gotten too close.

    October 28, 2022 at 2:12 pm #1116694

    Please keep your guard up with this person. I don’t know what he said to you, but if he is thinking of hurting himself, you need to tell someone. If he has a serious issue like depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, if he was abused in the past, etc., then he needs the help of a professional as soon as possible. Who knows? Something sounds off by what you are describing.

    Be kind, be gentle, but also be direct with him next time he is emotionally available with you. You can start by saying, “I’ve noticed you are struggling, and I am concerned about you. Can you tell me how you are feeling recently?” and see if he will open up to you at all. Don’t beat around the bush. If he gets close to you and pulls away on a regular basis, this is a sign that he is struggling with internal issues. Let him know your expectations as well: do not allow yourself to be treated by anyone poorly. By setting expectations with others, you can set yourself up for healthy friendships and relationships. Let him know, in a kind way, that you will not tolerate friendships that seem to come and go on a rollercoaster and that he needs to find an even ground with you or some kind of compromise that you both can agree on,

    Be cautious with yourself, and take care of yourself too. Know that you need to guard your own feelings and emotional well-being.

    October 28, 2022 at 3:40 pm #1116695

    When someone behaves in a manner that is contradictory or confusing, it’s not some deep mystery that only you have the power to uncover, it just means they are contradictory, unsure and awkward and also confusing to deal with. None of those things are good, or fun to manage a relationship with.

    I also wonder what this “not good” thing he told you was about. Kate is right, there this thing where people think sharing their deeply personal trauma/stuff makes you know each other better, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t bind you together or make you know each other on some deeper level. It’s just one weird troubling thing you know about him. You haven’t spent years with him, learning he’s trustworthy and a good friend…you’ve spent a year learning he’s incredibly difficult and routinely makes you feel bad. Deflects is spot on (your mom sounds smart and awesome, BTW!)

    If he hurt an animal or human, I hope you keep your distance.

    October 28, 2022 at 3:42 pm #1116696

    I don’t think getting more involved with his emotional landscape is a good idea. Don’t ask him to share with you, give him the space he wants and back away.

    October 31, 2022 at 6:15 am #1116716

    @Kate – I’m with you -there is this notion of being “one’s authentic self” that I appreciate and support up to a point. There were things that had to remain hidden because of social norms – being gay or bi, abusive relationships and such. But somehow, the youths of today have mooshed all of this up and so they tell their deepest secrets to someone who may not protect those secrets.

    – tell your friend that you’re going to give him space but that his secret is safe with you – and I really hope that you can say that honestly.

    October 31, 2022 at 7:18 am #1116718

    I’m not sure I actually see a question in here.

    You mention you think that he likes you. Do you like him?

    Do you want him to stop avoiding you? Your best option is to treat him like you normally would. Pushing him to be closer would likely only push him away further. That being said, it’s up to him if he wants to keep avoiding you or not. There are no magic words that will make him change his behaviour.

    I suggest avoiding phrases like “you know you can trust me”. Whether or not he feels he can trust you is up to him, not you.

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I’m so confused about this situation

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