Telling the difference between friendship and more than

Do you think it is possible for a man and a woman, if both are heterosexual, to be just friends? And I do not mean just acquaintances, because that is quite possible. I know a lot of men through my job and through female friends. But those men are not really my friends. I never go out with just them or go to see just them, there will always be others if that is the case. I can go out with a group of people where some or even majority of the group is male.

And even if I am not counting these men my real friends there have been passes at me. Several of them. And I never saw it coming. So now there are a lot of these men I know that I’m a bit reluctant to go drinking with, even in bigger groups.

But really being friends with someone of the opposite sex? Yes, I’m thinking it just might be possible possible but can it be only friendship? If you are feeling comfortable in sharing your thoughts with someone, would you not want to share something else, too? I remember reading on several couples who say they are also each other’s best friends. How could one be best friends with someone of the oppposite sex and then be dating a different man?

But it is also dangerous. You can never be sure if the other one really just wants to be friends and nothing else. You do risk losing the friendship if you take your chance with him. Because how can you tell? What is the sign that the other one would want to be more than just friends?

Let me tell you a story. Maybe even two stories. I can not remember if I have told you these before, but once again I’m way too lazy to check my archives. I could really use that search function…

The first story starts with my second year of college. As you probably know by now, I work in a field where there are a lot more men than women. The year I started college our class consisted of about 100 boys and just six girls. So naturally I went out with boys a lot, but never had a boyfriend from my class.

On the second year I became a tutor for a group of new students. And a part of the tutoring was taking these new students to bars or pizza or whatever. Again I did not think much of it, as these are just people I’m studying with.

Sometime later that fall one of the boys showed a bit more interest in me. Yeah, well, whatever. It was not like I had never kissed a boy before! But this one seemed to think that because I did kiss him (when suitably drunk) once that now I was his girlfriend. Uh, oh, he’s really not my type!

So I told him that I do not want to be his girlfriend. Whew, problem solved. Or so I thought…

But we stayed friends. Or not really good friends, we never ever talked about anything really deep. Just some everyday things and went to bars for a drink sometimes. Hey, it’s not like there were too many girls to do that with!

Fast forward a few years. Enter a few real boyfriends. That this friend knew about and even saw, several times. Add growing irritation towards his lacking social intelligence. I mean he could come and visit me and start lying on my couch because he was tired. He could call me on the phone when I did not really feel like talking and I could just watch TV for several minutes with him on the line, both quiet. All kinds of little things.

But he was so convenient to have around. I could just call him if I wanted to go out for a beer. He seemed to be harmless enough. He could not still be interested in me after all this time and other boyfriends!

But then came the time something snapped in his head. He got taken to the padded room by the nice men in white suits. He got out and things were back to normal. Or so I thought.

About a half a year later I was doing my master’s thesis in a company. I still had to get through a few courses, too. So I was emailing with him about this one course we were both taking. I thought it would be great to study it a bit together. Then suddenly I got this snappy email from him that he does not want to study with me.

Fine, I thought, so be it. If you are so snappy then I do not want to see you for a while. So I did not return his calls or emails for a while. My feelings were hurt. At that time I had my very first cell phone so I had the luxury of seeing the caller id. So it was easy to take out those unwanted calls.

Then he got sent into hospital again. So I started receiving phone calls from a payphone at the hospital. I think I answered the first one. Big mistake. He kept blabbering on how he loves me and has always loved me. Then I knew the number and did not answer it again. But he kept on calling.

So I was working back then. So I had a working phone, too. Just a regular phone with no way of telling where the call came from. He had figured out that I could tell where the calls were coming from and that I was not going to answer. So he called me at work. I had no choice but to answer. Again the same incoherent talk about how he loves me followed by long pauses.

So I became afraid to answer the phone. Even at work. I still hate to answer calls from unknown numbers.

But even that was not all. One cold winter day I saw him calling on my mobile again. He had gotten out of the hospital by then. I happened to be in a supermarket at the time so I had no choice but to cut the call and close my phone because there was no way in hell I was going to answer it.

I was still living in a student apartment at that time. So it meant that I had two people living in the same apartment as I did. And my room could not be locked. This is where I went after I got the groceries I needed.

Had I really left my door open in the morning? And the lights on? And my towel on the floor? CD player on with sappy love music?

I opened the door some more. And there he was. Lying on the floor grabbing my towel. Listening to my CD. I closed the door really, really quickly. And ran out into the freezing cold winter.

I called my very good girlfriend. In a panic. I could not go into there, who knows what he might do. After all I’m just a small girl and he is a man, I’m no match to him. I did not know what they had given him or how crazy he was.

Luckily my friends boyfriend was home and promised to come there. He managed to talk that “friend” out of my room and took him to his apartment. But I could not go into that room. No way. I was too freaked out. So I went with the boyfriend to their place and stayed overnight.

Needless to say that was the end of that friendship. I never talked to him since. I have never seen him since. In his mind it was clearly just a matter of time before I would be his girlfriend. In my mind I knew that would not happen even if he was the last man on earth.

I know I promised you two stories, but this one post is getting too long. I’m actually amazed if anyone has managed to read this far. But you will have another example of freaky friends in a later post.

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One response to “Telling the difference between friendship and more than

  1. It’s an age old discussion whether men and women can be friends.
    But this story is on the extreme end of the spectrum.
    And if you ask me, this guy stopped being a friend very early on.

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