It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I like this girl who is my friend, but I want to be more. I don’t want to say anything to her because if I do I’m afraid it will end our friendship if she doesn’t feel the same way, and I don’t want to lose her as a friend.
Before I say anything, remember that I know Jack Squat about this subject. Thus, whatever else you read here will likely be about as valuable as a screen door on a submarine.
But here’s the deal. I don’t think things will go back to normal no matter what you do. Even if you never told her how you feel, things are probably already getting weird between you two. And trust me, they are about to get weirder if you open your mouth.
But I still think you ought to say something to her. Before you do, however, maybe ask yourself a few questions:
Such as, what happens if she doesn’t like you THAT way? How will you feel when she starts dating Brad Pitt? And she WILL date Brad Pitt, they always date Brad Pitt. Will seeing her with him kill your confidence? Will you forever look into your mirror and see “Fatty” Arbuckle staring back at you?
Well, I can almost answer this question for you. And the answer is: “Who the heck is Fatty Arbuckle?”
I’m speaking from experience here. When I was younger, I was friends with a girl who, for the purposes of this column, I will call—oh, I don’t know—Medusa.
Medusa was very pretty; I was young. She considered me her lovable little pal. To her, I was sort of like Raggedy Andy, only less attractive. She gave me butterflies in my stomach. And I mistakenly thought she felt butterflies, too. But come to find out she was only feeling gas pains. Seriously. Doctors found out she was allergic to dairy products, lactose gave her enough intestinal propulsion to race a speedboat.
I apologize. That was an off-color joke. She couldn’t race a speedboat. A pontoon, maybe.
I lied to myself where she was concerned. I told myself there was something there even though there wasn’t. And I learned that nothing is worse than lying to yourself. Simple fibbing is bad enough. But lying to yourself is pure schizophrenia. You end up living in a fantasy that’s even more phony than Disney World.
Speaking of which. Have you ever visited the Magic Kingdom? You’ll notice that it looks perfect on the outside, but underneath it is very different.
I once had a friend employed at Disney. I visited him on the job. He took me through a secret door and showed me the guts of the Happiest Place on Earth. I learned that below the grounds of Disney World are nine acres of underground utilidor tunnels. They look like the bowels of a nuclear battleship.
These corridors were built so that Disney workers could stay hidden from plain sight.
We passed all sorts of costumed employees roaming the tunnels who sort of reminded me of underground trolls. They wore long faces and the sweaty suits of licensed cartoon characters like Pluto. They didn’t look like they were in the Magic Kingdom, if you catch my drift. Pluto looked like he needed a cigarette break.
Do you see what I’m getting at here? Well, I hope you do because I’ve completely lost my train of thought.
No. Wait. What I’m getting at is that things aren’t always what you want them to be. Your friendship might be pretty great on the outside. But below the surface it might be as disappointing as Pluto smoking a Virginia Slim.
For example, when I told Medusa how I felt, she answered me, “Gee, I’ve always thought of you as a really good friend.”
This was code for, “You’re as ugly as homemade fudge.”
I was crushed, but I got over her. And I’m lucky because some people spend lifetimes being fixated on something or someone they can’t have.
I have a friend (Caroline) who has been in love with the same disinterested guy for almost a decade. Caroline is old enough to qualify for AARP and yet she is missing out on her best years. Also, her real name is not Caroline, or else after reading this she would neuter me with a spatula.
So I know you don’t want to lose this girl as a friend, but the truth is you cannot lose a true friend—unless of course they harm you with a spatula. A real friend won’t stand by and watch you suffer. A friend will consider your feelings as more important than her own.
I’m sorry. You probably expected me to say something a lot more helpful, but I’m not qualified to give advice. If I were, I’d remind you that you have a long life ahead, and one of the most important relationships you’ll ever have is with yourself. Be gentle with your heart.
Tell her how you feel. Grit your teeth and wait for her answer. If she rips your heart in two, so be it. Don’t let it ruin you. The right girl is out there waiting with a needle and thread to sew you back together. Once you’re all stitched up and smiling, then ask yourself what wonderful things in life you’re going to do next.
I know what I’m doing. I’m going to Disney World to visit my old pal, Pluto. His break starts in a few minutes.
Shelton A. - February 13, 2020 12:16 pm
Good advice from someone who says he knows nothing,. I thought you were pretty wise…don’t let that go to your head. Ya done good.
Janis - February 13, 2020 1:45 pm
Well said, Sean. Correct on every point. Even Disney, underground. The great news is that friends that try to be more than that, but really aren’t, can sometimes, with a little time, turn out to be friends again. (This happened in the era before friends-with-benefits was a ‘thing’.) I hope your friend ‘Caroline’ read this post, stops mooning, and gets on with her life. Yep. Yep. Yep. <3
Dianne DeVore - February 13, 2020 1:59 pm
Great advice, Sean. Either the chemistry is there or it isn’t………period.
emjaytexas - February 13, 2020 3:57 pm
What a gift you have! You amuse, you hand out enough pearls of wisdom to clad the hallowed gates.
Linda Moon - February 13, 2020 4:41 pm
……..”as valuable as a screen door on a submarine”…..I never heard that one before and I’ll be sure to use it when needed. Your advice today, Columnist, might be good for someone I know and love who is stuck in the Friend Zone. So I’ll forward your column to him today. And remember this, Sean — Homemade Fudge is BEAUTIFUL in the eyes of some beholders!
Retired Ol' Geezer - February 13, 2020 5:01 pm
Well, Sean, it does not get any easier even when we’re older. However, at least twice, when I finally got the nerve to ask out “friends”, they said “no”. Believe it or not, that was OK. It cleared the air and we stayed friends for years afterward. It was simply because they were honest and up front and didn’t “string me along”. As disappointed as I was, at first, anyway, it all turned out OK.
Elizabeth - February 14, 2020 11:13 am
Perfect wise advice!
George T Jacoby - February 15, 2020 5:21 am
Phonier, Sean. Phonier… 😉
Debby Haddock - February 16, 2020 12:31 am
Well, my friend told me how he felt, and we have been happily married for almost 39 years. Happiness is being married to your best friend!