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Just friends: kiss of death?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  February 5, 2009 11:44 AM

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Does friendship mean it's over? Let's help confused.

Q: Met this woman about 2 years ago at a friend's party. At the time she was involved, and so was I -- but there was some chemistry there. I broke up with my GF last summer and she did the same in early fall. We ran into each other again in November started to hang out a bit. Because she was freshly out of a relationship, we were taking thing nice and easy, seeing each other only once a week. Even with the slow pace, mutual feelings began to develop and it all felt really nice. Then two weeks ago, she told me out of the blue that she was confused and feeling like she could only deal with a friendship at this point. I withdrew and stopped calling and emailing her, deciding to let her be and sort through this on her own. But today I got a nice note from her, asking if we could grab a drink soon -- and it got me thinking that all good relationships start as friendships -- so why not just calm my expectations and see her from time to time. I am conflicted. Is someone saying they "just want to be friends" the kiss of death -- or could it truly be that she likes me and is just scared to jump back in? Should I stick to my original plan and just let her be, or is her and I going out for drinks still a good idea -- since we are still getting to know each other and it can only help us get closer?
Confused in Cambridge :-)

A: Do I think friendship is the kiss of death? Probably. Sorry.

But if you can, as you suggest, "calm expectations" and "see her from time to time," I say go for it. Have the drinks. Be her friend. Just be sure you're being honest with yourself about your intentions. If you spend every outing with her wishing and hoping that she'll change her mind, it's bad news for both of you.

You sound like you're open to hugs instead of kisses. And maybe you're right -- a real romance could develop from a great friendship. It's been known to happen. People change their minds, for sure, and it sounds like she might be more confused than you, Confused.

But in the meantime, start considering other options. She has put the brakes on. Take a few eggs out of this basket.

Readers? Do you agree? Should he go for drinks with his "friend" or cut her off? Share here.

Also, Hopeless is still looking for help.

You can submit your own letter here.

-- Meredith

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33 comments so far...
  1. Let's see -- 2 weeks ago she said "let's be friends". Today she said "let's have a drink soon". LIkely she still just wants to be friends (which IS the kiss of death), but before going for the drink, why not just ask her if anything has changed? Then you can decide with more complete information if that's how you want to spend your time. Let's face it -- no matter how often you see her or not, you're still going to be hoping for more.

    P.S. Go see "When Harry Met Sally".

    Posted by Raffi February 5, 09 12:07 PM
  1. She was probably seeing other guys (or women) and you were not as good a prospect as the other guys/gals she was dating which is why she wanted you as a friend. She was keeping her options open since she liked you but just not enough to be in full relationship with you. This way she would guarantee not being alone since you are probably a "nice guy". Move on, find a better girl to be friends with and possibly more. She will be holding you back from true love as long as you let her use you like she is now.

    I was in a similar situation years ago before I met my gorgeous wife and while I am very happy in my life I wonder why I was so stupid to pine after this girl for so long. Now years later she has gotten older and is not quite as "hot" as she used to be or as good a prospect for other guys either. No offense but typically as we age people tend to get heavier, out of shape, etc...and less attractive. Some of us get better, and those that do tend to prefer younger girls/guys in better shape etc...

    I am still friends with that girl and never did we ever have a date or a romantic moment and she probably has no clue I had a crush on her. She is still single and most likely could be that way for a long time while she plays out her options.

    As I said, move on, keep in touch if you want but move on!!! "She is just not that into you"

    Posted by guy that has been there before February 5, 09 12:09 PM
  1. Confused, you did the right thing by cutting her off! Odd how that works but time after time it does.....

    Now she came back to you bc she misses you. IF you want her, go for it after the date, don't try to communicate this through conversation.... just for it, if she is not responsive, then just cut her off... its too painful to be freinds with someone that you are interested in romantically... good luck.

    Posted by echofilm February 5, 09 12:31 PM
  1. Cut all contact. Absence makes the heart grow fonder... If she does want more she will come crawling, just act like you could not care less.....

    Posted by Josh26th February 5, 09 12:34 PM
  1. I think it is clear you hope for more than friendship. If that is correct, I suggest you do your best to accomodate the friendship for the moment and give it some time with the ball in her court - see what happens and see if she is willing to come around on her terms. How much time depends on what you can handle without losing what you ultimately want - if it goes on for too long as just friends, you are going to have to accept being only that and move on.

    I was in a similar situation recently - the two of us had chemistry but she needed to move slow for certain reasons that I think I understood - it became clear after several months that she was not moving beyond that perspective (whatever the reason - whether I wasn't the right one, or she is just scared, or whatever), so I cut it loose - no hard feelings with her, but I knew what I wanted (which is a relationship) and if she isn't going to move towards that, I decided I was going to go out and find someone that wants the same thing...

    Posted by spaceman February 5, 09 12:35 PM
  1. I think the key point here is that she is just out of a relationship. If she were to jump back into things, he would just be a rebound anyway. So I guess going slow is the only way it could ever work with this girl. She sounds confused and not sure if she is confused about you, or just about her life in general. If you like her, give her a bit of time to sort things out and you should see other people in the meantime. If you find someone else you like more, move on. If you dont and can keep it in perspective, seeing her from time to time might grow into something good for you both. Just keep it in check and dont wait around for too long for her to make up her mind.

    Posted by Chris P February 5, 09 12:35 PM
  1. I have similar problems from over 12 yrs ago. I happened to be friends with 2 women that I really hope for involve into relationship with. The longer I'm with them as friends and they couldn't change their feelings with me. It's really too hard on me and drove me into crazy. It's unhealthy situation. I finally let them go & saw them less and little contact. I feel much better as it's big price for them to saw less of me. You're going to be mad as hell if she cannot change her feeling for you except friendship. It's time for you to let her go. You wanted her as relationship but she doesn't want you at all except friends. It's hard to deal with. There are plenty of available women that might be interesting in you other than this woman you wanted. It won't work out well if you stay longer with her as friends and nothing changes. I had bad experience like that and hope that you'll move on to save yourself from the worse.

    Posted by KL February 5, 09 12:38 PM
  1. Kiss of death, and likely not even a chance of a night of no strings attached fun. Lose her number. Seriously.

    Posted by dave February 5, 09 12:43 PM
  1. Why dont you do the same thing she is doing. Take her up on her offer to go out for drinks, then at the end of the night, say see you later and walk away. If she calls back, she calls back. in the meantime, go hook up with as many girls as possible. Hopefully it gets back to her that you are raking and she will be curious as to what she is missing out on. She will be calling to "meet up for drinks" in no time. If it works, and you start dating on a regular basis, keep your black book handy because it sounds like once she gets her fill, she will move on from you at the drop of a hat.

    Posted by Bud February 5, 09 12:57 PM
  1. "Guy that has been there before" is spot-on.

    "Can we just be friends" means she's decided you are not Relationship Guy for her. That's why it's the Kiss Of Death. Cut her off. She has put up a wall to you and this relationship goes no further. Ever.

    Still not convinced? Ask yourself how you're going to feel if, as a true friend, she wants you to be her sounding board for the situation with the guy she's currently dating. You're going to feel like a schmuck. Because you WILL be a schmuck. Let it go.

    Posted by been there done that February 5, 09 01:02 PM
  1. I don't think it is the kiss of death but I don't think you should play this game of waiting either. Life is too short. You have developed feelings and that is natural and so did she. She could have gotten scared and confused as well. She needed space, you gave it to her and now she is asking to meet for a drink. I would figure out your own feelings. Do you want to date her? then make it clear. There is nothing sexier than a man who verbally expresses how he feels. If she just wants to be friends, then you have found out and aren't wasting anymore time. If YOU decide to spend time with her, you know it is friendship only.

    Posted by Lisa February 5, 09 01:22 PM
  1. Chicks love back-up. Lose this girl. Never play the back-up role. 1st string or no string.

    Posted by James February 5, 09 01:26 PM
  1. I fell in love with a guy that I had been 'just friends' with for years, it can happen. It also may be that she wants to heal from the previous relationship to avoid having you be her rebound because she likes and respects you that much. I say go for drinks, but with no expectations.

    Posted by Resident February 5, 09 01:29 PM
  1. i have a feeling if she was all into you & eager you'd be running away.

    but anyway, go for the drinks, say you can't be "just friends" and for her to call when/if she is ready to be "more than friends". then go look for other options.

    Posted by susan February 5, 09 01:35 PM
  1. Back in the day, if I had done this to you, it would have been because I wanted to date and wasn't finding anyone either interesting or interested and so would settle for a drink with you. That said, it doesn't mean she doesn't like you, really as a friend. Maybe you have stuff in common, or maybe she likes talking to you no matter what you have in common. I say go ahead and have the drinks, but only if you're willing to let it stay at that if that's all she wants while she searches for someone who makes her swoon, or really just be friends if that's what she wants because you share some fascinating interest or hobby. Don't torment yourself seeing her if you can't accept that she might just want to sit with you in a bar rather than sit alone. .

    Posted by ProbablyDidThat February 5, 09 01:58 PM
  1. Bro- Believe the " guy that has been there before" you were option #2 and now the first option didn't work out so back to you. I'd cancel at the last minute and tell you her you are going to meet a girl you just met. See what happens after that. Do you best to sleep with her and then walk away.

    Posted by Salspals February 5, 09 02:05 PM
  1. She is a nut.

    She only wants to see you when you don't call.


    Posted by allie February 5, 09 02:07 PM
  1. go have a drink and see what happens

    Posted by sparky February 5, 09 02:08 PM
  1. Interesting that she wants to go out for a drink. If I were her I'd be asking you out for coffee if I wanted to be sure it would stay as friends. Go, keep your expectations low, and see what kind of vibe she sends off. If you don't, you'll never know, and you haven't invested too much so far. But don't let her jerk you around, either. If she keeps moving forward and then backing up, ask her what's going on, and either say goodbye or give her a little more time (not too much), depending on her answer. Good luck! You sound like a nice guy.

    Posted by Wendy February 5, 09 02:11 PM
  1. A guy and a girl can't be friends, when one of the parties involved wants to shag.

    Get rid of her.

    Posted by allie February 5, 09 02:13 PM
  1. I think that maybe the "chemistry: that was had was all on your end. I say move on to the next girl that is going to reject you.

    Posted by Josh26th February 5, 09 02:18 PM
  1. She is a nut.

    She only wants to see you when you don't call.


    Posted by allie February 5, 09 02:25 PM
  1. You're a Plan B, a backup plan but it looks like you're up after her other options fizzled. If you can accept that, nothing wrong with seeing her for drinks.

    Posted by egomaniac February 5, 09 02:27 PM
  1. Go for drinks only if you truly want to be friends with her. If you want to be friends only as a stepping stone to more then stop right there because it won't work out. There is hardly ever any reversing the just be friends declaration. I don't know why but it is the kiss of death.
    You know deep down if you can handle just being friends and from the sounds of it, I don't think you can accept just that. There is nothing wrong with that and it would be far easier accepting that then entering a friendship with the wrong intentions.

    Posted by Know Thyself February 5, 09 02:36 PM
  1. Go have the drinks, she gets all loosened up and goes home with you to have a night of pure animal sex, she gets knocked up and you get to be part of her life forever...Is that what you want???

    Are you that much of a loser to wait around for a girl that is playing with you that way? Be a man and go out and use a few women to get your confidence back up and then find a girl preferrably younger than you and hot to settle down with.

    Women think they are smart, don't make her right. I cheat on my wife all the time and she has no clue...Women are stupid and clueless.

    Posted by Neil Campbell February 5, 09 02:50 PM
  1. Kiss of death!!! She was still with her boyfriend or Husband and you were just tempting for her ego. Now her boyfriend knows she cheated and dumped her so she feels like maybe you are worth a second go around. Reality is you are being used till she can find someone better.

    Posted by goof February 5, 09 04:31 PM
  1. At best you will be the guy she "settles for". Do you want to be in relationship with someone who said "Oh well I guess you'll do". You will end up very unhappy but you won't know exactly why.

    Go meet someone who will adore you.

    Been there. Trust me.

    Posted by MiloT February 5, 09 11:03 PM
  1. At best you will be the guy she "settles for". Do you want to be in relationship with someone who said "Oh well I guess you'll do". You will end up very unhappy but you won't know exactly why.

    Go meet someone who will adore you.

    Been there. Trust me.

    Posted by MiloT February 5, 09 11:03 PM
  1. Who cares why she did it? Life and relationships are ever evolving. No need for games here. We've all used the 'friends' excuse before. It can mean so many different things. Instead of trying to figure it out or plot a retaliatory strike, be a good friend (as I hope you would in a romantic relationship) and watch her realize that you're the one. The process will build a stronger bond and be derived from honesty and friendship. The truth is powerful and liberating.

    Posted by de bergerac February 6, 09 12:12 AM
  1. If you wouldn't want her as a friend, why would you want to be in a relationship with her?

    Posted by GregP February 6, 09 12:30 PM
  1. Wow, what a bunch of misogynistic, cynical, manipulative, and generally depressing comments.

    Maybe it's the kiss of death. Maybe not. It depends, I guess, on whether she's as manipulative and cynical as the majority of commenters, or whether she's a normal human being feeling her way through the world, not entirely sure what or who she wants, without some sinister secret agenda, pretty much just like you are.

    I think I'd give it one shot and then reevaluate. Have drinks with her, and see how that feels - does it genuinely seem like she wants to be friends, are you OK with that, do you want more than that, do you think maybe she does, etc. Don’t talk yourself into seeing more interest there than there is. Then decide whether you’re interested in continuing to see her.

    Good luck!
    ant more than that, etc.

    Posted by MJB February 10, 09 10:55 AM
  1. I'm in a very similar situation myself. A girl I dated for about a month and a half was hung up about her ex-boyfriend and at the prospect of getting back together with him she dumped me. When that fell through she started coming around and wanting to hang out as friends only.

    My advice is this: It's all about you. If you can take hanging out with her as friends without severe emotional attachment then by all means do so, but keep your distance and don't expect to get back together. Go out with other girls and have fun and keep her around as plan B. This is what I chose, since I didn't take the break-up too hard.

    On the other hand, if you get depressed every time you see her because you want to be more than friends then cut her off completely. Hanging on will just prolong and possibly even amplify the pain. You will start to appear desperate and it will only get worse.

    The best thing to do in either case is to get another girl, either temporarily or permanently. You will get over her much quicker and A) Make her jealous, or B) You might find you like the new one.

    Posted by Greg H February 10, 09 08:20 PM
  1. From personal experience, I would say that this is NOT the kiss of death. I think you may be right in believing that she really is into you, but is nervous about starting something. The fact that as soon as you treated her like "just a friend" she asked you to go out for drinks, tells me that she really missed you and possibly realized that she cares more about you than she thought. Give her a little time and I would be willing to bet that if you are patient, this will blossom into a lot more than friendship. Even though I know that every person and relationship and situation is different, this sounds almost exactly like how my current relationship began. I was fresh out of a relationship, really liked this guy, knew he was into me, but just wasn't ready. He was patient and did the friend thing until I was ready, and becaus we were friends first, we have an extremely open, honest and wonderful relationship. We have been together 2 years. In case this IS a similar situation, give her a little time before you make her choose.

    Posted by Elle February 11, 09 09:37 AM
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