Sister Christian, oh the time has come ...
Q: I am a chaplain for a Christian organization. I met a man who is very much like me who has called me baby, stares at me from across the room, has told me that he thinks about me all the time, and has asked for my number.
He has been connecting with me for a couple of weeks, but I am not sure how INTO ME he is. We spoke one night for five hours and laughed all night on the phone. The conversation was about some serious issues he has in his life. I left that conversation feeling that we had fun and that he trusted me with some deep issues but not feeling that he WANTED me.
I know that he respects me deeply and values my opinion but I am not sure if I have heard the KISS OF DEATH yet (you're a great friend). He has told me that I am great and that he values me. My work is to counsel but I am not sure if that's all there is, one way or another.
-- Everthecounselor, Toronto
Q: Everthecounselor, I hope this man is not a member of your Christian organization and that you are not his chaplain. If he is (and you are), pursuing him is a no-no. Chaplains are like therapists. I’m going to assume you know about the boundaries.
If this man is not a member of your organization – if he’s a man from the outside world who happens to stare at you, ask you for advice, and call you “baby” (is that a good thing?), you’re allowed to behave like a normal person and ask -- as you wrote to me, Owen Meany-style -- “I’m wondering if you’re INTO ME.”
Chaplains, therapists, and regular people who just happen to be good listeners often wind up taking on the role of the impartial, trustworthy platonic friend in their personal relationships, even when they don’t want to, even when they’d rather be perceived as a sexual being/romantic partner.
If this person is fair game (not a member of your organization), it’s worth letting him know you’re interested in more than a friendship before you wind up becoming his unofficial counselor.
I can’t say how he’ll respond, but I can say that at the very least, you can thank him for serving as a reminder that you want to be more than just a good listener, more than just “ever the counselor” to everyone. You’re human. You want a partner. Good for you.
Readers? Does this man sound INTO THIS? Should this chaplain come clean? Share your thoughts here. Read yesterday’s chat transcript here. See where I ate for dinner on Wednesday night here. Submit a letter to the right.
Again, I’m on the West Coast (flying back Thursday night), so Globe staffers and I will be posting your comments as quickly as we can.