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What should I think about this friend?


Friendship Having issues with a friend? Get it off your chest!

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Old 29th September 2017, 5:13 PM   #1
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What should I think about this friend?

I have recently had a lot of doubts about continuing my friendship with a friend that I used to be very close with. We were studying in the same uni for 4 years and also did a few study-related projects together. Also, we used to do other sport activities outside the uni etc. I have to admit that I did have a crush on this guy for a long time but we never talked about it also because we were never single at the same time and partially because I was never sure about my feelings towards him. I am strongly confident that the guy had a crush on me too but since I am in a happy relationship I was always very cautious about this and the topic was never discussed.

In the last year, there have been a few events that have made me change my perspective towards this friend. It seems to me like he is not able to be empathetic and think from another person's point of view. One such case is his relationship with his ex girlfriend. They broke up two years ago (he broke up with her) and they still keep talking together. He admitted that his ex would like to get back together with him but he can not just shut her off because he feels responsible. However, it seems like he is just enjoying having this girl always there without owing her any commitment, which sounds really selfish because imho he is unconsciously blocking her from having other relationships.

On the other hand, there is another girl he met 9 months ago with whom he says he never had a relationship. At the beginning he was reluctant to start the relationship because the girl has a child and she seems to have a difficult personality. Therefore, they stopped talking. After that, the girl started dating someone else for a couple of months. In that moment, my friend started seeing her again and somehow the girls broke up with her boyfriend. At this very moment, they are hanging out together but my friend claims she is not his girlfriend (which I believe it is true) but they are good friends. Again, I believe he is keeping this other girl on hopes just because he cannot commit to her and I am pretty sure he will not commit because he will be leaving abroad in a few months.

I discussed both these cases with my friend and he says that there is nothing wrong because he has made it clear to both girls that he doesn't want to have a relationship but that doesn't prevent him from hanging out with them or texting the whole day. I tried to tell him that his behavior and actions may give a different signal from his language but he doesn't accept that. We even had a serious fight while discussing this because in principle (maybe I am wrong) tricking people in this way is too selfish and based on what he has said in the past (especially about the second girl) it makes me think that he doesn't have much respect about her.

When I tried to reflect about this, I realized that I have noticed such a behavior from him also towards other people. For example, he does not understand that people may be too sensitive to certain jokes he makes or ways of communication. Now, I do not want to put my friend in a totally negative light. He is a nice guy and I do want his best, but I want to understand whether this is only a temporary behavior of being single and lonely or whether that is his real character. Sometimes people do immature things when they are single and they lack empathy but then not everyone is like that.

Since when I have started thinking about this I have the feeling that I do not really want to be close friends with this guy anymore. We live in different countries now and he tries every few days to contact me on write in common groups in whatsapp in order to start a conversation and I am sure he knows that I am trying to stay far for him. However, I feel like I cannot be friends with a selfish person and I just cannot behave as if I accept his behavior.

Now, someone could say that all my doubts are related to the fact that I had feelings about this guy before. Yes, maybe it is true, I also felt like he started hitting on me (even though I had a boyfriend already) with the same intentions as with the two other girls: just for simple entertainment without commitment. In any case, I cannot really tell him that because there will be an endless discussion and I do not want to open up past feelings for which I was never sure anywas.

Bottom line: I feel much better when I am not talking to this friend but then I am worried that I am letting him down just because I am angry with him and I have a different point of view regarding relationships with people (romantic or friendship).
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Old 29th September 2017, 5:42 PM   #2
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I think you're being too harsh on this guy. I'm sure the those girls he's been talking with are quite able to discontinue a friendship with him if they so desire. It's their responsibility to look after themselves.

Remember that true friends care about each other warts and all.
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Old 30th September 2017, 7:23 PM   #3
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I think you're being too harsh on this guy. I'm sure the those girls he's been talking with are quite able to discontinue a friendship with him if they so desire. It's their responsibility to look after themselves.

Remember that true friends care about each other warts and all.
Thank you for your answer, much appreciated!

Indeed, I might be too harsh on him. These girls should indeed be able to care about themselves but I cannot really blame them for not being able to do so. Especially, I cannot blame the girl that has a kid because maybe she is being patient in order to have a stable partner, which I am sure she will not find in this guy. Anyways, my concern is that these two cases (and some occasional every day happenings and discussions that are kinda long to describe ) say something about his personality and his ability to stay committed to other people.

Now, I want to try to be less harsh with him and not judge him based on these happenings. I am not sure what would be the right way to do so though. Currently, I am not opening this topic at all but then other people in our social group keep mocking him about it and is hard to avoid.

Also, I have the feeling this guy is still hitting on me in some way. It is hard to interpret his behavior given the situation really and I do not understand why. It does annoy me a lot and it is disrespectful to some degree.
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Old 1st October 2017, 11:10 AM   #4
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Look, not every woman, especially woman in her 20s, especially college women, even are looking for a long-term mate. He's got his ex right where he wants her, no obligation. She is going along with it because she hasn't learned yet. The other one may have no such serious designs on him at all and nor should you.
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Old 1st October 2017, 9:19 PM   #5
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Look, not every woman, especially woman in her 20s, especially college women, even are looking for a long-term mate. He's got his ex right where he wants her, no obligation. She is going along with it because she hasn't learned yet. The other one may have no such serious designs on him at all and nor should you.
Oh yeah about that...the guy is 30 and his ex is above 40 and she has not moved on after 2 years of separation. They were in a long distance relationship for 8 years. Yes, it's complicated! When I asked him why he broke up with her he said that she is a great person but studying and working didn't leave him much time for taking care of her. I found that reason a bit self-centered but it was honest so not much to say there.

They do talk pretty often and my friend said he knows she would like to get back together although she has never said it clearly. I still believe that if he doesn't want her back he should let her go and have a life. It is more fair than keeping her around out of pity.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 9:23 AM   #6
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If your friend is happy to be friends with these girls and these girls are happy to be friends with him then it's really not your place to meddle. Imagine if I was telling one of your friends that they should stop being friends with you for your own good. Does that sound right to you? Who am I to think I know what is good for you? What right do I have to decide who your friends should be?

That's basically what you are trying to do to these other women friends. You have decided that they should not be friends with your friend, but what right do you have to decide that for other people? You are far too emotionally invested in your friend's other friendships, so maybe you should step back from this friendship just for that reason alone. Perhaps this friendship isn't good for you, not because your friend has other friendships that you don't agree with, but more because you are crossing boundaries and meddling in relationships that don't really concern you.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 1:50 PM   #7
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It always seems sad when a person tries to hold onto a person who isn't all that invested in them. Seems to be a lot of that going around. If a person can get away with no responsibility and still get what they want, they usually will. If the other person gets tired enough of it, they will do something about it.

If you don't like him as a person it would make more sense to me not to blame his ex who's hanging in there but to simply realize you don't like his ethics and to stop being friends with him.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 3:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by preraph View Post
It always seems sad when a person tries to hold onto a person who isn't all that invested in them. Seems to be a lot of that going around. If a person can get away with no responsibility and still get what they want, they usually will. If the other person gets tired enough of it, they will do something about it.

If you don't like him as a person it would make more sense to me not to blame his ex who's hanging in there but to simply realize you don't like his ethics and to stop being friends with him.
Oh I am not blaming his ex at all. She is not hurting anyone except herself. I think your observation on me realizing that I do not like his ethics is super correct though. I need to understand whether I can tolerate that and if not I probably need to make a step back in this friendship.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 4:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by anika99 View Post
If your friend is happy to be friends with these girls and these girls are happy to be friends with him then it's really not your place to meddle. Imagine if I was telling one of your friends that they should stop being friends with you for your own good. Does that sound right to you? Who am I to think I know what is good for you? What right do I have to decide who your friends should be?

That's basically what you are trying to do to these other women friends. You have decided that they should not be friends with your friend, but what right do you have to decide that for other people? You are far too emotionally invested in your friend's other friendships, so maybe you should step back from this friendship just for that reason alone. Perhaps this friendship isn't good for you, not because your friend has other friendships that you don't agree with, but more because you are crossing boundaries and meddling in relationships that don't really concern you.
Well just to be clear: for each of the girls I have discussed this only once with my friend. I believe that it is good to tell people when they are doing something that may hurt other people and they cannot realize it by themselves. External opinion can enlighten a lot of blind spots for people, which is also the reason why we write in this forum.

All this discussion is more of a self-reflection about whether I believe in the ethical values of this friend and whether that is something I can (or I should?) tolerate in the future.
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