I am a woman, a fact that escaped me (despite very clear road signs) for quite some time. Because of that, I often had a lot of male friends; I just found and continue to find men very easy to get along with and, what luck, they feel the same way about me! When you’re a lady who gets along well with gentlemen, you run the risk of one (or more) of those gentleman developing feelings of romance for you. You forget you are a lady; they do not. That’s fine until it’s not. Because I’ve been in this position, I feel a duty to debunk this idea of “leading someone on.”
You know those 90’s movies where the “nice guy friend that leading girl can totally trust” gets the girl after she realizes all other guys except her friend are total assholes? Well . . . THAT’S NOT REAL. THE 90’S GAVE US UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR EVERYTHING. OPEN YOUR EYES!!!
Let’s say two people enter into a relationship. One of those people has expectations of friendship. The other has expectations or hopes of something more. If these two people are friends, one of these people’s expectations is being met. That person continues to be friends with the other because they wanted a friend and they think they have a friend.
Now let’s just say, for the sake of the article, that friend with expectations of romance says nothing about these romantic feelings, and lets them grow without other friend’s knowledge of aforementioned feelings. Let’s say they do that for a year. Finally, when that eventually comes out, the friend without expectations is taken aback, does not reciprocate, and the friend with expectations is crushed. That’s already bad enough. What is worse is when that friend turns their hurt that they brought upon themselves and turns it against their “friend” by blaming them for “leading them on.”
Newsflash, bozo: if you’re the one with unrecognized expectations, YOU’RE THE LEADER-ON-ER. If you have other plans for the relationship, SAY SOMETHING. Otherwise, all the friendship trust you’ve built will go out the window. Why? Because you LIED. You didn’t make your intentions clear, and you led someone on as their friend when you really wanted romance. Super. Shitty.
Let’s jump to the other side of this. You’re someone’s friend, but you’re of the genders that could find each other attractive. You just want friendship, but you have a “feeling” that they want something more. Is it your responsibility to say something? No. You can, but ultimately the person with the things to say should be the one who says them. It might make your life easier to just say, “Hey, I don’t know if I’m off base here, but I feel like you’re coming onto me romantically, and I just want to be friends.” In fact, I KNOW it would make your life easier; but it is by no means your responsibility. This acts as both a human standard and dating tip: just be honest with how you feel about a person, right off the bat, up front. Why?
- Because honesty really is the best policy.
- Because people want to date people with self-worth.
If you are hanging around, lurking in the shadows, hoping one day the girl or guy who sees you as a friend will magically start wanting more, that is both lying to your friend and denying yourself as a human worthy of love. Don’t you want to be with someone who wants to be with you? Wouldn’t you want to know if you were fighting a futile battle? The sooner you voice your feelings, the sooner you’ll get a yes or no and the sooner you can move on with your life to find someone who will appreciate you as you are. If someone doesn’t want you, screw ’em! There are plenty of fish in the sea. But you can’t know that until you say something.
Don’t be a fake friend. Be a real friend or be brave and say how you feel. Life is too short to spend it getting lost between the lines.