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My close friend avoids being alone with me


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Recently I've noticed that my best guy friend (I'm a girl) has been acting strange and I don't know what to do about it. He will often ask me to hang out and do things with him in a group setting, but as soon as it seems as though it's just gonna be the two of us, like if other friends drop out, he kind of freaks out and starts acting weird and distant.


He doesn't always do this—for example he will sometimes come to my room to talk about something (we're in college) and end up staying for a while. Also if the reason we're alone has some purpose and is clearly delineated, like we're talking about a project for class or planning something logistically. Maybe it's something to do with control?


I just spent a year abroad during which we fell out of touch, but in the two months since I've been back we've been spending a lot of time together and I thought that things were returning to normal.


It's also relevant that he expressed romantic interest when we initially met—but I doubt it was serious since we didn't really know each other. Also relevant is that two years ago we had a dispute over appropriate boundaries in our friendship, which put some emotional distance between us. Basically he had a girlfriend at the time, and I argued that the way he treated me (holding my hand, inviting me to sit on his lap, spending more time with me than her, etc.) wasn't fair to either her or me. He claimed that all of those things were normal friend things but agreed to my proposed boundaries, although we haven't really observed them since they broke up.


I guess because of that, he might feel that if we're alone I might misinterpret his actions as romantic and that makes him uncomfortable? I really want to do something about this, because I feel like it's becoming a problem and his friendship means the world to me. Should I bring it up and if so how? I don't want him to feel attacked.

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Close friends should be able to talk to each other about important things, so why don't you ask him why he acts the way he does?


It's a good thing that you set him straight when he had a gf and was trying to be inappropriately touchy feely with you. This shows that he is not good bf material, and you didn't mention you're interested in that, but are you saying that you now sit on his lap, etc., as friends now that he doesn't have a gf? You probably like the attention, but I wouldn't act like this around a guy friend. It sends mixed signals, and if a potential guy I was interested saw me doing this, he'd probably think I was taken and maybe wouldn't want me as a gf if I went around sitting on guy friends laps.


If your discussion doesn't clear things up and if he continues to create an awkward atmosphere while with you, then maybe he isn't such a close friend after all. Maybe you should start distancing yourself from him. I know I don't like to be around people who make the situation awkward when I'm around. I feel like I can really be myself and feel super comfortable around my close friends. Think about why he means so much to you. I hope it's not just for the ego boost he provides. I don't really respect guys who flirt so egregiously with other women when they have a gf. I know he's single now, but his ethics don't really show him as having a heart of gold. Think about who you are choosing to be in your precious company.

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Have to agree with Andrina. Good that you set boundaries when he had a gf, but those boundaries should remain at all times. You don't sit in your girl friend's laps either, right? Be kind of weird. So same goes with guy friends. Either you want to be just friends, in which case maintain clear boundaries and don't do things that imply more than friendship or go ahead and hook up, if he is still willing and interested. Don't do the weird in between thing. Also, since he is not your bf, why on earth should he be spending any more time with you than he already is? Again, I think you are blurring lines between friend and bf and that never ends well. Pick a direction and stick with it.

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Well, my guess is: he showed romantic interest in you and you shot him down so HE'S exercising his boundaries now and he's not putting himself in any one-on-one situation with you because it's a bonding ritual that he doesn't want to get into with you if you're NOT into him romantically.


What do you want with him? If you only want friendship then he's doing the right thing by not fueling any feeling for you. If you want more then friendship then talk to him and tell him that now that he's single, what does he think about advancing the friendship past platonic. Are you sure he and his girlfriend have broken up?


(and yes, I agree that you showed good boundaries by shutting down his inappropriate behaviour)

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I think I've made him out to sound a lot sleazier than he actually is. The biggest problem when he had a girlfriend was that I felt like our friendship was almost an emotional affair, and I didn't think it was fair to her that he was so close with someone else (me), and not fair to me to be so emotionally attached to someone who wasn't available.


I appreciate all your answers and I agree that we should probably either set some new boundaries to preserve our friendship or figure out if we're both interested in something less platonic.


I guess I'm just not sure how to bring this up with him without making everything awkward. I don't want to presume that he's interested in more than friendship, and I don't know how to make it clear that I'm simultaneously interested in pursuing something romantically and willing to step back and draw up new boundaries to save our friendship, depending on what he wants.


To be clear, we are very close, which is why I think the whole avoidance thing is strange in the first place. We talk every day, his parents know me, and we definitely care about each other—he's told me unprompted that our friendship is incredibly important to him and I feel the same way. I just don't know if this anxiety he seems to be having is because he wants things to change, or because he thinks I do and actually likes them the way they are. If it's the latter, I worry that bringing this up will only make things worse

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