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Dear Alexi,

I was hoping for your subjective older sisterly advice. My name is Zoe, I’m seventeen, and I live in Colorado. I have a good friend of mine who lives in Virginia that may or may not be interested in me. Lately he has said some things to me that lead me to believe that he is. A few nights ago, he called me to catch up, but there were a few nuances to the conversation that might mean something more in the grand scheme of things. He mentioned while he was on the phone with me that he didn’t know if he was single or not and was talking about his girl drama, but I thought it was interesting that he would call me now, when he might be single. I’ve noticed a pattern with him where he barely talks to me, if at all, when he has a girlfriend, which makes me think maybe there’s a reason for that. I don’t know if he initiates that or if his girlfriends do because he tends to date jealous types, but it makes me wonder if he considers me more than a friend. If I was just a friend to him, it shouldn’t matter to his girlfriend or him that he would talk to me. In fairness, I did date him two years ago, but that was long distance. Also, in this conversation, I was telling him my boy drama and he was getting worked up, which reminded me of every other time I’ve told him my guy troubles. Whenever I mention guys that are interested in me to him, he either laughs them off as lame, gets upset and tells me they’re jerks, or, like he did in this conversation, found humor in the situation while simultaneously getting worked up, which turns into him just making fun of these guys. Mind you, he does this even when I am in no way interested in the guy. I used to think it was him being of protective of me because as my friend, he didn’t want to see me get hurt, but I’m starting to think it’s more possessive and out of jealousy.

The following did not happen in this particular conversation that I had with him but they did happen this year and I don’t know what to make of them. We were talking about how pretty girls our age tend to lack personalities because they have not had to develop a personality when people are attracted to them purely based on how they look, which prompted me to say something like, “I’m glad I’m not super beautiful or anything for that reason. I’m glad that I have a personality and that if someone likes me, chances are it is not because of the way I look but because of who I am.” He was quick to tell me I was pretty, which really just caught me off-guard. In the context of the topic, that was almost an insult even though he meant it as a compliment. Still, I have been friends with him for four years now and he would have moments of insecurity our Freshman Year where he would tell me that no girls liked him or something, and I wouldn’t say anything to him. The same goes for me too Freshman Year! Whenever I was feeling self-conscious and would say something negative about myself, he wouldn’t say anything to me. Maybe we’ve just grown up and become a little less awkward, but either way, it just startled me. I did not bring that up in the hopes that he would tell me I was pretty; I don’t need to hear that and I was not expecting that response at all!

Another time when I talked to him earlier this year, I started to tell him this mean but kind of funny thing that our mutual friends say about him behind his back, but then stopped myself. He would not let it go, though, and was pleading with me to tell him. In the midst of this, he said something like, “Zoeeee! Tell meeee! Zoe, just tell me! Zoe, I love you!” I was stunned that he would say that to me for a few reasons. First of all, I hadn’t heard that from him since the day we broke up. Secondly, why would he say that to me when he was trying to get information out of me? Does he think I love him or something? Once we were talking about our relationship(I forget in what context), and he said, “You know it wasn’t you, right? If circumstances were different….” He never finished his thought, but I told him I knew that. Well that kind of makes me think he likes me on an emotionally intimate level and that he would totally date me if we were in the same place. But was that just us having a weird conversation or is that significant? Should I be taking any of this seriously?

Once when I was hanging out with him while visiting our mutual friend, we went to this party and I was super scared because I had never been to a party before and the party was entirely older guys which was doubly scary. Our mutual friend blew it off and didn’t talk to me at all while we were at the party because she was so engrossed in flirting with older guys. My guy friend stayed by me the whole time though and defended me when I didn’t accept alcohol or cigarettes. After the party, I thanked him for having my back, and he said that of course he had my back because he always had my back. Then he picked me up and hugged me, and swung me back and forth violently before setting me down, possibly kissing my neck(it was so gentle I’m not even sure it happened), and finally letting go. As he released me, he sort of trailed his fingers over my boobs and told me that he wished I didn’t have to go back to our mutual friend’s house. He had been drinking so I don’t know how to consider this, but I think this is an indication that he wants some sort of physical deal with me.

I am going to Virginia later in the summer to visit our mutual friend but will undoubtedly see him for most of the trip. I have visited this mutual friend of ours for the past three or four summers, which is how I met him in the first place, and every time that I have visited, someone says something to me regarding him or him and I. I have heard that he is in love with me, I have been thanked by our mutual friends for making him so happy, we have been asked if we are a couple when we weren’t, and our relationship was predicted by several people when I first met him. I don’t know if he thinks of me as a friend, or if he actually does care about me a lot and would date me if it wasn’t for the distance, or if he just wants to hook up with me. I know from my relationship with him that long distance didn’t work for us, so I don’t think he wants to try that again, which means if anything is going to happen, it should happen soon. I should also tell you that I am a virgin. I haven’t even had my first kiss which I’m embarrassed by because, of my close friends, I have one friend who has also never had her first kiss and one that is still a virgin. Everyone else is not a virgin and has kissed multiple people casually. I don’t know if I’m ever going to see him again after this visit but I think there is something nice about the thought of losing my first kiss to my best guy friend, so I kind of want to do that. However, I’m hesitant because I don’t know what he wants from me, I don’t know what I’m doing and he does, I am worried that might affect our friendship in a weird or a sad way, and I feel like I would have to sneak around in order to make this work. He has been hooking up with this girl who is an acquaintance of mine and is close friends with the girl whom I stay with when I visit, but things are rocky there.

They aren’t dating officially, so he doesn’t know if they are exclusive or not, but I don’t want to rock the boat. That would put my friend that I stay with in a weird spot since my acquaintance, my guy friend, and myself are all some of her best friends. Plus, this town that my friends in Virginia live in is like a teen movie. They dramatize everything, everyone knows each other’s business, and spiteful hookups, drama, parties, revenge plans, and lots of drugs are commonplace, so she might want to fight me or something if I do anything. Keeping secrets in that town would be difficult enough to pull off as is without having to deal with that scary reality. Also, I’m a terrible liar and I don’t want to get in the way of anything, especially if there is something going on between the two of them. Should I tell him ahead of time that he better be single when I’m visiting? That puts a lot of pressure on me though. He was asking me for advice and I thought about telling him that, but I don’t know if I should do that or just see how it plays out. The trouble is, for the last few summers, I have tried to just see how it will play out and it hasn’t played out at all! I think I have physically been alone in the same place as him for a total of ten minutes throughout the four years that I’ve known him for. There has been no time for anything to happen, but maybe if we knew ahead of time that this was the plan, we could figure something out.

I apologize for how detailed this is. This is probably excessive, but I wanted to present the information as it happened to make it less objective. So, what does it all mean? How do you think he feels? Are these signs or am I just over-analyzing as usual? Should I get out of my comfort zone and kiss my best friend or tell him to be available when I do come to town? What do I do about this mess? Also, you’re a delight! Thank you for doing what you do! I often reflect that I wish I had an adult to talk to about my problems because I think that would be much more helpful than talking with my peers and I think your podcast and blog are valuable assets to girls everywhere. Please don’t stop blogging or broadcasting any time soon! Thanks again!


4 Responses to “a portrait of teen turmoil:”

  1. Are you going to answer this?

  2. Whoa! This is so great. I hope she does answer. I could see it going either way. Don’t make a move, because the guy is a loser. Or, make a move, because you know, why not.

    Good luck, Zoe!

  3. long…just talk to your girlfriends… cuz its way too long

  4. Zoe, you remind me of a younger, more naive version of myself. After over-thinking signs/things guys did/said to me way too many times, I now agree with what Alexi always says: If I guy wants you, you’ll know it. He will be all about you.

    Sometimes guys seem possessive, but it’s not because they love you, it’s because they’re egomaniacs who get upset when you’re not all about them. If he only calls you when he’s single, it’s because he’s bored/has extra free time now/knows you’ll talk to him. He sounds like an attention whore, who is using you when he’s not getting the attention he needs from other girls. I know this might sound harsh, but I’m just giving u sisterly advice so you don’t end up hurt like I have so many times. Stop making excuses for his behavior.

    You should wait to lose your virginity to someone who is head over heels 4 u. Be patient. It will happen.

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