I guess I need some advice from the people who will understand!
I’ve been friends with this guy for most of three years, and for most of that time I have also been attracted to him. I suppose that like many INFJs, I often have a hard time separating what feels like a particularly close friendship with someone of the opposite sex, from the possibility of romance. I think it is possible that he liked me when he first knew me, but that the moment passed with neither of us actively doing anything – or he wasn’t in the right place for a serious relationship, though I think I would have been – and then we went into the friend zone, although still with me hoping for more. (It’s also quite possible that he was only ever interested in me as a friend and I misread some things, though I think I could be forgiven for doing so.)
He hasn’t done the MBTI test (that I know of!) but I think he is either ESTP or ESFP – maybe ESxP? I can’t say I’m too good at typing people without them taking the test! He has a very charming and attractive personality (and is also attractive physically) and is extremely good at knowing what to say to people, and how to act around them, so that he is generally well liked – he certainly has a huge circle of friends and acquaintances. However, a few of my friends who either see through him or think they do say that he’s shallow. He’s an excellent person for a fun and witty conversation, and sometimes for deeper, more reflective conversations. He loves travelling, drinking (though he has been trying to cut back), social occasions (though there he also seems to be trying to cut back…not quite sure about that though), meeting new people, having interesting experiences. He is very fond of his family (his parents and sister – don’t worry, he’s not married!!) and seems to place a lot of value on being close to them. I should mention that we both belong to a faith where dating is viewed as a possible prelude to marriage, so neither of us would embark on casual relationships – although he has loads of female friends and I’m sure at least a few are interested in him, he seems to be avoiding the whole relationship thing quite effectively.
It is also worth noting that we had a period of estrangement last year but got through it eventually. I was tired and angry because he seemed to be using me in various ways (mainly asking me for lots of favours, which normally I am happy to do for my friends) and I wasn’t getting anything back – he was ignoring me a lot, cancelling on me, not bothering to include me, and so on, and I couldn’t understand why, and also I would have to say I was becoming jealous because he seemed to be paying some mutual female friends/acquaintances a lot of special attention (perhaps of the kind I was somewhat used to from him.) I blew up one night and sent him some angry texts about how he was using me, etc etc and he replied (NOT what I had even confronted him about) that apparently it was impossible to be just friends with girls, and friendship was all he wanted. I avoided him for a few months, but he made some overtures as a friend and eventually we had a proper conversation about it and he apologised for being inconsistent with me and if I felt like I was being used.
Subsequently we’ve gone back to a more or less close friendship, although I still have rather confused feelings about him. It is also fair to say that he has been more careful with me. He doesn’t ask me for favours all the time any more, if I do him a favour he makes sure that he really expresses his appreciation, and he backs away if he can see that a conversation we’re having is likely to end with me getting upset. But lately I feel like he is being inconsistent with me again, and it is really troubling me. Over the last month he was texting me all the time – well, every few days anyway, and we’d have these long exchanges (often just about silly in-jokes, that sort of thing, occasionally on more serious subjects). Sometimes I initiated the texting but about as often it was him. He travels a lot and he’d text me before he left on his trip, and when he got back, and he’d text me when I got back from a trip, etc… We also had a couple of good long meaty conversations where we talked about our thoughts about the future, how we feel about the place we live, etc.
Then the last couple of weeks he’s just gone quiet. I thought that possibly he was mad at me because I’d made a slightly stupid/possibly insulting joke at his expense in a text, but honestly, it was not that bad and it would be very unlike him to take offense at something like that, or if he did, it would only last for five minutes – he does forgive and forget. No, it seems like he’s just gone quiet. I didn’t want to start desperately texting or something sad like that but I did text him a couple of times in the last week – once he didn’t reply at all (which is unlike him) and the other time he gave me a rather cold and polite reply. I am just tired of this inconsistency, like one minute I’m his best friend and possibly even more, and then I hardly exist. It is possible that something’s going on with him that I don’t know about – he’s exceptionally busy, he’s upset about something totally unrelated to me, etc - but how am I supposed to know? I don’t think I can really confront him and say “why were you texting me all the time for several weeks, and now you seem to be ignoring me?” This is sort of what led up to our bust-up last year, and I don’t want the same thing to happen again though I could feel the possibility building up.
I do realise that this is mainly about my unrequited feelings for the guy, and I know it is unhealthy to hang onto these, nurture them, and in the process let things like this upset me as much as they do. Since I’m aware that we probably wouldn’t be very good for each other even if he was interested in me, I would love to be able to switch the feelings off, but it’s virtually impossible. I could try to cut him out of my life, but we have too many mutual friends, etc for that to be completely possible, and the fact is, next time he’s acting friendly and wants a good long chat with me, or whatever, I’ll probably go right back to him. I’m just not that tough about friends, particularly guy friends I also have feelings for!
Sorry for rambling on and on…I know this is really long. But if you have any suggestions for how I can approach this situation/this friendship, how I can better deal with these useless and frustrating feelings, etc, I’d really appreciate it.