I find myself in an interesting position. I’ve just recently graduated from college, and in the morass that is post-school bullshit, I need some advice with regard to my (admittedly near-nonexistent) love life.
See, I have a friend – let’s call them Alpha – who I got reasonably close with in my last year of school, and we have a lot of the same interests (and issues) in common – we’re both tabletop nerds with heavily self-deprecating senses of humor, we both suffer from some pretty severe anxiety/stress/upwardly fucked brain chemical stuff, and we both have a love of political-heavy sci fi (we have a decently long-running inside joke about House Atreides).
In school, I acknowledged, “hey, they’re real attractive,” but any kind of feelings on my part were muted because A. They were in a very nice relationship with a really great guy and B. any kind of romance/sexual exploration was not on my list of things to solve in school, and my weight and self-esteem issues would have made dating in general unlikely anyway.
But things kind of changed on my part after a mutual friend (and my roommate for half of college) passed away during cancer, and Alpha and I interacted quite a bit and caught up in the aftermath. They and another friend who lives close by said they would be coming to my general area over their break, so we made plans to meet up.
The two showed up, and we had a lot of fun playing tourist in my hometown. I introduced them to my friends, among them a guy we shall call Bravo. Bravo is, shall we say, the flirty type, and so is Alpha; they hit it off pretty quick on that front, and while it didn’t really go anywhere in the end, it was the kick in the nuts that said to me “Oh, shit, I’m really into Alpha. Like, a lot more than I thought.”
Things get even more complicated after the visit, when, afterwards, we start confiding in each other over text. This is my real problem; you’ve probably gotten the usual “don’t want to take The Leap and ruin the friendship” line a quadrillion times, but I think in this case it’s justified – we’ve low key become something of a shoulder to lean on for each other and a confidant, with them telling me they have an easy time talking to me and confiding. A lot of the stuff is a bit heavy, but while I’m not going to share any of it, I will say that I don’t think any of it could be considered “flirty.” It is, however, something that I really do value, and has helped my depressed ass on more than one occasion, and I like to think vice versa.
They also accepted my invitation to come hang out with me and my friends on New Years’ Eve, and when I was later in a bit of a self-loathing slump, they pointed out that they were literally blowing off their family to come see me and my friends on NYE, which kind of shocked me in hindsight.
I suppose the summary of my issue is – I’m crushing hard on a friend who I really want to keep as my friend, and whose support and affection means quite a bit to me. They’ve also had a lot of troubles at school, and have been burned before, so I don’t want to accidentally throw any further fuel on that fire and accidentally “Nice GuyTM” them or something, I just want to be there to help provide emotional support when needed. What’s a nerd to do?
Badly Conflicted Atreides