I used to be friends with a guy named Antoine*. We met on my junior college campus some years ago. He wasn’t a bad looking guy, he was very respectful in his approach, and I always wanted to give him an honest chance before I wrote him off. He and I would hang out ever so often. We went out a few times, but I just didn’t feel the connection between us. It always appeared that he was negative about everything. If I said it was a good day, he would say “it’ll get worse later”. If I say that I want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, he would retort “no one can do that, so don’t try”. I was in a relationship with someone negative before and had learned that when you are with those people they tend to infect you with their poison. The more I hung out with him the more I saw that quality and as a positive person, it naturally was a turn off.
He went MIA for a bit and although I did enjoy our conversations, I was okay with him finding other women to date because I did not see him in that manner. He would text me out of the blue, and we would talk. Then somehow, someway, we would make our way back to the relationship conversation. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings so I did the “not ready for a relationship right now” speech when in actuality it wasn’t that I did not want a relationship, I just didn't want a relationship with him. He later came back into the picture, with a little boy. I am a sucker for men with children, call it my own daddy issues reflected upon others, but I love a man who takes care of their children and loves them in a way that only a father can. We started hanging out more because I thought maybe time and fatherhood would have changed his way of thinking. Unfortunately, not only did it not change for the better, it had become worse. His negativity included more aspects of his life, such as his disdain for the mother of his child. I understood that he needed an outlet and that he was really not feeling her. However, when his negativity started to pour down to his child calling the mother a B*tch and he didn’t correct it, I found it really inappropriate. You do not have to like the mother of your child, but that child still needs to respect his mother because that’s the first female relationship he will have. If he doesn't respect his mother, who will he respect? Once again, I started seeing more of the unattractive traits that were there from the beginning and ultimately relegated him to the friend zone.
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However, I really liked him as a friend. Like, genuinely liked him as a friend, I cannot stress that enough. He was fun to talk to and we were notorious for chatting for awhile. Our arguments got my blood boiling but it was fun in hindsight. As he tired of the friend zone, and started to push the relationship conversation again, I realized that I needed to be very detailed with him as to why we couldn’t be together. One Valentine’s Day weekend, he bought me some trinkets and a card that was handwritten by him telling me about how romantic he could be and how I could always have this type of romance. I felt so horrible. I knew that he had hoped that this would be a bridge to us starting a relationship. I did not ask him to do this nor wanted him to do this, so I had to have the dreaded conversation with him. I had to tell him that his everyday f*cked-up-woe-is-me-i'll-never-get-ahead-because-i-wont-try attitude was a major turn off. That I didn’t agree with the way he raised his child. That I could not stand how cheap he was (he was cheap prior to having a child as well). Those issues were just the tips of the iceberg, but I had to let him know, because I didn’t want him to keep waiting for me, when there would be nothing to wait for. I’m sure he was hurt, but after some time passed he reached back out to me and we hung out again like friends just as we had done before. One day he told me, “You are so beautiful I think we would be great together”. I was so uncomfortable with the comment and did not know how to address it, so I ignored it. I made a joke, which is what you can count on me to do in times of awkwardness.
Time passed and I would talk to him about other girls and ask him about him dating and give him advice about women. In my eyes I felt that if I talked more about other women, he would understand that I am not looking to be with him and that I wanted him to progress to someone who wanted him, like he wanted me. He seemed to be moving on and I was happy because I really like him as a friend and really tried to hold on to the relationship. On our last conversation he stopped by my home and I cooked him some breakfast. He told me that I was it for him. He couldn’t see anyone else for him. I realized that no matter how bad I wanted to be friends with him, it wasn’t going to work and in actuality I was being selfish. I kept him around because I wanted to be friends. I was getting what I wanted out the relationship, but he was not. He couldn’t just be friends with me; because he didn’t want to just be friends. His point of view was that if he kept trying, perhaps he could wear me down and we’d be together, similarly to a Steve Urkel and Laura Winslow relationship.
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At that point, I had to do what was right for the both of us. I valued him as a friend and because of that I valued his heart. I didn’t want him to be waiting for me, and I may end up with someone else and he’s wasted 5 years waiting for me to be ready. 5 good years that he could have spent with someone else who would want to give him the world, something that I was not willing to do. I slowly had to create space between us. I had to stop responding to texts or become short in my responses. I Ignored calls, stopped hanging out with him when he requested. I had to end the friendship regardless of how I felt. Sometimes, as people we have to take the higher road when it comes to dealing with other people.'s emotions We may feel like they should do what’s necessary to fix their emotions. "Why should I have to worry about them? We are adults." And you know what, you are right, maybe they should know how to regulate their emotions. However, I think that sometimes you have to help your friends out because they may not know how to help themselves. Maybe years down the road you can go back to having that relationship you had before. Or maybe not. These are the risks that we take in efforts to be called a good person.
*names have been changed for the protection of the subject.