Crush His Feelings

Q: A friend of mine let me know that he has something important to tell me, that he has been wanting to tell me since he met me. I knew he had a crush on me way back, but he never asked me out. He was older and graduated, and we lost touch till we found ourselves working at the same company. This wouldn't be an issue, except for the fact that I am in a committed relationship. I do not know how to deal with this situation without crushing his feelings and worse, losing him as a friend. -- Jackie, 26

Dr. Susan: I hope you don't get yourself into a complicated emotional state out of fear of losing this guy as a friend. Sometimes the final outcome of a friendship is simply not under your control, Jackie. Assuming you're not fantasizing his romantic interest out of thin air, what we're dealing with is an old guy friend who has the hots for you. It's been ages since you've seen him last, and now he's apparently decided to admit his true feelings. He probably figures he has nothing to lose, and indeed, he doesn't. Unfortunately for him, he waited too long and now you love someone else. Stop worrying about hurting the old friend's feelings. Friends, if they're to remain friends, owe each other honesty above all else. Once he's made his announcement, tell him very gently that if the situation were otherwise, things might have been different between you, but as it is, you're in a committed relationship and very happy. Add that you value his friendship a lot and hope he understands that those are not just empty words.

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