A little while ago, Boy and I hung out with our friend Annie and met her new boyfriend Vaughn. While to us, they seemed really good together, things didn’t seem to work out and they broke up.
“He’s not right for me,” she told us. “The break up was for the best.”
However, last week when we were hanging out with Annie, who showed up but Vaughn and the two of them spent a decent chunk of the night flirting and making plans that sounded suspciously like dates. This is by no means a condemnation of Annie. I love her to pieces and I am happy and proud to be her friend. But I have to say, I did feel a little bad for Vaughn since Annie’s flirty nature is kind of keeping the guy “on the hook.”
Don’t know what “on the hook” means? Let How I Met Your Mother inform you . . .
Now, I don’t consider myself a particularly flirty person. I kind of suck at doing the whole batting-of-the-eyelashes, flipping-of-the-hair thing, so I usually just tried to be nice to people. Unfortunately, sometimes in the past, I guess my friendliness was misinterpreted and lead to some pretty awful, uncomfortable situations.
In fact, I’m kind of ashamed to admit, this happened recently with a guy friend of mine. For the sake of this story, and for the HIMYM reference, let’s call him Scooter.
Scooter and I have been friends for years. At one point, I had a small crush on him, but nothing ever happened, so we just continued to hang out as friends which was awesome . . . until he started to get really weird with me. He wouldn’t respond to my e-mails, when we’d talk, he’d avoid eye contact and a while ago when we were at the same party, it seemed like he was actively avoiding me.
When I vented my frustration to Boy and our friend Jack over dinner, they both laughed at me.
“What do you want? The guy’s in love with you,” Boy informed me.
“No he’s not,” I insisted.”We are just friends.”
When I turned for support from Jack, he took Boy’s side. In spite of the fact he’d only met Scooter once, he agreed!
“Not for nothing, but the guy has a serious crush on you,” Jack laid it out for me. “I could tell within five minutes of meeting him.”
Even with both boys insisting Scooter still had feelings for me, I was sure they were wrong. We were just pals. He’d never said anything or made a move on me in any way. However a few months later, I got a weird, late night drunken e-mail message from Scooter . . . and it got me to thinking that maybe their theory held a little more water than I thought.
I always thought I was being nice to the guy, but maybe all those times we hung out and I would tell him how great he was and how ridiculous it was he didn’t have a girlfriend were doing him more harm than good. I would never intentionally hurt him – we’ve been through a lot together and having him in my life means something to me – but what if I did anyway? Were all the times I thought I was being a good friend being interpreted as “I Love You But This Isn’t Going To Work . . . Right Now” messages?
Sometimes, in spite of your best intentions, it’s hard to know the signals you’re giving someone else. Have any of you ever kept someone “on the hook” unintentionally? What did you do about it?
*You didn’t hear it from me, but you can watch the HIMYM episode in question here. For the record, Boy is from the Marshall school of letdowns. “Hang in there Scoots! I’m not going to live forever!”