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January 20, 2016

Check Your Ego: Let Her Have Him

Hey, Bonita…

Heyyyyyy Bonita,

About four months ago, I made a great friend. She and I hit it off pretty quickly, and I'm so happy to have a new friend. She and I are both interested in meeting people, finding guys to date, eventually finding a relationship, etc. For what seems like the first time since college, I feel like I am meeting new people and going out a lot. So, really, I have plenty of people to date. She's meeting people, also, and having a good time.

Recently, I reconnected with a college friend. He's super cute, smart and flirtatious. We always flirted inconsequentially when we were in school, and I have to admit it's a bit of a rush to be in touch with him now. He lives about three hours away, but he's in town fairly often.

Here's my dilemma: While I enjoy flirting with this guy and would not be averse to a fling or fun relationship with him, I kind of think he and I don't have long-term potential. But I think he and my friend could be a really good match. She's wonderful and completely his type. I think she might like him, too. I've thought of introducing them several times, but I always selfishly hold back because I like the flirtation he and I have.

Am I being selfish by not connecting them? Should I just introduce them? I would say I value my friendship with her more than my flirtation with him, and, of course, I want her to be happy. I do kind of worry that if they hit it off, I'll feel jealous or resentful and that will poison my friendship with her at least a little bit. What do you think?

I definitely agree that you're being selfish, but I'm not hating—rejection hurts, jealousy is real, and you clearly don't wanna expose yourself to either of those emotions in this situation. You're trying to maintain the status quo because it's working in your favor right now—you've got an awesome lady friend to hang out with and a hot dude to flirt with. This nourishes your ego in a few ways, and you don't want it to change.

Just last year, one of my best friends was set up on a blind date with a casual crush of mine. (Super casual, might I add; I basically just say hello to this person like once a week.) When she giggled the great news to me, I smiled and congratulated her, but in reality my head was hot with self-hatred, and I genuinely worried I'd shit my pants in shock. I went home and asked myself what was wrong with me, why no one wanted me, why I was so ugly, why this crush still wasn't noticing me, why people didn't see potential in me.

I immediately realized how crazy I sounded, putting all of my self-worth and femme identity in the hands of a person whose phone number I didn't even have. These thoughts were the heterosexual, monogamist conditioning that we're all subjected to in life—this idea that I had “dibs” on a cute acquaintance; the notion that one person's attention could be more fulfilling than anything else in my life.

Then I also remembered that plenty of people wanted me—my dating and sex life was poppin’—and my friends' relationships have nothing to do with me. Besides, I'd never even made a move on this person; I just enjoyed the flirting. This was about my ego. I felt an appropriate amount of shame, and I let it go.

Think of it this way: It doesn't mean much, really, if your two friends go on a date. They might hate each other and never speak again. They might bang once or twice before he ghosts on her in true Athens fashion. Long shot: They might fall in love. None of those things has anything to do with you, nor any effect on your life. This life is yours, and it's what you make it. Don't leave it up to others to build your self-esteem. Be a good friend. Set them up on a date.

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