Ask FHM is a corner of the Internet where we fan the flames of your burning questions. Here, we dish out some tough love and an honest take on whatever potentially life-changing situation you find yourself in (while silently thanking God we aren’t you right now). Ask us anything. Except for money, and if open-minded ba kami.
Vol. 3: How Do I Tell This Girl Na Friends Lang Talaga Kami?
FHM, help! For the first time in my life, I’m the one doing the friend-zoning. I met this girl through my work barkada—she’s the roommate of my officemate—and since we hang out pretty regularly, we got close. She’s always down for a drink on a random weeknight or even just accompanying me running errands on slow Sundays. It’s been a few months of (sometimes) hanging out solo, and since she and I live close to each other, I pick her up from work often, too.
I always felt we were just buddies, but our barkada won’t quit with the teasing and matchmaking. I’m worried that she thinks this is heading somewhere (she’s gotten increasingly clingy), but truth is, it’s not—she’s cute and sweet and all, but she’s not my type. How do I tell her that this is a strict friends-lang-tayo thing?
We must get this out of the way: If you don’t want this cute, sweet, gainfully employed girl, please feel free to introduce her to us. One man’s not-this-one is another man’s (possible) The One, after all. Now! Down to business!
An appreciative fist bump is in order, in recognition of the fact that you aren’t a douchebag. There are many asshole-y ways to deal with this situation, and you’ve chosen to take the high road. We aren’t sure if you want to let her down gently because you just want this monkey off your back (the matchmaking pressure, not the girl), or because you genuinely care about her, but still—you’re on the right track here. But before you make any moves, a little introspection is in order.
Are you sure you reached this point of “Ano ba talaga tayo?” completely unaware? Could your friends be doing some gentle prodding and teasing for no reason at all, or because they see something in the way you treat her? Was there any point in this becoming-BFFs scenario where things weren’t as platonic as you make it out to be? You say girl is becoming a little clingy—could it be because you’re acting a little more boyfriend-like, as opposed to boy-space-friend-like? Picking her up from work, always hanging out a deux, and errands (Errands! How old-married-couple of you!) are all markers of cozy couple-hood, so we can see why people (or even the lady in question) might get mixed up.
Only you can answer this question clearly. But brother, we think you wouldn’t be coming to us with this dilemma if your conscience was clear from the get-go. This mad rush to remedy the situation could be stemming from guilt. There’s a big chance that how you played this looks like something out of a started-out-as-friends rom-com, and now you’re deciding that this isn’t going to end with a cut-to of a wedding scene (or rain-drenched kiss).
If you’re absolutely sure you did nothing to instigate intimacy (read: hindi ka malandi), then there’s nothing to do with this situation—not because you can’t, but because you don’t have to. Continue to act consistently—don’t escalate or pull away abruptly, because that just hints that there is something going other than plain old friendship. Girl shouldn’t be confused about what’s between you because you haven’t been sending any signals, mixed or otherwise, anyway. Right?
Oh, no? Oops. No wonder you’re in a pinch. If you’ve all this time been enjoying the thrill and kilig of an ambiguous are-we-or-aren’t-we setup, you’re basically the paragon of paasa. If you’ve been steadily flirting, or even getting intimate, but using friendship as a smokescreen, you’re going to need to back up your actions with some well-chosen words. And unfortunately, those words will run counter to how you’ve been acting.
Shore up some integrity and lay it out to her straight—but gently. Remember all those times a girl told you she “loved you like a brother” and how suck-y that felt (so please, don’t use that line). Just tell her she’s a really awesome girl and you’re lucky to call her your buddy. Don’t lay it on too thick. If your relationship is as solid as you’re making it out to be, then it should be a relatively drama-free conversation. Honestly, it boils down to how you guys are with each other. If you’re the kind of friends who value a good talk, then by all means, buy her a drink and have a chat. There’s nothing wrong with having “the talk” to DTR—even if that relationship is meant to be a platonic one.
Also, here’s a short list of what not to do (including the painfully obvious ones): Embarrass her in front of your barkada (discuss in private, please); suddenly ghost or act weird (immature AF); start setting her up with guys or introduce a new girl you’re seeing to the group without absolutely making sure you’re all on the same page about what you are to each other (iwas-gulo tactics).
TL;DR: If you weren’t flirting all this time, keep calm and enjoy the perks of having a girl BFF (though you may want a “Love how we’re just friends” speech in your back pocket, just in case). If you have been instigating some landi, sit her down stat and sheepishly lay down the line. Never, ever just leave her hanging and wondering what the heck is going on. Friends don’t do that to each other—and didn’t you say that’s what you were?
Illustration Borg Sinaban