Ask E. Jean - Tormented? Driven Witless? Whipsawed by confusion?

Advice Vixens

How much of my opinion should I give a good friend about a guy she is talking to? He seems to be sending her mixed signals, like suggesting they go somewhere for vacation in the future. But then he doesn't make an effort to spend time with her one on one currently. They both have busy schedules but he doesn't try to make any plans to hang out when they do have free time. To me suggesting vague, distant plans but not actually making an effort to spend time with her is kind of a red flag that he might just think of her as a FWB but of course I could be wrong so I don't want to be judgmental. Should I mention my concern or just let her decide since she knows him and I don't?

They haven't spent time together for over a month and so I suggest she just ask him if he wanted to hang out.

What are your thoughts? You all give good advice so I want to learn how to be helpful to my friend without pushing my opinion on her :)

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    By and large, people (particularly in the throes of a new romance) listen to advice - and then do what they're going to do anyway. They are leading with their emotions, not with their reason. There's often that element of "he/she doesn't understand what this relationship is REALLY like, not really" which allows them to justify not following sound advice when it's not what they want to hear at the time.

    If your description of their situation is accurate, he sees her as a FWB. He makes some noises about future plans to keep her hooked, but has yet to actually follow through with them. So hope persists, even though the evidence indicates otherwise. If he was really interested, he'd make an effort. From what I've observed, that's the one reliable hallmark of interest in a relationship. No effort = no real interest. And admitting that can be a real blow to one's ego, that someone you find so fascinating does not share the sentiment. So avoiding that realisation is a protective mechanism. That's why she's asking you for tactics to get him to spend time with her rather than asking if you think he's actually worth that effort.

    That being said, if she does go to you for advice, a good tactic is to ask the right questions and let her get there on her own. As in when she says - yet again - that he doesn't want to spend a free evening with her ask something like, "I don't get it - shouldn't he WANT to spend time with you?"

    reply to Jill
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    Great idea about the questions! I will have to try this if she asks for advice. Do you think I made a mistake suggesting that she ask him to hang out? My logic was that she was thinking that he was already comfortable with her so he didn't feel the need to spend as much time with her and doesn't know she wants to spend more time together. So I said if she thinks that is the issue she should ask to hang out so he knows she wants to. If he is busy this weekend but is still interested in her, he will make time another weekend. If he doesn't make time for her, then she will know he isn't interested in anything serious.

    But your question would have been perfect! I have been in the situation where I clung to every vague thing the guy said to keep me hooked, and it sucked! I just don't want to see my friend go through that without me saying she deserves someone who makes an effort for her.

    reply to anonymous
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    I think that it shouldn't have been necessary. If a friend needs advice about how to make a guy want to spend time with her, that in itself should be a clear message that he's the wrong guy. Even busy people can find an hour or two in their weekly schedule for someone they want to be with. If he was really interested, he would not have let a week pass without asking to spend time with her, let alone an entire month. That's not comfort - that's indifference.

    So my advice is that if this ever comes up in the future, just default to the question tactic.

    reply to Jill
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    Definitely listen to Jill. I am constantly getting my heart broken because I tell friends exactly what I'm thinking.

    It feels like the honest and loving thing to do, but ... people don't react like they do on TV, in books and in the movies. They don't have that epiphany moment where they say "Ohmigod, you are SO RIGHT!!"

    In my experience, they get mad and never speak to you again.

    So, yeah. Ask her gentle questions and let her figure this out on her own. Just be prepared for the fact that she might not.

    reply to Robynne
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    Unless she has specifically asked you for advice, I would just listen and be a friend without judgement.

    reply to Blondie
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    At this stage of the relationship, she might not want to listen to you because of hormones and because on some level she needs to have this experience to learn what this lesson is supposed to be. The questions advice is very good. I would say something if this goes on for longer than a few months and if she seems miserable.

    reply to Gerbera
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