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I recently came across a Quora thread that began with the following question: “I proposed to my best friend and she rejected me. But she still cares about me as a best friend and thinks the best for me. What should I do?”
I was curious about what people might say to this, and I braced myself for a couple of answers that prompted the questioner to keep pursuing her, but I expected most answers to be sensible and give good advice on how to get over someone while still remaining friends. Oh, was I wrong.
Many answers suggested that he break off their friendship. “Being friends would be tough for you only as you have feelings for her and talking casually like friends will hurt even worse,” said user Rishab Pratap Singh. This just perpetuates the idea that the friendship no longer has any value once the man realises that it will never grow into a romantic or sexual relationship.
Another user, Saroj Sahu, said that remaining friends with the woman would make the man lose face. “[Y]ou want to be insulted,” he said. This is a classic case of a man taking a rejection personally and then vilifying the woman who rejected him. This is the product of male entitlement, something that feeds into rape culture.
The asker elaborated on his question in a comment. One thing he said stood out to me. “But then again she doesn’t stop talking to me and keeps caring and talking,” he said, after explaining that she had said no to him already and had said they could remain friends. It’s odd because this is part of friendship: talking to the other person and caring about them. That need not be only in a romantic relationship. In no way is she sending mixed signals. She is simply being a good friend.
Other answers suggested trying to make the woman jealous by talking about new potential partners, or simply to remain friends and expect a reciprocation of feelings in the future: “one or the other day she will get that she can’t live without you,” said user SP Pro.
There was the inevitable mention of the ‘friendzone’ in one answer. Many answers suggested that the man remain friends with the woman and keep hoping she would reciprocate. User Anna Isabelle began her answer by saying, “[S]he might love you but she is too afraid. Maybe you both have huge differences in term of culture or whatever.” Another user, Nasir Geelani, went even further and said, “She likes you and you have to make her crave for you.” This completely invalidates the woman’s agency and ignores the fact that she has said NO.
Nasir Geelani went so far as to say, “It is not necessary whether she says yes or no”. His main point is that the asker should “give your best as a man” to this woman and eventually she will definitely reciprocate his feelings, irrespective of what she says now. This answer reeks of stalker behaviour.
But none of these is the worst answer. Simeon Petkov shared a personal anecdote about a situation in which the woman he is attracted to is dating his best friend. Almost bragging, he said that he has sabotaged their relationship, making it difficult between them. “I don’t give up,” he said. “No matter what I said this girl told me no and no over and over again.” It enrages me that he can see this as a reason to keep asking her and to go one step further and sabotage her relationship. He then suggests that the asker should do the same. “So my friend are you gonna really fight for this girl or what,” he says, before proudly signing off as “the saboteur”.
I found only two answers that showed respect for the woman’s choice and that gave the questioner good advice. The first was by Kavitha, who makes three main points. The first was that he should “respect her decision and move on”. The second was this important reminder: “She still talks and cares for you because of the fact that she considers you as her best friend”. And the third was to say that it was good that he hadn’t lost the friendship. “Continue to be friends is all I could say!!”
The second good answer came from Nihal Jathan, who said that the asker must move on, and not expect anything romantic to come out of the friendship. He accepted the fact that the truth “is hard to digest” but that it has to be accepted. He also attempts to tell the asker not to take the rejection as an insult. “She is not hurting you because even she respects your friendship,” he said.
I don’t know what the man has decided to do after reading this thread, but I sincerely hope he has accepted the advice of these last two users and is respecting the choice of his friend!
Top image is a scene from the movie Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani
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Arya. Teenager. Madcap book lover. Writer and poet. Feminist. Dog lover. Professional procrastinator.
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