26 March 2008

I want to know if my friend likes me!

I’m a 27 year old gay college male and I am attracted to a 17 year old German exchange student at school. When we first met, I saw him as a friend but as time passed, I developed feelings for him, and now I want him as my boyfriend. Also, he was really nice to me when I first met him, but now I think he just used me to give him tours of the town. He asked for my msn and he never talks to me on msn. Our friendship is based on technology because I’m always busy and so is he, we text each other sometimes, rarely talk on msn unless we’re meeting up or call each other on cell. We had our first outing and he kept on joking how I should be a drag queen and I went along with the joke. I don’t know what this means though. Also, I tested him by trying to kiss him and he pushed me away real hard and gave me a serious look. This was our first outing together…maybe I was going too fast? I’ve known him for 3 months, but it seems like we’ve known each other for 1 week with this type of technological communication. I want to know if he likes me!

Dee Gamme


Thank you for your question.

In this day and age, it is true that technology is there to “help” us communicate, but somehow manages to alienate us as well.

I think your situation is multi-layered. First, you are not sure of this person’s intentions; secondly, the type of communication may tend to emphasize any evidence of conflict. Finally, the age difference between you and your friend is also an issue.

It would be relevant to know how well this person speaks/understands English. If there is also a language barrier, this could make things even more confusing!

Although, it IS possible that he was nice to you in order to get your help, he may have also genuinely liked your company. This is hard to say. In addition, even if you do ask him about this issue, he may not give you a completely honest answer.

On the other hand, the fact that there is a 10-year age gap might affect the situation in a significant way. He is not only much younger than you, but is probably at another stage in his life. Although you are both in school together, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have a lot in common. Different life experiences might make you react differently to each other than if you were both in the same age group and from the same country.

When you attempted to kiss him, he may have been scared because it was too early in your relationship. But it could also mean that he is not interested in you. On the other hand, he is 17 years old and might not have had many romantic/sexual experiences, whether with women or with men. I would not assume that he is homophobic, because his reaction might be understandable if nobody has ever kissed him before, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

Probably the best way to handle this situation is to just discuss this with him. To find out whether he is interested in men, or could be interested in men, would be a good place to start. Try asking about his cultural background, and about whether a large age difference in a couple seems normal to him. By starting the discussion in this way, you can figure out whether he is open to continue exploring these issues with you.

I would also like to add that three months may seem excruciatingly long when you are attracted to or interested in someone, but in the context of developing a strong, long-term relationship, it is in fact not very long at all. Give this relationship some more time to develop and to see where it will be heading! Do not rush your decisions/actions, as this could push your friend away before he decides to get closer to you.

Good luck, and please write to us again if you have other questions,

Dee, for AlterHeroes