I’ve started answering questions…with questions. If you have a problem that might benefit from other angles of consideration, send it to donovanable [at] gmail [dot] com.
There is a woman I went on two dates with, and then we had an “are we dating conversation” she said that she enjoyed spending time with me and wasn’t romantically interested in me so she wanted to be my friend. I really enjoy our time together, but afterwards I’m a wreck, like every time is a rejection. I’m in a new area and she’s my only friend within a 30 minute drive, I think she’s awesome and don’t want to spend less time with her. I don’t think her feelings will change. What To Do?
I think you have correctly identified the important thing here—that you are the person who can change things about your reaction, and that she is unlikely to change her feelings.
How do you spend time together?
I ask because I’m wondering if you’re mostly spending time one-on-one. This is great for building friendships, but it might also cue abandonment or rejection right when you leave. If you went to bigger events (where bigger might mean eight people playing board games together or somesuch) the end of the event may feel more like leaving an event than being abandoned or rejected. Bonus: potential for more friends.
If your friend knows more about the social scene where the two of you live, she might be able to find group events or meet you at them.
What things is your brain telling you right as you leave from hanging out?
Whether or not you think these things are true in the cold hard daylight of not-being-distressed, what does your brain tell you? If its thoughts you don’t otherwise assess as being truthful (or you’re not sure if it’s truthful), can you practice assessing the statement during the time when you’re not distressed?
If your brain says something like “I’m not lovable” or “She hates me,” perhaps you could take some time to determine the evidence for and against this claim. Practicing in a less emotionally charged time can help transplant
Of course, it’s possible what your brain does is less about specific thoughts and more about a screechy unpleasant rejection feeling.
How do you make friends? How effectively are you pursuing this?
I expanded on this in this question. In short, it’s great that you found one awesome person who seems to, based on your description, also enjoy your time together. It might also be great to have a variety, that way you’re not trading off between having no social life and feeling awful after you do something social.
Photo from Flickr by Rawle Jackman