“Yeah, he’s keeping you close enough to keep an eye on you but distant enough to say you’re just friends,” said one of my male friends, confirming what I already knew about a certain ‘friendship’. This had been going on for sometime. We’d hang out, catch up, talk and text whenever it was convenient. He’d make flirtatious remarks about how “when we get married …” and then proceed to tell me I need to start dating, or ask my opinion about someone he was dating. Sometimes we’d go weeks, months even, with no interaction. It was confusing to say the least.
Essentially, I was his ‘Back Pocket Friend’. The girl with potential, who he could probably see himself with in the future after he was done living the bachelor life and seeing what’s out there. The girl he kept neatly tucked away for special occasions and invites, referred to as “buddy” and “homie” yet wanted to spend quality time with. Who he’d show a nudge of jealousy whenever a potential suitor was mentioned, but stayed overly vague about his dating life.
It was obvious I liked him, but it wasn’t clear if the feeling was mutual.
At a certain point, I was over the vagueness. “How do you feel about me?” As his words pranced around the bush, the jist of his response seemed to say: I like you but I don’t want to or am not ready to be in a relationship with you. Let’s just be friends.” Yet his actions sometimes said the opposite.
What was I supposed to make of this? Why did it have to be so complicated? If you want to be with me, say it. If not, keep it kosher. I’ll get over it. I just needed to know either way, yet the answer continued to be avoided or swept under the rug.
So, what’s a girl to do?
I let it go. I let the thought of our potential go. Pushed it out my mind and freed myself from the vagueness of our relationship. I hoped out of his pocket and no longer accepted the hints of something more. In the long run, I have to protect my feelings and not linger in the abyss of what could be–especially when the effort to figure it out was not there on his end. It may have been a cute scenario high school, but as an young adult trying to get grounded in my relationships, I couldn’t allow myself to go on like this. Maybe one day our real friendship will redeem itself. Maybe one day he’ll get why I couldn’t play the Back Pocket Friend. But by then, it may be too late.
Have you ever had a male friend try to keep you in his back pocket? What did you do to move on?