So one of the biggest misconceptions that people seem to have about being in a relationship is that you magically gain blinders and will never develop feelings or notice anyone other than your current partner. Just because you are in a relationship, it doesn’t mean you can’t develop feelings for someone else. And if it does happen, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something “lacking” in your current relationship. Don’t even get me started on people who will never understand how open relationships work because ermergerd, I am not in the mood for whipping out my social justice vocabular today.
An example of this, since I have no personal filter in my life and am shamelessly open about my past, is my freshman year in college. In the dorms, I happened to meet a super wasted awkward Asian guy (who I learned was my neighbor) one night when he drunkenly busted into my room thinking it was his room. He then proceeded to jump 5 feet up into my lofted bed and get STUCK there. Since he was too drunk and I had no ladder, I couldn’t possibly kick him out, my roommate and I ended up sharing her bed, and we let him sleepover.
Fast-forward to the next morning, his little sober self apologizes for the mishap, and we end up joking and talking about it/introducing ourselves. Over the next few weeks, he randomly stops by to say hi and talk for a few minutes, and sometimes play video games in his room (I kick his ass at call of duty). Needless to say, my giddiness and happiness to see him randomly is clearly signs of an unhealthy crush, and even though I don’t find him romantically attractive in any way, I like the attention. I eventually get over it because whatevs, and I have no reason to like him anyway. Other than when I randomly run into him, I could care less about him, have no interest in hanging out with him, etc. BUT on those chance encounters, it’s like taking a brief stroll down memory lane, so I remember those feelings of giddiness all over again.
Since we’re already on the topic of crushes, my recent encounters with guys throughout my medical school interviews and within my workplace have been hilarious and uncomfortable for me as the person receiving the attention instead.
During my first interview in Wisconsin, we had a lunch break after our morning interviews, so we sat around a large table and were getting to know each other. A fellow interviewee who sat next to me was laughing a lot more at my stupid jokes than the others. During a lull, he pointed out the ring I wear on my ring finger. The conversation literallfy went:
Him: Hey, I notice you wear a ring there. Are you in a relationship, married, or something?
Me: Oh, yeah, haha. Actually yes, it’s from my boyfriend. Hi my name is —
Him: -Smiles, gets up, and walks away without saying bye-
He also ignored me for the rest of the day, even during tours, etc. Uh is someone hella thirsty or what?
After the interview, I happened to end up on the same flight as another interviewee since we had a connecting flight in Denver. We ended up hanging out for like an hour, drinking smoothies and eating french fries. During the conversation, he randomly also asked if I have a boyfriend (again, because of my ring), to which I respond, “I actually do. Are you in a relationship too?”
Cue him saying, “Yes…but not anymore. She actually cheated on me when she did ecstasy.”
I MEAN, WHAT? How am I supposed to respond to that?? Like, at least he didn’t have ulterior motives in asking it, but some of these pre-meds are so weird sometimes…
But the biggest gem of all involves my colleagues in my work place.
So one of my “coworkers” recently also confessed his feelings to me. We were eating dinner at the DC very casually, so I thought nothing of it. It’s the DC, we’re surrounded by freshmen, and there’s definitely nothing romantic or suggestive about being swiped in.
I mean, yeah I’ve known this guy for like 3 years and he randomly went out of his way to meet up for DC, but we rarely ever interacted since he was always busy with school and didn’t come into lab as often as I did. Everything seemed pretty casual, and low key, short of a few awkward silences (that I randomly filled with stories and unusual expressions), so lyke whatever, you know?
Towards the end, I started to suspect that there was a reason he wanted to hang out more with me, but wasn’t too entirely sure (I don’t like to assume everyone likes me, because that’s super arrogant, and it makes me overanalyze/become super self-conscious my behavior). The “I really like spending time with you. I’d like to get to know you better” was kind of a small red flag though.
But, then as we were leaving, I became super suspicious because he walked me to my car, and stuck around longer than he should’ve. As soon as I went to kind of friendly hug/pat him goodbye, I instantly had the “oh my god, what have I done” thought cross my mind. (sidebar: I’m not too fond of physical contact with people, unless it’s with my closest friends/family + boyfriend, and I remembered the last time I was in this situation with another friend in high school). I can’t describe it as anything other than getting stuck in the hug that lasts just a little too long, so you instantly know how the other person feels about you.
So, the rest of the exchange in my memory is that I pulled away and avoided making eye contact, because I totally knew where this was going. I didn’t want to let him try to kiss me, but he grabbed my hand to ask if I had a boyfriend, etc. During this ENTIRE time, I couldn’t stop laughing because I was SO UNCOMFORTABLE. The last time I was in this situation was when I was 15 and had my first kiss with Julian! OH MY GOD, I WAS DYING.
I tried to be as nice and friendly as possible without straight up crushing him, and I apologized multiple times for anything I might have done to make him think I had feelings for him. I felt really bad for not noticing until it was “too late to go back to being normal friends” and he seriously Iooked like he was going to cry. I still think I should’ve handled the situation better, but shoot, I don’t have experience with this! How the heck are you supposed to tell someone that you don’t feel the same way and to tell them to stop because you’re in a relationship + not interested? I mean, we clash on so many fundamental values!
Anyway, I was a coward and ended doing exactly that, more bluntly, over text, and still feel a little bad about it. The craziness of human interaction can be pretty darn fascinating, but so unnecessarily complicated at times. I guess this is the “flip side of dating” that makes me grateful for the fact that I don’t have to deal with this on a regular basis. I am an awkward human being and I seem to attract awkward people into my life (in general). Let’s keep this as platonic as possible :P. There’s a few other hilarious encounters, but I don’t want to tell my ENTIRE life story in one day ;)