Social Question

flash74686's avatar

Where to proceed after accidentally sibling-zoning someone?

Asked by flash74686 (478points) October 20th, 2012

I apologize in advance- this is really long, but if you like giving advice, I would really appreciate it! Normally I’d talk this kind of stuff out with my best friends from back home, but they’re pretty difficult to get ahold of since this is freshman year of college and everyone’s busy with classes and sororities and whatnot.

So there’s this guy. We became friends a couple of months ago. He acts very immature sometimes- like an elementary school kid, poking and tickling people and chasing after birds when he sees them in the park. I kid you not. I used to think I could never see him in a romantic way, because he felt like such a little brother to me. I would actually say it to him- I’m taking Korean and he’s Korean, so to practice I’d call him my 동생, which is younger sibling in Korean. He’s even called me 누나, which means older sister (but he doesn’t anymore).

Then, after hanging out with him and seeing his serious and mature side…. well, we get along really well and a lot of our perspectives align so we don’t actually fight about anything other than the fact that he pokes and teases me (but he does this with everyone so it’s not his way of flirting). I’ve hung out with him every day this week and last night, I stayed up four hours longer than I intended to, just to talk to him. Yeah I like him.

Now I don’t know what to do. I really suck at flirting, otherwise I would do that, and drop hints that I’ve changed my mind about the whole little brother thing. I’m very shy and introverted when it comes to talking about my feelings- but he likes to say stuff straight out so I know he’d appreciate my honesty if I told him. I’m just afraid of ruining our friendship since we have only known each other for a little while. Also I’m freaking terrified of rejection.

I don’t think he sees me that way anymore because he’s talked to me about girls and how he wants to meet more girls and hook up and all that stuff, which isn’t as easy for me because at my college, the girl to guy ratio is already pretty high, but then about half of the guys are also gay. I don’t have many other opportunities and I really like this guy so I don’t want to let him go.

I want your honest opinion. Is it too late? Should I come out and say it or move on? I’m just at a loss here, sorry.

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29 Answers

Judi's avatar

I have to believe the moment will present itself. He’ll be tickling you or something, and you will reach in for the kiss. no words necessary.

bookish1's avatar

Why would it be too late? Just because you referred to each other as siblings in a language you are both studying?
This is the 21st century. There’s no need to fall back on gender roles. You don’t have to flirt and be coy and hope he will get the hint. This is your first year in college, and for many it’s a time of ongoing socialization. Look at this situation as a chance to work on developing your social skills!
And about the possibility of rejection/ruining a friendship, well, taking chances like that is part of adult socialization as well. My first year of college, I had a crush on a girl I had just become friends with. After trying to drop hints for a few weeks, I finally got her alone and told her I liked her “in that way.” She didn’t share my feelings, so I focused my attention elsewhere, but we still stayed good friends. It’s quite possible!
Don’t give up on an opportunity before you’ve even given it a chance.
I got some wonderful advice on Fluther this summer that encouraged me to declare my feelings for an old friend. I was very worried about ruining our friendship. But I took the chance, put myself out there, and I’m very glad I did. I’m just trying to pay it forward now.
Best of luck to you!

ragingloli's avatar

Just go for it. The sibling vibe just makes it more spicy :P

Jenniehowell's avatar

I say go for it – he’s a man. The man vibe supersedes the friend vibe any day. It’s as simple as taking the first step…. or even better… making yourself available enough that he can catch the hints without any question or confusion and then allowing him to make his own move.

Shippy's avatar

Lot’s of “best” friends become more than that!

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

@Shippy is right. The last best friend I had I ended up in a relationship with for more than six years. So see past the squiggly line drawing thingy calling sibling thing (I don’t know how to type that stuff out without copy/paste) and either A) let things go the course, or B) Spit it out.
My girlfriend tells me I state the obvious. It is obvious, but there it is.

zenvelo's avatar

Tell him Korean terms are for studying, but English is for feelings. And tell him in English he’s a man, and then kiss him.

janbb's avatar

I would just tell him straight out that your feelings for him have deepened and ask if he is interested in a dating relationship. I had a somewhat similar experience and did that. It turned out that my friend was not interested in dating me – which hurt – but we talked it all out and are still really close. It’s not easy but if you are not the flirting type, honesty can be the best. (P.S. My friend would have run like hell if I had put the moves on him.)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

A belated welcome to Fluther!

If he is no longer calling you “older sister” and you are now interested in him romantically, drop the “younger brother” term of endearment. That would be a very subtle sign that your emotions have shifted. I may open the door for him to ask why and for you to say that you no longer look upon him in that way.

Talking to him about how your feelings have shifted is not flirtation. It is also not a commitment. It is just potential fact. If you trust this guy, and it sounds as if you do, then there is nothing to worry about. It’s just a matter of wording this declaration in a way that that is clear that your feelings have shifted, but it needs to be approached cautiously. State that the worst fear is that the relationship being built is at risk, if this is the case.

The only notation in the original post that is a concern is the assumption that a certain percentage of the male students are gay. If you are using college as a platform for finding a potential life partner, then there is a red flag.

When it comes to relationships built during the traditional college years, it’s a matter of seeing how they play out. I know more people who found the love of their life post-school than those that did in high school or college.

Please keep us posted on how the relationship progresses. We really like updates here on Fluther.

jordym84's avatar

Don’t waste any more time! Go for it. Last year, when I was doing an internship after graduating from college, I met a guy with whom I became very good friends. We hung out a lot and always had a great time together. I suspected that I had feelings for him (and I knew for sure that he had feelings for me because he dropped hints here and there, but I always brushed them off because, like you, I suck at this kind of stuff). Long story short, 8 months later (8 whole months), on the night that my internship ended, the night before I had to return home hundreds of miles away, was when we finally fessed up that we both had feelings for each other the entire time. On the bright side, we spent one heck of a magical night together, but on the awful downside, it was unnerving to think of all the wasted time and opportunities of the past 8 months because we had been afraid of ruining our friendship. We managed to stay in a long distance relationship (I visited him a few times) and fell intensely in love with each other (a first for both of us) but unfortunately distance did us in and we ended up breaking up after 6 months. Although I no longer have feelings for him in a romantic sense, we’re still good friends and talk on the phone often.

The point of my story is don’t wait too long. Every opportunity has a shelf life and if you don’t seize it at the present moment, you’ll most likely end up kicking yourself in the bum some time down the line (I know I did). Do yourself a favor and get over your shyness and fear of rejection (easier said than done, believe me, I still struggle with this) and just go for it. What’s the worse that could happen? You might be pleasantly surprised with the outcome, and if not, well then, just chalk it up to experience!

Best of luck and keep us posted :)

flash74686's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer just so you don’t worry- when it comes to relationships I just want the practice. I didn’t really date in high school, so I want to date more in college and test the waters. That’s all. The boy is currently home for the weekend but I’ll try to work up the guts to talk to him when he gets back and let you know. Another problem is my two girl friends here have both liked him too! One, my suite mate, liked him but never told him, then stopped liking him. The other liked him and decided they’d be better off as friends… Then told him after the fact, which really confused him. He talked to me about it (she doesn’t know I know) like, “why tell me you used to like me if you don’t want a relationship?” Which is kinda funny. I might talk to my suite mate about it though, before I say anything to him. To clear it by her or something.

zenvelo's avatar

Another way to change things is to call him “boyfriend” in Korean, that would be your private nickname for him.

gailcalled's avatar

Can someone now define what the neologism sibling-zoning means?

ragingloli's avatar

Treating someone as if s/he were your brother/sister?

flash74686's avatar

@gailcalled it’s an off-shoot of “friend-zoning.” Rather than being in the friend zone, you’re in the sibling zone lol

Coloma's avatar

chasing after birds in the park

Sounds like the usual dog trapped in a mans body. My sympathies. Does he get excited about sticks and tennis balls too?

flash74686's avatar

@Coloma Well he practices kendo and gets really excited about it, so I guess it’s a yes to the sticks? Oh my God, he likes playing with frisbees too.

Coloma's avatar

@flash74686 Haha, is his name Rex?
Good play on the humor! ;-)

flash74686's avatar

@Coloma Oh I wish; wouldn’t that be a riot? He doesn’t even have an English name though, so when he goes to Starbucks or something, he just says he’s Sam, which could be a dog’s name, I guess! But actually now that you mention it he’s also obsessed with bacon like those dogs in the Beggin’ Strips commercials. Now I’m legitimately worried.

Coloma's avatar

@flash74686 How’s he do with cats? Does he snack out of litter boxes?

flash74686's avatar

@Coloma I don’t even want to know… although if this were the case, it would be easy to date him. All we have to do it go to Central Park… maybe I’ll buy him food every once in a while. I actually treat him to dinner sometimes already… When he’s annoyed at me, I’m like “I’ll buy you meat!” and he just grins, all annoyance forgotten. OMG he is a dog!

jordym84's avatar

@Coloma and @flash74686 thanks for a good giggle!! hahaha

Coloma's avatar

I think an entirely comedy routine could be written from this little exchange.

Of course, many unruly dogs have to be managed with shock collars, choke collars and prong collars.
The only other option is euthanasia. Never pass on a problem dog to another, it is unethical.
Looks like your stuck with him. ;-)

gailcalled's avatar

So, conjugate “to friend-zone.

wundayatta's avatar

Like you said, you’re just practicing. So there’s really not a lot of pressure. You could decide just to remain friends, and that would be a good thing. You would enjoy it. You don’t have to have regrets about what could have been. You can focus on what is.

Or you could pop the question, so to speak, and either win or lose. If you lose, and he freaks and disappears, then there are other friends to have. No biggie. Life is long. You will have many loves.

Or you can sit still and enjoy the tension. Feel the feelings. Don’t speak them. This is actually one of the best parts of love. The anticipation is a wonderful thing. So just let things develop. Enjoy wanting and yet not knowing. It is really quite delicious, and if you aren’t attached to a particular outcome, you can actual taste the deliciousness.

flash74686's avatar

Okay, after having read your advice, I think I’m going to tell him. On Thursday, our friends are going to a party, but he and I are staying behind to go to Kendo, so I can talk to him privately afterwards. I think I’m just going to say something like, “hey, remember when I said I thought of you as a brother? I don’t think that anymore…” and see where it goes from there.

The only thing is that on Friday, he’s going to a kendo competition all weekend (I won’t be there). If things don’t go well, I’m not sure if it would be better to have that time apart, or if it might make things all the more awkward afterwards… Thoughts?

Coloma's avatar

Ya just gotta do it, let the Kendo sticks fall where they may.
I don’t like being stressed and obsessed with having to do something uncomfortable and risky, I’d rather just get it over with sooner, rather than later.
It’s like ripping off a bandaid, fast is always more painless than slow. lol

wundayatta's avatar

There’s never a good time. You just have to do it, and deal with the consequences.

zenvelo's avatar

@gailcalled It’s from “oh, I love you so much, you’re like a brother to me.”

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