I think half of the Fred and Ginger movies are about whether they are faking a romance or really in love. Let's hope this week's letter writer has the same happy ending Fred and Ginger always do.
Lately I've run into a strange situation in my guild. A friend of mine and I have been spending a lot of time online together and it's suddenly come to our attention that a lot of people think there is something going on between us.
Some background of my guild: We're several years old and are very tight knit. I feel so at home with these people, specifically my fellow officers, that I'd call some of them my best friends in-game and out. We have people from all over the world and it's amazing to connect with everyone no matter the distance between us.
This is why it was so shocking that my friend and I were accused of dating. If we'd actually been dating, we'd have told someone. After I logged one night, my friend was accidentally privy to a conversation refering to myself as her boyfriend. She was shocked into silence, or so she tells me. When I logged back on, she immediately let me know of the situation. However this is where things get tricky.Drama Mama Robin: Congratulations, Possibly, you are definitely in a relationship. Your friends were trying to tell you that they see you had feelings for each other and were essentially boyfriend and girlfriend. Rather than pretending to be a couple, you should have explored your options and your feelings. But you don't have a time machine, so you can't go back and fix things. I don't think, however, you are in too bad of a predicament. It all boils down to one thing: How does NotGirlfriend feel about you?
We decided to play along with their assumptions.
At first it was hilarious. But now it's getting oddly real.
We're using real names, we're on Real ID, phone numbers have been exchanged, and we've been spending every moment in game together. Plus a heaping of flirting for everyone else's benefit.
But now the seed has grown so big that everyone believes the ruse we've created. And I'm starting to believe it a little too.
Now friends believe we're together, and though we've been neutral in our answers, we haven't denied anything. Emotions on my end are getting involved because it's hard to not feel something when you do love spending time with someone and now you're trying to imagine dating them to play along. And we failed to figure out a way to dig ourselves out of this hole without losing our friends and our friendship.
- Possibly In Love/Trouble
You need to have The Talk -- preferably over the phone. Ugh, we humans really make things more complicated than we need to when it comes to romance, don't we? But, as in most communication, keep it simple and honest. Tell NotGirlfriend how you feel, and ask her if she feels the same way. Keep it positive. "Do you feel the same way?" is much better than "You don't feel the same way, do you?" No reason to set yourself up to fail.
Now if she says yes, just keep doing what you're doing. No need to complicate things. No need to communicate to anyone that things have changed. (As far as everyone else is concerned, they haven't.) Just enjoy your friendship turned goofy romantic comedy.
If she says no, then things get less simple. First of all, do not get defensive, insulting, moody -- anything negative. Set aside your feelings of rejection to deal with later when you are off the phone. You may of course express disappointment, but remember you like (possibly love) and respect this person. And, as you've stated, you don't want to jeopardize what you have. Just suggest that maybe you two should stop the pretense (which you definitely should) and try to go back to the in-game friendship you had. You've played your hand. She knows you like her now. So she should understand that you're going to need a little distance to deal with the rejection. If she doesn't, you'll have to be a bit firm about stopping the out-of-game chat while continuing to play together in Azeroth. And if that doesn't work, I recommend taking a week or two break from the game to distance yourself from the whole thing.
Just remember that her rejection now does not necessarily mean that it will be a rejection forever. If you go back to being online friends and she realizes she misses the extracurricular fun and camaraderie, then she will tell you -- since you took the first step in letting her know that's what you want.
My guess is that your virtual romantic comedy will end up just like the ones we see in the movies -- with a happy ending ... or at least a happy middle. Please let us know if I'm right. I really hope I am.
Drama Mama Lisa: Pretending to be something they're not gets folks in trouble online every time. Just remember, if you want to enjoy this game with other people, you have to conduct yourself in a genuine way and make real connections. Don't hide your age. Don't shuffle what's real under the rug "for the good of the guild." Don't kid yourself that you can get away with maintaining a false identity online. Want to be treated with real respect and real friendship? Be real.
That said, Possibly in Love, even if you had been romantically involved with your friend, relationships come and relationships go. It's nobody's business should you suddenly stop being lovey-dovey; that's what happens when relationships end, and it doesn't merit a big, public announcement. So quit worrying about putting on a show. Just be what you are. If anyone asks, reply honestly: "We spend a lot of time together, but no, we're definitely just friends." You don't owe anyone any backstory or details. You lucky dog, you really do get a free pass here. Just get real and keep it real. End of story.
So now you have to decide whether or not it's time to own up to your feelings. You can choose not to; you can end the charade and then see where things go from there naturally. The little charade you two developed is not inextricably tied to your new feelings for her. It's OK to let a breath or two pass between these moments and allow things to happen in their own time.
If you do want to make your new feelings known right now, though, don't complicate matters by insisting on making it about that silly situation. This is about you and her now. You do run the risk of losing her friendship if things become awkward after you reveal your feelings for her; that's the risk you take in sharing your feelings in any romantic situation, regardless of the past scenario. The one mandatory thing you have to do this time around is to make the relationship about you and her, not about the charade you built for fun. Be real, and she'll respond in a real way. Hope it's "really" good!
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at firstname.lastname@example.org.