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vielibre

(Female) Male friend won't see me as "just a friend"

204 posts in this topic

My good INTP friend has tried on several occasions spanning a year, to initiate a romantic relationship with me. I don't see him in this way and I'm not sure I ever could. I've only ever been with one person romantically and I never felt that I wasn't ready for the romantic elements of it, added to that, it proved to be emotionally damaging that has taken a lot of time, work, and soul searching to heal from. I'm currently in counselling for that amongst other problems. I sometimes question whether I'm an asexual as I feel little desire if any, to be with anyone in that way.

I do love my INTP friend deeply, I try and articulate all of this to him but he says he doesn't understand (understandably). Doesn't know where to go from here/how to treat me, and thinks that it's best we don't communicate anymore. In person, we were awake all night talking about this. He gave me mixed signals, distanced from me, said it didn't hurt him as much as he thought it should and that he didn't care. I thought: "good, we can be friends then". Yet, he then proceeds to say that it's not a switch he can flip off (his attraction to me) and that it's simpler if we don't keep up contact so he can get over this. Implying that he is hurt. 

I'll of course do whatever he thinks is best. I won't interfere with his life by reaching out if it's only proving to be an emotional crutch. I do feel truly heartbroken though, as I miss him a great deal. I feel like the end of our friendship is the end of an era, as dramatic as that sounds. I'm not out dating other people. I'm just trying to be happy with my friends and he's a huge part of that as his company, simply put, makes me really happy. (That is, until he starts trying to hit on me). If I could see this was hurting him deeply, perhaps I'd be more quick to cut contact. Yet, in the past, he's continued reaching out to me seemingly platonically, dates other girls, he even meets up with one of my best friends (female) as a friend. This all signals to me that he can't be "that" hurt. Though, I guess he may react differently to how I would. 

I post this here because I suppose it raises the question of whether men and women can ever be just "friends". 

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9 minutes ago, vielibre said:

I suppose it raises the question of whether men and women can ever be just "friends". 

Considering that there are plenty of platonic friendships between men and women (or generally between people who find the gender/sex of the other person attractive), as well as plenty of relationships where either or both are unable to remain platonic friends, yes, it is possible, but apparently not for everyone.

I for one have no trouble being platonic friends with people of the sex/gender I'm attracted to. 

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15 minutes ago, vielibre said:

My good INTP friend has tried on several occasions spanning a year, to initiate a romantic relationship with me. I don't see him in this way and I'm not sure I ever could. I've only ever been with one person romantically and I never felt that I wasn't ready for the romantic elements of it, added to that, it proved to be emotionally damaging that has taken a lot of time, work, and soul searching to heal from. I'm currently in counselling for that amongst other problems. I sometimes question whether I'm an asexual as I feel little desire if any, to be with anyone in that way.

I do love my INTP friend deeply, I try and articulate all of this to him but he says he doesn't understand (understandably). Doesn't know where to go from here/how to treat me, and thinks that it's best we don't communicate anymore. In person, we were awake all night talking about this. He gave me mixed signals, distanced from me, said it didn't hurt him as much as he thought it should and that he didn't care. I thought: "good, we can be friends then". Yet, he then proceeds to say that it's not a switch he can flip off (his attraction to me) and that it's simpler if we don't keep up contact so he can get over this. Implying that he is hurt. 

I'll of course do whatever he thinks is best. I won't interfere with his life by reaching out if it's only proving to be an emotional crutch. I do feel truly heartbroken though, as I miss him a great deal. I feel like the end of our friendship is the end of an era, as dramatic as that sounds. I'm not out dating other people. I'm just trying to be happy with my friends and he's a huge part of that as his company, simply put, makes me really happy. (That is, until he starts trying to hit on me). If I could see this was hurting him deeply, perhaps I'd be more quick to cut contact. Yet, in the past, he's continued reaching out to me seemingly platonically, dates other girls, he even meets up with one of my best friends (female) as a friend. This all signals to me that he can't be "that" hurt. Though, I guess he may react differently to how I would. 

I post this here because I suppose it raises the question of whether men and women can ever be just "friends". 

I did want to be friends with my one of my ex. We shared some genuinely nice friendly conversations, but we never met in person again. Then we stopped talking when she met someone.

 

Another ex wanted to be friends, but I don't think she genuinely wanted friendship. She was just trying not to hurt me. I said no.

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He was never your friend ... he was someone who pretended to be your friend in order to convince you to be his girlfriend.  That is his interest in you.  You're not losing his friendship because you've never had it.

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Posted (edited)

7 minutes ago, Holli said:

He was never your friend ... he was someone who pretended to be your friend in order to convince you to be his girlfriend.  That is his interest in you.  You're not losing his friendship because you've never had it.

I was going to agree, but then I thought he might genuinely care for her as a friend as well as wanting more, while genuinely being unable to emotionally or mentally handle the rejection or heartbreak, so finds it easier to cut her out as he said to her. Who knows for sure?

 

Not necessarily a good friend, mind you, since he's putting his own needs first all the way.

Edited by holdyourhead

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Men covet what they see.

If you are a good looking woman, any male friend will think of you as a potentially sexual partner. Some act on it, some dont. But there is zero chance for him not thinking of you sexually.

And you asking him to be just friends, is asking him to deny his basic instincts - not gonna happen.

In short, get a gay friend or a girl friend and stop stringing along men who want to fuck you. Him wanting you isnt a good basis for a friendship, but it is a decent one for a relationship.

 

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58 minutes ago, holdyourhead said:

I was going to agree, but then I thought he might genuinely care for her as a friend as well as wanting more, while genuinely being unable to emotionally or mentally handle the rejection or heartbreak, so finds it easier to cut her out as he said to her. Who knows for sure?

He's tried on several occasions, over a year's time, to get involved with her as more than friends.  Yet, despite her expressed disinterest, he continued trying.  That shows that he values what he wants from her over how she feels.  Does someone genuinely care about another person when they disregard what that other person wants/feels if it's not in line with what they want/feel?  When you care about someone else, you listen to them.  He's not treating her as if she's a person who has her own mind and desires ... he treated her like she was some object to be won over and that the "friendship" was a means to an end.  And when he couldn't accomplish his goal, he ditched her.  

If he can't handle someone not returning his affections, he should not engage in supposed friendships with women he's attracted to.  If he wanted more, he should have expressed that from the beginning and then moved on when she wasn't interested - not see if more time would "break her".  There are plenty of people out there who have the ability to move on from romantic feelings for someone when the other person doesn't return those feelings ... because their interest is in a connection, not a one-sided (and selfish) infatuation.

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Posted (edited)

24 minutes ago, Holli said:

He's tried on several occasions, over a year's time, to get involved with her as more than friends.  Yet, despite her expressed disinterest, he continued trying.  That shows that he values what he wants from her over how she feels.  Does someone genuinely care about another person when they disregard what that other person wants/feels if it's not in line with what they want/feel?  When you care about someone else, you listen to them.  He's not treating her as if she's a person who has her own mind and desires ... he treated her like she was some object to be won over and that the "friendship" was a means to an end.  And when he couldn't accomplish his goal, he ditched her.  

If he can't handle someone not returning his affections, he should not engage in supposed friendships with women he's attracted to.  There are plenty of people out there who have the ability to move on from romantic feelings for someone when the other person doesn't return those feelings ... because their interest is in a connection, not a one-sided (and selfish) infatuation.

Yeah, that was why I added the last paragraph aftwrwards. I still say it is possible to care about someone on some level while being incapable of putting their feelings first or even taking them into account at all when it comes to decisions. Some people just can't put other people's feelings first if it will compromise their own heavily, no matter how much they feel they care about that person...

 

What he should have done was accept that the continued friendship, if we can call it that, was a bad and selfish idea after the first romantic rejection if he couldn't handle being just friends.

 

They should both have something to learn from this experience.

 

 
 
...... added to this post 8 minutes later:
 
56 minutes ago, RammingSpeed said:

If you are a good looking woman to spend time a lot of enjoyable time with, any male friend HYH will think of you as a potentially sexual partner. Some act on it, some dont. But there is zero chance for him not thinking of you sexually.

Fixed that for me. I'm not fussed about looks for serious relationships... It's all about psychological attraction, connection, and compatibility. On the surface, that might make it seem worse since if I were single I would consider the romantic potential of every single good female friend I could ever have. However, I don't consider just anyone a friend. If someone is a friend to me, then I would value that friendship deeply and I would never sacrifice it or blow that person off just because it might never become anything more.

 

If me and my partner ever broke up, she would still have a best friend in me for life - unless for some inexplicable reason she had a personality transplant and turned into an asshole. I guess that for me a "marriage" (serious exclusive commited cohabiting LTR) is just sharing and intertwining an entire life with an exclusive FWB, in a sense.

Edited by holdyourhead

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45 minutes ago, RammingSpeed said:

In short, get a gay friend or a girl friend and stop stringing along men who want to fuck you. Him wanting you isnt a good basis for a friendship, but it is a decent one for a relationship.

You know, it's one thing to never quite say "Never going to happen, buddy" to someone you know is attracted to you, but someone isn't "stringing along men" when they do express their disinterest in anything romantic/sexual.  In these situations, it's not the fault of the woman, it's the fault of the men who don't listen.  And I know this happens because I've been in these situations more than once ... where being explicitly clear in my disinterested went in one ear and out the other.  I've been called a liar, as if they knew my feelings better than I did.  I've also had my reasoning for my disinterest picked apart, as if their patchy explanations changed anything.

What is fucked up, however, is someone who doesn't make their true intentions known up front and "strings along" the person into thinking there's an actual friendship rather than a fabricated and manipulative sham.  If all a guy wants is sex, it would be his responsibility to make that clear.  Fortunately, while men may generally be WILLING to have sex with their female friends, not all men are ONLY interested in sexual relationships with their female friends.

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@vielibre Sorry that happened. But yes, they can, including in circumstances where there is some sexual attraction.

Friendships (between men and women, between men, between women) can end for a number of reasons. This is just one of many.

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2 hours ago, Holli said:

someone isn't "stringing along men" when they do express their disinterest in anything romantic/sexual.  In these situations, it's not the fault of the woman, it's the fault of the men who don't listen.

I don't think it's anyone's fault. The other day I was reading a book where the main protagonist expressed romantic interest in a female. She of course expressed disinterest and insisted that he leave and forget about her, but with a bit of persistence she later became his wife. This exact dialogue occurs time and time again in movies, tv shows and countless of other dialogues (not to mention personal experiences), and while I'd be reluctant to assign blame in the manner that you have, the fact remains that so long as some women keep rewarding this behavior then it'll persist. 

2 hours ago, Holli said:

 If all a guy wants is sex, it would be his responsibility to make that clear.

If all a guy wants is sex and expression of this desire can potentially inhibit the (tail acquisition) process, then this advocation is fundamentally irrational and counter productive. If a guy wanted to trade sex in exchange for a standing ovation from feminists then (and only then) does this advice become practical. Some of my most rewarding experiences have been with women who initially weren't interested in me, and had I tried telling them from the start that all I wanted was sex then I'd wager I would have missed out. Women are remarkably fickle creatures. They can list a host of qualities they're looking in a partner, meet a person who has all those qualities and still be disinterested. Conversely, a person who has none of these qualities she can still fall madly in love with. In my experience women don't have the fainest idea of what they want, a sentiment reinforced by the OP who openly admits that she has to constantly ponder the very nature of her sexuality.

2 hours ago, Holli said:

 I've been in these situations more than once ... where being explicitly clear in my disinterested went in one ear and out the other. I've been called a liar, as if they knew my feelings better than I did.  I've also had my reasoning for my disinterest picked apart, as if their patchy explanations changed anything.

Strange. I thought that explaining the reasons for your romantic disinterest was some sort of universal taboo or something... at least that's the conclusion I've reached as I've never been given any explanation of any kind. The closest I've ever gotten was -- and I still have this text -- "I don't have to explain myself to you."

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Reading your replies on this makes me ambivalent about it all. In fact, my friend seems polarised in my mind and I want to be careful not to project too much onto him or anyone else. 

On one hand, he's a selfish guy with a user mentality who lulls me into friendship with the hopes of getting what he wants from me. As soon as I say no and once again, remind him of my lack of romantic interest, he goes cold because it cracks the facade. I really never meant anything to him other than in a potentially romantic sense. It almost ignores who I intrinsically am; regarding my past experiences and querying sexuality to be a mere inconvenience that'll soon pass. A rather manipulative approach.

On the other, he's human, this situation hurts him more than I'm giving credit for. He's liked me in that way for a while and keeps trying because sometimes, perseverance does work (at least in movies). The only way to move past what he may perceive as rejection or a failed relationship is to let cold logic prevail and in essence, emotionally cut off from me.

I'd rather either scenario for different reasons. It's likely a mix of both. I also realise that it's really hard to separate out what constitutes a "friendship" over "relationship". All I know is that I feel a connection to him and will miss him. 

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Posted (edited)

Why do you think his hurt? I think he just wants a deeper relationship with you because he sees something might come out of this relationship. Maybe its not so much hurt as control issue. He feels conflicted a bit because he doesnt know how to act on his emotions. If hes INTP this might be the problem. He doesnt know how to transform his feelings for you into just friendship feelings. It would feel like lying or being fake to him. He just isnt able to set up that boundry. I dont think its about hurting or anything its more just issue of maturity. Most people can do it some cant I guess. If he cant do it he reasons with himself and admits to you that this cant go on and so it is. Ok he might be hurt that he cant be yourfriend, but you know what they say. Out of sight out of mind.

Edited by Cacao

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@Cacao Out of sight out of mind is exactly what he said!

He explained that it's better for him to forget me if I'm not around messaging him/on his mind. I just need to go away and leave him alone for him to move on. Which of course, I'm going to do. I assumed he was hurt because (in my mind) why else would he have to distance from me? Unless the friendship really didn't mean anything to him. I just don't feel like that's the case or maybe I don't want to believe it. 

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I'm confused about the entire issue since resolution has already happened.  Your friendship's over and that's fine, a standard part of life.

As far as men and women being friends, it happens all the time, with or without attraction.  One example of a crush that doesn't work out, does not mean that the same situation overarches all male/female hetero friendships.

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Posted (edited)

18 minutes ago, vielibre said:

@Cacao Out of sight out of mind is exactly what he said!

He explained that it's better for him to forget me if I'm not around messaging him/on his mind. I just need to go away and leave him alone for him to move on. Which of course, I'm going to do. I assumed he was hurt because (in my mind) why else would he have to distance from me? Unless the friendship really didn't mean anything to him. I just don't feel like that's the case or maybe I don't want to believe it. 

You know assuming he is really INTP its likely he doesnt like the way you mess his mind up emotionally. I bet he would stick to the firendship if he could, but suffering unvoluntary attraction to someone will be something that INTPs will not appriciate :p .And yes as Distance says friendships come and go. Its standard of life. Many times people come and go and we have to live with that. Although INTPs maybe also very sentimental. Its unlikely they will overdrive pragmatic value of relationship with sentiments.

Edited by Cacao

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2 minutes ago, Deprecator said:

I don't think it's anyone's fault. The other day I was reading a book where the main protagonist expressed romantic interest in a female. She of course expressed disinterest and insisted that he leave and forget about her, but with a bit of persistence she later became his wife. This exact dialogue occurs time and time again in movies, tv shows and countless of other dialogues (not to mention personal experiences), and while I'd be reluctant to assign blame in the manner that you have, the fact remains that so long as some women keep rewarding this behavior then it'll persist. 

Okay, "fault" is probably the wrong word.  I do have personal experience with this "storyline", as well.  I was pursued for over 14 years by a "friend" and I finally did give it a chance (only because he misrepresented himself/pulled a bait and switch).  We were engaged and very nearly married before I ended it ... for the reasons it never should have begun.  We weren't compatible, since compatibility has to work both ways.

There may be times where it works out in their favor - there's always "a chance" in most situations in life.  But it's more likely that it won't work out as planned.  So what's the better option?  Hold out for one particular girl to "maybe" give you a chance, despite having expressed disinterest previously?  Or moving on and finding someone who is interested?

29 minutes ago, Deprecator said:

If all a guy wants is sex and expression of this desire can potentially inhibit the (tail acquisition) process, then this advocation is fundamentally irrational and counter productive. If a guy wanted to trade sex in exchange for a standing ovation from feminists then (and only then) does this advice become practical. Some of my most rewarding experiences have been with women who initially weren't interested in me, and had I tried telling them from the start that all I wanted was sex then I'd wager I would have missed out. Women are remarkably fickle creatures. They can list a host of qualities they're looking in a partner, meet a person who has all those qualities and still be disinterested. Conversely, a person who has none of these qualities she can still fall madly in love with. In my experience women don't have the fainest idea of what they want, a sentiment reinforced by the OP who openly admits that she has to constantly ponder the very nature of her sexuality.

If all a guy wants is sex, the non-sleazy thing to do would to be up front with it - there are women who also want NSA sexual encounters.  Trickery and manipulation may work out for him in getting laid, but it's still a shitty thing to do.

Checking the checkboxes of qualities one may want in a mate doesn't guarantee attraction.  I've met guys who seem perfect in every way, and were even physically attractive men, but we didn't have chemistry.  Likewise, I've been incredibly attracted to guys who didn't have the personality I wanted in a partner, but I couldn't keep myself or my thoughts away from them.  It's much easier to turn away from someone who you don't have chemistry with than it is to turn away from someone you do ... even if they're not what you visualized you wanted.  It doesn't mean that these women don't value those qualities or know what they want;  it just means they let the intensity of their chemistry "win" because it's physically hard not to.  It's an addictive feeling.  The reality, however, is that it's possible to have both the checkboxes and the chemistry.

I'm sure the OP isn't questioning her sexuality due to "being a fickle woman".  Asexuality can often be caused by trauma as a protective defense mechanism.  I considered myself asexual for about 10 years prior to working through my fears of intimacy.

55 minutes ago, Deprecator said:

Strange. I thought that explaining the reasons for your romantic disinterest was some sort of universal taboo or something... at least that's the conclusion I've reached as I've never been given any explanation of any kind. The closest I've ever gotten was -- and I still have this text -- "I don't have to explain myself to you."

It's more of a combination of not wanting to hurt someone's feelings (or make them feel unworthy) combined with ego defense at not wanting to appear shallow (if it is a superficial reason) or ridiculous.  Also, possibly wanting to avoid a defensive argument.  I lost interest in someone once because he experiences motion sickness.  I've lost interest in guys if they have a poor memory.  I've turned down numerous guys because they believed in God.  If I get even a hint that someone assumes my feelings/thoughts rather than listening to me, that would be a big "NOPE".  There's a ton of little things that can completely cause me to lose interest in someone, but it's often not something you want to give as a reason.  A lot of guys also don't really want to know the "why" and won't ask, especially if it could be a flaw that they don't want to acknowledge that exists.

If someone wants to know why I'm not attracted to them, I will tell them.  I think it's better than not knowing.  Unfortunately, also from experience, giving an explanation has rarely resulted in a "Oh, okay, I understand".  Most of the time it's taken in the wrong way, it's seen as a flaw within them rather than just a personal preference of mine, or they get defensive.  What doesn't work for me may be a non-issue or a preference of someone else.  For instance, I ultimately ended my relationship with my ex because he was a homebody and I wanted to be very active outside of the house.  He knew this was important to me to share with someone else and, instead of acknowledging he just wasn't that guy, he lied and said that he wanted the same lifestyle.  That turned into a lot of failed follow-through, canceled plans, excuses, etc... But he ultimately took it as me saying that he's "boring" rather than just accepting that we just value different lifestyles that has nothing to do with being "boring".

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No guy is going to stick around for months or years just for sex. He wants more, or thinks he does.

 

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@RammingSpeed What's the difference between thinking you want something versus you actually wanting something? 

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Just now, vielibre said:

@RammingSpeed What's the difference between thinking you want something versus you actually wanting something? 

The difference is in perception. He wants a relationship with you, but he doesnt know what it would be like. What's in his mind and what the reality is are two different things.

But that's how all relationships are. You cant really know until you give it  a shot.

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Pretend you have an internet boyfriend who is rich and whose hands are registered as lethal weapons.

I suggest warrior.

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@RammingSpeed If we're narrowing that distinction to purely romantic relationships. Then, no one can really truly "want" anyone in that way, they just think they do? 

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1 minute ago, vielibre said:

@RammingSpeed If we're narrowing that distinction to purely romantic relationships. Then, no one can really truly "want" anyone in that way, they just think they do? 

I guess you got me on semantics.

Fine, the guy wants you. You dont want him. He accepts you dont want him and tries to move on. So let him go or give him a shot.

Just as he cant force you into a relationship you dont want, you should respect his decision not to go on with a friendship he doesnt want.

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Or he thinks that he wants me, I think that I don't want him. He accepts I don't think that I want him. 

If by trying to move on, you mean ceases communication for a couple months then comes back, sure? I won't reach out/disturb him, unless he reaches out first that is. 
 

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Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, vielibre said:

My good INTP friend has tried on several occasions spanning a year, to initiate a romantic relationship with me. I don't see him in this way and I'm not sure I ever could. I've only ever been with one person romantically and I never felt that I wasn't ready for the romantic elements of it, added to that, it proved to be emotionally damaging that has taken a lot of time, work, and soul searching to heal from. I'm currently in counselling for that amongst other problems. I sometimes question whether I'm an asexual as I feel little desire if any, to be with anyone in that way.

I do love my INTP friend deeply, I try and articulate all of this to him but he says he doesn't understand (understandably). Doesn't know where to go from here/how to treat me, and thinks that it's best we don't communicate anymore. In person, we were awake all night talking about this. He gave me mixed signals, distanced from me, said it didn't hurt him as much as he thought it should and that he didn't care. I thought: "good, we can be friends then". Yet, he then proceeds to say that it's not a switch he can flip off (his attraction to me) and that it's simpler if we don't keep up contact so he can get over this. Implying that he is hurt. 

I'll of course do whatever he thinks is best. I won't interfere with his life by reaching out if it's only proving to be an emotional crutch. I do feel truly heartbroken though, as I miss him a great deal. I feel like the end of our friendship is the end of an era, as dramatic as that sounds. I'm not out dating other people. I'm just trying to be happy with my friends and he's a huge part of that as his company, simply put, makes me really happy. (That is, until he starts trying to hit on me). If I could see this was hurting him deeply, perhaps I'd be more quick to cut contact. Yet, in the past, he's continued reaching out to me seemingly platonically, dates other girls, he even meets up with one of my best friends (female) as a friend. This all signals to me that he can't be "that" hurt. Though, I guess he may react differently to how I would. 

I post this here because I suppose it raises the question of whether men and women can ever be just "friends". 

It's possible to be friends with guys.  But in your illustration, it's pretty evident that in his eyes, you're too bad-ass to just be his friend.  I have lots of female friends and once I know that I can't unlock her in a romantic sense, the tension's diffused and all's well.  He's probably frustrated because you're very compatible with him in the most important aspect of any relationship: the friendship aspect and your ability to go along with his intensity without judging him.

But because you understand him so well, he can't get over the madness of the fact that if you can tolerate him for who he is, then, why can't you just go all the way with him in a romantic relationship???  (I just read that you noted he's an INTP.  This makes even more sense...that is: his confusion...because he's a logicistician and friendship is at least 75% of a romantic relationship...so in his mathematical mind, if you like him in the 75% sense, what's 15% extra for the commitment and the 10% extra for the passion??)

I think your assessment of the situation is reasonable and can assure you that over time, there's hope that he'll cool down his romantic feelings for you enough to accept that your friendship to him is still valuable.  

I do believe that at his core, he knows you're a good person to be in his life even if the relationship's purely platonic.  He just needs to find a way reconcile his desire to have you in his life and your desire to have him in your life in a platonic sense.

Best thing to do is take a time out from one another and tell him with very specific instructions that you care deeply about him but WILL NEVER, EVER want to pursue anything with him BEYOND a PLATONIC relationship.

If he can't reconcile your simple instructions, that tells me he was never truly your friend in the first place.

Edited by ENFPEACE

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