Yesterday I shared a list of perfectly reasonable options for dealing with a new friend whom you suspect is crushing on you. Another option was presented by a reader: proactively bring it up and nip it in the bud.
This is terrifying for many reasons... sure, the crusher may be delusional and think the object of his desire reciprocates, but the crushee risks mortification if she brings it up only to have the crusher look appalled and say, "What? You're full of yourself."
I myself often second-guess these things to death. Does he have a crush on me? No, he's just friendly. I'm reading too much into it. I need to stop being so egotistical. Or maybe he's just horny and I happen to be around; that is not a crush, that is libido + convenience.
My normal approach is a toned-down version of the Talk About Another Guy option, followed by the final option of letting him down gently if he brings it up. I have maintained some of my best friendships with guys who initially were blinded by the New Girl Syndrome (you know how it is... you haven't met someone in a while, then someone new of the gender you're particular to comes into your life and is shiny and fresh and so of COURSE you must like this person), only to later realize OMG THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN DISASTROUS. And thus we moved along and remained friends.
Last night I was discussing this with a new male friend who is only 24. His immediate reaction was, "Just sleep with him once, jeez."
Me: "...I can't sleep with a guy if I know he likes me, and I don't like him. That's mean!"
Him: "Oh, get over yourself!"
Him: "As long as everyone knows it's just a one-time thing... just get it over with."
Me: "Isn't that mean? Leading him on?"
Him: "No, just tell him it's just this once! It's fine. You have sex, you move on, you stay friends."
Ah, 24 year olds. (whyaretheysofuckincute?!?)
Only later, when more sober, did I think that my counter-argument should have been: "if I don't like him romantically, that is at least in part because I don't find him physically attractive, so I don't want to sleep with him. DUH." I mean, come on, I DO get a say in my sexy times partners, yaknow. Just because he likes me does not mean he gets an automatic all-access pass to gloryland!