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I find myself obsessed with a close friend of mine I have had for a little more than a year. I have had many fulfilling friendships in my life, but none that has produced this strange attachment. It manifests itself in many ways, including routine checking of social media, contacting him far more often than other close friends, consistently proposing ways to spend more time together or becoming obsessed with scheduling our next event, and becoming deeply disappointed if he chooses not to spend time with me. I am very aware and self-conscious of this obsession, so I find myself needing to actively mask it by choosing not to contact him when I feel I want to, or by acting more distant in his company than I actually want to, or scanning the internet for media I know he would enjoy simply to start a conversation with him. I would like to maintain the friendship in a healthy way, and at times I even considered cooling it myself in the hopes that my affection subsides, but I've find that makes me more unhappy than simply maximizing my time spent with him. We work together, and it has occasionally affected my work, such as attempting to join projects for which he is on the team, or coinciding my schedule to leave and arrive at the same time, usually to coordinate a social function. I am not gay, and I don't feel any sexual attraction to him, just a deep, personal affection that seems to me unnatural. I think it also has hurt other friendships, as I often prefer to spend time alone with him or in small groups, rather than large crowds. That said, I would never actively sabotage or turn down another event or an invite to spend time with him exclusively, and I do have other friends I routinely hang out with. Though sometimes I do find that I wish he would have attended should he choose not to. I've considered trying to tell him I feel this way, and it has gone as far as me telling him he is my best friend, but I just don't feel that it's enough, and it bothers me. Ideally, I could end or limit this obsession. He'll likely move away in the next year due to work, and due to unforeseen circumstances he's temporarily living with me as my roommate, which has subsided some of these feelings primarily because I know at the end of the day he will end up at the same place as me. This worries me as well. I think I would more fully appreciate the friendship if I felt my mental attitude towards it was a bit healthier. He does tend to be more introverted in general, and as a result I have occasionally voiced frustration that I am the soul source of event planning between us, and truth be told he doesn't have many close friends locally besides me. However, I do not think it is a one-sided friendship by any means. But, as a result, I sometimes view that the situation should be the other way around! Any assistance would be appreciated.
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Thanks for listening. The unnatural closeness is the problem. I can't tell if he's noticed, but if he has he has made no indication and he hasn't altered his behavior as a result. I actively inhibit myself from appearing obsessed, but certainly he would know that I make virtually all social overtures towards him, which is actually something I've mentioned to him. If anything, I'm sure his impressions are that I'm close to him, care about him, and make an effort to show that I value the friendship. Certainly we have a mutual trust about virtually everything. The issue is my compulsion to do this. I actively avoid doing these things to excess, but I definitely do most of the reaching out. I have included him in many of my other social circles, and though it has jokingly been noted that he is my 'best friend,' this has never come off to them as being the strange attachment that I know it to be. The real question is tough to put into specific words. The bottom line is that I think it's unnatural and unhealthy that I spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about his activity or obsessing over the next time I'm able to hangout with him. I actively seek concrete engagements in the future just to ease my mind that I have a set date in which we'll hangout in the future. The problem is amplified in that he isn't particularly good to responding to text messaging or social media like friends in my other circles, which amplifies the problem. My question is if there is a way I can move away from this type of attitude towards the friendship. Like I said, I've had many, many very close friends in my life, but I've never experienced anxiety or obsession like this about a friendship. He will most likely move out of town this coming summer, and I think simply not being able to interact daily will help the problem, And again, my affection is completely plutonic. I find that I revolve my schedule, and to some degree my interests, on his availability. He fully reciprocates, but my question is if there is any specific step I can take to change my attitude towards the friendship, particularly without having to make myself appear weird over the whole thing. Thanks again.
You are welcome and I'm glad you are reaching out to help yourself! The way you describe some of the relationship does sound like he really IS your best friend. Certainly, it sounds that in your assessment, you are overly involved, "obsessed" in your words, with him...at least quite preoccupied with him. If this is impairing your occupational functioning, social functioning, or generally your daily functioning, you might actually want to consider meeting face to face with a counselor. I say this in order to help you to delve further into what might be going on for you here since this sounds like something new for you. With respect to taking a specific step....You have done many of the right things, things that I would have advised actually such as actively distancing yourself and limiting your focus or time with him. It seems to me that you are probably right that when he moves your focus will lift especially if this have never happened to you before. Meeting with a counselor, even for one session, might really prove to be beneficial for you. I hope this has been helpful and wish you the best on your situation.