Dear Amy: My sister, who lives out of state and stays in touch with hometown friends, connected me with one of her friends, "Susan," who needed help with a minor home repair. I did this for her, and we discussed a future flooring project.
Because of her budget constraints, I suggested that we could do the flooring job together. I was mildly interested in her, but I think that maybe I creeped her out, because I never heard from her again.
Fast-forward two years.
I connected with a woman, "Jill," on a dating app who is friends with both my sister and Susan. On our first date, Jill told me that she and Susan are lifelong friends and that Susan had told her that she is in love with me from our first meeting, two years ago.
Jill said that we couldn't be together because it would be a betrayal of Susan. But Jill and I really hit it off and agree that our chemistry is amazing. We discussed at length the difficulty of the situation.
Jill told me that she is going to see other people. I'm a bit disappointed and confused. Should I contact Susan? If it matters, we're not lovesick teens. We're middle-aged.
Amy says: Jill's interpretation of "girl code" seems to be that if a friend confesses to a case of unexpressed and unrequited love, then Jill must stay away, regardless of her own feelings, impulses or instincts.
The bottom line is that if Jill really wanted to have a second date with you, she would find a way to justify it — especially if the chemistry between you is "amazing."
You certainly could contact Susan to follow up on her flooring — or other — needs, but you should ask yourself if you want to invite involvement with someone who is so passive and hard to read.
At the risk of preventing you from connecting with your next great love, my instincts are that neither of these women is a match for you. But in this regard, the most important thing to consider is what your own instincts tell you.
No spark of friendship
Dear Amy: My husband goes to dinner a couple of times a month with the guys, including "Theo," a man he has known since elementary school.
Theo's wife, "Teri," asked if we would like to go out as a couple. We got together a couple of times, and it wasn't that enjoyable. Teri took complete command — from ordering the food for the group to the topics we discussed.
It's not that we dislike them, but we have no interest in going out socially with them. I have given every social clue I can: not answering calls, not returning texts and breaking plans after she has worn me down to make them in the first place.
How do I tell someone I'm not interested in being friends without hurting their feelings?
Amy says: Teri obviously doesn't read cues, so you'll have to be honest (but polite) with her. Because of her domineering personality, she might need to have the dynamic and your intentions spelled out.
You could say, "Obviously, our husbands are friends, but we don't seem to have great chemistry when we get together as couples. I'm going to back away and let the men continue their special friendship without me."
She might respond to this statement by doubling down on the social pressure, and if so, you'll have to say, "Thank you, but I just don't want to get together."
Send questions to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.