My friend knows I and other mutual friends have a crush on her. She says she’s polyamorous and makes jokes about having some us as partners. I know she’s only joking and I don’t have anything against her but when she jokes about it, I feel like there’s some desire but I ultimately believe she’s only joking. How should I go about handling this? It’s so confusing, you know?
In my opinion, you know someone has a crush on you and you tease them about it by joking as if you want to date them, but you don’t mean it, that’s very rude and borderline cruel. But it’s possible there’s something else going on. You say you “know” and “ultimately believe” she’s only joking, but then that there might be “some desire” behind her jokes.
Often, people use jokes to test the waters or explore something you’re not ready to fully jump into yet. It sounds like she might actually be interested in dating you, but isn’t sure how to have that conversation or manage those feelings, so she resorts to this kind of push-pull of saying something she isn’t sure whether she really means and hiding it behind layers of irony and humor. That’s pretty common, and it’s understandable, but it can also be really hurtful!
If I were you, I’d bring it up with her, not as an accusation or a confrontation, but as a real, honest, vulnerable conversation where you’re removing the pretense of all the goofing around. “Hey, Antrabella, you often say that you’re polyamorous and talk about dating me or Constancio. I know you act like it’s just jokes, but I do actually like you, and would be interested in trying something out! If there’s feeling behind those jokes, can we talk about what that might mean and look like? And if you really don’t mean it, could you please stop joking about it, because it makes me feel uncomfortable, since I don’t know whether to take you seriously?”
If she responds by acting defensive, insisting that you should “take a joke” and that her behavior is totally fine, or if she denies making that kind of joke, then I think you should take some distance from this friendship. But if she responds by either saying “actually, yeah, I think there is something there, let’s talk about it” or “omg, sorry, I didn’t realize how confusing I was being - I don’t actually feel that way and I’ll stop teasing like I do,” then there’s your answer!