We'd Better Be Just Friends

at the Gulf, Kuwait. Nov 2016

Today I killed the love. S. expressed affection towards me. Yet I didn't feel the same way. So I just said how I felt about it. Friendship - yes, but don't think I can offer more. 

We went along pretty well. Never felt bored with each other, had quite a number of a good laugh times. S. is probably the most perfect and ideal one I ever met - has many talents, with PhD in Chemistry/ Chemical Engineering, likes sports and been to Hong Kong team representing Hong Kong at international swimming competitions. Also plays piano perfectly. Once S. recorded playing of the Mozart Violin Sonata K378 II Movement and sent it to me via whatsapp. And S. love was so pure and beautiful. Yet I just killed it saying: "I hope you can find someone better, who would love you in the same way or even more".

So many people are craving for love. And myself with that whole dating saga since the start of the year. I was Tinder first (several friends had great experience with it) and had a target of having four dates a month. It did not work. "Club is not a place where find love, so the bar is where I go" as Ed Sheeran sings. So I went to bars on some Fri nights. It felt so alien to be in the bar. It did not work either. There realized that my type of person wouldn't go to bars. My type of person would be doing DNA sequencing in the lab or some other form of research or managing Rohingyas refugee camp or running a startup company. By a suggestion of a friend, I returned to Tinder - just put myself out there and not completely isolate from the relationship market.

Once I was in Kuwait. It's a small Gulf country between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. I was at the pier walking and saw a man fishing. I have something about fishing since 8 years old when my father took me for a night fishing at the village river. And on the other occasion a friend gave his equipment to fish when I was 10 something. Always find it fascinating. So I struck a conversation with this Arabian man, named Adel. We talked quite a bit about everything that matters, not only finishing. He shared his life story. Adel fell in love for a woman that didn't love him as much. But they got married and have kids. Now he reflects on their marriage saying:
"It's better to be with the person that loves you than being in relationship where you are the only one who loves". 
Meaning that although he got married with the love of his life, when it's not mutual - it's rather a suffering than a real joy. 

Perhaps I should have followed his advice and grab S. and hold tight. But I couldn't ignore the other side of the issue. If you don't have the feeling - how can you build and develop sustainable relationship in the long term? I just can't force myself to love someone despite that person being the most perfect and ideal one I ever met (personality, attitude, similar way looking into the future). Also how would the other "half" feel if the feedback or response from my side is not genuine and "enough"? It feels so awkward when someone says: "I love you" and you just don't have the same response. So I said: "We'd better be friends". I hurt the feelings. And despite I believe it's better to say earlier than later - it still feels bad. 

Recently I got on podcasts with Tim Ferris. Awesome guy. I read his book "4 hour working week", which despite being a damn good book, I think it's for lazy people. But on his podcasts he invites some of the best humans in the world. So Tim had Adam Robinson - global macro advisor to the heads of some of the world’s largest hedge funds and family offices; co-founder of The Princeton Review, among others he advises Warren Buffet and others on long-term investment strategies. Adam said something around it:

The most important gifts and goals in life, including love, success, and happiness, are never achieved – I want to underscore that – never achieved by pursuing them directly. Those people focused on finding love, for example, have their attention and priorities diverted from being the kind of loving, lovable person that would actually attract the love they are looking for, and if your focus is on becoming successful or wealthy or whatever, your attention isn’t focused on the activities and tasks and to others that will actually lead to that success and wealth. Love, success, and happiness catch you best by surprise while your attention is focused on doing in the world and being your best self in that world.

- Adam Robinson on Tim Ferris show, "Outflanking and Outsmarting the Competition" (link)

If I realize my focus is off, and certainly when I’m experiencing any negative emotions, I ask myself, ‘Where should my attention be right now?’ Almost always, the answer is ‘my mission,’ which is like a beacon that always beckons.” — Adam Robinson

I made this shift from the end of June to focus more on doing things that I like, enjoy and love. There are still a lot of trials and errors. Like today. I don't know if that was the right decision. Was I too rush with wanting "the right feeling"? I don't have the expectations to find the perfect person. I don't want a perfect one. I want the one whom I could truly love and that would be mutual. Perhaps shall I call mom or sister? But that's another kind of love.

In any case, I will keep this way even if it would lead me being single forever. Relationship should be mutual, for tango you need both. Legendary Faina Ranevskaya coped with loneliness in her late seventies and eighties by reading Pushkin's poems to her dog. I can always get a dog and read poems of Omar Khayyam.

“How sad, a heart that 
does not know how to love, that 
does not know what it is to be drunk with love. 
If you are not in love, how can you enjoy 
the blinding light of the sun, 
the soft light of the moon?” 
― Omar Khayyám, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam


  1. Beautifully written and rings true. Focus on being yourself and eventually love will find it's its way to you, you cannot force it.

  2. man! that's amazing. you are really brave - sharing that topic with us.
    I agree with the main conclusion with you, 100% true for me!


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