I want to ask him out, but my friend likes him too

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Hi Meredith,

I'm a long-time reader, 18, and value your advice, so I'm interested to see what you think.

I've liked this guy for a while and thought maybe he liked me back after we had a moment – like a rom-com level eye-contact-and-conversation moment. I was working up the nerve to ask him to an event that a big group of friends and acquaintances are going to ... but then a friend asked me for advice about asking him to the event.

My friend is the biggest sweetheart and very not confident in dating so I didn't know what to do and didn't say anything about me also having feelings for this person. It's been a few weeks and the event is rapidly approaching. I've been trying to rethink the feelings and am going to the event with a friend instead.

But we just had another capital-M moment today ... and now I'm confused. Because my friend and I don't see each other/text often, I didn't ask her if our crush said yes to her invitation. I'm so frustrated; I'm almost sure he would have gone with me had I asked him. Should I ask him/his friends/my friend what happened? I haven't had a moment like that with anyone in a while. I really don't want to let this chance slip by ... but I also don't want to hurt my friend.

– Stuck in the Middle

Is this friend in your inner circle or is she someone you barely text or see?

I ask because there's some kind of lesson here about what you owe people. The minute she told you she wanted to ask the guy out, you stepped out of the way. That was kind, but now you're conflicted. Sometimes it pays to be honest – to say, "I can't advise you; I like this person too." Maybe this wasn't the moment for that, but it's something to think about.

My advice is to accept that the crush is not a date option for this specific event. If your friend asked and he said yes, it's off the table. If she asked and he said no, it seems weird to show up with him, in front of the friend, after giving her advice. If he says no to you, it might be confusing – because maybe the rejection has to do with him knowing he'd run into this other person there. Go to the event with your group, have a good time, then think about what's next.

If it seems like there's nothing going on between him and the friend after the event, you could ask him to something else. Something simple like a walk. A friend-date. See if there are more moments.

If something happens on that kind of outing, you can think about what you want to disclose to this friend – how to prevent her from being blindsided by any rumor that you're with the guy she talked to you about.

For now, though, table the question until the event is over. I can't imagine it's your only chance to try for something great.

– Meredith

Readers? Help this young reader navigate crushes and friendships – and moments.