I am part of a small arts group where everyone is friends with everyone else. I’ve found this support really helpful, as I’m in a long-distance, committed relationship. The problem is that one of these friends has been texting and calling me a lot more than the others. This was fine at first, when many of those calls were related to projects the group was working on. Some of the questions they asked were personal, and I answered some that I felt comfortable with, while I either gave brief answers to or redirected the others. Recently some of these interactions have become more flirtatious. I think this person has a romantic interest in me, despite having met my partner. While it’s flattering, I am committed to my partner and not interested in this friend. I’m worried I may have led them on by being more open with personal information than I should have early on. I’m now more careful, but I’m having a tough time maintaining boundaries here. I need to maintain at least a professional friendship with this person, but I also need to set some limits without embarrassing or offending this (easily offended) friend.
I am planning to pull away from the group a bit while I do this. Do you recommend I tell at least one other member of the group the reason I am temporarily stepping away? Do you have any advice on the boundaries I should set and how I can effectively but kindly set them?
—Unrequited Friend Crush