Dear Miss Emily:

I have known this guy for 10 years.  He is 26 yrs old,  and  I'm 18 yrs old. Our dads are best buddies. Unfortunately, we didn't get the chance to meet up often as distance set us apart (we are from different states). Besides, he's studying medicine in an American Uni, while I'm still in my home country (in Asia). We keep in touch via MSN, and he never fails to shower brotherly love, affection and encouragement.  I left home for further edu in another state earlier this year. He was informed about it, and he became extremely concerned about my well-being and safety.  He is very busy with his studies, but he always takes time out to talk to me.  Initially, he grabbed the opportunity to get to know me better. For instance, he asks about my interests, how's my week, and what I'm up to. He insists to be updated. He updates me on how he's doing too and never hesitate to be himself (expressing emotions without hiding it). Sometimes he would seek me out for advices on certain issues. He even asked me several times whether I'm interested in any guys, yet, when I answered “No,” he smiled shyly. When I ask him the similar question, he said that he hasn't found his 'significant other' yet and that he wants to complete his medical education first.  Frankly, sometimes I just find it hard to understand him. Initially, we would joke a lot and get to know each other better. But sometimes, he would just "appear invisable or busy throughout the week and would only reply curtly. When I ask him what's up, he would be like "Oh, I’m busy with assignment/exam/homework etc." On other days, he would be cheerful and talk about anything under the Sun. I realized that he doesn't joke as much as he used to and he's not as warm, but he's still very concerned about my well-being.  Lately, he woke up at wee hours (time difference between our locations is 12 hrs!) to teach me Biology, and he was late for morning classes because of that. Despite being late, he gave me a short phone call before leaving.  He had always been shy when we view each other using web-camera. He would rather have a phone call instead. Whenever we view each other, he smiles but averts his eyes.  However, by nature he has always been nice to girls (he treats me in a special way though). Recently, I noticed there is a girl(lets call her 'Jane') who is also interested in him. He and 'Jane' send each other virtual 'lovey-dovey' things via Facebook (an online network).  Besides, he hinted that he might move to Australiasia for further studies but is unsure which state just yet. (NOTE: 'Jane' is in Australiasia)  I'm very confused. On my part, I love him a lot, and I love him for who he is, despite his shortcomings. But what is in his mind? Is he interested? What should I do next?
A World Apart

---------------------------Miss Emily’s advice----------------------

Dear World Apart:

This guy sounds pretty great, aside from the fact that he’s shy; which can be endearing as long as he doesn’t take it out on other people.  You know, that type of shy person -- the one who gets moody, or pissy with the extrovert because that is the way he/she wants to be.  But that doesn’t sound like him.  If he’s studying medicine, he’s beat from all of the work it entails.  He’s probably sleep deprived, and if he gets a little short with you, sometimes, that would explain his occasional curt reply.  The web-cam issue?  Maybe he’s insecure about his looks, or just thinks his good looks don’t transfer well on screen.  I think he might just see you as a friend, at this particular moment, unless I’m missing something.  He has helped you because he cares about you and the friendship you have together.  Who knows, maybe he’s always mindful of your age difference (since you’ve known each other since you were eight), and  he doesn’t yet realize you are soon headed to full-blown womanhood.  You might be wishing this friendship were more but, unless you are not telling me the whole story and there has been some past intimacy, I’d settle for “just friends” ... or you are willing to go out on a limb and profess your love for him and see how he responds.  But the way I see it, other than you doing that rather bold move, he’s got an ongoing thing on Facebook with another girl, now, and you are going to have to accept it.