Dear Miss Emily:

I've been madly in love with my best friend for the last 9 months or so. A few weeks ago, I asked her if she had ever thought about dating, and although she said no, I still feel as strongly about her as I ever did. I really care about her, but I don't think she cares about herself.  Long story short, the girl's got issues. I've tried my hardest to be there for her, and to listen to her, and let her cry on my shoulder, because I really do love her, but I think it's all in vain. I get pissed off sometimes when she brags about her drunken escapades and who she's made out with, and then turns around and cries that her life is so empty and guys treat her like crap.  I wonder sometimes if she does like me, and doesn't want to make a move because she might lose me as a friend. But sometimes, I think she likes the fact that I like her, and plays this game where she leads me on then pushes me away. Maybe it's a combination of the two.  I don't know whether I should stick around and be the support she needs at the expense of my sanity, or if I should move on and feel guilty that there's no one there to look out for her.  Honestly, am I wasting my time?

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

I really never bought the excuse that two best friends fear getting together because it could ruin a good friendship.  The foundation of a good romantic relationship is a solid friendship. Of course, there has to be the spark on both sides. When you asked her if she had ever thought about you two dating, and she said “No,” did she expect a follow up question, such as, “Well, would you like to start dating?” but didn’t get one?  Now, if her “No” sounded final, well, I guess you just have to accept it and then decide whether you still want to "waste time" as you mentioned in the title to your letter.  You don’t need to feel guilty if you move on, so to speak, because you are not her keeper.  But at the same time, if you were to do so, it would be appropriate to tell her how you feel and why you are making a decision like that.  She’s not a mind reader, nor are you someone who can read minds.  Turn this into an honest situation, yielding honest conversations with her and you won’t even have to entertain the idea of guilt.  You have feelings, and you have a life.  You weren’t put on earth to be this girl’s protector – no matter how much you think that to be true.