Building friendships are one of the greatest joys in life. Finding someone we can share our heart and feelings with – someone who understands us and accepts us for who we are is absolutely priceless. When we start a deep friendship with someone from the opposite sex, it’s a wonderful gift. That’s because many things can be learned and respected by both genders. But, at times these opposite-sex friendships can also be a tremendous challenge. If you feel like you might be having romantic feelings for a friend and are struggling with how to handle it then understand you are not alone. Falling for a friend is bound to happen at some point in time. Just look at how much money has been made from books and movies that follow this narrative. Simple, platonic friendships slowly turn into something more for one of the friends, which leaves them caught in a struggle between looking for signs your crush wants to be more than friends or pretending they simply don’t exist to maintain the current relationship. We’ve seen or read that script at least a dozen times before. But, what should you do if you’re the one feeling this way? Listed below are things to consider if you’re falling in love with a friend.
- Evaluate Your Feelings – It’s one of the very first things you should do if you are starting to develop romantic feelings for a friend. Is what you’re feeling truly romantic? Your first action should be to intentionally, and objectively, analyze those feelings to clarify within yourself what you are experiencing. With friends, you can feel rushes of affection that may first appear to signal you’re in love but are actually the product of the deep trust and respect that you share with each other. Strong physical attraction or infatuation can also lead you to imagine romantic, intimate moments with them. With that in mind, it’s best to spend some time considering the source of these feelings and not immediately acting on them.
- Make Your Decision – After you’ve taken some time to analyze your feelings and are confident the feelings you have are romantic, the next decision is whether or not to tell your friend how you feel. This can be a bit frightening as all of the different outcomes and scenarios run through your head. One helpful hint is to remember that he (or she) is a friend who cares about you. As you consider sharing this information with them, review past interactions you’ve had with each other. What body language do you notice compared to your own? Which one of you normally initiates interactions? Does this person appear to treat you differently than other friends of theirs? By taking some time to observe your current relationship, you might gain some additional context that will impact your decision on whether to disclose your feelings or not, as you evaluate the likelihood that they may share the same feelings as you.
- Act on Your Decision – It’s now time to act on the decision you have made. If you’ve chosen to keep your feelings to yourself, do so confidently and accept that you are the one who owns this decision; And you have made it after reasonable consideration. Take intentional steps to help yourself minimize those feelings for your friend. This is much easier said than done, but there are actions you can take which will be helpful for you. For instance, you may want to reduce the number of interactions you have with this friend for a while. You do not have to be overly obvious about your decision. It’s extremely common, in all of our lives, to have periods of time in which we are busier than others, or have unplanned commitments or responsibilities. Maybe there are work issues happening, or we need to focus a bit more of our time and attention on family members. Be creative, knowing that your intention is not to be deceptive, but to do what’s required for you to take appropriate responsibility for your thoughts and feelings, and handle them maturely. This can be mutually respectful, meaning that it illustrates respect for both yourself and your friend, without being at the expense of either of you.