What To Do When You’re Falling In Love With Your Best Friend
If you feel like you're falling in love with a close friend and aren't sure how to handle the situation, you're not alone. Situations like this have inspired countless movies and books, and it's something that many people experience.
But what should you do if you think you're falling in love with your best friend? This guide highlights ways that might help you find the right course of action, from journaling to online therapy.
Evaluate Your Feelings
If you think you're falling in love with your best friend, it might be time to analyze your feelings intentionally and objectively. Is this romantic love? "Do I love my best friend as a friend or is this feeling romantic?" Are you experiencing physical attraction? Is your love for them as a friend growing stronger? Have you become infatuated with a new friend?
Different identities and sexualities experience love and attraction in many ways, so this will likely be a personal and internal process.
Taking time to consider your feelings before you act on them may help you find the right action without complicating things. For example, it's possible to mistake your love for a close friend for romantic love. However, close friends can (and often do) fall in love because it's sometimes human nature to fall in love with someone close to you.
If you are romantically in love with your best friend and believe these feelings will last, you may also want to consider the answer to "Does my guy friend like me too?" For example, are they in a happy, long-term relationship? If so, they might not feel the same way, or a relationship might not be possible. Or, have they often mused about how it would be if the two of you dated? If so, they might feel similarly.
Write It Down
Regardless of what you think now, writing about your thoughts and feelings each day for at least a couple of weeks might help you sort them out. Journaling can be a helpful tool for putting emotions into words and reflecting on them. And since a journal is typically personal, it's usually easier to record every thought, attitude, intention, expectation, and feeling you've experienced confidently.
It might help to set a time to journal about your feelings each day, or you might prefer to write about them when they come up. You can write whatever comes to mind, for example:
How you feel
How you've felt in the past
What hurts or scares you
What you wonder about or hope for
If you've felt this way before
Then, after a few weeks, you can read what you've recorded from day one to see if it helps you better understand your emotions. This may illuminate additional perspectives that help you feel more confident about whether you want to act on these feelings.
Make A Decision
After you've had time to analyze your feelings, it's likely time to decide what to do. Do you want to talk to your friend about how you feel or ask them if they've ever felt romantically toward you? Or do you want to keep your emotions to yourself for the time being?
It may be helpful to remember that they are your best friend who cares about you and that many friendships can withstand ups and downs. However, there's no way to control someone else's thoughts and feelings, and you can't predetermine how the interaction will go.
Here are some examples of potential outcomes if you tell them:
Your friend feels the same way, and you have a successful romantic relationship
Your friend feels the same way, but the romantic relationship doesn't work out
Your friend does not feel the same way, but your friendship remains strong
Your friend does not feel the same way, and your friendship changes
After considering your options and potential outcomes, your decision might be more manageable. Once you think you know what you'd like to do, revisiting the journaling phase may help you ensure you've made the right choice.
Seek Outside Input
Sometimes, talking about your feelings and decision with someone who isn't your best friend can help you find the right course of action. For example, you might have another close friend whose wisdom you can rely on. Or you might prefer an unbiased outside party like a therapist or counselor.
You can choose between online and in-person sessions if you opt to talk to a mental health professional. Then, you can discuss your friendship, feelings, and the decision you're trying to make. The point of therapy isn't usually to have someone tell you what to do, but a therapist can help you make choices. And if you'd like to keep your sessions discreet, online therapy might be a good choice – you can have sessions in your home on any device with an internet connection.
Online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy, and it can help you learn to manage your emotions and responses to situations with methods like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). In addition, you'll have connection to a range of licensed professionals. Your therapist can help you explore your current friendship, feelings, and other mental health concerns (e.g., depression) that make your situation more challenging.
Act On Your Choice
Once you've spent time considering your emotions and decided what to do (regardless of how long it took), it'll likely be time to act on it.
If you've chosen to keep your feelings to yourself, it might help to implement self-care strategies or spend a bit less time with your friend for a while. And if you feel uncertain about this decision, know that you can always revisit this process if you feel the need.
Or, if you've chosen to tell your friend about your feelings, you can hope for a positive response and choose a time to discuss the situation. But it's usually helpful to remain aware that your friend might react in a way you haven't foreseen, and all you can control are your own actions.
Falling in love with a friend can be challenging since the outcome is unknown and has the possibility of changing your friendship. If you'd like help deciding what to do, connecting with a counselor might be helpful. Even a short period of therapy can help you develop an unbiased understanding of your situation and find the best course of action.
At BetterHelp, we'll match you with a therapist suited to your needs and preferences, and you can schedule appointments via video, phone, or in-app messaging. In addition, you can message your therapist at any time, and they'll respond as soon as possible.
"Mark is an amazing therapist. He listens so well and has such valuable insight on male and female perspectives and issues while also not passing judgment. I have only just begun, but he has already given me so many great takeaways to improve my relationships and situations. I am filled with gratitude, and I would highly recommend him to anyone!!"
"I really enjoyed my sessions with Dr. Anstadt. He helped me see how one issue was affecting multiple aspects of my life. He has greatly improve my relationships with the people I'm closest to and even the way I approach work. I have seen a huge difference in my relationships already, and I have several tools to help me manage the issues I started seeking therapy for. I cannot express how thankful I am to Dr. I Anstadt!"