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. These types of romantic relationships and situations have inspired countless movies and books, and it's something that many people experience.
But what should you do if you think you've developed feelings for your best friend, or you may be falling in love with them? This guide highlights ways that might help you find the right course of action, from journaling to online therapy.
Evaluate Your Feelings
Different identities and sexualities all around the world 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. You may just have a number of common interests or similar personalities. 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, do they already have their own love life? are they in a happy, long-term relationship? If so, you may want to tread lightly. They might not feel the same way, or a relationship might not be possible. Or, have you seen the telltale signs that indicate they have entertained the thought of you two dating? If so, they might be interested in changing the nature of your relationship.
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 go the extra mile and choose to write them down the moment they come up. You can write whatever comes to mind, for example:
- How you feel
- What you are afraid of losing
- How you've felt in the past
- What hurts you or makes you afraid
- What you wonder will happen or what you hope happens
- 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 taken a break 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 considered being your partner? 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. It's possible that, by doing this, you may risk losing the friendship.
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 moving forward will be different
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 ensure you make the right choice.
Seek Outside Input
Sometimes, talking about your feelings and decisions 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. While it may seem helpful to go to a relationship coach, you will likely have a better experience with 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 or to stop falling in love with someone, 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 connections 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. While there may be other options, this will likely involve either being honest with your friend or keeping your feelings to yourself.
If you've chosen to keep your feelings to yourself, it might help to implement self-care strategies or spend time with other friends 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. You may choose to share these feelings through text messages or to have a conversation in person. 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. It’s also important to respect your friend’s decision, no matter what they choose.
You may also be putting strain on your own mental health by staying in a situation involving unrequited love. If you believe you will be unable to accept their decision or you will feel jealous when you see this friend with a romantic partner, you may want to choose to hang out with other people for a while.
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"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!"
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.
What do I do if I fall in love with my friend?
Falling in love with a best friend can be a complex and delicate situation. It's essential to take some time to understand your own feelings and assess whether they are genuine and lasting. Consider if your feelings are based on a deep connection and shared values or simply a temporary infatuation. If you believe your love is sincere and worth exploring, it's crucial to communicate openly with your friend. Your friend may share similar feelings, leading to a potential romantic relationship, or they might not feel the same way, which could impact the friendship. Regardless of the response, maintaining respect, understanding, and empathy toward your friend's feelings and needs is essential.
Navigating romantic feelings for a best friend requires thoughtful consideration and careful communication. Reflect on the potential impact on your friendship and be prepared for both positive and challenging outcomes. Openly discuss your emotions with your friend, but also be prepared to respect their response and decisions, as they may need time to process their feelings as well.
Is it okay to fall in love with a friend?
Yes, it is absolutely okay to fall in love with a friend. Emotions and feelings are a natural part of being human, and it is not uncommon for deep connections and shared experiences to lead to romantic feelings. In fact, many successful relationships start as friendships. Falling in love with a friend can be a beautiful and rewarding experience as it often means you have a strong foundation of trust, understanding, and mutual respect.
However, it's important to approach the situation with sensitivity and respect for your friend's feelings as well. Communication is crucial in such situations. If you decide to share your feelings, be prepared for any outcome and understand that your friend may not feel the same way. If they don't share your romantic feelings, it's essential to respect their boundaries and decisions and continue valuing the friendship.
How do you know if a friend is falling in love with you?
Recognizing if a friend is falling in love with you can be challenging, as people may show their feelings in various ways. However, there are some signs to look out for that could indicate your friend has developed romantic feelings for you:
- Increased attention and interest: They may start paying more attention to you, remembering small details about your life, and showing a genuine interest in your well-being.
- Frequent communication: If they are constantly reaching out, texting, calling, or finding reasons to spend time with you, it could be a sign of developing feelings.
- Body language: Watch for changes in their body language, such as increased eye contact, leaning in closer when talking, or finding excuses to touch you subtly.
- Compliments and admiration: They might compliment you more often, praising your qualities, and expressing admiration for your accomplishments.
- Emotional intimacy: They may share their deepest thoughts, feelings, and secrets with you, seeking a deeper emotional connection.
- Jealousy: If they display jealousy or become defensive when you mention other potential romantic interests, it could indicate their growing feelings for you.
- Making future plans: They might frequently bring up the idea of doing things together in the future, hinting at a desire for a long-term connection.
- Changes in behavior: Observe if they act nervously or differently around you compared to other mutual friends, as they might be trying to hide their feelings.
It is important not to jump to conclusions based on this list as different people show kindness and affection in different ways. The best approach is open communication. If you have a strong friendship, talking about your feelings and concerns openly can lead to a deeper understanding of each other's emotions and intentions.
Why do I suddenly have feelings for my friend?
Feeling attracted to a friend is a common experience rooted in the emotional connection, shared experiences, and trust that a strong friendship fosters. Spending time together, sharing values and interests, and offering mutual support can deepen these feelings. Sometimes, physical attraction can also play a role.
It's essential to recognize that having feelings for a friend is normal and not something to be ashamed of. Should you choose to explore the possibility of a romantic relationship, open and honest communication is vital, but it's equally important to respect your friend's feelings and decisions, as not all friendships will naturally evolve into romantic partnerships, and maintaining the friendship's integrity is equally valuable.
How to know if you're in love with a friend?
If you're in love with a friend, you may experience strong emotions, constant thoughts about them, and a desire for their happiness. You might feel an intense emotional connection, excitement when they're around, and a sense of comfort and trust. Your actions may include going out of your way to support them and prioritize their well-being.
You may also feel a hint of jealousy or unease when they are interested in others romantically and you may feel sexually attracted to them. Reflect on your feelings, assess if they are enduring, and consider open communication to explore the possibility of a romantic relationship, being prepared for any outcome while respecting their feelings.
Should I tell my friend I love him?
It can be challenging to determine if you should tell your friend that you love them. If you are worried about how they will react, it can be beneficial to think about your feelings and self-reflect before committing to action. This will allow you to play out all of the “what ifs” in your mind before telling them.
Remember that it is important to respect your friend’s response, it may take them some time to process what you are telling them, especially if they were not thinking about the same thing. Even if your friend doesn’t feel the same way, you still may be able to remain friends if you approach the situation with respect and empathy.
How can you tell the difference between romantic and platonic feelings?
Distinguishing between romantic and platonic feelings can be challenging, but there are some key differences to look for:
- Intensity of emotions: Romantic feelings tend to be more intense and passionate compared to platonic feelings. You might feel a strong desire for physical intimacy and a deep emotional connection with romantic feelings.
- Physical attraction: Romantic feelings often involve a physical attraction to the person, whereas platonic feelings are primarily based on emotional bonds and friendship.
- Thoughts and fantasies: If you find yourself constantly daydreaming about being in a romantic relationship with your friend, it's likely romantic feelings. Platonic feelings, on the other hand, involve thoughts about maintaining a close friendship and enjoying each other's company.
- Jealousy and possessiveness: Romantic feelings can sometimes lead to feelings of jealousy or possessiveness when your friend shows interest in others. In a platonic relationship, you would genuinely want them to find happiness, even if it's not with you.
- Physical touch and proximity: Romantic feelings often involve a desire for physical touch, cuddling, or being physically close to the person, while platonic relationships are more comfortable with boundaries.
- Long-term aspirations: Romantic feelings may lead you to envision a future together as a couple, whereas in a platonic friendship, your long-term aspirations may involve shared goals as friends.
- Communication style: The way you communicate with someone you have romantic feelings for might differ, with more flirtatious or affectionate language compared to how you interact with platonic friends.
It's important to note that these distinctions are not always black and white, and sometimes, feelings can be a mix of both. If you're unsure about your feelings, take time for introspection and consider talking openly with the person about your emotions.
Can you suddenly develop romantic feelings for a friend?
Yes, it is entirely possible to suddenly develop romantic feelings for a friend. Romantic feelings can arise unexpectedly, even in long-established friendships. It can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as spending more time together, sharing significant experiences, or discovering new qualities and traits in your friend that you find attractive.
These sudden romantic feelings can be confusing, especially if you've only seen your friend platonically for a long time. However, it's a normal and natural occurrence in human relationships. If you find yourself experiencing such feelings, take some time to introspect and understand the nature of these emotions. It's crucial to approach the situation with sensitivity and open communication, whether you decide to explore a romantic relationship or continue cherishing the friendship as it is.
Is it normal to start liking a friend?
Yes, it is entirely normal to start liking a friend. In fact, many romantic relationships begin as friendships. When you spend time with someone, share experiences, and build trust, it's natural for feelings to develop and evolve over time. Friendships provide a solid foundation for romantic connections, as they involve emotional intimacy, understanding, and shared interests.
Liking a friend can be a beautiful and positive experience, but it's important to handle it with care and respect. If you find yourself developing feelings for a friend, take some time to reflect on the nature of your emotions and consider if a romantic relationship is something you both want. If you choose to express your feelings, remember that open communication is crucial, and be prepared for any outcome, whether it leads to a romantic relationship or strengthens your friendship
Can you kiss a friend?
Yes, you can kiss a friend, but it's essential to consider the context and circumstances before doing so. Kissing a friend can have different implications depending on the nature of your friendship and the level of mutual consent and understanding.
In some cases, friends may share a platonic kiss as a gesture of affection, such as a friendly peck on the cheek or a hug. These kinds of affectionate gestures are generally harmless and are common among close friends in many cultures.
However, if you're considering a more romantic or intimate kiss, it's crucial to approach the situation with caution. Assess the nature of your friendship and whether your friend reciprocates your feelings. Open communication is essential to avoid misunderstandings or discomfort. Make sure you have both consented to taking your relationship in a more romantic direction before initiating any intimate actions.
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