What To Do When You’re Falling In Love With Your Best Friend

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated May 1, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

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

Getty / courtneyk
Romantic feelings for a friend can be confusing
If you sense that 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?" Did you notice you are feeling physical attraction for your friend? Is your love for them as a friend growing stronger? Have you become infatuated with a new friend?  

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

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Romantic feelings for a friend can be confusing

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 discuss 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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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. 

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