You're feelings have changed ... now what?
You know how you're thinking of one of your friends on a constant basis? Looking for any reason to hang out with them? Or text them? You can hang out all day long and you never tire of them. They make you laugh and you always feel good when you're around them.
You both like the same Netflix shows, same music, same books.Then one day, you notice their eyes. Their arms and their legs; their entire bodies. And those lips! How soft are they? Wait, hang on. This is one of your close friends! You've known them for years! What are you thinking?!
So, it looks like you're falling for your friend. We can't really blame you there. Friendships form strong bonds and allow for you to get to know someone on a deep level. Some of the longest-lasting and closest love relationships are between people who are truly good friends.
But when it comes to seeing if you can be more, taking that step from friends to romantic lovers can feel like a big and treacherous move to make.
Before we get to that, you need to figure out if you want to act on your feelings or not. There is a chance that a wonderful and fulfilling love relationship could bloom from the friendship and that it could just happen naturally. However, there is also a chance that the attraction could be there — for both people — but neither one has the courage to admit it. This scenario leaves two friends hungering for more and afraid to do anything about it.
Here are 3 tips to help you decide what to do when you've fallen in love with your friend:
1. Don't go screaming you're madly in love with them just yet.
If you value your friendship with this person, we don't advise you to run in screaming your declaration of your love for them. Acknowledge the risks first. It can be excruciating to pretend that you don't have romantic feelings for your friend and we don't recommend bottling those feelings. But, we do think it's wise to really come to grips with what you are about to do before you do it.
It's impossible to know how your friend will react to the news of you having romantic or sexual feelings for them. It's possible that your friend will be surprised and maybe a bit shocked by your admission. It's also possible (depending on the circumstances) that knowing how you feel will change the dynamics of your friendship. There is a chance that it will feel "too weird" for them to continue to be as close to you as before if the feelings aren't shared or if for some reason you two cannot be together as a couple.
It is also possible that your friend may have not yet realized how they feel about you. In other words, your friend's initial reaction might not be what you expected or wanted ... and it might not reflect what's possible. Or maybe it might. Just keep this all in mind, as cruddy as it is.
2. Be true with how you feel.
Choose your words carefully when you tell your friend how you feel about them. You know your friend pretty well if you're close. If it seems like saying, "I am madly in love with you" would be a bit much (and it might be), be honest but pull it back a bit.
For example, you might say something like, "I've realized that my feelings for you have changed. I want to be more than friends with you. How does that make you feel?" Phrases like these may be pretty toned down in comparison to what you feel inside, but they are still honest and they open the door for you two to talk about what's possible in the future without causing your friend to run for the hills.
3. Open your heart and your ears.
As we said above, your friend might be a bit freaked out to hear that you have romantic or sexual feelings for them. Even if the feelings are actually mutual, just making that transition from friends to romantic partners or lovers is huge. Take a deep breath and really open your heart and your ears. Listen closely to what your friend says in response.
If they emphatically let you know that the feelings are not mutual and that being more than friends is not going to happen, respect that. Take your time in determining if you want to continue the friendship or if you need some space to regroup. Being pushy or trying to convince your friend to be in a love relationship with you is probably not going bring either of you happiness or satisfaction.
If your friend talks about feeling surprised or confused, honor that too. Let your friend know that you will be available if they wants to talk more about this ... or not talk more and possibly act on those new romantic feelings!
Susie and Otto Collins are authors and relationship coaches who help people attract and sustain more love in their lives. Click here to receive their free ebook: Passionate Heart ~ Lasting Love.