Are We Best Friends, or Lovers?

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We’re just best friends, right? Falling in love with your best friend is a tough situation! You’re not the first to experience this, and certainly not the last, either. It has often been a topic of debate whether people from the opposite sex can be friends and if they should just be platonic. Consider the famous movie, When Harry Met Sally, which turned out positively for them both in the end because they had it all. However, changing a friendship into a romance has so many layers of complexity. Are you both in the same place? Are you both available for a romance? What if you decide to give it a try but it doesn’t work out? These are all sensitive questions. One needs to take a look at all the pro’s and con’s before deciding whether or not to tell their friend about their feelings of love.

Pro’s and con’s. Before you decide to tell your best friend about your feelings for them, it is good to weigh out the pro’s and con’s of turning your friendship into a romance. In the ideal situation, turning a great friendship into a romantic relationship would be the best of both worlds, or would it?

Below are a list of pro’s to consider :

  • You will have a best friend who will also be your romantic partner. This means you will have a great chance of having both a deep emotional connection as well as a physical attraction. Who doesn’t want this?
  • This person (hopefully) knows you well and accepts you for who you truly are (and vice-versa). You don’t have to keep up certain pretenses because your friend already accepts or maybe even loves those things about you that you often try to hide or minimize in other romantic relationships. You know them well too, so there won’t be any unexpected or unpleasant surprises about your new love interest either.
  • You most likely already have some mutual friends; an already established social circle you both belong in. This allows for a much easier transition into each other’s social lives. Meeting the friends of a new love interest can be challenging. What if you don’t like the people they hang out with or they don’t like you.  I believe a person’s friends say a lot about how they view themselves.

These are all major positive aspects of becoming romantic with a friend, but there are also some other important constraints to keep in mind. Some con’s to consider:

  • Many relationship patterns have already been established, and it can be difficult to transition certain “friend” habits to “intimate” habits. Be sure you’re not in any of the friend zone categories, or have a plan to make a smooth transition to prospective romantic partner.
  • The romance does not work out and the friendship you have is ruined, thus things might never be the same. Consider the idea that the things that you put up with as a friend, you might not want to put up with as a romantic partner. Being tardy or not very ambitious might be things you accept from your friends, but not want for your romantic partner. This works the other way around as well, your friend might accept your flaws just because you’re friends.
  • Thinking you can go back to “just being friends” is a mistake. If you will go back to being friends at all, most people need to take some time between that transition. Whether you can go back to being friends depends on how the relationship ended. Did you both agree to go back to being friends, or was it just one of you? If one person is more deeply hurt, the friendship can be completely lost.
  • Having mutual friends can be a positive thing, as mentioned above, but it also has a negative side to it. Mutual friends might feel awkward and divided between the two of you if you split. When you split up, who will get “custody” of the mutual friends? For this reason, the new couple may feel compelled to hide new romance from mutual friends.

Take these positive and negative aspects into thought and think about your personal situation, do you still think it is a good idea to tell your best friend about your feelings? Do you want to take that risk? Make that move? Maybe you could learn to live with the flirtatious banter but nothing else? By telling your best friend how you feel, you are risking unrequited love, in which one person develops unreciprocated romantic feelings for the their partner.

In order to reduce this chance, ask yourself: Are they (emotionally) available? Will they commit to a relationship? Will they risk the relationship of friendship to see if there is something more? These are all things to explore before sharing your feelings outright.

How to tell your friend. If you made up your mind about telling your friend about your feelings, here are some practical tips on how to have the conversation with your best friend.

  • First of all, don’t have the conversation when you’re drunk, this might influence your friend’s decision and might end in an extra nasty hangover. Also, tell them in person. Have some courage! You will also want to see how they react.
  • Secondly, tell your friend how much they mean to you and what you love about them. Explain how you think turning your relationship into a romantic one will affect your friendship (for the good).
  • Talk about how you will tell your friends, and, although it’s not fun to talk about, be realistic and talk about how you will deal with a potential break-up.

Telling your friend about your feelings is a big decision, so take time to think about it and weigh the good against the bad before you blurt out your love for them. Worst case scenario: you lose your friend. But on the other hand, if you’re lucky, your friend will have the same feelings and you will have the best of both worlds.

– Belle

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