My Best Friend Is in Love With Me! What Should I Do? - PairedLife - Relationships
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My Best Friend Is in Love With Me! What Should I Do?

Layne believes in sharing life experiences. Acceptance and surrender are two important ingredients for personal growth.

What do you do when your best friend has feelings for you?

What do you do when your best friend has feelings for you?

How to Tell If Your Best Friend Is in Love With You

It is not uncommon for friendships to develop at any stage of life. We find ourselves drawn to certain individuals and come together over shared hobbies, interests, life experiences, culture, religion, geographic location, jobs, etc. So what happens when, over the months and years of getting to know each other, feelings develop? Here we'll talk about:

  • How to Tell If Your Friend Is in Love With You
  • How I Found Out My Best Friend Loved Me
  • How I Set Them Free
  • How They Found True Love

15 Signs Your Best Friend Is in Love With You

Here are some tell-tale signs that I experienced over a 10-year friendship that clued me in on my friend's love for me. It may not be the same for everyone, so having an honest and genuine conversation about the course of your friendship is the best way to handle the situation, as hard as it may be:

  1. They compliment things about you few people notice (your dimples, your laugh).
  2. They remember your favorite things (how you like your coffee, your dislike for onions).
  3. They give you gifts on every occasion and go over-the-top.
  4. They laugh at everything you say.
  5. They notice when you get a haircut, wear something new, change your makeup.
  6. They want to get close to your family.
  7. They offer to help you out with things even when they have other obligations.
  8. They stand up for you.
  9. They try to be physically near you.
  10. They talk to you every day and say things like "miss you," send heart emojis, send photos, like your social.
  11. They get visibly bothered or jealous when other people hit on you or you talk about a person of interest.
  12. They criticize or speak poorly of the people have dated.
  13. They aren't fond of the exes that broke your heart (but are glad you aren't with them).
  14. They agree with most everything you say or do.
  15. They're comfortable around your family.
Friendships either flourish or may dissolve if love is or is not reciprocated.

Friendships either flourish or may dissolve if love is or is not reciprocated.

What to Say and What to Do

  • Be honest right away. Be honest with your significant other, too (if in a relationship). Get everything out in the open.
  • Do not lead them on. Draw a clear line.
  • Have a heart-to-heart talk.
  • Give them some time alone if they request it.
  • Respect their decision.
  • Express your gratitude for their friendship and love.
  • Do not feel obligated to reciprocate.

Know that these situations can be extremely hard but always follow your heart. These situations take time, honesty, and understanding. Wishing you and your friend the best.

Setting them free is the kindest thing that you can do.

Setting them free is the kindest thing that you can do.

My Story: More Than Friends?

I had a really good friend in college. We both enjoyed camping and being out in nature—hiking almost daily. We took trips all across the U.S. just to get a taste of nature. For many years, I felt like we connected based on our common interests—he never asked for anything more and we were quite content in eachothers' company.

My Friend Hinted at His Love for Me

Over the years (half a decade), my very passive friend would hint at things—he would give me extremely thoughtful gifts, he'd compliment me, he'd stand up for me when I was going through a hard time in my romantic relationship. People would always ask if we were together. It was always a definite "no" from me.

It became apparent over the years that my friend wasn't going anywhere, in fact, I felt like he was waiting for me to make up my mind about him (although he never said it outright). I would think to myself, "Well, we get along so well, we share common interests, why am I not attracted to him? It could be such a good relationship?"

I Realized I Would Never Feel the Same

I started to feel guilty . . . I didn't want to lose our friendship but I knew in my heart I would never fall in love with him in that way. I soon learned that it's not all that uncommon for friends to fall in love. Some friends go on to nurture love, one individual may love the other and it won't be reciprocated, and some friendships will dissolve over the matter when hearts get broken.

It's time to have the talk.

It's time to have the talk.

I Had to Let Go So That He Could Find Love

I remember being in my mid-20s and hiking with my best friend. We were setting out on one of our usual routes at a small organic farm. Right before we got going, a cute girl around our age came up and started talking to him. I could see the charm in her face—she certainly liked him. After that moment I thought to myself how badly I wished he could find love. Maybe it was selfish of me, but I often wished he could find love so that he wouldn't be waiting for me to change my mind.

I suppose the best thing was to be honest with him. Being a rather passive person, I tried indirectly many times. He kept thinking that it was just going to take me time. I would tell him that I didn't want a relationship, but perhaps that wasn't direct enough. It really broke my heart to tell him all this. There was just nothing I could do to change my feelings towards him.

When I Knew the Feelings Weren't Reciprocated

We were always doing fun things . . . we went to a bluegrass concert with one of his friends. I remember in the middle of the show, he turned around randomly and went for it. He tried to kiss me. Well, he did. When it happened it felt most unromantic. It was a very uncomfortable moment.

Later that month (in December) we were approaching Christmas. He surprised me with a gift. When I unwrapped it, it was a beautiful, high-quality hunting knife (he knew I had wanted one for months since our summer camping trip). The fact he remembered the gift blew my mind. I felt so bad when I handed him a six pack. I realized then that we were both expecting very differen't longterm goals out of our friendship.

You may have to be ready to let go of some aspects of the friendship to allow each other to thrive.

You may have to be ready to let go of some aspects of the friendship to allow each other to thrive.

"If You Love Someone, Set Them Free"

There is a difference between loving someone and being in love. Loving someone is wanting the best for them. Being in love with someone is something next level.

I realized I cared for a loved my friend so much that the best thing I could do was set him free. I knew he was hanging on to the idea of us being together and he would not open up his eyes to other prospective partners around him. In retrospect, I probably didn't handle the situation as maturely as I could've. I still feel bad to this day.

I Started to Date

My sister gave me a match.com certificate for my birthday and I told him about it. I told him I was going to try it out. That was my first attempt at planting the seed. One day, I was out downtown having lunch with someone who I had been talking to for a month, and there at the brewery was my friend sitting 30 feet away just staring at me in shock. It made me very uncomfortable.

A day later we talked and tried to clear the air. I felt really weird about the way he had reacted when he saw me. I also felt guilty . . . for hurting him. But I didn't know how else to handle it.

He Has Moved on and Is Getting Married

Eventually, we began to hang out less and less and I started to enter into a serious relationship over several years. I still feel like a horrible person for it all, but something good came of it. After one failed relationship, he is currently engaged and getting married to a very lovely person I hear. HE FOUND LOVE! I was able to congratulate him and wish him the best.

I Respect Their Relationship

I'm not really sure how much his future wife knows about me and our history of friendship. Out of respect for them, I keep a healthy space. I have nothing but love in my heart for him. I am so glad he has someone who adores him. That's all I could ever want for him because I knew I couldn't be that woman.

© 2018 Layne Holmes

Comments

Shelby on July 28, 2020:

This is a beautiful article. Thank you for the advice, it has really helped me know what to do

alejandra on August 06, 2019:

hi my name is alejandra where you live your friends is alejandra

Layne Holmes (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 24, 2018:

Hi dashingscorpio—I do agree with many of these points. I actually thought about one of your main ones . . . I couldn't see myself carrying on with the same activities at the same level of intensity with my friend if he and I were to find significant others. The best decision was to part ways—definitely a hard one. I think it can depend on the individual and the circle of friends (how well they all know each other).

dashingscorpio from Chicago on November 24, 2018:

Being honest rarely works when someone has a crush on you.

Deep down they hope by being "friends" you will eventually wake up to the realization that he/she is the person you've been looking for!

"When Harry Met Sally" is a movie about friends who find love.

For those trapped in the "friend zone" that movie gives them hope.

Truth be told very few friendships between attractive men and women are without a certain amount of sexual tension.

Any attractive woman who tells you she has lots of straight male friends on some level knows those guys would fail this test:

Call any of them up and tell them you're feeling lonely and horny and want them to come over and spend the night.

Very few if any of their male "friends" are going to say:

"Ew that's gross! You're like a SISTER to me."

Therefore most "platonic friendships" between attractive people becomes about ignoring the elephant in the room. She pretends like he's content with just being her friend and acts like that's all he wants.

There are lots of articles, blogs, and forums dealing with the issue of people stuck in the "friend zone" looking for advice on how to let their "friend" know they are romantically interested in them without risking the loss of the friendship if she/he rejects them.

Unrequited love is especially common among teens and those in their 20s. They believe there is some magic trick to getting someone who doesn't know they exist to suddenly fall in love with them.

These days we see many so called "nice guys" explode in anger seeing women they lust after going out with jerks, a-holes, and other types of guys they believe they're better than. They're tired of being the shoulder for girls to cry on while at the same time being told how "sweet" or "nice" they are. Suddenly they feel "entitled" to have the girl of their dreams because they are "nice guys". When that doesn't happen some of them erupt with violent acts.

Another reason why platonic friendships of the opposite sex seldom last a lifetime is because eventually one or both people meet someone special who subtly gives them an ultimatum to distance themselves from him or her. Given a choice between being with the love of your life and your "platonic friend" most people will choose love. Very few girlfriends/wives would approve of their boyfriend/husband meeting his female friend for lunch, cocktails, attending sports events, or going to a strip club. And yet they would have no problem if his friend were a male.

Doing the same activities with the opposite gender looks like a date for many people in relationships and marriages.