It’s hard when you think you’re fine being just friends with someone, but once he changes his Facebook status to “In a relationship”, you realize you’re not as happy for him as you should be. Falling in love is sometimes messy—amazingly messy.
It’s especially so when you fall for a close friend who is in dark about the feelings you’ve been harboring. Maybe, until recently, you were too. So, what do you do?
It seems simple enough to just blurt out, “Oh hey, I’m in love with you,” but it’s not. It’s risky to say something (as well as not to) and there are consequences. Before rushing in to anything, here are 6 questions you should ask yourself before dropping the L bomb.
1. Will your friendship survive?
If the foundation of the friendship is solid it won’t crumble, and you should go ahead and confess. If he is truly your friend, he’ll understand. It’ll be awkward for a few days, and even if you come to find the attraction isn’t mutual, you’ll find you can still be friends. The best-case scenario? The feeling is mutual.
It’s not. If you don’t think your friendship will bounce back or aren’t sure you can handle the rejection, then you should probably keep your mouth shut for the time being. Distance yourself a little to cope. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet an Ian Somerhalder look-a-like on the subway.
2. What do you hope to gain?
By telling him, do you hope he’ll dump his girlfriend, or that it will help you never to wonder ‘what if’? If it’s the former and he dumps her for you, are you sure you want to be responsible for breaking someone else’s heart?
If he’s truly the right one for you, hopefully he’ll realize his current squeeze doesn’t stack up and leave her on his own—or once he gets the signals he’s been waiting for from you. If you think ‘what if’ could lead to forever, it might be wise to suss out if he’s considered it, too, before laying your feelings on the line.
3. Are you sure you’re not just jealous?
We all know how it goes. Sometimes, we want the things we can’t have. Often they’re material like that Marc Jacobs bag you’ve been eyeing or a fancy new apartment you’ll never afford waiting tables at a burger joint. Whatever it is, it’s unobtainable and that’s what makes it attractive. This goes for people, too.
It’s natural to be jealous of a close friend’s new companion; the good news is that it subsides. Take a minute and evaluate your feelings. See where things go. If you find that it’s jealousy, then hold off on acting on it. We promise it will get better.
4. Is there a real attraction?
Misinterpreting signals is very common. Often we fall in love based on what we think is going on when, in reality, we could be wrong. Our friends at The Frisky wrote a great post on false flirting that lends some much-needed perspective.
5. How serious is this other relationship?
It’s tricky when there is a third party. It depends how far along the relationship is, whether it’s a week or 9 months. The more serious it is, the harder it will be on your friend. He might feel you’re being unfair and, although not intentionally, you’re pressuring him to choose. You not only have to do what’s best for you, but for everyone else involved, as well.
6. Do you honestly think he will be a great lover AND friend at the same time?
You might be saying, “Of course he will! Why else would I be in love with them?” Sorry but friend and boyfriend etiquette don’t fall on the same page. Looking back on past conversations, maybe you notice that you were always the one to initiate them.
Or there were a few times you planned to catch a movie, but your friend canceled on you when something better came up. The things that blow over in a friendship aren’t the same things that blow over in a relationship. Make sure that this is who you want, the good and the bad, before saying “I love you.”
Readers, have you fallen in love with a friend? Tell us how you handled it.