So me and my best friend have been friends for the past four years. I’m currently 22 and she is 21. I recently have been having feelings for her in a romantic way. I stopped talking to her for about a month because I didn’t want to jeopardize our friendship and she knew something was up. I eventually, when I was drunk, told her how I felt and she said she didn’t feel the same way for me, but understood why I feel this way. Since this has happened I’ve tried hanging out with her but it seems like every time I look at her it is all I can think about. She said that she has to worry about what she does around me because she doesn’t want me to hurt anymore than I have to. I really don’t want to lose her as a friend because she is literally the only person I talk to about everything that happens in my life. I’m currently scared because I feel like the worst is going to happen and we are not going to be in each other’s lives anymore. I’ve already started trying to get over her by setting up a date with someone else. It’s just hard to stop thinking about her because she is the only person I have felt such strong feelings for. Am I making the wrong decision by trying to stay friends with her? Any advice you guys would have is greatly appreciated.
These situations are always tough because your logical brain tells you one thing, but your emotions tell you something completely different. In the end, you’ll have to decide what’s best for you, but I’m hoping that I can help with this situation by laying everything out for you.
In my experience, there are 3 ways to handle this situation:
1. Completely cut-off your friendship
2. Maintain the status quo of your friendship
3. Change your friendship
Let’s start with option number 1. The complete cut-off is an incredibly drastic measure, but if you’re the type that truly cannot remain friends with someone who you are attracted to, this might be the move for you. You’ve said that you don’t want to lose her as a friend, so you might be leaning against doing this, but I’ll give you a run-down of the advantages and disadvantages of this approach and you’ll have to decide. The disadvantages are easy: You’ll be losing your best friend. The advantages are bittersweet: You wont have to worry about hanging out with her and thinking of how she rejected you. On her end, she wont have to worry about you feeling hurt each time you hang out and becoming more and more guarded every time you hang out. This method is will cause the most immediate pain, but gradually less and less pain. You’ll lose one of your best friends in the process but you’ll solve your major issue, the fact that you cannot get over this girl.
Option 2 requires no real effort on your part, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best option. In my opinion, it’s the worst option. While you try to make your friendship remain the same, you’ll both be slowly pushing each other apart and resentment will grow between you both. Your time together will eventually feel less natural and more guarded and slowly, you wont come to consider this person your best friend. The only real advantage here is that this option doesn’t require any real work. The major disadvantage will be the fact that you’ll eventually grow apart and maybe even resent each other.
Finally, you could always try to change your friendship. Whether you decide to tell her that you’re going to approach your relationship differently or not is entirely up to you of course, but what you do will be the same. First, you need to change how often you communicate and what you communicate about. Part of why you fell for her was the fact that “she is literally the only person I talk to about everything that happens in my life“. What you need to do is either stop speaking to her about everything in your life, or speak to her about what’s going on with your life but a lot less frequently. You might want to also find other friends to talk about your every day life stuff with. There is nothing wrong with having one really close friend, but you’re at the point where that really close friend is also someone who you can’t communicate with without feeling rejected. See, your approaching the whole “getting over her” by trying out dating other people, but what you should try to focus on more is getting new friends or enhancing your current other friendships. You may not realize it but you pretty much plainly stated it upfront: The reason you became more and more attracted to her and eventually fell in love is because of the strength of your friendship. Don’t discount that, just know that part of the process of getting over her will also include changing your current friendship, developing stronger friendships with other people, and yes, eventually dating. Dating alone will make for a poor substitute because your attraction to your best friend is one of familiarity, not newness, which dating brings.
As for my own opinion, here’s what I think you should do: Let her know that you don’t want things to be awkward so you’ll probably communicate and hang out as frequently, reassure that you still want to remain friends but you still need to get over your feelings. Reassure her it’s not her fault and you still consider her your friend, you just need to do these things to get over her.
You should always try to tackle your problems head on and you might be tempted to pretend that there isn’t a real problem, but don’t do it. Pretending that things are the same is only going to drive you apart, possibly to the point where it’s irreconcilable. In my opinion, pretending that things haven’t changed is silly, so avoid doing this.
I would also advise against cutting her off completely…unless you give it some deep thought and realize that you simply cannot get over her. A good friend is hard to come by, but if you realize that making changes wont help, you might have to do it to maintain your sanity. On the other hand, some people can’t get over some people and it’s possible that no matter what you do, keeping her around will only cause you more pain. If that ends up being the case, I would, VERY CAUTIOUSLY advise that you consider cutting things off.
I didn’t address the underlying issue here, that you can’t get over rejections, because that’s a whole other post. I would recommend that you go back and read/listen to everything I’ve posted about rejections. If you learned to handle rejections better, you wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.
Good Luck Out There.