The Friend Crush: Is This Love Or Friendship?
He's your good friend. She's your best confidant. You have known
each other for a few years and have shared meals, movies,
hobbies and vacations. You have confided to each other about
your latest love interest and turned to one another for support
when the relationship(s) failed. You can't imagine life without
your good friend.
But for a while....
You've felt jealous of his dates. You've been overprotective of
her since she has been seeing the jerk. You've been having very
strong feelings of attraction and a desire for something more
than friendship. Could it be that your feelings for him/her have
grown into something more? If so, your relationship may have
developed into a "friend crush".
You don't know what to do. You know you want to continue
spending time together- more time. But it's getting hard. You
fantasize about having more with this person and are beginning
to feel like a jealous would-be partner. Do you pretend
everything is the same? Do you start distancing yourself- hoping
your feelings will go back to the way they were? Do you actually
TALK directly and honestly with your friend about how you feel?
What will happen to the relationship if you make the WRONG
Just as all people are unique, so are the characteristics of
their relationships with others. There is no one-size-fits-all
answer to this increasingly common dilemma. So, let's take a
look at your options. You can:
* ignore your feelings, keep your boundaries in check and
pretend everything is status quo
In order to choose this option, you must be able to deny your
feelings so well that even you don't know what they are. You
will also have to continue being comfortable on the sidelines
while someone else has the relationship with this person that
you desire. You will most likely be asked what you think of this
or that person and be expected to be happy and supportive of
your friend when they meet the right someone for them. In return
for all this, you will still have your friend.
* begin to spend less time with your friend (crush) while
seeking out new friendships to pursue and strengthen
This option will most likely cause confusion and hurt on the
part of your friend who will wonder what happened. They may be
understanding and accepting of your need to spread your wings
and support you in doing what you need to do. Either way, you
will see less of them and your relationship can weaken and
perhaps disappear altogether as they move on with new people. If
you can distance yourself for a while and no longer feel the
romantic butterflies, you can always give them a call and may be
able to pick up somewhere near where you left off.
* continue the relationship with your own hidden agendas - a
desire for romantic intimacy and the hope that the person will
realize that they feel the same way
If they become involved with someone else in the meantime, you
can work to sabotage their new relationship or you can leave
them wondering where all your anger and hurt feelings are coming
from. You can spend a lot of time and energy handling it this
way, without anything to show for your efforts but the loss of a
* have an open and honest discussion with your friend regarding
your new feelings for them
This is the choice that seems to be the hardest for folks to
make. Often what I hear from people in this position is that
they fear "ruining the friendship" if they discuss their
feelings honestly. While this is a very understandable concern,
it isn't well thought out. It is emotional, not rational. Look
again at the other options. Every one will bring about a change
in your current friendship.
Once your feelings have changed, so does the relationship.
Ignoring them, hiding them or distancing yourself will lessen
your closeness and the positive dynamics that flow between good
friends. You can't go back. You need to decide how you want to
move forward or if this is an option for you. . It is also
possible in choosing this option that you will learn that they
have similar feelings for you that they were afraid to reveal.
Therefore choosing this option could result in romance and a
love relationship based on true friendship.
Intimacy exists in all close relationships. It is the ability to
be completely open and vulnerable to another without fear of
harm or rejection. So, by definition, we cannot be intimate with
another while hiding or denying our true feelings and needs to
The choice will always be yours. Choosing wisely is about really
knowing the options, the consequences they bring and what will
be best for you and your friend.