Friendship turned romance... is it possible?
This issue can be very frightening and very challenging, especially if you have romantic feelings for your friend but you don't know if your friend feels the same way about you. Tread lightly. Although some people have found true happiness by getting involved with and then marrying a former friend, some people have tried to get romantically involved with a friend, only to lose the romance, as well as the friendship. Here are some thoughts on how you can approach this issue if you have feelings but don't know if your friend feels the same way.
● Identify your feelings and emotions and be sure to distinguish between romantic feelings and platonic feelings. Men tend to feel more comfortable talking about intimate things to women. Make sure you're not mistaking that for love.
● Evaluate the benefits of telling your friend you have feelings, as well as the possibility of losing a friendship altogether.
● Know that there are two possible outcomes: Risk being rejected or chance having a very strong basis for a relationship.
● Once you've decided to make your feelings known, if the feeling is mutual, don't move too fast. Take time to savour the romantic side of your relationship and realize your interaction is going to change.
● Do everything you can to maintain the bond you shared as friends, prior to the romantic side. Remember how you spent times confiding in each other, laughing, and crying on each other's shoulders. Realize that the best marriages are made of two people who consider themselves best friends.
Stuck in the Friend Zone
If it doesn't seem the right time to make your feelings known, continue hanging out as you normally would, but throw in a little touching. Brush a stray hair from his eyes or touch his arm when you get a chance and see if that ignites anything. Some will move forward into a "friends with benefits" relationship, but really, that is not recommended. Try to avoid that phase if at all possible. Additionally, don't stay stuck in the zone where you want to move from friends to romance but the other person doesn't know it. When you stay in that zone too long, you tend to do everything for the other person, but that person doesn't go above and beyond for you because they are getting all the benefits of being in a romantic relationship without being in one!
Here is some advice on how to get out of that zone if you've been there too long, or if you simply don't like being there.
● Stop Being so Interested - If you value your relationship more than the other person, your relationship is imbalanced. Becoming less interested may be the first step in helping you get what you want.
● Stop Being Available - Don't be at your friend's beck and call. Have "other plans" sometimes and make yourself scarce for a while. If your friend has a real interest in you, he will feel your absence.
● Make new friends. A little jealousy never hurt. Just be sure not to "use" another guy as bait, unless you set it up that way.
● Ask for Favors - Ask your friend for something you need. The more he does for you, the more he likes you. Ask for a ride somewhere or to fix something for you.
Trying some of the things listed above should raise your status in your friend's eyes. And as hard as it seems, it is possible to dig out of the zone you may have been dwelling in for months or years. Go for what you want in a relationship. Allow space for your friend to miss you, make other friends, and see what happens. There are two passages that come to mind: "Never miss the chance to tell someone you love them," and "If you love something set it free. If it comes back, it's yours, if it doesn't, it never was."
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your current status with your friend or need to talk about relationships in general or the chances of messing up a great friendship, the professional counselors at the Relationship Center of Orange County can help. Call us today at (949) 430-7218 or use our online tool to schedule your appointment.