Q.I’m a 28 year old female. I fell in love with my best friend who is 30 years old. We have been friends for nearly a year. We see each other mostly every day, we do all kind of activities together and we use to be close until I told him about my feelings when I was rejected by him. This hurt me like anything and made me very angry. I hurt him with words and I was really hurt myself for being rejected because he is truly really important to me.
I have thought about how I feel towards him and I feel I really am in love with him. Now we are acting very cool with each other but he is angry with me because of the way I reacted when I got rejected by him.
I’m lost and confused and do not know what to do. Do you think dating someone at this stage might help?
A.Your feelings are perfectly understandable Neha. Friends, especially the ones who become close, form a very important part of our lives. Friendship is a relationship which lets you see each other exactly as you are, without pretences. And that’s what’s amazing about this particular type of bond between two people which is different from romantic relationships, family ties and everything else.
That’s why it’s very common for people to fall in love with long-term friends. There’s nothing wrong with that. After all, what’s a relationship but a combination of friendship, empathy and mutual need fulfilment?
But of course how your friend feels about you is not under your control.
The first thing here is, Neha – confessing your feelings to him all of a sudden was probably not a good idea. May be he was surprised and shocked. May be to him your feelings signified the end of your precious friendship, given the fact that he doesn’t share them.
To those who feel like they’re in love with their friend, I always suggest they spend time dropping hints and observing their friend’s reactions before confessing anything. This way, you can easily make out how likely your friend is to reciprocate your feelings. If they respond with romantic signals, you know they share your feelings and you can go ahead and tell them you love them. On the other hand, if they seem uncomfortable with your hints, or they seem to not notice them, or they start growing cold to you or avoiding you in reaction to your signals, you know you’re not in luck. In that case you can forget about them as a romantic possibility and continue your friendship as it was. The advantage of avoiding a direct confession is that in case the feelings are not mutual, you can continue life as usual without the pain and embarrassment of confessing, apologizing, making up etc.
But anyway, that’s all in the past now.
Your course of action now is to take a break from him for a while. I’m not suggesting you sever ties. But given your feelings, it’s imperative you stay away from him for a while now to give your friendship another chance. In the current situation, if you continue hanging out with him, you’ll never be able to give up hope that he might turn to you. Life will become a never-ending cycle of joyous hope and depressing disappointment for you. This will be an extremely draining experience which will add nothing but negative value to your life. At the same time it will keep you available to him forever as a fall back option – something you don’t deserve to be. And most importantly, it will keep you emotionally unavailable for investing in other romantic possibilities around you.
I suggest you take some time out so that you can understand your own feelings better. May be a second look at yourself will reveal your feelings have resulted only from an infatuation born out of spending too much time together? If not, you can at least use this time to shift your focus to yourself, and conquer your romantic feelings towards him. Wait till you’re completely over him before contacting him again.
The immediate next step for you now is to drop him an email genuinely apologizing for your angry outburst. Do not mention anything about continuing to be friends OR cutting off ties in the email. This email is meant only for offering your heartfelt apology for an unwarranted reaction.
As I mentioned, the email should be the last and only communication between you for some time to come. You’d of course not contact him thereafter. If he contacts for a second time after replying to the email, tell him politely but firmly that you don’t want to sacrifice your friendship by disturbing his life with your romantic feelings. Hence you want to stay away from him for a while, and that you’d contact him whenever you’re over him. Emphasize that you don’t want to destroy your friendship for any reason, and end with saying that you hope he’d be OK to be friends with you once again when you’re ready.
Let me know how things go.
All the best. :)