Should You Tell A Friend You've Started Having Feelings For Them?

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We all know how complicated it can be when you start developing feelings for one of your friends. These feelings often creep on you, too. You can be casually hanging out with them and realise you’re looking at them differently. Suddenly, you start to care a bit too much about when they’ll call you, when you’ll see them next, and what you look like when you see them.

This is the case for one of our readers, Sam, who wrote in to say: “I think I’ve fallen in love with a friend I’ve gotten close to recently because of the pandemic. The feelings likely aren’t reciprocated, despite it maybe seeming like she could be interested in dating. I’m not sure if it’s worth risking or losing the friendship over feelings. I’m conflicted on how to handle this.”

This can be a tricky situation to navigate and before you even think about making a move, you need to figure out your own feelings first.

Counselling Directory member and psychotherapist Georgina Smith says “sexual desire is an important distinct difference between platonic and romantic feelings”. If you’ve started to think about a friend often in the day, that’s usually an early sign your feelings have shifted.

“Wondering what they are doing, how they are feeling, and when they will be in touch is also a good indicator,” she says. “The heady anticipation and excitement before we see them is key. Basically all the usual indicators of falling in love, we inherently recognise the difference even if the relationship started as friendship.”

Once you’ve established you have feelings for a friend, should you tell them?

Ultimately, this is a personal choice. You might want to pause for a few weeks to see if the feeling sticks, or think about what you’re hoping to gain from speaking up. Smith believes being honest about your feelings can ultimately help you grow, even if this romance doesn’t work out.

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