The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
Falling in love with a friend and not knowing if they love you back is one of the most common human experiences. It can cause stress, anxiety, and constant worrying. However, if you find that your friend loves you back, it can be one of the most exhilarating experiences.
We’ve put together some tips to help you understand what to do next if you’ve fallen in love with your friend.
One of the most obvious choices, when you fall in love with your friend, is to tell them that you’ve fallen in love with them. It may seem terrifying but being open and honest is the only way to learn how someone truly feels about you.
Some easy ways to tell your friend you like them include:
- Writing a letter expressing your interest
- Making a TikTok video to tell them (trend)
- Asking them on a date
- Going for a walk and talking to them about it
- Creating an elaborate plan to ask them to be your partner
No matter what you do, make sure it’s something that your friend would appreciate. Some people may not like public expressions of affection, for example. If your friend is a more private person, you may want to tell them privately.
Always give your friend the option to say “no.” Remember that no matter how much effort you put into telling them how you feel and what you want, they’re allowed to be not interested. If your friend rejects you, you must not react violently or angrily at them.
What If They Feel the Same?
If your friend says that they feel the same, congratulations! It’s up to you two where to go from here. You can start a relationship or try to go on a few dates to feel things out. It may feel awkward to start a relationship with someone who has been only a platonic friend for a long time. However, you’ll both get the hang of it.
What To Do If They Reject You?
If your friend has rejected you, it may feel horrible and hopeless. Rejection is one of the most painful human experiences. It can bring on a new level of hurt when it’s your friend that is rejecting you. You may feel that you have lost both the friendship and a potential relationship.
However, it’s vital to see rejection as what it is: a boundary. If someone says “no” and is not interested in you, you must respect it as fact. You should not try to think of whether or not they’re lying to you or whether there’s a chance in the future. You’ve made your feelings known. If there were a chance in the future, they would know you have feelings for them, and they would tell you.
You should always accept rejection as the “final answer.” Even if it’s not. Here are some ways to deal with rejection in a friendship.
It may seem painful to do, but if someone is not interested, it will only hurt you more to continue to like them. Moving on can be different for everyone. It can look like:
- Taking space from the friendship for a couple of months to lose feelings for them
- Going on dates with other people
- Choosing to stay single until you lose feelings for the friend
- Deciding to end the friendship until you’ve lost feelings
- Deciding to change the dynamics of your friendship to be a little calmer or more platonic
It’s okay for you to set boundaries for yourself as well. If you feel that spending every day with your friend like you usually do will hurt you more, you can ask them for space until you’re able to move on.
End the Friendship
Sometimes being in a friendship when you have feelings for someone who doesn’t feel the same is too painful. You may want to end the friendship to have time to get over it and move on in life. This reaction is acceptable, although it may hurt your friend.
If you feel that you cannot stay friends with the person and accept the rejection, that’s your right. You may want to have the help of a therapist to talk through your feelings about the end of the relationship.
Accept the Rejection and Focus on the Friendship
Your other choice is to fully accept the rejection and focus on your friendship with this person. It’s totally fine to still have a crush on them. However, you’re going to want to remind yourself that there is no chance with them and that you understand and accept their answer.
Focus on putting energy into the friendship and platonic relationship you have with them. Treat them as you would treat any platonic close friend. Don’t try to manipulate them into doing anything that makes you feel like they might be interested. Don’t read into their behaviors. Simply accept the rejection and continue on as usual.
You or your friend may need time before things become normal again after confessing your feelings. However, it is entirely possible. If you’re interested in having a romantic relationship with someone, you may want to date on the side to show your friend you’re working on getting over them.
How to Get Help for Rejection Sensitivity
Rejection sensitivity is a deep sensitivity to getting rejected or being told “no.” It can come out in explosions of anger or tears. If you have extreme rejection sensitivity, you can get help.
Therapy is one of the best choices for people with rejection sensitivity because it allows you to talk through your feelings about the situation with a therapist, either online or in person.
You can also check out an online advice column on friendships, which can be found on BetterHelp.