Is it Love, or just Unconditional Love?
You’ve been friends with this person for months, maybe years.
Everyone tells you that the two of you are the next Harry and Sally.
You’re attracted to how easy and fun your platonic relationship is with that person.
And yet you still have no idea what to do about it.
Because the question of, “Will this ruin our friendship?” burns in your mind every time the subject is brought up.
Most people assume that the girl is always the one to hesitate in this respect, while the guy is ready to move the friendship into something more.
This is definitely true in a lot of cases (bad cases), but guys think it too.
Girls, I’m going to let you in on a little secret you haven’t been letting yourself believe: 9 out of 10 guys only become your best friend so that they can date you. That’s pretty much a fact.
I know this because I’ve done it, and so has almost every guy I’ve ever met or come in contact with.
Girls, don’t take it the wrong way. In fact, it’s OK to be flattered by the fact that a guy is willing to be friends with you before harassing you with dating requests.
The only problem is that constructs like the friend zone require an immense amount of maturity to navigate, and most guys don’t have the ability to handle that. So for that, ladies, I’m sorry.
But know that even if the guy has an agenda, it’s coming with good intentions. He’s just handling it wrong. He’s attracted to you, but he doesn’t want to just ask you out before getting to know you (or he fears rejection…there are plenty of possibilities.)
The only problem is that this is borderline manipulative. If the man in the friendship only wants to date you, then you’re in trouble. Every move he makes is going to work toward his advantage first and foremost – instead of yours.
He’ll talk bad about the guys you bring up in conversation, and he may even orchestrate ways to keep you from other friends and possible love interests. For that, ladies, I’m sorry. A lot of us are just not equipped to cope with delicate relationships like this, and human beings are generally terrible at not being possessive.
Here’s my story. I’ve always hated the idea of dating your best friend. I’ve never had luck with it, starting with the first time a “best friend” convinced me to stop dating someone else for her (Yeah guys, it works both ways).
Of course, this was back in High School, but that dark four-year time period does a lot of damage to us. So much so that I don’t think I’ve ever fully recovered (she broke up with me a month later).
You ‘d think I would have learned my lesson, but 5 years after that, the exact same thing happened. Best friend + lured me away from another girl = broke up with me a month (and 1 week) later. History repeats itself and all that.
The good news is that this has allowed me to appreciate the close friendships I’ve cultivated with girls regardless of whether or not we would end up dating. It’s actually a freedom that I wouldn’t dare discontinue.
The best part is that most of you girls are actually willing to let a guy into your life without having an agenda of your own because most of you understand that a platonic relationship can be just as rewarding as a romantic one.
But that still doesn’t address the most important problem I see with people who are pressured into dating their best friends. Don’t get me wrong – I firmly believe that growing a romantic relationship from a close friendship is one of the best ways to find someone you can spend the rest of your life with.
We just need to take a step back and examine some things first.
First off, and this is for the guys out there, be ridiculously honest. Communicate. If you are attracted to your best friend and you notice that the friendship is getting closer, tell the girl how you feel.
If you bottle up your feelings and let them grow unchecked, then you’re setting yourself up for pain. The friendship is at actual risk of being ruined when you wait far too long and then drop the “I have feelings for you” bomb. In other words, the longer you wait – the harder and riskier it gets.
The key is to be transparent before you start building a close friendship. If you haven’t asked her out yet because you want to be friends first, then let her know. Let her know that you are attracted to her, but you’re willing to stay friends and be platonic, at least for now.
And if the truth is that you only want to be her friend for the sake of a romantic relationship, then walk away and do some soul-searching. Guys, there is much more to life than seeking a wife, and if that’s all you want from women you aren’t related to, then you need to be single for a while.
So tell the girl how you feel before you let the friendship become airtight. The worst case scenario is that she won’t reciprocate, but she will likely appreciate the fact that she doesn’t have to wonder what your intentions are. There’s no room for awkwardness anymore because you’ve filled it with a real friendship.
If you suck it up and do this, then you now know exactly where you stand, and you don’t have to begin pining away for a girl who will always just see you as a friend. You can now invest the right emotions into the friendship, and both of you benefit.
Do you know why most friendships end when the guy does tell the girl how he feels? Resentment. Either he will resent the girl for rejecting her when he was so sure she wouldn’t (because he waited too long), or she will resent him for having an agenda.
Don’t wait too long. Prevent resentment by being transparent. You can’t resent someone for being clear with you from the beginning.
If she rejects you, then I can almost guarantee that the girl will stay friends with you, and if she doesn’t, then either you came off as really creepy, or she’s not mature enough to have an adult relationship where adult situations happen.
After all, she’s not stupid. She’s likely wondered whether or not you have “other” feelings, and she’s probably waiting for you to just be honest about them.
Second, and this is for the girls, be ridiculously honest. We can take it. Leading us on for the sake of our short-term emotions does more damage than you realize, and you may not even realize that you’re leading us on.
You do this when you say things like, “I’m not ready for a relationship right now.” If you say something like that, then the guy (or girl, if the roles are switched) will assume that you will be ready for a relationship with him later.
Just be honest, ladies. Tell the guy that you just want to be friends. You don’t have to explain it any further. If the guy asks you why, then say you just want to be friends. You’re not obligated to dissect every emotion you have for the sake of his pride.
That said, handle with care. If the man is willing to talk to you about how he actually, brutally feels, then you’re dealing with someone who is worthy of being your best friend. Why would you want to be confide in someone who doesn’t have the integrity to let you know exactly what the deal is?
Finally, and this is for everyone, you don’t have to date your best friend. You just don’t. Don’t let the pressure from other people and external obligations dictate who you invest romantic emotions into.
I think for some of us, we want to date our best friend because we may not be confident in our ability to find compatibility with another human being. But do you really believe the odds are against your favor that much?
Give yourself, and the world, a little credit.
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