Friends usually spend a lot of time together, have common interests and enjoy one another’s company. Unfortunately, when there’s a bit of attraction thrown into the mix, this familiarity can be mistaken for something more.
Kindness and friendly affection can easily be confused with feelings of love, especially when one or both parties lack a significant other. Gestures that could easily mean nothing are misconstrued as something more. A lot of people get mixed signals from friendships with those they find attractive. Situations like these are normal, and it is up to the individual to figure out how he or she will handle it.
Psychologist and life coach, Dr. Monica Greene, suggests that those who suddenly find themselves in a “Brown Sugar” scenario, a la Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan, should bite the bullet and broach the topic with that object of affection.
“If you’re definitely interested in your best friend, then you need to make that known. You need to have a conversation with your friend and also have a conversation with yourself,” she said.
According to Dr. Greene, that self-evaluation is a must to ensure that those newfound feelings are genuine and not just infatuation.
“Is this real love? Am I in love with you because you have all these qualities of someone who I’d like to spend the rest of my life with? Sit down with your friend and have that conversation,” advised Dr. Greene who acknowledged that it might not result in happily ever after.
“Do I lose this person because of those feelings? That’s something that’s real,” said Dr. Greene, validating the concern.
You could be risking your friendship by revealing your true feelings, but that all depends on how you handle the situation. That varies with each instance, but what shouldn’t, is that honest discourse. Whether you’re the one who’s caught feelings or the one thrown by another’s changing emotions, keep it real.
“If people are friends, they can be honest, even if that means saying, ‘I love you and I’m not interested,’” Dr. Greene said.
Getting back into the friendship after a public declaration of affection could possibly strain the relationship. In many cases, both parties start to feel awkward in each other’s company. One feels guilty for expressing those emotions while the other feels guilty for being unable to return the affection.
“Things are going to be awkward until you live through them,” she said. “Either you continue to feel the way you feel and leave the relationship or make a different decision and continue to be just friends.”
Of course suffering in silence isn’t the only outcome when putting your friendship on the line in hopes of something more.
If you and your friend are on the same page, that’s wonderful!