Love and Basketball, Brown Sugar, Boomerang.. Some of our favorite Hollywood classic movies about two friends that fall in love. We marvel in the love story, and believe in the fairy tale just as much as the actors do. But what happens if you fall in love with your friend- in real life? How realistic is the happily-ever- after ending?
We say that it is not very realistic. However that doesn’t mean you can’t act on your feelings, either. Kate Stewart, a counselor and dating coach in Seattle says, “You regret the things that you don’t do,” she says. “If you sit on your feelings and then your friend moves away or winds up in a different relationship, you’ll always wonder what would have happened if you had said something.”
Vulnerability and fear of rejection is what usually holds people back in telling your friend how you really have been feeling. Sometimes this decision takes years to finally tell a crush about their feelings, which is another common theme in these best friends-turned lover movies. If and when friends start dating there naturally is a lot at stake. If it doesn’t work- its almost impossible to go back to your friendship the way it was before. However, you can’t keep this secret forever; seeing your friend date other people may lead to jealously, frustration and a feeling of defeat because you didn’t speak up. Take your time and do not rush into it. Weigh the pros and cons. Some experts suggest that flirting is a great way to not completely reveal your true feelings but to see what happens and how your friend responds. Others would say being straightforward is better because you are able to be honest and direct which can save you a lot of grief and agonizing. You might realize in that time that your feelings aren’t really strong enough of a risk to losing a good friend
Take your time and read non verbal cues as a primer to build your confidence and give you a feel for if your friend is into you or not. See what happens if your hand slips next to theirs while sitting side by side; or if you notice any romantic attraction when you make eye contact- these are signs that your feelings are reciprocated. However, do not take nonverbal cues as confirmation that your friend likes or doesn’t like you in a romantic way. You still must talk about your feelings with your friend to know for sure where you both stand.
If you decide that you definitely want to turn that friend into a lover, then it is time to take a deep breath, and build up the courage to have “the talk”.
Firstly, be completely honest with your friend, but not in an overwhelming way. Perhaps open up the conversation by saying, “I really enjoy your company”, and then ease your way to expressing your feelings. Avoid saying things like, “I like you, do you like me?” Which can sound abrupt and demanding, leaving your friend to feel uncomfortable, running you a higher risk of losing the friend based on your impulsive approach. As stated earlier, ease into expressing how you have been feeling by saying something like, “Its not easy for me to say this, but I’m starting to like you as more than a friend.” Even if they don’t feel the same, you will have at least approached them respectfully, allowing you to feel relieved and, your friend to feel, in some way, flattered by your thoughtfulness and consideration.
A study conducted at the University of Texas, researchers asked 167 couples how long they’d known one another before becoming romantically involved and whether they were friends first.They found that, on average, the couples had known each other four months before dating. Plus, 40% of them were friends beforehand. Certainly, no relationship can stand the test of time without the foundations of a strong friendship. Bite the bullet, take the leap, embrace failure and any other romantic cliches you can think of. Life is short- you never know where your courage can lead you.