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I have feelings for my best friend, and we have different sexual orientations. Should I tell my friend, and if so, how?

Falling in love or having a crush can be one of the best—and worst—feelings we can have as human beings. Sooner or later, a situation arises when we wonder what to do with our feelings.

In this case, it is helpful to think about whether or not it is a good idea to want to date your best friend, regardless of gender. Ask yourself a few questions and carefully consider your answers. Are you confusing the intimacy of friendship with romantic feelings? Are you afraid to meet new people and seek relationships elsewhere? How will you feel if this friend doesn’t feel the same way you feel?

It can also help to review the pros and cons of talking to your friend about your feelings:

Pros

  • Your friend may feel the same way and hasn’t had the courage to say anything yet.
  • Revealing your feelings may begin a great romantic relationship.
  • Your friend may say she or he doesn’t feel attracted to you, but the trust you showed strengthens the friendship.
  • Your friend may not be interested in being romantic with you, but you may feel relieved to get it off your chest.

Cons

  • Your friend may not have the same feelings, and you may feel heartbroken.
  • Your friend may stop inviting you to do certain things because she or he worries about sending mixed messages.
  • Your friend may be scared of your feelings, and ask to end your friendship.
  • Your friend may betray your trust and tell other people, leaving you feeling exposed and vulnerable.

Since you know your friend pretty well, you may have more pros and cons to add to these lists. Each friendship is different so the variables that influence the decision aren’t always the same. One approach you may find useful is thinking about the best possible outcome, and also the worst. Are you willing to accept either as well as something else that you may not have considered? Which outcome, based on everything you know about your friendship and the person as an individual, do you think is most likely to happen? How would you feel if that was the outcome?

Above all, keep in mind that you do have options. One option is to just keep your friend as a friend and seek romantic relationships with other people who you know are looking for a romantic relationship.

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