So, you’re in the friend zone and you want to not be in the friend zone, but you’re afraid if you make that leap, you’ll fall face-first into failure and make your friendship super awkward, or just lose it altogether.
I get it. I’ve been there... multiple times. Your fear is completely rational and plausible.
I once lost a best friend by “going for it” after all my friends said, “If you don’t at least try, you’ll never know for sure. Your friendship is strong enough to survive the repercussions.”
Let’s face it: That thought is circumstantial; it's a pipe dream. Your friends will encourage you to pursue this endeavor because they want to see you happy, but they don’t understand the intricacies of such a brutal confession.
In another completely separate case, I missed out on a potentially amazing relationship by not going for it. Years have passed and she’s now in a serious relationship; she continues to give me a hard time about waiting too long to express how I feel.
Still, anyone who advises you to go for it because "at least you’ll know for sure" is completely clueless about the situation at hand. The only thing “going for it” does for you is resolve how you personally feel.
It confirms one thing or another, but it doesn’t prepare you for the emotional trauma that ensues if the other party doesn’t feel the same way.
You must make your decisions as objectively as possible, as you know it will impact not only your relationship with the other individual, but ultimately, your entire group of friends and the group chemistry moving forward.
Some people would argue that this line of logic is the cynical perspective, that love defies logic. While I won’t argue that love is anything but rational, this is far from cynical. This is honesty; it's reality.
Love is perhaps one of the most gratifying feelings humans can experience and it can endure many things, but it can also be very fragile. One thing it cannot endure 99 percent of the time is rejection.
So, now you have a decision to make: Do you tell the person how you feel, or not?
Confessing your love to a person isn’t necessarily the wrong decision, but it’s important you come to the conclusion logically and rationally, not emotionally, despite what every romance book or movie teaches.
Here are a few questions for which you should have definite answers before you “go for it”:
Is it worth the potential rejection?
Can your friendship handle recovery mode if the other person doesn’t feel the same way? More importantly, can you?
Before you go all in on your decision, weigh your options. Is your friendship worth the risk? Sometimes, the answer is no.
You have a priceless bond, and if you don’t think that bond can survive the rejection, then you must reconsider whether knowing the answer is worth the sacrifice.
Is your friendship as deep and important to you as you believe it is?
Being in love with your best friend often means you’ll go to extra lengths to win his or her affection.
While you would love to credit those gestures strictly to being best friends, you need to be honest with yourself and ask yourself whether you would jump the same hoops if you knew your friend didn’t feel the same way.
If the answer is no, you have more incentive to go for gold because, otherwise, you’re wasting your time and effort.
Do you already know the answer is "no"?
If your crush truly is your best friend, then you know him or her better than anyone else. Sometimes, though, we’re in denial.
We have seen the signs that the relationship will never be more than platonic, but we don’t want to admit it to ourselves.
Do you know how the relationship will change?
You need to know ahead of time how your relationship will change going from best friends to intimate partners. Are you prepared for that?
Before you dive in with your feelings, be ready for the awkward transition because if the relationship doesn’t go smoothly, you’re risking more than a dating relationship.
What happens if you don’t say anything?
Do you keep listening to emo love songs and secretly pine over the never-gonna-happen romance of your life? Or, do you move on?
Sometimes, we need the rejection we know to be inevitable to move on to the next phases of our lives. It’s called learning the hard way.
If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have wondered about the what-if moments for the better part of decade, and I wouldn’t be writing this article for everyone to learn from my mistakes. I would have answered these questions and made a rational decision about my relationships.
Sometimes the truth hurts, whether we come to find it on our own terms, or it hits us where it counts. But, as soon as you can come to accept whichever outcome transpires, the sooner you can grow as an adult and find happiness.