There's really no feeling quite like having a good, old-fashioned, butterflies-in-your-stomach crush. You know, the kind where you can't help but smile when you hear their name; the kind where you've seriously considered sending them an accidentally on purpose text saying "Wrong number, sorry!" just to talk to them for a brief moment. But all those butterflies have the potential to go haywire if you find out that the object of your crush's affection isn't you, but rather, your BFF. Knowing what to do when your crush likes your friend isn't something that's really very fun to think about, but because it can kind of feel like the absolute worst, having a game plan is helpful.
The thing is, no matter what, this predicament is hard. "This is never an easy situation to deal with because it can cause hurt feelings," Trina Leckie, host of the breakup BOOST podcast, tells Elite Daily. "That said, in life, not everyone who you like is going to like you back. If your crush isn’t into you, they just aren’t into you, and you will have to accept that, regardless of who they have feelings for. Instead of being upset about this type of situation, it is better to focus your time and energy on meeting someone who likes you just as much."
Easier said than done, right? Feelings don't go away that quickly, so if you find out your crush has a thing for one of your friends, do you tell your friend? You might worry that if you do, your friend and your crush will hook up and hit it off. A scary thought, I know. But the experts have some advice on how to handle this sticky situation.
What To Do If Your Crush Likes Your Friend
If your crush likes your friend, keep in mind that this “doesn’t necessarily mean that your friend's feelings will be reciprocal or that anything will happen between the two of them," as Leckie says. "Plus, if your friend knows that you have a crush on this person, they may not even consider exploring anything with them, as a way of putting your friendship first and staying loyal to you."
Before you stress too much about whether your friend and your crush are going to date, psychologist and friendship expert Dr. Marisa Franco, Ph.D., suggests taking time to allow yourself to just feel and acknowledge your feelings. “Whether that’s jealousy, envy, rejection — that’s all normal and universal and what makes you human,” she tells Elite Daily. “Don’t try to fight your feelings because you feel like you need to be a good and supportive friend right away. It’s OK to go through a period of mourning and spend some time just with yourself. Don’t feel pressure to automatically feel OK about it.”
If you’re in the dreaded “my crush likes my friend” situation, it can be tough to navigate. Gauging how to proceed will require some reflection on your part. “It’s important that in general when we work through things in friendship that we engage in something called mutuality,” offers Franco. Mutuality is when you consider both your own and the other person’s needs at the same time to figure out whose are stronger at the moment. For example, each person’s needs would be weighed differently if your friend and your crush are super into each other, versus if your friend is casually considering going out with them and isn’t that interested.
“You really need to put your cards on the table in asking your friend how they feel about the situation and then share how it would impact you,” notes Franco. Be honest about the consequences it may have on your friendship so your friend can make an informed decision. Whether that’s pursuing the relationship or not, “knowing the consequences helps them make the best choice,” according to Franco. Just be honest with yourself and with them. “If this is something you feel like you can’t get over and is going to be the elephant in the room, you can share that,” says Franco. “If this is something you can get over and be supportive [of], you can also tell them that.”
What you don’t want to do is pretend to be supportive when you’re actually really hurt and want to back away from the friendship. “That’s even worse because then your friend is moving forward based on this false information and is facing all of these consequences that they didn’t know that they would face because you said you would be supportive,” Franco says.
What To Do If Your Friend Likes Them Back
In a perfect world, your friend is respectful of your friendship and feelings for your crush. But if you have a lingering fear that your friend also has feelings for your crush, what then? "If your friend really likes this person and they have a chance at happiness, it would be applauded if you took the high road and were supportive," Leckie explains. As much as the thought of that might bum you out at first, "I think it’s important to put yourself in your friend’s shoes when evaluating the situation," she continues. But again, be honest with yourself, let yourself feel, and don’t fake support if you’re truly upset. As Franco puts it, you can’t be a good friend if you’re not honoring yourself.
“The most important thing for being a good friend is transparency,” says Franco. “There’s no right answer; being a good friend [in this situation] is about being honest and transparent about where you’re at, communicating that, honoring your feelings, honoring the other person’s, and engaging in mutuality.” What you don’t want to do is try to control your friend and tell them they “aren’t allowed” to date your crush. “At the end of the day,” Franco offers, “people are going to make their own decisions ... It’s good to be transparent but also relinquish control because ultimately it’s not up to you and there are many different people’s feelings at play.” She suggests taking a broader, third-party view and really thinking about both your friend and your crush’s perspectives. “If my friend is really into my crush and my crush is really into my friend, I can be a little bit more understanding even if it does hurt me because I’m thinking about the needs of all of us.”
It's not an easy situation, and you might feel sad or rejected by your crush. “Remember that this is part of the process of dating and finding love,” offers Franco. “Everybody who dates is going to find that there are people they like who don’t like them.” This doesn’t mean you did anything wrong, it’s just the reality of dating. It’s also natural for friendships to ebb and flow, Franco says. “It doesn’t mean that the story of your friendship is over.”
At the end of the day, you can't control how people feel. You can, however, control how you react, and if you react with grace, it will only prove what you should already know: You are a total catch and anyone would be so lucky to date you. Even if this time around it isn't the crush you have right now, worry not. Your next good, old-fashioned, butterflies-in-your-stomach crush is right around the corner.
Dr. Marisa Franco, Ph.D., psychologist, speaker, and friendship expert
Trina Leckie, host of the “breakup BOOST” podcast
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