5 steps out of the friendship zone
It is not uncommon for people to harbour feelings of romantic love towards their friends. The most common reason for not disclosing such feelings is the fear that doing so would ruin a good friendship because it would feel uncomfortable afterwards it the other person didn’t feel the same way. The truth is that it can be just as uncomfortable keeping it to yourself in the hope that one day your friend might somehow guess how you feel and make a move towards you. Either way honesty is an important part of any friendship and unless you let your friend know how you feel you will never know if there could have been a future for the two of you.
Here are 5 steps you can take to help move things along and even if things don’t work out the way you had hoped you will know that you did all you could to give it the best possible chance.
1. What do you want?
This is the all important first step, what is it you want from a relationship with this person? Is it a fact that you find them physically attractive and want to be intimate with them or are you hoping for a long-term relationship? Play the tape forward and imagine how you would like things to be in 5 years time. Is your fantasy realistic? Sometimes people can be great friends but not so great when they are in the role of boy/girlfriend – how does your friend treat people they are dating? You need to remember that getting involved with someone romantically doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be an extension of your friendship – it could be very different as roles and responsibilities change your expectations of each other.
2. Take a step back
Before you say anything to your friend try spending a few weeks going to different places and seeing different people. Sometimes we can think we have developed romantic feelings for a friend because we have become so reliant on them for all our needs – social, emotional, and maybe even physical if we are very tactile with them – hugging and talking to them about everything that happens in our lives.
Going to different places and seeing different people will help you regain some perspective and discover if your feelings for your friend are true or are born from being too reliant on them – maybe at a time in your life when there aren’t many other people around.
3. Look at you
Does your friend see the best of you or are they someone you feel that you can let your guard down with and tell all your problems to. Take your mind off your feelings for them for a while and ask how do you feel about yourself? Are there areas of your life that need your attention? Do you feel like someone who would make a good partner to your friend? By focussing on your own life and living it to the best of your ability your self-esteem will get a boost and if the time comes when you do disclose your feelings to your friend you will come from the belief that in you they are getting a good deal.
4. Do new things together
Often we have friendships where we do the same things together each week – maybe going to the local quiz night or playing tennis once a week. Before taking a big leap and changing the nature of your relationship first try and initiate some new activities to do together – maybe go on holiday or do something that will challenge you both as individuals. You may feel like you know your friend very well but seeing them in new situations will help you see different aspects of their personality.
5. Take a leap
If you try all of the above steps and still feel that you have romantic feelings for your friend it is time to talk to them about it. Choose a time when you both have few distractions and are sober (drunken declarations of love rarely resolve matters). Perhaps begin by talking about ideal partners and ask your friend what they are looking for – what they want in a partner.
Your friend may need you to make you feelings very clear if they have never looked at you in that way before. Don’t hint at what you want, say it clearly. As far as possible, let go of the outcome – you need to be prepared for the fact that it could go either way. Whatever happens, you will feel better because you will have honored yourself and the friendship by being honest.
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