I talk a lot about how people seem to be in such a hurry to rush into a dating relationship. I always emphasize how important it is to develop a strong friendship as a foundation before heading into romance. Say you’ve done this, what’s next?
Lucy asked our first ‘best guy friend’ question below:
Does my best guy friend like me as more than just a friend?
And how do I know if he is falling in love with me?
Maybe you are wondering, “Is this really love?”
DAWSON: Friendship and dating are very important. In the end, best friends make great marriages. That being said, since you didn’t say what your feelings are for this guy, I’m guessing you don’t have romantic feelings for him. So for him, this is unquestionably a very delicate situation.
If he is actually falling in love with you, he’s probably scared and nervous about you finding out, since he doesn’t know how you’ll respond.
He doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize the friendship you already have. That’s a good thing. Friendships are priceless and need protecting and nurturing so they will grow.
Here are a couple of questions you may want to ask yourself.
- When you talk with your friend about other people who you are dating, or are interested in, is he supportive and encouraging, or does he become quiet and distant? A friend will be supportive, but someone whose emotions are clouded with the possibility of being in love will tend to have a more emotional response.
- Does he want to spend time only with you, or is he okay doing things with you together with others? A friend is willing to share you with others, but someone who is trying to balance their emotional feelings toward you may tend to be a bit more possessive.
In the end, you will need to communicate with each other and define what your relationship really is.
Even though it may hurt him, if you don’t have the same feelings for him that he has for you, knowing the truth is always better than not.
However you feel about him, I’m sure what you tell him will be filled with love and respect. After all, a good close friend of the opposite sex is priceless.
Rebecca brings us our next question about moving from friendship to dating:
How can you tell if the friendship SHOULD go on to the next level?
DAWSON: The decision to take a friendship to the next level, from friendship to a dating relationship, has to be a mutual decision. Both sides have to agree they want to go deeper with the other person.
But as I often say, these things have to be talked out. Unless they are talked out, there can be confusion and hurt feelings. So whoever brings up the subject has put themselves in somewhat of a vulnerable position. Yet, good friendships can endure these trying times.
The best thing I can tell you is to be patient. Let the relationship grow, and when you feel like you’re ready, I’d encourage you to find a time when the two of you are alone, and try bringing up the topic. With a friendship based on honesty and trust, you will be able to face the challenge of being vulnerable.
The Right Thing to Say:
Try saying something like, “You’re a great friend, and I don’t ever want that to change. And honestly, I’ve always wondered if this friendship would ever turn into something deeper. But I’m not sure how we would know. Do you have any ideas?” Asking him for his opinion is a great way to show you value what he thinks and feels, and you’ll find out if you’re on track.
Let’s assume for a moment your guy friend agrees with you about taking the relationship to the next level. What then should you do? I would encourage you to sit down together and make a list of the things you have been doing that have made your friendship so strong. Commit to keep doing them, and your relationship will automatically grow. But be extremely careful about becoming very affectionate and sexual with each other. I have seen so many potentially great relationships ruined by the misuse of sex. As someone once said, if you settle for cheap sex, you will never discover priceless love.
Life is short. So be open and honest with your feelings, but be prepared for them not to be reciprocated. But with him knowing how you feel, you very well might open the door for him to start seeing you in a different, more romantic light.