They say your romantic partner should be like your best friend; sometimes it turns out the person you like actually is your best friend!

Pam and Jim from The Office give each other a high five from across their desks.

As romantic as movies make it, it can be nerve-wracking as well. There can seem to be more at risk in asking a friend out than a potential date you don't know much about.

The usual move is for the person to hide their feelings, hoping that with enough time and effort, the friend will eventually fall in love with them. But rarely does this work.

What if there was a better way?

Express your feelings to a friend without feeling like the world will end.

The Context of the Situation

First, for anyone who needs to hear it: it's perfectly normal to develop feelings for a friend.These feelings are indicators that the interactions with this person have become more meaningful to you than just beyond a regular friendship.

But it's also important to realize that even though all your feelings and time spent together are meaningful, it doesn't entitle you to a relationship, because:

  • You haven't gone on an official date they're aware of.

  • They don't know how you feel.

  • They might not have the same feelings as you.

My old roommate had this great saying:

If you both didn't say it was a date, then it's not a date.

So before even thinking about asking them on a date, your first action is to express your feelings to them. It's important to reach out and tell them about your feelings as soon as you're aware you get these feelings.

It's not asking them on a date, it's expressing your feelings.

Leslie Knope from

Why should you express your feelings as soon as possible?

  • You have these romantic feelings, but they're not being built together. In short, you're falling in love by yourself, and the longer you wait, the more these feelings will grow without your friend.

  • Spending time with a friend hoping it'll turn into a relationship is investing in an unrequited relationship.

  • Your intentions have changed — as soon as you're sure you have a crush on a friend, you'll start to imagine the friendship as something more romantic.


"If you both didn't say it was a date, then it's not a date." Which of the following is indisputably asking someone on a date?

How to Properly Confess: Part 1

Usually, these confessions are very passionate. After all this time with your friend, your emotions come to a boiling point, which leads you to confess with intensity. The issue with this is that it can be overwhelming and come as a complete surprise to your friend.

A woman opens up a door to a man holding many heart balloons, a stuffed bunny, and cotton candy.

Put yourself in their shoes: 5 minutes ago you were the best of friends, and now you learn that your platonic friend has had all these huge romantic feelings, dumps it all on you, and expects an answer to a commitment right now.

It's best to try a different approach: have a conversation about your feelings.

You can frame your confession as an open-ended question that expresses how:

  • A new development in your friendship (your romantic feelings) has happened.

  • You're being transparent about your development.

  • You need input on what to do with these feelings.

Set some time where you both can focus on this talk without any distractions.

How to Properly Confess: Part 2

These examples can help you start the conversation/frame your confession:

  • "I know we've been friends for a while, but I'm starting to have romantic feelings for you. What do you think about that?"

  • "I've been enjoying our friendship, and through it all, I'm starting to see myself having more and more feelings for you. How do you feel about that?"

  • "As your friend, I want to be honest with you. I think I have a crush on you, and I'm not sure how to move forward with those feelings. What are your thoughts on that?"

These prompts should open the conversation up to discuss what the other person would want and what you want.

The result is that they havethe space to process and answer without pressure, and you can work together to define each others' wants and needs. You're not seeking an answer, you're seeking a solution.

Two people talking while sitting by the side of a car.

And like all good conversations, what you do next depends on their response.

What Comes After: Agreement?

If they discuss how they are interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with you, congratulations!!!

Jim and Pam from The Office hugging.

This is the easy part. Now you can talk with them to discuss how to move forward. You can start planning a date, maybe to get some dinner, get some ice cream, or do a fun activity!

Jim and Pam from The Office skating at an ice rink.

What Comes After: Rejection?

So what happens if they turn you down. Is it all over?

Jim from The Office crying in front of Pam.

Not at all! But you'll probably need to ask them for some time and space to sort through your feelings. Doing so isn't rude or conceited, it's important for the friendship. The other person might want to ask for time and space too, and doing so isn't a personal attack on you.

Romantic feelings come from frequent emotional and vulnerable interactions, meaning less exposure to the person will reduce your feelings.

This doesn't mean your feelings weren't genuine, but rather that relationships you pay attention to will continue to grow, and romantic feelings can be a part of that.

A woman sitting on a bed saying

This means two things:

  • By taking time away from your friend, you allow yourself to release any romantic feelings while being open to new connections (going out and meeting new people). This is the act of letting go and moving on.

  • You can find these types of bonds again. This doesn't mean your friend wasn't special enough, rather it means you have many opportunities to create bonds that discover what makes the other person special.

In the end, you can continue to be friends. This might mean spending less time with them, but you can go back to how things were as friends without the romantic feelings.


After taking some time away from your friend, you realize your feelings have returned. What do you do?

Take Action

It seems weird in a way that we can fall for friends, or that life would be easier if we didn't. But it's because good relationships are built on good friendships.

Whether your relationship starts as a friendship or a blind date, it's about being our authentic selves and forming genuine bonds with people we can care about and trust.

Even if it doesn't turn into a relationship, I hope you can still hold on to the value this friendship gave you.

Sometimes you'll get what you want, sometimes you won't. But when you do:

Jim from

When you think a friend could be a potential date, consider the following:


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