If You Have Unrequited Feelings for Your BFF, Here's What to Do
In the spirit of Valentine's Day, Sweety High chatted exclusively with Michigan-based Terri Orbuch—better known as The Love Doctor—for a four-part series about love and relationships, running every Tuesday during February. Check back each week as she answers some of everyone's most burning questions.
Last week, Terri revealed why being single on Valentine's Day can jumpstart your love life, and today, the relationship expert is giving us the lowdown on friendship, and whether or not two people can truly coexist as "best friends" when one person has unreciprocated feelings for the other.
It's only natural that so many people develop feelings for their bestie. Think about it: This is the person with whom we share most of our time, our secrets, our humor, and, most importantly, our true self. When we give so much of us away to someone else, there's a natural closeness we feel to this person that exceeds the bond we may have with others. But unfortunately, the depths of that feeling are not always shared with the other party involved.
Knowing that, Terri says it's simply not possible to really maintain the true definition of "best friends" with someone when unrequited feelings are involved from either end. Scroll below for her four points on why it's not possible and what you should do to make the friendship work most effectively.
1. Put Less Energy Into The Friendship So You Have Better Chances of Meeting a Mate
Terry believes that investing in a close friendship with someone who doesn't share your feelings is not only doing your emotions a disservice, but it's also a huge roadblock to you finding a relationship with someone else you may not be noticing because you are too preoccupied.
Terri explains to Sweety High: "I think that a person will always have those [romantic] feelings and spending too much time with someone who doesn't feel them back may prevent them from feeling attraction or feeling romantic feelings for others."
2. If You Refuse to Let Go of the Friendship Altogether, Learn to Keep It on a Surface Level
"I wouldn't recommend being a best best friend where you reveal your deepest darkest secrets and you reveal your childhood memories and your challenges," Terry says. "Or like when something happens, I wouldn't make that the person you call to get support. That's not the kind of friendship you can define it as."
So, what can you do?
"Can you define it as we hang out at the library after school or on the athletic field with ten other people? That's okay," Terri says. We hang out at the library, we talk about our assignments at school. If you are going to prom, it's not the person you would go with; you lost your weekend job, it's not the person you would call—you call somebody else; if my mom and dad get divorced, this is not the person you call. This is just a friend that you hang with."
3. Try to Spend Less Time With This Person—Otherwise You'll Continue to Subconsciously Think There's a Possibility of Being Together
"If there's a relationship you know you can't have, that doesn't mean you don't still desire it in your mind," Terri says. "When you continue to hang out with this person, your relationship will continue to take on qualities that bond you, and that bond will cause you to continue hoping for a romantic relationship. So, you have to change the kind of friendship."
And these subconscious hopes and thoughts will only lead you to unhappiness.
"It hurts when you know it isn't gonna happen," Terri says. "It's making a statement to you: 'I'm not good enough. I'm not this or that enough. I'm not whatever enough for somebody who I want to be in a relationship with.' And if you stay there, that will always be your thought."
Hang out with other friends, take up a sport or other extracurricular activity, volunteer—the opportunities to fill up the space taken up by your BFF are endless!
4. Don't Entirely Give up Hope (in the Friendship, That Is)
You obviously have strong feelings for this person for a reason, so of course you don't want to just toss away what you guys have. But that said, you may need to take a break until you're in a different place in your life.
As Terri puts it: "Once you find, let's say, a partner, you might be able to be good friends—or when you can let go of the feelings and really not at all want that person anymore, you might be able to be good friends again."
If you want more words of wisdom from The Love Doctor, follow THESE tips for getting over an ex, because most of them can be applied to the above situation as well!