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You CAN be friends with someone you love (and here are 15 tips to help)

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Obviously, you want to date the person you love, but what if that’s not an option?

What if a relationship is simply out of the question?

Maybe you’re already friends, but you developed romantic feelings for them. Or, you want to become their friend so that you can win them over and get them to love you back.

Whether you’ve expressed your feelings for them yet or not, don’t go into it with ulterior motives. If you want to be this person’s friend, really be their friend, don’t use it as an opportunity to hit on them more often.

It’s hard to keep trying to convince someone to like you, and it can be exhausting for both of you. If you’ve agreed that you’re just friends, really be just friends.

Ultimately, you want to stay friends with this person, but you can’t fight the fact that you’re attracted to them. So, even if you don’t have ulterior motives, you might still try to win them over and convince them to be something more than friends.

Keep reading to learn how to fight this urge and form a true friendship.

Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you deal with the romantic love you feel for this person so that you can be friends. You may want to try speaking to someone via for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.

Can You Be Friends With Someone You Love?

Yes, it is possible to be friends with someone you love, but it won’t always happen in real life. You can be their friend, but you can’t keep pursuing them as a romantic interest. This is why it doesn’t always work out.

If you keep pushing them to be more than just a friend to you, what you have is not friendship, it’s a courtship that they didn’t sign up for.

So, in order to really be friends with someone you love, you have to stop loving them in the romantic sense and start loving them as a friend. To do this, you need to move on and accept that you’re just friends.

How To Be Friends With Someone You Love: 15 Tips

Love is a fleeting feeling if you don’t work on maintaining it. So, your romantic feelings for your friend might pass with time, while your friendship can last forever. Sometimes, you simply want to have a certain person in your life, and you don’t mind the relationship being platonic in order to achieve that.

However, if you keep loving this person, being nothing more than a friend to them is going to hurt you all the time. So, here’s what you can do to stay friends with someone you have a crush on:

1. Think about your potential relationship.

You have probably fantasized about what being in a relationship with them would be like, but how much of it is just that: a fantasy?

You should know that people are not the same in their friendships and in their romantic relationships. They act differently, so you don’t really know how your friend would behave if they were your partner.

Most likely, it would be different from what you imagine when you daydream about dating them. So, don’t assume that things would be exactly the way you’ve imagined them.

You probably don’t know this person well enough to actually predict what dating them would be like. If you were to get into a relationship with them, you’d see their bad or annoying habits; habits that you might not notice during a friendship.

Try to imagine what dating them would really be like based on what you know about them and relationships in general. Stop yourself from idealizing them and remind yourself of their bad qualities.

Also, consider the reason why they rejected you if you already suggested that you become more than friends. For instance, maybe you have different values and beliefs, or goals for the future.

Once you’ve considered everything from an objective perspective, it might become clear that the relationship with this person wouldn’t work out anyway. This can help you be their friend.

2. Think about your ideal partner.

So, the person you love is probably not your ideal partner, but who is? Think about this imaginary person in as much detail as possible. Is your ideal partner ambitious and witty or kind and generous? Try to think of as many things that would describe them as you can.

You can consider their physical appearance, but focus more on describing the kind of person they are. Write down their qualities. It can also be useful to consider the relationship that you’d have with your ideal partner. Try to describe it too, and write it down.

Write down your standards and deal breakers as well. What are some things that must apply to the person you’re dating for them to potentially be your ideal partner? What are some things that immediately disqualify the person you’re dating?

For instance, maybe your ideal partner must have a career and can’t have a criminal record. Maybe it is important to you that they travel often or that they’ve never been married before.

The things that you write down are your guidelines when searching for the right person. Consider how they apply to the friend that you love. Are they really close to your perfect match, or did you even notice some deal breakers?

3. Take some space.

The first thing that you do when you realize that you’re in love with someone that you can’t be with is take some space from them. You can’t be their friend while your heart is yearning to be with them.

Even if you haven’t told them how you feel yet, it’s good to take some space before doing so. It will give you time to figure out how you really feel without letting being close to them influence the way you think.

You don’t have to explain yourself to them. Simply be too busy to see them for a while. Don’t give them the impression that you’re avoiding them, but don’t feel the need to explain yourself to them if that’s not what you want right now.

Waiting for a while to figure out your feelings is better before talking to them about them anyway. Once you’ve told them how you feel, if they want to be just friends, it’s okay to take some time off again. If you’re supposed to be their friend, and you still have feelings for them, you need time and space first.

4. Let them know how you feel.

Whether you’ll tell them how you feel and when is entirely up to you. If you feel the need to get it off your chest, do it. Maybe there’s even a chance that they reciprocate your feelings.

So, don’t be afraid to let them know how you feel. Just be ready to accept any outcome. If they just want to be friends, it’s best to take some space and move on from the idea of a romantic relationship before developing a friendship.

Maybe they are actually interested in something more. You’ll never know unless you open up about your feelings. Keep in mind that you also don’t have to be friends with someone you love if that’s not working out for you.

If all they want is friendship and you keep wanting a romantic relationship, it’s better not to be their friend. You don’t have to settle for a platonic relationship when you’re only interested in a romantic one. It’s only when you become interested in a platonic relationship that you should pursue it.

So, don’t just consider whether they want to be your partner or not. Consider whether you want to be their friend or not. Either is okay, and you get to decide. Don’t be their friend just to please them if that’s not what you want too.

5. Accept rejection and move on.

If you’ve told them that you’re in love with them and they don’t feel the same way, accept that rejection. Don’t keep hoping that they’ll eventually change their mind and stick around just to be nearby if it happens. As far as you know, it might never happen, so move on.

You can treat this as any other breakup, it doesn’t matter that you weren’t in a relationship. Take some time and space from them and focus on yourself. Do things that you enjoy doing, focus on your career, go out with your friends, and meet new people. When you’re ready, start dating again.

You can’t move on overnight, so don’t pretend that you have. Don’t go straight to being their friend after confessing your love for them. Your feelings aren’t going to go away if you only pretend that they’re not there and try to ignore them.

You’ll have to process your emotions and give it some time. Afterward, if you want, you can accept being just a friend to the person you loved.

Make sure that you don’t love them romantically anymore though. If you’re still hoping that something will happen between you, you still have feelings for them.

6. Don’t let it damage your self-esteem.

Rejection hurts, and it especially hurts a person’s self-esteem. So, don’t pretend that you’re perfectly fine if you’re not. It’s understandable and normal if you’re feeling hurt and if your self-esteem has taken a hit.

When this happens, you can start imagining that you did something wrong or that there’s something wrong with you. More often than not, this is not the reason why a person gets rejected. The real reason probably has little to do with you.

A lot of times, people consider someone a friend and not a potential partner simply because there’s no chemistry. They like them, but they don’t feel sexually attracted to them, regardless of how they look and act.

Other times, people are just too different to date. They don’t have similar goals and values, which means it probably wouldn’t work out anyway. So, don’t assume that the reason someone doesn’t want to be with you has something to do with the way you are.

When someone wants to be your friend, they clearly like you. They just don’t see you as someone that they could have a relationship with, and that could be for a thousand reasons that you don’t and can’t influence.

7. Put yourself first.

So far, you were probably focused on the person you love. Now, it’s time to turn that focus on you. They’re not going anywhere, and you need to make yourself happy.

Find out what makes you happy. Dedicate some time to your existing hobbies or discover new ones. Spend time with your friends and family, and pursue your interests. Learn new things and meet new people. You could take classes or enroll in a course. Keep yourself busy and lead a fulfilling life.

Make sure to practice self-care too. Pamper yourself a bit and get a massage when you’re feeling stressed out. Do what you must do to make yourself happy, whether it means listening to your favorite music, eating ice cream, or drinking a glass of wine.

It’s time for your wants and needs to take center stage, not anyone else’s. Learn to love yourself again if your self-esteem has taken a hit. Don’t forget that you shouldn’t rely on anyone for your happiness anyway.

Make yourself happy. The best part is that you’ll be too occupied to spend time with the person you love, so it will be easier to get some space from them. Work on self-improvement too. You can change anything that you don’t like about yourself.

8. Stop trying to win them over and be a friend.

Don’t act like you’re their partner. When you agree to be a friend, act like a friend. Don’t go on dates or set yourself in a romantic atmosphere. Do what friends do and don’t always spend time alone with each other. Hang out with other friends and engage in group activities.

Don’t forget that friends don’t flirt with each other, and there’s no awkward sexual tension between them. Even if you respect this rule, your friend might not. Don’t let them think that it’s okay to flirt with you and string you along.

Act like friends do. Be there for them when they need you, expect them to do the same, and have fun together. However, make sure to remember that they’re just one of your friends, not your partner.

So, you don’t have to—and you shouldn’t—prioritize them. The two of you don’t have to become besties for life. You have lots of friends, so treat them like the others—more on that later. Right now, you need to make sure that you’re their friend, not their doormat.

9. Don’t let them use you.

Friends are there for each other, and they help each other out, but only to a certain extent, and it needs to be mutual. Don’t let this person use you.

Expect them to reciprocate the same level of effort that you’re putting into the friendship. You can be there for them, but they should do the same for you.

When they’re just one of your friends, you’re not supposed to drop everything to be with them either. You don’t have to help them out every time and be the first person that they call when they need help. They have other friends, and they should treat you the same as the others.

When a person knows that you like them and wants to just be friends, they might take advantage of you. They know that you’ll do things for them, so you’re the first person they call when they need something done.

Always ask yourself whether they would do the same for you and whether they ask their other friends for similar favors. You need to consider if you would do these types of things for any of your friends. Or are you giving your crush special treatment? Don’t be in a friendship where you’re actually still trying to get a person to like you back.

10. Date other people, but not to make them jealous.

Take some time to grieve and move on, but don’t lose a lot of time chasing something that you can’t have. Eventually, get ready to start dating other people. Do this because you genuinely want to meet someone right for you, not to make your friend jealous.

If you’re friends, you’re supposed to be friends even when you get into relationships with other people. Naturally, you will both eventually be in relationships. There is no room for jealousy in your agreement.

Don’t forget to take a look at what you wrote down in one of the earlier steps when you imagined your ideal partner. That is the person you’re looking for, so keep that in mind while meeting new people and dating them.

Your goal is to find your ideal partner and have the relationship that you want, not to make your friend realize that others find you attractive.

How much do you usually share with your friends when it comes to your romantic relationships? Again, it’s important to treat this particular friend the same as your other friends. If you don’t usually flaunt your relationships in front of their nose, don’t do it now either.

11. Realize and accept that they’ll be dating other people.

Just like you’ll be dating other people, so will your friend. Eventually, they’re going to be in a relationship with someone else.

If you stay their friend, you’ll see them with their partner and maybe even hang out with them together. Are you okay with that? If not, you’re probably not ready to be just a friend to them, and that’s okay. Take as much time as you need to move on, but don’t try to be their friend until you’re ready, if you’re ever ready that is.

The best way to know whether you can really be their friend or not is to see how you react when they’re interested in someone else. A friend wouldn’t get jealous, so if you are, you’re still into them.

It might take a lot of time until you can get used to the idea of seeing them with someone else. The easiest way to speed up the process and stop being jealous is to become interested in someone else yourself.

You don’t have to be interested in a specific person if you’re not already. Get interested in the idea of finding your ideal partner and realize that your friend is not that person.

12. Treat them the same way you treat all your friends.

As already mentioned, the best way to ensure that you’re really treating them as just a friend is to treat them the same as your other friends. This should extend to how much you’re there for them too.

It’s okay if you want to drop everything that you’re doing and drive miles away to comfort a friend in need. Would you do it for any of your friends though?

If you would only do that for this particular friend, it’s probably because you’re still into them. Even if you’re not, don’t treat them differently than you would normally treat a friend.

It should be stressed again that you don’t have to become best friends for life. You don’t even have to be close friends. Keeping in touch and spending some time together every now and then counts as friendship. It doesn’t have to be anything more than that unless you want it to be.

Don’t behave like you are in a romantic relationship.. Decide the level of friendship that you want and keep it at that. Set clear boundaries, and don’t let them use you.

13. Don’t punish them for not wanting to be more than a friend to you.

You don’t have to treat them like they’re your best friend, but you also shouldn’t treat them badly. Don’t punish them for not wanting to be more than a friend to you.

If you can’t help but be mean to them because they rejected you, accept that you can’t be their friend until that changes. Don’t make them feel bad for not reciprocating your feelings. It’s not your fault, but it’s not their fault either.

Whether they feel something for you is not in their power to decide. They can’t make themselves feel something that’s not already there. Attraction happens, or it doesn’t, you can’t force it if it’s not there.

If you can’t treat them nicely because your feelings are hurt, that’s understandable. But you can’t be their friend if you treat them badly.

It’s also not good for you to harbor resentment toward them just because they don’t like you back. You’re not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay, so learn to be fine with it.

14. Accept that you’re just friends.

Ultimately, you need to accept that you’re just friends, and it all comes down to that. If that’s not something that you can do right now, take some space and time.

Eventually, you might be able to form a friendship with this person. If not, that’s okay too, and you shouldn’t force it.

Don’t cling to a platonic relationship just because you want a romantic one with that person. Do you really want to be their friend, or do you just want to keep them around and see where it goes?

Make sure that you’re not doing something against your will. If you don’t want to be friends with someone you love, you don’t have to be. Maybe that’s the only kind of relationship that they’re offering, but you’re not obligated to accept any kind of relationship unless that’s what you want too.

If you can’t accept just being a friend to them, don’t, regardless of the reason behind it. Maybe you’ll never be able to see them as just a friend, and there will always be a romantic interest. Don’t hurt yourself by trying to be their friend if you’ll never see them that way.

15. Talk to a therapist.

In the end, you can always get additional help in dealing with a situation like this one. A therapist specializing in dating and relationships can assist you in figuring out how you feel and how to move on. They can give you advice based on your specific situation with your friend.

In addition, they can help you find the right person for you instead of clinging to the idea of being with your friend. Talk to someone experienced in this field and let them help you form the kind of relationships that you’re looking for.

Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.

While you can try to work through this situation yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can fix. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.

Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to solve problems that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, speaking to a relationship expert is 100% the best way forward.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.

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About The Author

Ana Vakos enjoys writing about love and all the problems that come with it. Everyone has experiences with love, and everyone needs dating advice, so giving these topics more attention and spreading the word means a lot to her.