There’s a sort of unspoken rule about coming of age that means you have to fall in love with your best friends at some point. It’s an inconvenient yet inevitable reality of growing into your sexual identity. Most of the time, however, you’re better off keeping things platonic. Here’s how to get over the crush you have on your friend, and why this happens so often and to so many people in the first place.
How to get over a crush on a friend
Be kind to yourself. It might feel embarrassing or awkward, but I promise you’re not the only person who has ever developed an inconvenient crush on your best friend. This is particularly the case when queer kids first realize that they’re starting to get feelings for their straight best friend. It’s an inevitable rite of passage for everyone, so show yourself some grace and accept that it’s a natural development of your hormones and emotions. You’re trying to get over a crush on a friend, but you have to start with offering yourself some love and grace.
Retrain your mind. Talk to a therapist or someone who has experience talking about relationship drama. They will help you to come to terms with what it is that you like about your friend, and what the root of the interest is. It’s important to know that you’re not wrong for liking your friend — in fact, they could well like you right back, but brace for impact. This is likely the first time you’re experiencing a crush, let alone an inconvenient one, so it’s important to get into some good emotional habits for the future. This will help get over this crush and contextualize future ones.
Talk to friends and family. If the idea of talking to a therapist about a crush is overwhelming, then reach out to your trusted friends and family. They will have swathes of unique experiences to draw on to inform your decision and next steps. They’ll likely remind you that small crushes are nothing to be afraid of, and the value in being courageous and showing that you like people. Be prepared to get hurt, but know that you could also hit the jackpot.
Date around a little. If your feelings are scaring you, or if you get rejected after speaking your truth, there are a few ways of getting over your feelings. Date around — get comfortable talking to other people and embracing your sexuality. It will make you feel less dependent on them and more sexually experienced.
Have a few one-night stands. When it’s your first crush it feels like the biggest thing ever, but in context and after a few years, it’s never quite as sharp as that first time. As a result, take your life into your hands and know that it’s not that deep. You’ll get an ego boost because you’ll realize that other people are interested in you, even if your crush isn’t. We love that.
Think about their flaws. The thing with crushes is that they’re often about aesthetics or just the surface. Once you look under the surface, you realize that there’s not as much to love. Do your level best to get the ick to get over them. Think about the dishes they leave in the sink or the spinach in their teeth. That’ll do it.
Why these crushes are so common
You’re in close proximity to each other. This is the same principle that happens when people’s periods align. Things like starting university for the first time, being at school, or working together every day. It’s an inevitable link that you share and it’s natural that that would cause some feelings to start flying.
You have similar interests. You’re most likely to be attracted to someone you’re friends with because you’ve already done the heavy lifting. You know you like their personality and values, and that’s normally what stops a crush otherwise. It’s a bit like a cheat code, so don’t beat yourself up for falling for a friend when the whole point is that you’re meant to like them.
You have shared experiences. You have the same deadlines or rent due dates, or divorced parents or whatever it is. There’s something that unites you outside of convenience and location. You have shared experiences or trauma that binds you together. You can be vulnerable with each other while also growing on your separate journeys. It’s more than enough to get starry-eyed.
You already want to impress them. This is true with all friends, but where you might compare yourself with some friends, with these crushes you only want what’s best for them. You might feel jealous of their other friends — that’s often a sign that you’re crushing. But because you’re friends already, you will value their opinion of you, and want to impress them. It’s just a stone’s throw from romantic attraction. Either way, it’s a validation kink.