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Asking a Male Friend for More Than Friendship

by Maura Banar

Getting to know a male friend can lead to increased feelings for him, which may or may not be shared by him. Without asking, however, you may find your friendship becoming awkward as your feelings for him deepen. Approaching your male friend and asking him to join you in pursuing more than what you already have can be terrifying. However, if your friendship is on solid ground, asking for more can shed light on the proverbial elephant in the room and enable both of you to move forward together, regardless of the direction.

Choose a private location to talk to your friend. Privacy provides both of you time to sort through emotions and express them freely. Because you aren't yet sure how your male friend will react to your request, don't agree to having the discussion over a meal. This removes the risk of one or both of you feeling obligated to spend time eating together at a time when you might prefer to be alone with your thoughts.

Tell your male friend why you are considering more than friendship with him. Rather than immediately presenting your request, it's important to let your friend know how you feel about him. Focus on the positive aspects of your friendship, how his friendship affects you and what you appreciate about him, such as his sense of humor or the fact that he is a great listener. Stay honest, and don't exaggerate his qualities, which places him in a potentially awkward position with unrealistic expectations. Allow him opportunities to respond.

Ask your male friend for more than friendship. According to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in its online publication "Expressing Feelings," sharing feelings of warmth encourages the other person to react with acceptance, increased trust and the desire for more closeness. State that you are interested in pursuing more than just a friendship with him. Be aware of your body language when disclosing your feelings, maintaining good eye contact, smiling and leaning forward in your seat. Your male friend may or may not respond immediately, but be prepared for the possibility of both positive and unexpected responses.

Allow him to respond to your request. Implement skills of active listening to facilitate communication and mutual change. Psychologists Carl Rogers and Richard Farson pioneered this concept in their widely used article "Active Listening," and they note that the goal of active listening is to encourage sharing and change. Passive listening, in contrast, is performed with the goal of simply hearing what is said. When listening actively, allow adequate time for each person to communicate. Take what your friend says nonjudgmentally, and reframe it in your own words, to clarify his meaning.

Determine the next step together. Your honest expression of feelings for your friend will change the dynamics between you, regardless of the outcome. This doesn't mean that if he declines the offer, the friendship is over or if he accepts, you suddenly engage in a relationship. Instead, discuss the realistic next steps that can include continuing your friendship as is or scheduling a "first date."

About the Author

Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.

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