Many spouses say their partner is their best friend, but combining friendship and romantic feelings can be a tricky mix, according to Dave Singleton, a columnist at Match.com, in the article, "Can You Be More Than Just Friends?" If you consider how to express your romantic interest in your friend, you can retain the relationship, if she doesn’t share your feelings. You might even find that your friend has romantic feelings of her own -- now or later -- and moves the relationship toward romance.
Ask your friend to meet you somewhere the two of you can talk without interruption. You will manage this conversation better if you don’t have an audience. Emphasize how much you value the friendship you have and how much you want the relationship to be honest and respectful. Explain that you want to let your friend know that you feel more than friendship to keep the relationship honest and respectful, suggests Singleton.
Make It Clear
Let your friend know that you don’t expect her to express the same sentiments -- or even come up with an answer for your declaration, suggests psychology professor David Van Nuys, Ph.D., in the Psychology Today article, "Declare Your Love: Overcoming The Fear of “I Love You.” Explain what you mean when you say you “have feelings for her” or “have feelings that go deeper than a friendship.” You could clarify your confession by saying you are very interested in finding out more because, you value her as a friend and want to know her better, suggests Van Nuys. With a clear-cut understanding, your friend could agree that getting to know one another more fully would be enjoyable.
Keep It Light
Your conversation doesn’t have to be serious or heavy. Feel free to follow your declaration with some light conversation, humor or suggest an activity that is enjoyable for both of you, such as a movie, playing miniature golf or going for a walk in the park. If your friend seems uncomfortable with the declaration, you can part company and promise to check in with her later. Give her time to weigh what you said and choose a response.
Allowing a Choice
Your friend determines the next step, not you. Your friend might let you know that he doesn’t mind getting to know you better, but doesn’t feel romantic toward you or he might surprise you and confess he’s wondered about a relationship with you. Accept whatever response you get graciously. If your friend doesn’t return your feelings, you can probably still remain friends if you want to. If you can’t see just being friends, you can gradually pull away and let the relationship cool while you look for someone who will return your feelings.
Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.