Some of the best long-term relationships began with a healthy friendship. If you've spent a significant amount of time in a friendship with a guy, you may find yourself having feelings that go beyond just being friends. Letting him know that you really like, or even love, him can provoke anxiety, especially if you aren't sure he feels the same way. However, if you don't say anything to him, you risk never knowing if you two could use that foundation of friendship to build a relationship.
Identify to yourself exactly what you are feeling for your male friend. Before letting your friend know that you love him, it's important to be sure that you aren't simply experiencing a crush. Feelings are complex and can be misinterpreted. Consider what you feel, how your feelings may have changed in the time you've known your male friend and what your expectations might be in telling him that you love him. If you have hesitation about what you're feeling, allow yourself more time to continue your self-exploration.
Choose a time and place that is convenient and conducive to a private conversation. Expressing your feelings may feel awkward and possibly terrifying, but it doesn't have to be public. Ask your male friend to join you at a favorite restaurant, and choose a private booth that has minimal distractions or noise. Alternatively, choose his house or yours or meet at a local park. Ask him to join you but don't imply that the conversation will be "heavy." Doing so can cause him to be concerned and can increase your already heightened sense of anxiety.
Start your conversation with a brief explanation of your feelings about your friendship. Say something like "I really enjoy spending time with you, and I feel like we're growing closer." Point out a couple of your friend's characteristics that you appreciate, such as his sense of humor or his closeness to his family. You'll make him feel positive and more receptive to your expression of love. Avoid embellishing or making vague compliments that can cause him to become defensive or disinterested.
Tell him how you feel. Your expression of your feelings can be as simple as "I love you" if you feel confident. If you have any uncertainty or are not inclined to be so unabashedly honest, change your approach. You might prefer to say "I am feeling closer to you and wondered if you might like to try dating?" or "I wonder if you've ever thought about us being more than friends?"