Dear Daisy: My Best Friend Has Declared He’s In Love With Me

Dear Daisy: My Best Friend Has Declared He's In Love With Me


by Daisy Buchanan |
Published on

Dear Daisy,

**My absolute best friend in the world is (what I thought was) a platonic male friend. We've been best mates for years, we get on like a house on fire and are as inseparable as siblings. **

**I do not and cannot fancy him, and I definitely don't want to have sex with him. **

**People love to say 'One day you'll realise you're actually madly in love with each other', simply because we're both straight and of the opposite sex. That annoys me so much because they're basically debasing the fact that a male and a female can have an important meaningful connection. However, he’s recently announced he’s in love with me. **

Everyone's so quick to shout 'friendzone' which pisses me off for the aforementioned reasons, but I've made it purposefully clear over the years what my stance is.

But now we can't function normally as friends any more. He analyses even the most throwaway things I say and holds me to them as if it was a secret message, he gets really upset by the smallest of things and this stifling atmosphere lingers under everything we do, exploding into arguments every week or so.

I've offered to 'take a break' from living in each others pockets 24/7 so he can have some space to work this out, but what do you do when the person who is the problem, and the person you'd go to with your problems are the same person? I can't lose him yet I won't let him have me, so... where is that going to leave us? I just don't know how I can fix this when I'm the problem.

**Love, **


Dear Katie,

This is a heartbreaking, challenging question - not least because you already know all the answers. Your friendship has changed irrevocably for reasons entirely outside your control. You know that the only way to fix things, if they can be fixed, is with distance and time. You’re not being supported by the people around you, with their talk of the ‘friendzone’. You’re right - the fact that you’re a straight woman and he’s a straight man is completely irrelevant to your relationship. Your friends (and his friends) probably truly believe they have your best interests at heart.

Being loved is rare, special and sought after. From the outside, people see it as a superpower - the unbeatable Top Trumps card where everything’s a ten. Also, there’s a lingering tendency to think that being with anyone is better than being single. If you were to get with your friend, the will they / won’t they narrative is neatly tied up, the credits can roll and you now come as a handy, even numbered unit that makes dinner parties more convenient for everyone.

The trouble is that being loved isn’t the same as being understood, and your friend is not doing a good job of understanding you right now. He’s changed the terms of your relationship. And I’m sure he hasn’t done it on purpose, or to hurt you, but he’s lied a little bit. Assuming that it wasn’t like bad teenage poetry and the love didn’t suddenly hit him like a thunderbolt, he’s been nurturing these feelings for a while, getting something from your interactions that you never agreed to give him, and taking advantage of the fact that you feel completely comfortable around him, when you possibly wouldn’t have felt quite so comfortable if you knew he was silently yearning for you.

In any other situation, if your best friend was crazy in love with a girl who just didn’t like him in that way, your heart would go out to him, you’d be filled with compassion and you’d want to do whatever it took to make him feel better. Because that’s what friendship is.

The fact that you know exactly how you feel, and you’re not letting the pressure to get together get to you, makes me think this relationship can be saved. Many couples wreck a perfectly good friendship by ignoring their gut instinct and having a go, only for everything to end in disaster. However, you definitely need a break from each other, and it’s very smart of you to have instigated it already. You’re right - it’s not fair on you to be deprived of your best friend. But it’s fairer than being subjected to the atmosphere he’s creating, in which he can’t deal with his feelings effectively.

Unfortunately you can’t support each other through this, no matter how badly you want to. You both need to find alternative networks of friends, and give yourselves time to mourn. He’s grieving over a cherished fantasy that can never be, and you’re recovering from the death of that particular friendship. Because I think that you will be able to reenter each other’s lives, but your relationship will be very different. I think the hardest thing to deal with will be the time frame. You know exactly what’s wrong, and what you need to do, but the most difficult part will be waiting it out.

Be upfront with your other friends about how you feel. You’ve been betrayed and you need time alone, time to talk and time to be distracted. You’re dealing with an emotional injury and you need to wait for it to heal by keeping the wound cleaned and aired. All you have to do is fight the urge to help your friend, or to ask him for help. It’s like having a drink to get over a hangover - instantly effective in the short term but very bad for future you.

Ultimately, it’s down to your friend to decide whether or not he wants to be in your life on terms that you both agree on. You can trust him to make the right decision. If he learns to let his feelings fade and can maintain the friendship in the future, he’s mature enough to understand what being a good friend is. If he can’t get past his own romantic fantasy, and throws the relationship away because he can’t have what he wants, he simply isn’t good enough for you. But you sound strong and sorted enough to be a magnet for future friends, and I’m sure your wise attitude will lead you to new friendships and people who can help you through this.

Wishing you lots of love and luck,

Daisy X

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