Red Flags To Watch For If You're Falling In Love With A Friend

Having a friend who knows you and gets you is the best feeling in the world. You laugh at the same jokes and they somehow know exactly what you need when you're feeling down. Those types of friendships are special and it's natural to develop a crush the more time you spend with them. "If you notice that your feelings for your friend have gone from 'I like this person' to 'I really like this person,' it can be a little confusing. However, it makes sense that spending a lot of time around someone you like and admire may lead to some romantic feelings," relationship expert Kristal DeSantis shared with VeryWellMind.

Advertisement

But what happens when that innocent crush turns into full-on love? Those feelings can be exhilarating, especially if they're for a pal you've known for years but crossing over the friend boundary is tricky to navigate as it can potentially ruin your relationship. Before you jump feet-first into unchartered territory, make sure you're not missing any of the following red flags.

You start expecting more from your friend

When your feelings start to grow for your bestie, you might start expecting them to treat you as if you two were already in a relationship. If they don't text back right away or don't prioritize you first, you'll feel snubbed in a way that you wouldn't normally with platonic friends. It's important to manage those expectations right away, especially if you two decide to see where the romance goes. "For instance, maybe as friends, you were okay with not talking every day or canceling plans last minute, but in a romantic relationship, these may cause issues," psychiatrist Dr. Michael Kane, M.D., told The Zoe Report.

Advertisement

If you find yourself waiting for their call or feel annoyed that they've made plans with other friends, take a minute and remind yourself that they're not partner-level at the moment. This is especially important if you haven't revealed your feelings to your friend, as it's unfair to put that pressure on them when they're not expecting it from you as well.

You're in the friends-with-benefits zone

So you told your friend you were in love with them and the two of you started sleeping together. However, if that's where it ends, you've officially become friends with benefits. You're probably thinking to yourself, "How did I get here?" You were expecting a courtship with dinner under the stars and surprise flowers sent to your house. Instead, the relationship became a Netflix and chill situation. Before all the romance dies, if there ever was any in the first place, put the kibosh on the sleeping arrangement and let your needs be known.

Advertisement

A major red flag that your friend-turned-lover considers you just a FWB is not putting a label on the relationship. "Being in an undefined relationship can prompt some individuals to doubt and second-guess themselves, and this uncertainty can extend to other areas of life," therapist Saba Harouni Lurie stated, per Women's Health. If your crush is unwilling to go the extra step and treat you like a partner, it's time to end the situationship.

You get jealous when your friend dates other people

If you haven't confessed your love for your friend or your feelings are unrequited, it's natural to feel resentful if they date other people. Seeing someone you've fallen for flirt with others or hearing about their love life is utterly soul-crushing, so in this case, you'll have to create boundaries. "Some emotional distance might be necessary. This is especially true if you find yourself getting jealous of your friend when he or she pursues love with other people. For your own mental health, you might need to step back," wellness coach Jonathan Bennett told Business Insider.

Advertisement

Even if your heart belongs to another, go on casual dates to remind yourself that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Spend time with other pals or take a solo trip to a wellness retreat, which are rising in popularity. Some physical distance can help you get over your unreciprocated love and hey, you might even meet your next partner there.

They're just not that into you

When you first start feeling butterflies in your stomach every time you're with your friend, you're likely wondering if they feel the same way. It's not easy making your intentions known, especially when there's a risk of devastating rejection. In order to suss out if there's potential for love, you need to look for signs your friend has a romantic interest in you. Do they act flirtatious with you, and only you? Does your crush find reasons to hang out with you alone in intimate settings? "Going out for cocktails in candlelight doesn't always mean someone is interested, but if they are constantly asking you to 'date-like' activities together, it's a sign they are trying to move the relationship into another direction," relationship coach Brenda Della Casa shared with Elite Daily. If none of these sound familiar, chances areĀ you're in the friend zone.

Advertisement

Before you declare your feelings, this is the time to tiptoe away from the idea that there might be a future with your crush. It doesn't mean that it'll never happen, but until there are telltale signs your friend is equally in love with you, it's best to pursue other prospects. If you must spill your guts to your friend, proceed with caution. "Even if there are feelings, if the romantic relationship eventually falls apart or doesn't work, it's hard to go back to a meaningful friendship," Jonathan Bennett advised, per Business Insider.

You have different relationship goals

You and your BFF may be compatible as friends but that won't always necessarily be the case if you get romantic. Chances are you know each other inside out at this point but you need to take off the rose-colored blinders when it comes to thinking about the future. Be honest with yourself about what you're looking for in a long-term partner and if your friend is able to provide that. As friends, you don't really think about each other's credit history and whether you'll be good parents together.

Advertisement

Relationship coach Suzannah Weiss told TZR, "If you have incompatible future goals, for instance, such as one person wanting kids and the other not wanting them, it's probably not worth the risk of dating to only have it end and then possibly hurt the friendship." She continued, "If you really are compatible in the long term, though, it very well may be worth that risk because you already know the relationship has the potential to be healthy and last a lifetime."

Recommended

Advertisement