Do I Have To Tell My Friend I Have a Crush On Her?

Q:

In 2022, I got out of a severely emotionally co-dependent relationship, and haven’t had anything since. Last fall, I was able to finally go back and finish school, getting me out of a situation where I was completely isolated from other queer people, and I have finally come back into myself and gotten to an emotionally healthy place for the first time maybe…ever? Enter… someone who’s basically my dream girl. We’ve hit it off fast over the past few months, and she’s one of my closest friends here at this point, and I am so incredibly calm around her. We’d matched on the apps after we already knew each other, and she’ll jokingly flirt with me a lot. She however is pretty clearly still trying to get comfortable with her own queerness in practice (due to growing up religious) despite being a bit older than me, and shouldn’t be in a relationship right now. I am, of course, wildly infatuated. Even if nothing ever happens between us I still wanna be close, but am I violating some principal of girl friendship by not making the circumstances of why I initially wanted to get close transparent? Am I wrong for having/hiding these feelings?

A:

First of all, nice work with putting yourself back together after a co-dependent relationship, finding a queer community and getting into an emotionally healthy place!

I think the only circumstance in which it would be preferable to disclose an initial crush is if a relationship is your sole goal in fostering this connection — or you’re ready to find out if she feels the same way and proceed accordingly. But, you say specifically that even if nothing ever happens between you, you still want to be close, so you’re definitely in the clear here.

You’re not wrong for having feelings for her that you’re not sharing. Having crushes on your friends is sort of an elemental part of the queer experience. I’ve had and have so many incredible friendships over the years that began as crushes on one side or the other — honestly like, a lot of them, at some point, had a crushing element. This is the beauty of being gay! It’s so messy and confusing and wild and weird! If I eventually do find out about a crush I’ve usually felt flattered, rather than deceived. Sometimes it’s funny, like oh I thought you did me that huge favor ’cause you really wanted to be friends??  Sometimes it leads to something, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it fizzles out and sometimes it doesn’t. Also to be honest — she might be well aware of your crush! Usually crushes occur ’cause there is a connection there, and it’s possible to be aware someone has a crush on you and just plow forward as friends regardless. I don’t think there are any rules one way or the other in terms of disclosure.

I really hope that eventually this connection with your dream girl does lead to a romantic relationship! It sounds like you have something special and the flirting is encouraging. I want you to be careful and protect your heart, though — you say that this person is still coming to terms with her queerness and therefore isn’t in a place to be in a relationship right now. I’m not sure if she’s told you this explicitly or if it’s something you’ve inferred from things she’s shared with you, but I want you to be prepared for the possibility that if that situation changes for her and she is ready to be in a relationship, she might choose to do so with somebody who isn’t you. There’s a possibility that even if she feels unready, someone might come along who she feels more drawn to than she feels unready. Try to figure out what your next move would be if that happens. Try to also hold onto the knowledge that romantic relationships aren’t always the ultimate goal in life.

One of my life’s closest best friendships started as a crush — we clicked immediately, started IM’ing constantly, and because i was young and newly queer I thought, okay I guess this must be girlfriend energy right? We hooked up and tried dating, but due to a lot of mental health stuff she was dealing with at the time, it didn’t work and so we called it off. But when she started dating someone else a month or so later, I remember feeling incredibly hurt by it, like on an ego level, I think? I was totally unprepared to feel that way and felt really embarrassed by it! Anyhow, most importantly, after that initial conversation and a few days of awkwardness, her dating someone else finally really forced us into the friend zone, I started seeing someone else, and it turned out that our destiny was not to date but to be best friends for the next seven years. In retrospect it was absolutely bananas that we even tried dating, even though we clicked so immediately and intensely, we could not possibly be more wrong for each other as more-than-friends. Ultimately, our friendship ended up being surely as important and integral to my heart’s health as any romantic relationship could’ve been.

So I want to leave you with that, too — that if your connection ends up in the friendship zone instead of the relationship zone, that doesn’t mean your connection is less meaningful or that your feelings are less real. It’s just that you mis-judged what kind of relationship those feelings indicated.

xoxo

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Riese

Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3211 articles for us.

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