Many long-lasting relationships started out as friendships, but if you are developing feelings for your friend, you might be nervous to tell them you like them, as it could end up ruining the friendship.
It is natural to worry that confessing your feelings, especially when your friend does not feel the same, could ruin your friendship. Your friend might end up having feelings for you too, but there is always a chance it could go either way.
As many risks as there are, if your feelings towards your friend are real, you would want to let them know.
Keep reading to find tips on how to tell a friend you like them without ruining the friendship, and what to do once you have confessed how you feel!
How To Tell A Friend You Like Them (And Not Ruin The Friendship)
Test The Waters
Before making the bold move of telling your friend how you feel, you should test the waters first to try and determine where they stand.
With a few little tricks, you can get a better understanding of how your friend feels about you, to help you decide what your next step might be.
Doing this could show you that your friend possibly feels the same way, or it could indicate that they are not interested in you that way, and at least you would be able to make a better decision going forward.
Here are some things you can do to figure out if your friend possibly likes you back:
Start with some playful flirting to test things out. Make sure not to make your friend feel uncomfortable though, as that could backfire.
You could ask them a flirty question, pay them a compliment, or hold their gaze for a second longer than normal. How they respond to this might give you an idea of how they feel towards you, but remember that they might just think you are being nice, so try to work it out as best you can.
Some playful flirting can be reciprocated with some flirting from your friend, but if they shut it down, it might be a sign that they are not interested.
Take Note Of Body Language
Body language can be such a big giveaway of how someone is feeling, even when they are not aware of it.
Take note of your friend’s body language around you. Do they stand with their body open to you, give you an extra-long hug, or give you playful touches on your arm? All of these might show their fondness towards you.
You could also throw in some playful touches of your own and see how your friend reacts to this. If they seem uncomfortable, then rather stop.
Talk About Possible Crushes
When you are crushing on someone, you would want them to be interested in you, so you wouldn’t necessarily want to talk about your other love interests with them.
Think of whether your friend brings up people they like, or try and fish for any information from them. If your friend shares romantic feelings for you, they won’t want to seem tied up in someone else.
Depending on your relationship with your friend, you could just ask them directly to see what they say.
Speak To Someone In The Middle
It can be hard to work out someone else’s feelings, especially if you have fairly strong feelings of your own, so it might be worth talking to a mutual friend, or someone who can see the situation from the outside.
They might actually know whether or not your friend has feelings for you, or they would be able to have a better read of the situation altogether. Just make sure that this is a person you trust, and who won’t then go running to your friend to let them know what you have asked.
Pay Them Compliments
Go a little above and beyond when paying your friend compliments, to see how they would react. Make the compliments you give them a little more personal and intimate, such as complimenting them on how they look, or how beautiful their eyes look today.
Just keep in mind that there is a fine line between paying a friendly-romantic compliment to a friend, and then just coming across as too strong.
If your friend responds positively, it could be a sign that they are open to a little bit more.
Letting Your Friend Know How Your Feel
Once you have taken the time to test the waters a little bit, and you feel that telling your friend how you feel is the right thing to do, then you can start making a plan to let them know!
Here are some tips on how best to tell your friend that you like them:
Know What You Want To Say First
Before standing in front of your friend to let them know how you feel, plan what it is that you actually want to say.
Work out how best to express your feelings and put them into words first, so you can give your friend a clear idea of what it is that you are saying. Remember to say all the things you like about them, which gives it all a more personal feel.
Try not to be so serious about the whole thing either. You would want your friend to feel comfortable in the conversation, and often planning what you want to say ahead of time helps avoid any awkwardness or discomfort.
Pick The Right Time
You owe it to yourself and your friend to choose the right time to let them know how you feel. You might build up sudden courage to do it on a whim, but remember that it is a big thing to admit, and your friend will need some time to process it.
Make sure you choose a time when the both of you feel comfortable and relaxed, and that the two of you are in a neutral environment.
Don’t tell them suddenly before one of you has to rush off or they have to do something important afterward, it is a lot to hear at once!
Talk To Them In Person
It does seem so much easier (and less scary) to tell your friend how you feel over text, but it is something that you should do in person.
Talking to your friend in person, and planning what you are going to say beforehand, shows them that you are serious about how you feel and that you aren’t just acting on some sudden whim of emotion.
You will also be able to gauge your friend’s reaction when you tell them face-to-face, and they can’t really brush you off with some random text or even leave you on read. Just do not be too overwhelming or confronting when you talk to them, and do it somewhere that both of you feel comfortable.
Choose The Right Setting
The right setting makes a huge difference in how the conversation goes. Ask your friend out for a walk, or go sit in a quiet part of the park to talk. Do not try to have a conversation in the middle of classes in the hallway, or in a loud and busy bar.
Both of you should feel at ease and should be able to talk freely without feeling constricted by the environment, which could only add stress to the situation.
Tell Them How You Feel
Don’t dive right into how you feel as soon as you see your friend, and instead start the conversation up as you would normally. Ask how they are, how their day has been, and just share some small talk first.
This will help both of you feel comfortable, and once you are both at ease, you can then start opening up the conversation about how you feel.
Open up the conversation on how you feel by introducing the topic as one that might be difficult to talk about, such as saying “I know this might come as a surprise, and I have been nervous to let you know, but I do have feelings for you”.
Being too confident or shying away from the topic too much will not help you achieve what you want.
The next step is to just tell them how you feel, and be open and honest.
Acknowledge Your Friendship
You obviously want more from the friendship than just being friends, but you need to acknowledge how important the friendship is for you, and how difficult the decision was to let them know how you feel.
This is so important to let your friend know that you weren’t just friends with them in hopes that something would eventually develop between the two of you, but that you genuinely do appreciate the friendship, and your feelings have just developed naturally over time.
Make sure they know that you would still want to be friends with them no matter how they feel, even if it takes some time to get back to that place again.
Don’t Force Them To Respond
Revealing how you feel to your friend will likely come as a bit of a surprise to them, and they might not be sure how to respond right then. It could also take them some time to decide how they feel and what they want their next move to be.
For this reason, you cannot force them to give you an answer right there, or even that day. Tell them that you are not expecting them to reply straight away and that you are happy for them to think about it and let you know when they feel sure of their answer.
The more pressure you put on your friend, the more likely they are to feel overwhelmed.
When Your Friend Responds
Once you have told your friend how you feel and have given them time to think things through, you need to prepare yourself for their response, no matter which way it goes.
Here is what to do once you have told your friend how you feel:
Give Them Space
Just as we mentioned earlier, give your friend space to process the information. They might feel the same way towards you, but they could still need time to go over everything.
If you see each other between telling them how you feel and them giving you an answer, then just act normal and hang out as you usually would.
Respect Their Decision
No matter what your friend feels or decides, you need to respect their decision, and not hold it against them. You cannot force someone to have feelings for you, and trying to do so will only ruin your friendship.
The best way to not ruin your friendship when you tell someone how you feel is to be okay with their decision and not be angry if it is not the answer you wanted. You might need to take some time to get over it, but don’t act out.
Take Things Slow
If your friend does share feelings for you, the best thing that the two of you can do is to take things slow from there.
There is no need to rush into anything, and you can slowly build your friendship into a more romantic relationship, but it could actually end up ruining things if you rush.
Remember how much your friendship means to you and how much you enjoy being together, and take your time to only add to this as you move forward in your relationship.
Take Rejection Gracefully
If it turns out that your friend sees you just as a friend, it can be difficult to move on. You knew the risks before telling your friend how you feel, and now you just have to deal with the consequences.
It might be awkward seeing your friend for some time after this, so maybe just put a little bit of distance between the two of you for the time being, and distract yourself with some hobbies and other friends.
Do not lash out if they reject you, and instead respect their decision and give both of you the space you need to move on from this, and hopefully, this will be enough to not ruin your friendship in the long run.