At one time or another, most of us have found ourselves in a sticky situation with a platonic friend. We enjoy their company and things are going smoothly- then it happens.
There is a noticeable shift, where someone catches feelings or seems to be hoping for something more than friendship. If both parties are not on the same page with their hopes for the relationship, things can become messy, quickly.
In this article, we will explore what the research says about attraction within friendships, and some practical strategies to help you navigate this challenging situation.
For more articles and information about the attraction, click here: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/attraction/
Is it Common to Feel Attracted to a Friend?
It’s certainly not an unusual phenomenon to feel attraction towards a friend or to feel as though they may be attracted to you. Many studies have sought to discover how men and women think and feel within their platonic friendships.
The research revealed that men reported experiencing more physical attraction and sexual desire towards their opposite-sex friends than women do.
Interestingly enough, even the way they defined a friend varied significantly. When asked to think of a friend of the opposite sex, women generally thought of someone they spent time with regularly, whereas men tended to envision a female friend as someone they are attracted to or would be interested in pursuing.
That being said, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, there is certainly the possibility of developing romantic or sexual attraction for a friend.
Also Read: How To Make Friendship With A Girl
4 Tips for Navigating Attraction within a Friendship
1. Become clear on how you feel and your desires for the relationship.
If you feel the dynamic in your friendship start to shift, it can be helpful to take the time and space to determine how you feel. If you are starting to feel attraction towards your friend, consider what it could mean.
It is okay if you conclude that you find your friend physically or sexually attractive, but don’t want to pursue things further. On the other hand, maybe you are curious to see what potential could be there.
Or perhaps you are starting to notice that your friend is acting differently towards you and it makes you feel uncomfortable, as you could sense they may be ‘into’ you and you simply don’t feel the same way.
Becoming clear on where you stand and what your desired outcome is, whether wanting to stay friends or openness to something more, is an important first step.
2. Consider if there is a strong enough foundation in the friendship to discuss feelings about the relationship openly and honestly.
A study conducted at Boise State University aimed to identify what made some friendships last after disclosing unreciprocated feelings, and what made some not work out.
Two markers in friendships that were able to withstand were relationships that were perceived as ‘solid’ and ‘open’. Therefore, you might consider whether there is a strong enough foundation in your friendship to be able to discuss feelings of attraction openly and directly.
If you have a long history of being able to be transparent with each other, there is a higher chance that the friendship will be able to survive, even if the feelings aren’t mutual.
3. Take time to readjust expectations moving forward.
Another interesting finding in the previously mentioned study was that the friendships that lasted after one individual revealed their feeling was that they were able to accept if the feelings are not reciprocated and move forward.
On the other hand, in friendships that ultimately dissolved, one person held onto hope that the other would eventually change their mind, or the door was left open for the future. This is why it is incredibly important for both individuals to be honest with themselves and each other.
The person who does not reciprocate the feelings must be clear and direct that they are only interested in friendship and nothing more, and it is up to the other person to decide whether this is something they are okay with.
If the friendship continues with them holding onto hope that things could be different one day, that can be incredibly unhealthy for that person and the connection overall.
Also Read: 4 Common Types of Avoidance Behavior and How to Overcome Them
4. Continue pursuing your friendship if it is a connection you value and do not wish to lose.
A notable difference between friendships that we’re able to withstand was whether there is an effort to keep the friendship going, or if one or both parties feel uncomfortable and shut down.
The research suggests that if both people value the friendship and are committed to maintaining it, even if it’s a bit awkward for a while, that’s a promising sign.