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home : columns : dear harriette April 29, 2016

6/14/2014 12:28:00 PM
Fessing up crush on friend will bring closure

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a crush on my best friend. I am unsure if he has gotten the hint, but he has started to act weird around me. We have been friends for four years, and I could not imagine not having him in my life. It scares me when I think about not being friends with him anymore. I tell him everything. My friends think that I should tell him how I feel. I am nervous; I think that if I do tell him, he will stop talking to me because he won't know what to say or how to act around me. I really like him, and even if we just stay friends, I would be OK with that. How should I approach this situation? -- Nervous, Boston

DEAR NERVOUS: Take a deep breath and collect yourself. I believe your friends have a point. Since your best friend has changed his behavior around you recently, there must be a reason for that. Rather than trying to second-guess what that is, you can be forthright with him.

Tell him that you want to talk about something sensitive. With his blessing, go on and explain that you have developed feelings for him and are unsure how to proceed. Tell him how much you value your friendship and that you do not want to jeopardize that for anything. At the same time, reveal that if he shares your interest, you would like to see what happens if you start dating. Make it clear that if he just wants to be friends, you are good with that, too.  

Being honest about your feelings should help to ease the tension, regardless of the outcome.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am in high school, and I get pushed into drama all the time. Now I have my own drama. There is this guy I like who goes to my school, but I also like another one who I used to like in middle school. I have different reasons for liking each one, but I don't know what to do. Please help. -- Helplessly in Love, Pace, Florida

DEAR HELPLESSLY IN LOVE: Slow down. You are in high school, and it's perfectly normal that you haven't made a decision yet as to who will be your beau for life. If one of these boys expresses interest in you, pay attention to him first. Get to know him better to see if you share interests. Agree to spend time together.

If the other boy also invites you to do things with him, you are free to do that as well. Take your time to get to know him, too. Do not tell either boy that you are exclusive. And do not cross any intimate boundaries as you are getting to know them. When it is clear to you that you prefer one over the other, you may want to choose to focus your attention on him. If and when that happens, gracefully tell the other boy that you do not want to date him anymore. Being kind when transitioning out of a relationship is critical to maintaining respectful bonds.

(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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