What to do if you fall in love with a friend who doesn't feel the same

Being in love with a friend and finding out they don't feel the same way can be devastating. It takes a lot of guts to reveal your feelings for someone, but when it's a friend, it's a million times harder. The stakes are higher, and you risk losing the friendship completely. But keeping it bottled up isn't the answer, as I discovered when I found myself in this situation.

I was fairly shy when I began college, and I found myself being drawn towards other people who didn't quite 'fit in'. I formed a close bunch of friends, and one of them was a slightly older guy, let's call him Jack. Jack was everything I like in a man. Good-looking, beautiful eyes, tall and toned, but most importantly a great friend with an amazing sense of humour.

I didn't mean to fall for him. The idea of having feelings for him scared me senseless because I didn't know what to do with them. I didn't feel as though there was anyone I could talk to about it, because everyone in our little group knew him, and I didn't want anyone to let it slip to him. Instead, I just carried on being his friend, swooning every time he hugged me, and getting butterflies in my stomach whenever I received a text from him.

Eventually, the feelings got too much. I had no idea if he felt even half of what I was feeling, but I couldn't stand not knowing. What if he liked me too, but was too scared to say anything? One day, while we were walking back to college after lunch, I tapped in to my inner bravery and told him.

I didn't get the response I was hoping for, and my heart broke when he told me that, of all things, he had a crush on one of my friends! I took a deep breath and told him I hoped it wouldn't change our friendship, then waited the rest of the day out until I could go home and cry.

You'd think I would regret opening myself up, but I don't. It was better than the not knowing and allowed me to move on. I am still friends with Jack to this day, and the reason for that is because I realised I'd rather have him as a friend than nothing at all. Yes it was embarrassing and awkward for a few weeks after my confession, but I picked myself up and moved on.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, here are three tips to help you get through it:
1.) Don't be afraid to tell him how you feel. It's easier said than done, but I firmly believe that if you never put your feelings out there, they might just be going to waste.

2.) If you are rejected, try to salvage whatever you can. It's never worth throwing a good friendship away.

3.) Understand that there might just be something better out there for you. After I was turned down by the guy I was in love with, I felt dejected. But shortly after, I found the man of my dreams. A rejection isn't the end of the world, it just means that something better is heading your way!

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