We've all heard of the term "friends with benefits."
Friends could mean real friends; friends could mean fake friends; friends could mean mutual friends; friends could mean you just met last night at the party. And obviously, there's a spectrum for benefits as well.
So what the fudge is "friends with feelings"?
The worst possible thing you could do to your heart.
It's harmless because you're not really committing anything, right? Not your body, not your time, not your effort?
It's harmless because you're "just friends," right? That's what friends with feelings means, right?
Sure, you might not have the responsibilities of a committed relationship. You might be "just friends" on the outside, without the slapped on label of "boyfriend and girlfriend."
But the one thing a "friends with feelings" relationship cannot quantify is emotional investment.
Even if you say you're just friends with feelings, feelings always come with an emotional investment. Feelings put you in a place of emotional vulnerability, and that's where the danger zone begins.
So, what do I do then, if my friend and I are "just friends," but have feelings for each other?
One easy acronym that you should never forget: DTR.
Define the relationship ASAP. If you're both head over heels for each other and ready for a committed relationship, go for it. But if either one of you are uneasy, can't put your true feelings into words, or don't want to commit, CUT. IT OFF.
Although it may sound harsh, it's better to break it off in the beginning than in the end. Because feelings do not simply die down. They sit, they simmer, and they boil over… and the burn will hurt that much more if you let the heat intensify.
I know it's hard. One time, a guy initiated a DTR with me, confessed his romantic feelings for me, then freaked out and said he's too busy and needs to think. The next day, he friend zoned me, and then proceeded to tell me that like and love are the same things.
Ouch. But also, what?
The point of a DTR is to give you emotional closure. So keep defining the relationship until you've reached a conclusion.
But what about the risk of losing a friendship over this conversation?
If you were real friends in the first place, a single conversation won't jeopardize what you already have. And if it does, do you even want to have a connection in the first place?
So if we were never dating, why do I feel like crap? Was I in love with him?
No, sweetie. You're in love with the idea of being in a relationship with your friend. In a friends with feelings situation, it's hard to decipher between friendly actions and feeling actions. But once your brain catches feelings, your heart does, too.
But when it really comes down to it, real relationships can end in a heartbeat, but real friendships don't.
So if you and your "friend with feelings" just fake broke up, it'll be okay. You may have lost the chance for a relationship, but you did not lose the friendship.
One last thing that you should never forget: the best is yet to come. My sister once said to me, "Who cares about your first love, anyway? It's your second love that is special, because they teach you that you can love again when you thought you couldn't."