Ask Jono: I'm Falling For My BFF; Should I Take The Next Step?
So I'm in a pretty funky situation, and by funky I mean actually funky because the object of my concern/affection and I literally danced to Gloria Gaynor last night.
Now I know that this problem isn't exactly original, but it's about my best friend, Ted (who happens to be an original person, if that's worth a grain of salt). I have known Ted for the past 10 years; we weren't close in elementary school, but within the last 3 years at high school we have practically become joined at the hip.
I adore Ted, and I'm not totally sure it's in a 100% friend way. The problem is, we are so close that I can't step back for a minute to try to determine if he has any non-platonic feelings for me. A few soap-opera-esque dramatic moments happened a couple of months back (such as Ted nearly dying in the hospital) and I know it sounds cheesy, but ever since then I have come to look at him in a different light. See, Ted and I are both single, but we love each other almost to the point of being in a 40+ year committed relationship. In a way, we skipped the courting and headed straight to the bickering and the money problems.
Lately, when he smiles he beams and when we talk it's for hours and hours but it feels like mere minutes.
Should we continue to have this Eileen Fisher wearing, AARP reading, coffee spilling at the breakfast table relationship or should I try to take it a step in a new direction by having a silly but fulfilling romantic relationship the way most kids my age do? Basically, should I officially tell Ted how I feel about him?
Thanx a million,
p.s. your column is fab x 1,000,000.
I've been in one of these, Sparkler—a friendship that leads to a something-ship and then eventually you both just kind of shrug and make out. In my case, it took a lot of obviousness on the girl's part to get that far, because I responded to the initial signs by going "Huh?!" and then pausing thoughtfully and adding "Bwah??" and finally assuming that I was just crazy. But of course your situation is your own, and I have three questions to ask you before I can tell you how to proceed. I think I already know how you want this to unfold, but I have to do my due diligence, or I will be blacklisted by the immensely powerful Internet Advice-Giving Industry. So here we go.
1.) Has anything happened between you?
Aside from Gloria Gaynoring at each other, that is. Has anything happened happened? And now that I have made the word "happened" lost all meaning, what I'm asking is if you've had any signs from him that you at least think were non-platonic. You said you can't tell, but I'm sure you have an inkling. I know it can be hard to tell when a friendship has become something more, because you two talk a lot and hug and... um, disco-dance, apparently. But in my experience, you eventually get to a point where you're positive you're no longer sailing in platonic waters. (Though in my case, I ignored these signs because I was busy going "DUHHH.")
I'm not going to say guys and girls can never be platonic friends, because I absolutely have some of my own. But guys are more likely to be attracted to their opposite-sex friends than girls are, and any signs you've seen should be considered in that context. In other words: if you're pretty sure, you should be completely sure.
2.) When you picture dating him in an explicitly romantic context, what is your reaction?
You started by saying you weren't sure you adore Ted in a 100% friendly way. I don't know if this question clarifies things for you at all, because this is, in my opinion, a Girl Brain Thing and not a Guy Brain Thing. Ask a guy if he would like to make out with a cute girl he knows, and he will cock his head at you like a dog who can't even understand what nonsense you're saying, but is pretty sure that you said the word "walk."
But if you imagine you two doing legitimately romantic stuff, do you like that idea? Knowing that you know about him, do you think he'd be a good, thoughtful boyfriend? More importantly, are you excited by the prospect? You have to separate all of these vague relationship-y feelings, and all of the fun you have, from the idea of Literal Actual Romance, because if you only like him platonically, then trying to turn this into something more—just to see if it feels right—would be unfair to both of you. Especially if it turns out his feelings run deeper than yours, and you decide this isn't what you want after all. Which brings us to:
3.) What do you want?
When you're asking me "What should I do," I feel like it's a bit of a cop-out on my end to say "Do whatever you want," but this is the truest answer I have for you. Which of these two possibilities—continuing the relationship as-is or taking it to the next level—sounds better to you? Or here's a better question: what if he fell in love with some other girl tomorrow and came up to you and said "Awesome news, I have a girlfriend!" Would you say "That is awesome!" or would you say "GRRGBGL" because this news caused you to have a stroke? If the prospect of sharing him makes you grrgbgl, then guess what: you like him for reaslies and you don't want anyone else to have him. You want to be with him.
I'm pretty sure you already know that you want this to become a real relationship, and you're just afraid of turning a friendship into an awkwardnessship if you make any kind of move here. But the stuff you're describing—you talk for hours, when he smiles, he beams—is the same stuff I experienced when our friendship had pretty obviously rounded the bend and I was the last one to realize it. So throw out some increasingly obvious signals when the time is right and see what he does. If I'm wrong, your evidently strong friendship will survive a couple of non-reciprocated attempts at flirting. If I'm right, you win! Your prize is one (1) boy.