I’m in love with my best friend.
Putting those words down on paper feels like stripping a thousand pound weight from my chest and taking a massive hit of long-awaited fresh air.
I know this is the world’s oldest story.
Girl meets boy. Girl falls for boy (or vice versa). Girl cripples under the unrelenting weight of her affection, which she’s too terrified to express.
Girl loses boy.
Life moves on.
I know that this story is nothing new, but until now it hasn’t been my story. For the majority of my life I’ve been drawn to close friendships with those of my own gender. For the majority of my life, I haven’t formed any accidental close platonic bonds with people I am also hopelessly attracted.
And yet, here I am for the first time. And I am horrendously ill-equipped to handle it.
And so, here is the question I have for everyone out there with a best friend of the gender that they are attracted to:
How the hell do you NOT fall in love with your best friend?
How do you stay up until 3am talking about life and your childhoods and your deepest wounds, and not want to kiss them at the end of it all? How do you curl up in a bed next to them to sleep and not want to wrap your arms around their warm, inviting body? How do you go to them with each new idea, each new adventure, each new thought that passes through your tireless mind and not let that closeness infiltrate the entirety your heart?
How the hell do you care for someone as much as you care for your best friend and not want to spend your whole life trying to make them happy?
How do you ever look at pain on their face and not want to instantly take it away? How do you see them cope with sadness, with rejection, with loneliness and not want to be the one to reassure them that they’ll never have to be lonely again? How do you not accidentally let it slip during a pep talk or reassuring conversation that not only is someone going to love them completely someday, but that somebody already does?
Somebody thinks of them when they wake up every morning. Somebody wishes they were lying beside them each night. Somebody wants to make them happy more than they want absolutely anything else, including, in some cases, their own happiness.
And the follow-up question I have is this:
How do you be in love with your best friend and not go absolutely mad as a result?
How do you watch them flirt with other girls and not die a little more inside each time? How do you counsel them through bad dates and not scream ‘Choose me, choose me!’ as the answer to all of their struggles? How do you learn all the darkest and twisted and most shameful parts of another person’s heart and not ache to pour all of your love into them? How do you fucking survive it?
Because I’m absolutely dying over here.
Because I’m so afraid of losing the friendship that I have with the most amazing person I’ve ever met that I am paralyzed on taking a chance.
Because I can’t bear the thought of losing the long, existential conversations, the intensive emotional support, the never-ending stream of adventures and opportunities and trials that we take on by one another’s side.
Because I’m scared that if I tell him how I feel, I’m going to lose him — bit by tiny, inconspicuous bit.
I’m scared he’s going to stop coming to me with problems and challenges because he knows he’s lamenting to someone who wants to be the answer to them all. I’m scared he’s going to shy away from inviting me places where he knows there will be moments of intimacy – times when our closeness will mean something different to me than it ever will to him. I’m scared that something between us will shift in a way it will never shift back from — a wall rising up between us that I may never be able to break down.
I’m scared to tell him because the only thing worse than being silently in love with your best friend is the thought of losing him completely.
And that I absolutely can’t do.
And so for now, I bear the agony. I suffer in silence. I move through the torture.
And I hope that someday, in some capacity, I can become brave enough to let him know the truth.