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Dear Nicola...

Should I make a move on my close friend?

Written by . Published on November 19th 2010.

Dear Nicola...

Nicola Mostyn

Friday 19 November, 2010

Should I make a move on my close friend?

Dear Nicola

I’m a guy in his mid thirties and I have been friends with this woman for five years. We both had relationships at various times but for the last two years we have both been single. We are very close - we call each other throughout the week, recounting the ups and downs of our days and she recently asked me to accompany her to her Christmas party because she hasn’t got a date.

We’ve always been simply friends. But now, in my mid thirties I consider what I want from a relationship and realise that we’re perfectly matched.

Should I tell her how I feel?

Nicola replies:

You should definitely be honest about your feelings if it’s going to make you miserable trying to keep pretending to be platonic whilst harbouring fantasies about a blissful future together. Life is too short not to take a risk for happiness.

But be prepared for things not to go as you might hope.

It’s possible that your friend is also attracted to you but holding back because she’s equally wary of ruining the friendship – but you should be getting signs. Is she making excuses to be close to you? Does she avoid mentioning other men? Does she answer the door to you at 9am with a full face of make up?

If not – and if, conversely, she’s always talking about meeting someone new, isn’t remotely tactile, and is encouraging of your own dating life, then it’s likely her feelings don’t extend past the platonic.

I can understand why you feel it makes sense to take the friendship further. But simply filling in some of the roles a boyfriend might play doesn’t mean you are in line for the job. It’s human nature to look to those closest to you for what you aren’t getting from a relationship and, at the risk of generalising, women find it much easier to be friends with men they are not attracted to than vice versa. Many guys have female friends they’d delightedly sleep with should the opportunity arise, while plenty of women are friends with men whom they feel only a fraternal love for, and would cringe at the idea of anything else.

Even if you get together, your relationship won’t be the same as your friendship. People like hanging out with their opposite sex friends because they can be the best of themselves – fun, witty, lighthearted - without showing any of their less attractive sides – irritation, nagging, possessiveness – that inevitably crop up when you are with a person on a more full time basis. Imagining your easygoing friendship as a relationship, you’re in danger of putting this woman on a pedestal – which will be making it hard to meet a genuine candidate for girlfriend status.

You have been long-term friends for a reason. Instead of idealising your friend as the relationship you’ve been waiting for, why not broach the idea of you two as a couple?

If she doesn’t feel the same, the friendship will almost certainly change: she may be offended, suspecting you were just feigning friendship all along whilst waiting to pounce, and you’ll probably be far less amenable to fill in as her plus one when you know for sure there’s no chance of it turning into a more permanent position.

But at least then you can get on with looking for someone who you can have everything you’ve got with your friend, but with the kind of attraction which doesn’t take five years to kick in.

Nicola Mostyn has been a freelance writer for 10 years. She is 35. Preoccupied with the subjects of relationships, self development and the pursuit of happiness, Nicola’s agony column Dear Kitty was nominated for Best New Blog in the Manchester Blog Awards. Nicola is currently working on her first novel, entitled The Love Delusion.

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Nicola Mostyn
Manchester Confidential
Suite 2B, 2nd Floor Quay House
Quay Street
M3 3JE

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