Hardcore Curriculum — 2/16/2010

Changing your feelings about your best friend and when your besties hate your beau

By Anna Boyle

I know this probably makes me sound like the stupidest person ever, but I think I made a big mistake with my best friend. I told him I didn’t have feelings for him, but lately, well…I have started to have feelings for him! I just don’t know what to do.

Anna: What happened to you doesn’t make you sound stupid, but it does make you sound a little flaky. Before you make a move, you need to sit and think this through. Figure out whether these feelings are real, and, if they are, whether pursuing a relationship would be the best choice for you. If getting together with him wouldn’t ruin your friendship, create a schism among your friends, or stress you out, then you need to gather some courage and be straightforward with him. Tell him that your feelings have changed and that you feel the same way as he does. You can’t blame him if he’s changed his mind, though. The ball is really in his court for this one.

Chris: You’re definitely not stupid, just slow on the uptake. It’s hard to determine the exact moment you start developing feelings for a person. They could have been there the whole time, and you just weren’t sure exactly what they were.

The thing is, since you’ve already rejected your friend, the situation is infinitely more complex. But you do have plenty of options. Like Anna said, being straightforward is the best choice. However, another option that most people don’t consider, or at least don’t admit to, is to let this situation go. There are plenty of unknown factors mixed into the equation, and no one would fault you for deciding not to do anything until you know what’s up for sure. You really just have to give yourself a break and go with the flow.

I just got into a relationship with a new guy. He’s nice, and I like him. There’s just one problem: My best friends really don’t like him. I mean, they despise him. What should I do?

Anna: Let’s start by thinking about why your friends hate your boyfriend. Is it because of something trivial? Did he ever insult them by accident? Is he associated with a group of people they don’t like? Do they not like how he looks? If this is the case, you should ignore their hatred for your guy and tell them that they’re being irrational.

However, they could have a very good reason to dislike him. Has he ever been malicious to them? They could know something about him that you don’t. You need to talk with your friends and let them be honest about their problems with this guy. If their reasons are justified, then you might want to reevaluate your mental picture of your beau. Try to consolidate you and your friends’ impressions of your man and see how they sync up. In my experience, if friends feel really strongly about the person you’re dating, they are right. However, that’s not always the case, so you need to evaluate the situation from all angles.

Chris: There is probably something going on underneath the surface that you are not aware of. For instance, what if your friends hate your boyfriend because one of them secretly has a crush on you (or him!) and feels threatened? What if your boyfriend drunkenly hooked up with a girl in your friend’s Hum class two years ago, and your friend jumped to the conclusion that he’s likely to cheat on you? What if your friends are starting to notice changes in your behavior that they don’t agree with, and they attribute them to your boyfriend? It could be a variety of different things, and until you know all the facts, you should not make a decision.

Still, your best friends have proved themselves trustworthy, and that means that you should not make a decision about keeping your boyfriend without consulting them. If you let them know that this isn’t about choosing sides but choosing what you think is best for yourself, than everything will be fine.