Friend Fatima: What should I do?

Q: There is an individual who is romantically interested in me but I don’t feel the same way. We’re really close friends and I don’t know how to let them down without losing our friendship. What should I do?  

A: In my opinion, this is one of the hardest decisions we can come across. It is never easy letting someone down when you know it will break their heart, especially when it is someone you truly care about. As much as we would like to pretend the situation isn’t happening, there’s not much you can do to avoid it.

My first suggestion would be to always be honest about your feelings. Nothing good ever comes from dishonesty. You may not notice it but you could be giving them mixed signals. You might be very close friends but if they have feelings for you and you sense it, you can’t treat them the same. You can still be friends and be there for them just don’t add the extra effort like inviting them on a late-night one-on-one run to the store.

Yes company is always nice, but think about the message you’re sending them when you do something like that. You may see it as a chance to hang out but they might see it as they are the one person you think about for intimate situations like that.

Another option is to pretend that nothing is going on and go about your friendship like you normally would. If you decide to do that though, you need to prepare yourself for when they do decide to confess their feelings for you. Because if what they are feeling toward you is serious you can’t brush it off or think of it as a little “friend” crush.

Which ever option you choose, explain to them why you don’t think of them that way. However they want to interpret that is on them. You can’t make yourself like someone else because you don’t want to lose them. You’re not doing them, or you, any favors. I know it will be hard but you’re going to have to let them down eventually.

Let’s be honest, we all have fallen for someone who didn’t feel the same. So break it to them gently. They might not talk to you the same for a while, but with time they’ll eventually realize you were better off as friends and want that back. Who knows they might even find their soul mate, which would not have been possible if you tried to find feelings for them.