Before I was in a relationship, I crushed on my female friends with alarming frequency. In high school, I got turned on when I slept in the same bed with my best friend who I had known since I was 2 years old. Obviously, I never told her this and, since we don’t speak anymore, I’m going to take this one to my grave. (Um, unless, of course, she reads The Frisky!) Later, I tried like hell to hook up with another friend who claimed to be bi, but now says that she is straight. Oh yeah, and I’ve totally slept with my current bestie. Twice.Crushing on friends is nothing new. But for gays and lesbians, the whole thing is a little more difficult to navigate. My crushes on female friends raised a whole host of questions. It was never simply, “Does she like me?” It was more like, “Does she even like girls?” or “Will this ruin our friendship?” or “Could this scare her away?” or “If I tell her will she still want to hang out?” or … well, I could go on and on.
Same-sex relationships tend to be closer, especially when you’re younger. Think back to high school. Was your best friend the same gender as you? Probably. It’s a catch-22 because big-time closeness is more likely to lead to romantic feelings if you swing that way, but messing up a super-close relationship because of those feelings can be devastating.
Then there’s the whole stigmatization thing. I never told a close girlfriend I had a crush on her because I didn’t want things to get awkward. I wasn’t looking for the reputation as the girl who was going to cop a feel at a sleepover or scope cleavage at a pool party. Talk about social leprosy! My female friends felt comfortable watching movies in the dark with me and I wanted to keep it that way.
Another thing that sucks about gay crushes on friends is, by telling them, you risk more than just getting shot down. In some circles, admitting you’re gay will seriously freak people out. My current girlfriend knows two women who were best friends until one of them admitted she was into chicks. After that, they were done. Hopefully, your friends aren’t this homophobic but, hey, it happens.
Sometimes I get emails from gay readers asking what to do about friend crushes. Obviously, this is a tricky situation and there is no right answer. I do know from personal experience, however, that if your friend is straight through and through, you won’t gain anything from telling her about your feelings. It’s when she digs chicks that the situation gets murky. I’ve never held fast to that whole don’t-date-friends-rule, but I think exceptions should be made sparingly. When my exes and I part ways, we usually part ways for good. If we end up being friends somewhere down the road, our relationship is vastly different from what it once was. So ask yourself: “Could this be love? Is this friendship worth messing up if it isn’t?”
I’m curious whether you folks—whether you’re gay or straight—have ever crushed on a close friend. If so, what did you do?