Hi Nikki,Bothered Bestie
HELP!!! I have a HUGE problem! My friend Tyler has a crush on me. We’ve been friends since kindergarten. Our families do stuff together all the time. I only think of him as a friend. But he told me he has a crush on me! I have a crush on someone else, and even if I didn’t, I just don’t think of Tyler that way. But how can I tell him that I don’t “like him like him” without hurting his feelings?
Hi Bothered Bestie,
Big yikes, that’s a tough one!!! It’s hard enough when you don’t like someone who’s crushing on you. But to have it be a friend…and probably someone you’ll have to see regularly outside of school? Really big yikes!
It’s good to remember that while you probably feel helpless, you are actually the one with power in this situation. Tyler told the truth about how he feels. How you react will make a big difference in how you both feel, and whether your friendship survives.
Here’s what I think is SUPER important:
- Don’t lead him on. That’s when you pretend to “like him like him” back but really don’t! It can be REALLY flattering to know someone has a crush on you. And you might not mean to, but it’s tempting to sort of encourage the crush, even when you don’t feel the same way, because it makes you feel special. PLEASE don’t do that!! It’ll just make things WORSE. If you give him false hope, his feelings will be even more crushed when he realizes you don’t really like him.
- Be clear that your friendship with him is important to you. It’s not that you don’t like him as a person, you just don’t “like him like him”, like you said. It’s really hard when you’re the one crushing not to take that personally. It’s like, if you really like me, why don’t you “like me like me?!” What’s wrong with me? I know this because I’ve felt that way before.
- Be prepared that Tyler might need some space. His feelings will probably be hurt and he might need some time to deal with that and get over his crush. Don’t insist that everything stay exactly the same because of your friendship. That will just make it harder for him to get over you. So give him the space he needs, and as long as he knows you still want to be friends, hopefully he’ll chill out and things will go back to normal.
- Finally, DO NOT make a big deal of it. He’s going to feel embarrassed that he admitted his crush on you and it didn’t work out. So be as TOTALLY NORMAL as possible, especially when you guys are around other people, especially the ones who knew he had a crush on you.
Chances are really good he’ll get over his feelings with time and you will be able to go back to how things were before. Just make sure he has the time and space he needs, and that you’re clear about your feelings!
Have you ever had a crush on a friend? Or has a friend ever had a crush on you? How did you handle it?