How one gay man fell for his straight best friend
(and lived to tell about it)
If you ever have the chance to fall in love with your best friend, I wouldn’t recommend it. Unlike many movies and television shows – where two friends finally discover they love each other after years of excruciating sexual tension (Pam & Jim, anyone?) – sometimes, you discover the feelings aren’t mutual.
I should know. It happened to me.
It wasn’t exactly like I was trying to fall in love with my best friend, even if he did have that perfectly sculpted, well-defined jaw that I often find myself attracted to. It simply happened.
Our friendship began innocently enough. I’d met him (let’s call him Terry) my first week of college, in the hallway of my dorm. He seemed friendly enough, with a welcoming smile and wide eyes.
Within months of meeting him, Terry and I became best friends. We baked together, studied in coffee shops, shared our achievements and insecurities together, and even watched Mean Girls multiple times together. I even spent Christmas with him and his family.
It wasn’t until two years later, after having come out, that I realized I loved Terry. I loved him in an on and off again, Rachel & Ross, cheesy romance, Moulin Rouge kind of way (don’t worry, we are both still alive). But did he feel the same way about me?
Having been living in the 21st century, I did what I knew I had to do, even if it hurt… I Facebooked him. In a lengthy message, I informed Terry of my feelings, and asked him point blank if he felt the same way.
He didn’t. And, he added, he was straight.
The pain I felt was enough to fill a 5-hour miniseries, but I will spare you with the embarrassing, heartbroken details and instead give you the 8 Dos and Don’ts of falling for your best friend:
Do not hug or hold hands for prolonged periods of time. Establish boundaries! Boundaries are your friend and will protect your heart. If your best friend is like Terry, you are physically very affectionate. You hold hands with your best friends, and even hug them for 20-minute increments. My advice? Don’t do it! While kind in gesture, any physical affection outside of a casual hug or high five is bound to cause confusion, for both parties.
Do not say “I love you” unless followed by a “bro,” “man,” or “sis”. So you’re two besties with testes (or perhaps only one of you has testes) and you love each other right? Of course you do! Love is beautiful! But be careful of when, and how, you say it to your best friends. DO tell them casually, or with a goofy smile. DO NOT tell them while in the midst of a hug or when you are holding hands.
Do not listen to Taylor Swift songs that may remind you of this person. Alright ladies and gentlemen. I have to admit, I have a soft spot for my girl Tay Tay. I’m sure many of you do as well. But be careful. Taylor has her side effects (just listen to “Enchanted”) in that she can turn your best friend into the love of your life if you listen to her 647 times.
Do not assume he is gay too just because he never talks about girls and loves High School Musical. OK, so maybe he does know every lyric to “We’re All In This Together” and you two share a mutual love of NOT talking about women as possible mates. Never go on gaydar, or little hints, alone. Sometimes, a text is just a text, a call is just a call, and a spontaneous dance party to Britney Spears’ “Piece of Me” is just that, a dance party.
Tell them. As embarrassing as it is, much like what I imagine a nip slip on the red carpet to be, it’s important that you are honest with your best friend. Communication is key. Talk to some friends ahead of time to articulate and voice how you feel. Then move on to telling the object of your desire.
Expect it to hurt. If the feelings are mutual, just ignore this. But if not, prepare for it to hurt like a mother. Cry a little (or if you’re like me, a lot), distract yourself with a comedy, and surround yourselves with good friends (preferably not your best friend, since this would cause more bad than good). Then decide what to do next.
End the friendship if that’s what it takes. I received Terry’s response to my “confession” in the middle of the day, while I was sitting in a Starbucks. After reading his response (to which he said he was straight and had no romantic feelings for me whatsoever), my heart sank faster than Jack did at the end of Titanic. I decided – even though I very badly wanted to save the friendship – it was best to end the friendship to avoid further heartbreak and disappointment. Once this was done, I was able to move on.
Create a playlist full of Taylor Swift, Adele, Kelly Clarkson, & Katy Perry breakup songs. Finally, turn your iPod on and make an empowering mix! Lord knows I wouldn’t have gotten through my “friendship breakup” without my girls Taylor, Adele, Kelly and Katy by my side. All 4 of them seem to capture those feelings of heartbreak, betrayal, bitterness, and love better than any angsty poem I write.
Ending my relationship with the man I fell in love with but who didn’t love me back was the best decision I ever made (aside from that time I decided to watch Breaking Bad after avoiding it for so long). We went our separate ways, and I soon found a new Katniss-like strength within myself … now if only I can find a Peeta, I’ll be set.
[box type=”shadow”] JOSH GALASSI studies Journalism – Public Relations at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. He has written for such publications as Klipsun Magazine, The Western Front, & EDGE on the Net. When not tweeting at celebs on Twitter, he can be found drinking coffee, studying, and drinking more coffee. You can find him on twitter at @classyjgalassi[/box]