Love and friendship are two very strong feelings that are at once similar and distinctly different from one another.
Maybe you have romantic feelings for your friend or maybe you only feel friendship towards your girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s not easy to be sure when you don’t really know how to tell the difference between the two.
Whether in friendship or in love, feelings are very much present and very strong. You love this person and want to spend time with them and keep a strong connection. But up to what point can you call this friendship, and when is it more a question of love?
How to tell the difference between love and friendship?
If you’re asking yourself this question, it may be because you don’t really know if you feel love or friendship for her or for him.
There’s not that big a difference between friendship and love
The idea of friendship is support and a strong bond. Friends have a strong bond and support one another, no matter what. With your friends, you laugh, you cry, you talk, you listen – basically, you do everything you like, together. Each of you trusts and respects the other. When things are going well, or things are going badly, you share that with your friends.
When you come down to it, with love, it’s the same thing. Except you have to add the sexual aspect that isn’t a part of friendship. Two friends aren’t supposed to feel sexual desire towards each other. Two lovers, on the other hand, are. Let’s say that in love, you find all the same codes that you do in friendship, along with sex.
You have to analyze how intense your emotions are. For example, a friend will never take up as much of your thoughts as someone you’re in love with. During the day, you’re not going to think about your friend and say “Oh, I really want to make love with him/her!”
You also have to make note of your behavior, physically speaking. If your heart beats more quickly and you’re suddenly warmer in their presence, you should start asking yourself how you really feel about this person. Clearly if you feel this way, you feel more than friendship towards them.
Also, when you meet up with a friend, you don’t necessarily worry about how you’re dressed or what you look like in general. On the other hand, if you’re meeting up with someone you’re in love with, then you’ll want to look your best and not be haphazardly dressed and put together.
When you think about it, we start questioning friendship between a man and a woman even when we’re teenagers. It’s a legitimate issue because we realize that we get along well with a person of the opposite sex but that sometimes we also want to kiss them on the lips or make love with them. This question can still haunt us as adults. We end up with three possible outcomes:
1. Simply friendship, with no sexual or romantic desire.
Each person is content in this friendship and isn’t looking for anything else. And if one of the two suddenly does start to have feelings that are more romantic than friendship-related, they won’t have a problem discussing it with the other, either to change their relationship to that of lovers, or to clear the air and remain the excellent friends that they already are.
2. A friendship where one of the friends has romantic feelings for the other; these romantic feelings are not reciprocated.
Here, things get more complicated, of course. To the friend who doesn’t have romantic feelings, the friendship seems fantastic and wonderful. On the other hand, for the friend who has the romantic feelings, this unrequited love ends up being a source of suffering. Most of the time, the person who’s in love will not declare their feelings for their friend, so as not to risk losing them. Unfortunately, this person will choose to keep their sentiments silent to maintain a relationship that will never turn into love.
3. The friendship where the friends are in love with each other but won’t admit their feelings, for various reasons.
This will certainly make you think of romantic movies. The two friends won’t admit what they feel and if they’re shy on top of that, they’ll end up growing apart. Or, in the best-case scenario, they’ll dare to tell each other what they feel and will transform their friendship into a true love story, real a Hollywood ending.
Friendship vs. Love: Different signs that can help you recognize and distinguish each one
As was said above, what mainly separates love and friendship is the sexual aspect between the two people. In friendship, there is no sexual desire, whereas in love, there is.
When you’re in love, you want to make plans with each other, move forward together, do everything together. You want to take care of yourself to please the person you love and continue to seduce them.
With friends, you don’t care about leaving the house with messy hair and no makeup on. And the idea of going to bed with your friend makes you laugh more than anything else. (And may even disgust you.)
You’re also certainly less demanding with your friend than you are with the person you’re in love with. For example, take one of them being late or not taking your call…you know what I mean!
So, yes, friendship can be considered a form of love, but again, without the sex and seduction aspect.
Sometimes, you might thing that you have romantic feelings for your friend but in fact, once you try to be lovers, you realize that it was just a passing thing. This can happen, and it’s fine if both people realize it at the same time. That makes for a funny story later on. In any case, it’s best that two people be on the same wavelength. Otherwise, there’s a great risk of suffering and discomfort in your relationship.
So, what about you?
If you’re here, it’s because you’re asking yourself some questions about the true nature of your feelings towards one friend in particular.
It’s good to question things, and it’s even better to be informed so that you can see things more clearly. Rest assured, there’s nothing strange about having doubts regarding your feelings towards someone. Now, the goal is to know what you want and what this other person wants.
You’re the only person who can answer that. Maybe you’ll you accept staying in the friendship/love scenario by keeping your feelings to yourself and suffering in silence.
Maybe you’ll decide to talk to your friend about your feelings and see what happens, risking losing this friend. Maybe you’ll admit your feelings and you’ll see that your friend feels the same way, and your relationship will transform into a romantic one.
Whatever you choose to do, you have to make yourself and your well-being a priority. But you are going to have to choose and act according to the consequences, regardless. Tell yourself that if, unfortunately, your friend doesn’t share your romantic feelings, it may be better to take a certain distance to protect yourself and not to experience suffering that you don’t deserve.
Of course, this doesn’t mean your friend is a bad person — far from it.
You can’t force someone to feel the same things you do. On the other hand, you’ll have to take care of yourself and limit your suffering by taking some distance. There’s no reason to suffer for nothing.
Now, it could also turn out that this period of questioning is just a passing thing and you realize that no, you’re not in love with this person. Whew! What a relief! In this case, no problem, your friendship can continue as if nothing happened, and everyone will be happy and relieved. And then, if you both end up realizing that you’re more than just friends, you’ll be happy that you admitted your feelings to each other.
Life is worth the effort of being lived with some risks, and admitting your feelings to someone is a risk that can be worth taking. It’s up to you to decide if you’re prepared to possibly lose or win this friendship with this person.
To sum it up, to know how to tell the difference between love and friendship, you have to take into account the aspects of seduction and sexual desire. In friendship, these don’t exist. In love, they’re inevitable.
Regardless of the kind of relationship, the feelings should be reciprocal. Otherwise, one of the two people involved will be suffering because they don’t have what they really want.
Don’t be afraid to tell your friend how you feel. If you’ve been friends till now, it’s because you can trust, listen to, and understand each other. The outcome isn’t up to you and no one will force you to do anything that’s not good for you. Always remember to take care of and make the best choices for yourself.
Have you ever fallen in love with a friend? What happened? Tell us about it.