Love, Lindsay

A Friend And I Have Been Flirting But I'm Not Sure I Want A Relationship. What Should I Do?

All your relationship questions answered — right here, right now.

Hey Lindsay, 

I need some help with a potential relationship. I've known this girl, Camila, for about two years, and I'd say we're pretty good friends. But lately our relationship has been hovering in this limbo between romantic and platonic, and I'm really confused. We've been flirting a little but we haven't talked about it. I would have confronted her, but I'm a little unsure about if I want to be in a relationship with her. She's really sweet, and I'm sure that if we worked on it we could have a great relationship. But she's really shy, and I'm worried that if we got into a relationship she wouldn't voice her concerns and we'd end up breaking up. I don't want to ruin our friendship, and I don't want to put our mutual friends in the position of feeling like that have to pick sides. Plus, all our conversations are kind of awkward, and I can't tell if it's because of this whole mess or if it's just how we are around each other. This has been going on for a month. Please send help.

- Kaitlyn

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Hi Kaitlyn, 

I understand your hesitation to enter into a romantic relationship with a friend because you have to weigh the potential of a romantic relationship against the present reality of your friendship. That's a pretty big gamble. The payoff could be just as big, or as you said, it could create a huge rift in your friend group. 

Ultimately, you need to decide if your friendship with Camila is more or less important than your romantic feelings toward her. If you can't imagine life without her friendship, then it's probably best to keep things platonic. But if you're OK with the possibility of losing the friendship, and your feelings keep making you wonder 'What if?' then go for it. 

To help you make this decision, it may be helpful to ask yourself about the root cause of these feelings. When you first met Camila two years ago, did you initially view her as a romantic option? If so, why didn't you try to pursue here then? Is there a reason the friendship has only recently become more flirtatious?

If not, what's changed since then? Was there a concrete moment when you first felt the dynamic shift from platonic to romantic? Are you happy this shift occurred? The answers to those questions will tell you whether or not a potential relationship is worth risking your current friendship. 

Though you're right to be wary that you and Camila could break up, that shouldn't be the deciding factor. Every relationship comes down to one of two endings — either you stay together or you break up. But knowing this hasn't stopped billions of couples from taking the plunge together, and if your feelings for her are that strong, it shouldn't stop you either. 

On that point, even if you and Camila break up, exes can (eventually) become friends. You probably won't be able to pick up where your friendship left off, but you're both adults who can be civil to each other so your mutual friends don't have to pick sides. 

So regardless of whether or not you decide to try having a relationship with her, you should at least have a candid conversation about both of your feelings. What the result, you'll know you're on the same page and can go from there. 

This is a lot easier said than done, but the potential romance has already made your conversations a bit awkward, and it likely won't snap back to normal on its own. Getting everything out in the open in one awkward conversation may be the only way to overcome the month-long awkwardness you're experiencing now. And what's the point of having a friend you don't feel comfortable around? 

Having this open and honest conversation may also help allay or confirm your concerns about Camila's shyness affecting your relationship. You said you're worried that if you got into a relationship "she wouldn't voice her concerns" and that would cause a breakup. During this conversation, give her the opportunity to voice her concerns. She might end up surprising you. Often, shy people become more vocal when they're around the right person(s) who makes them feel safe enough to share their opinion. Do your best to be that for Camila because, if nothing else, it will make you a better friend. 

After you and Camila have this conversation, you might agree to keep things just the way they are — minus the recent awkwardness. Or you could decide to try a romantic relationship and see what happens. 

The key is making this decision together so you can both be happy with it and, most importantly, with each other. 

Love, Lindsay

Cover image: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

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