‘I friendzoned my bestie but now he’s got a girlfriend I’m devastated’

InLalalaletmeexplain'shit column, readers ask for her expert advice on their own love, sex and relationship problems.

With over 200k Instagram followers, Lala is the anonymous voice helping wmankind through every bump in the road. An established sex, dating and relationship educator, she’s had her fair share of relationship drama and shares her wisdom on social media to a loyal army of followers. Every week thousands turn to her to answer their questions (no matter how embarrassing), and her funny, frank approach to love and relationships has made her the ultimate feel-good guru.

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Dear Lala,

I’ve secretly liked my best male friend for around a year now but have been too scared to tell him. We flirt a lot in person and vibe really well. He often makes small comments regarding me and him in a flirty way but I've always brushed them off as I don't take flirty advances very well, although I'm very flattered on the inside.

After a year of this we've not progressed anywhere, mainly because of me flaking out from saying anything whenever I have had the chance to express how I really feel. Now I think I've missed my chance completely as he has recently entered a relationship with someone else.

This has really got me down and I keep thinking 'what if?…' I feel like I friendzoned him so hard, trying to keep my true feelings under wraps – and it’s backfired. I wish I had said something sooner because I now feel so frustrated with myself.

This has happened before too – I keep putting myself into friendzone situations with men who I really like. Any advice to get me out of this frame of mind?

Lala says…

There are two issues to work on here. One is your lack of confidence and self-worth. The other is reassuring yourself that you haven’t lost the love of your life due to not saying anything.

Being afraid to take compliments and brushing off advances that might lead to intimacy and relationship building sounds like a defence mechanism. From what you say at the end of your letter, it seems it might be a pattern for you. Are you creating friendships with men who you have romantic feelings for because it feels like the safest way to ensure you have them in your life without risking rejection? If so, then you need to explore why you're so fearful of rejection,preferably with a therapist.

If it’s not a fear of rejection holding you back, then think about what is. Why do you need to hold these men in a place of safety? I think you should also reflect on whether you truly have feelings for him, or whether you just feel like you should because he has made suggestions of that. I wish I knew more about your friendship as I feel like knowing how long you’ve been friends and how you met might give a better idea about how genuine this friendship is.

You'd benefit from doing some active work on building your self-worth because this pattern of behaviour might indicate that you don’t feel worthy of a relationship, or worthy of compliments or deserving of love. Feeling unworthy makes it hard to be confident and assertive in the moment, which means you’re missing the opportunities and kicking yourself after.

ThisTED Talk from clinical psychologist Adia Gooden is a good watch. Have a look online for resources that help you to build self-worth and practice being more assertive. There are loads of resources on YouTube and Instagram that will help you with this.

Opinion will be divided about whether you should tell him how you feel now that he's in a relationship. The ‘tell him’ camp will say that you only live once, and you have nothing to lose; at least you'll know for certain, and as your friend he deserves honesty. The ‘don’t tell him’ camp will say you'd be putting him in an unfair position, and that you'll potentially ruin the friendship for something that may not even be what you think it is. I’d wait to see if he becomes single again and then make your move, but I don’t think telling him would make you a terrible person.

You’ve had a harsh lesson in the importance of speaking your mind, but I don’t think it’s a loss. It’s very clichéd but there are plenty of fish in the sea (though admittedly a lot of them are slimy eels) and you'll find someone to love if that’s what you desire. That may be him, it may not be. Instead of focusing on negatives and losses, focus on the fact that this is a pivotal moment in your life and that you’re about to make exciting changes. I recommend reading ‘You are a Badass’ by Jen Sincero to remind yourself that you are indeed a badass who can go for what she wants.

Embrace being single and use this time as the perfect opportunity to work on becoming a more confident version of you.


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