Can you be in love with your friends? And if so, what does that look like, and is it a good idea?
To me, being in love with your friends means prioritizing those relationships in the same way you would a romantic partner: making sure your friend feels appreciated, that you are spending time together and continually striving to maintain your relationship. Ever since a podcast introduced me to this idea, I’ve found myself thinking much more deeply about the time I spend with my friends and the state of our relationships.
It is often easy to take friendship for granted, assuming that your friends will always be there even if you screw up or don’t check in as often as you should. But I have realized just how crucial it is to intentionally invest energy and care into close friendships — especially in college when we have the potential to make friends that will last a lifetime. Placing more importance on my friendships makes me feel secure and fulfilled. It takes away some of the pressure to find romantic love, because I know that I already have people in my life whom I love and who love me.
Intentionally forming closer bonds with your friends is fulfilling and rewarding, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t come with growing pains too. It’s no coincidence that the podcast that introduced me to this idea of being in love with your friends is titled “How to Be Single.” It is a lot easier to prioritize your friends when neither you nor your friends have a romantic partner in your life. So, when a romantic partner does enter the picture, it can be tough.
Even though my brain knows that we can pursue romantic love while still maintaining close friendships, my heart says otherwise. I don’t like the idea that my friend would rather spend time with someone else, or that someone else will become the top priority in their life. Realistically, I know that people can have multiple priorities, but in the moment, I can’t help but feel confused: I’m sad that there is an aspect of my friend’s life of which I won’t be a part, happy that my friend has found a new form of happiness and worried about how this will impact my relationship with them.
All in all, I think it can be great to be in love with your friends — I recommend it even. It definitely felt strange to talk about my friends in this way at first, but doing so has given me a new perspective on the role my friends play in my life. Friends don’t have to be secondary to romantic partners. In fact, if they’re good ones, they’ll likely be around for a lot longer than your current crush.