It can be heartbreaking to stay friends with someone you have stronger feelings for.
I know all too well, I’ve been there.
I think in almost all situations, you’re better off staying good friends than breaking away, no matter how strong your feelings are.
It also comes down to how you manage being friends and dealing with those feelings – as I’m going to explain.
Here are 15 tips for staying friends when you wanted more and finding inner peace and happiness with it!
15 Tips For Staying Friends When You Wanted More!
1. Understand that Time Will Help – A Lot!
No matter how much you’re hurting or how much this feels like the end of the world, it’s important to realize that time really does help heal all wounds.
The longer you’re friends with someone and the more time passes, the easier it will be to deal with your feelings and move on from them.
You’ll also be able to build up a stronger friendship if you give it time!
I understand some people will find it easier to spend less time with the person, while others will find comfort in seeing them.
Do what works best for you, but please do believe me when I say that it’ll get easier over time, a lot easier!
Related – Been unfriended but not blocked? Here’s why.
2. Don’t Try to Be Around Them All the Time
One of the worst things you can do when trying to stay friends with someone you have strong feelings for is to hang around them all the time.
It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true!
It feels good to be around them, I’ve been there and done this myself.
But honestly, it made it harder for me to deal with the strong feelings I had for them.
You need space to breathe and time to sort out your own feelings – and you can’t do that when you’re constantly around them.
If you’re pining for them, this is a sign that you need to back off and give yourself some space.
3. Work on Creating a Better Future for Yourself
Aside from managing the feelings you have for this person, you need to take a step back and work on yourself and the future you want.
We all need to make plans for the future and come up with some short and long-term goals to help us take steps to get there.
This is even more important when you’re being pulled in different directions by your feelings for someone that you know you can’t act on.
You’re in control of where your focus is, start directing it towards building a better future with someone who will reciprocate your feelings.
4. Don’t Hold It Against Them that They Aren’t Into You
Some natural feelings that may creep up are feelings of resentment that they don’t feel the same about you or aren’t willing to give you a chance.
I get it, I’ve been there.
But you need to understand that it’s not their fault and you can’t hold it against them.
It’s not anyone’s responsibility to date or be with someone they don’t want to, regardless of how perfect you think the two of you are together.
Don’t bring it up, don’t joke about it with them, don’t ask them why they don’t like you – it’s not fair on them to be questioned about why they don’t want to be more than friends.
5. Set Healthy Boundaries for Yourself
If you’ve found yourself in this more than once, it might be because you aren’t setting healthy boundaries for yourself and your friendships.
It’s not uncommon to develop feelings for a friend or someone you’re close to, but it is important to know when to draw the line.
You need to be honest with yourself and understand what you’re comfortable with before you get too deep into a friendship.
Are you expecting too much from your friends? Are you looking to fill a gap in your life?
It’s time to address what you’re looking for in your friendships and how to set healthy boundaries.
6. Consider Talking to Them About How You Feel
This is a risky one as it will almost certainly change the dynamic between you and the person you have feelings for.
But, it may change things between the two of you for the better, and it will almost certainly help you to feel better by getting your feelings out in the open.
You need to be prepared for the fact that they may not be as comfortable around you though, and things might get awkward between you.
But by talking about it, you’re giving yourself the best chance to stay friends with them while also being honest about how you feel.
7. Talk to Close Friends About the Situation
As with just about any issue, talking about it with friends is a great way to get a different perspective on your situation and offload the mental weight.
Your friends know you and they want what’s best for you, so talking to them about how you’re feeling is a great way to get some unbiased advice.
They might be able to help you see things from a different perspective or offer some words of wisdom that help you to move on from the situation.
Whatever you do, don’t bottle up your feelings – it’s not healthy and it won’t help you find a happy place with your friend.
8. Don’t Rush Into a Relationship with Someone Else
A lot of people try to rebound after they’ve developed feelings for a friend to get over it by diving into another relationship.
This is almost never a good idea and will very likely end in disaster.
You’re not giving yourself the time you need to process your feelings and figure out what you really want.
You’re also not being fair to the person you’re dating by leading them on when you’re not over your friend.
Give yourself some time to heal before you get into another relationship and get involved with someone else for the right reasons.
9. Be a Good Friend to Them
This might seem counter-intuitive, but one of the best things you can do is to be a good friend to them.
They don’t owe you anything, and you shouldn’t expect anything in return, but being a good friend is its own reward.
It will help you to feel better about yourself and the situation, and it will almost certainly help your friendship to stay strong.
10. Don’t Try to Change Them
This is probably the most important thing on this list.
You can’t change someone, and even if you could, you shouldn’t try to change them just to suit your own needs.
Accept them for who they are and be grateful for the friendship you have with them.
If you can do that, you’ll be in a much better place mentally and emotionally, and your friendship will be all the stronger for it.
11. Don’t Sabotage Their Other Relationships
This is another thing that’s tempting, but if you’re honest with yourself you’ll know deep down that it’s the wrong thing to do.
It’s natural to feel jealous if they’re in a relationship with someone else, but try to remember that it’s not about you.
They’re happy and you should be happy for them, even if it does hurt to see them with someone else.
If you can find that headspace, take it from me that you’ll feel better in the long run.
12. Don’t Compare Other People to Them
This is a trap that a lot of people fall into when they really like someone they can’t have.
They tend to compare everyone they like to the person they have feelings for and obviously, this is not healthy or realistic.
It’s not fair to the other person, and it’s not going to help you move on from your feelings for your friend.
You have to accept that everyone is different, and you need to allow them to be themselves if you want to be happy.
13. Appreciate What You Do Have with Them
Ultimately, you need to appreciate what you do have with your friend – even if it’s not what you’re hoping for.
You might not have the relationship you want with them, but that doesn’t mean that your friendship isn’t valuable.
Focus on the positive aspects of your friendship and be thankful for what they bring into your life.
If you can do that, I promise you’ll be in a much better place.
14. Work on Your Self-Esteem
I’m not saying that you wanting someone you can’t have is a result of low self-esteem, but it may be.
Either way, working on your self-esteem has a number of positive benefits that will enable you to live your best life.
Try to focus on the things you like about yourself and build on them.
Go out more with friends and do fun things, challenge yourself, and learn new things.
15. It’s All a Learning Experience!
Finally, try to remember that everything in life is a learning experience.
You might not be where you want to be with this person right now, but that doesn’t mean it will always be like this or that you can’t grow from this experience.
Use this as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you really want from a relationship.
If you can do that, you’ll be in a much better place both now and in the future and you’ll build healthier friendships.
Image credits – Photo by Janosch Diggelmann on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.