I recently came across this question in an online forum, and I thought it would be helpful to collate the answers into a blog post – since this is such a common question and struggle for Side B Christians! I asked permission from the authors of these comments, and have chosen to keep them completely anonymous for privacy reasons.
Question: “Does anybody have advice or tips for dealing with developing romantic feelings for a close friend? What do you do to address these desires in your own heart? What do you do about the way you relate to that person? Do you talk to anyone about this? Who?”
“My advice is allow yourself to become the best friend you can be for him. I had this for several years, probably more than eight years. Now he is my best friend and I don’t feel that way toward him anymore…”
“That’s happened to me so many times! I very rarely tell people in case it makes them uncomfortable, though sometimes when the crush has gone away I felt comfortable sharing that I experienced attraction to them in the past.
I think the best thing for me is having a trusted/friend mentor who I can talk to about all my crushes and attractions, and help hold me accountable – without being judgemental or giving unsolicited advice. Journalling can also help.
For me, I’ve found it’s best just to allow the feelings to come and go. Of course I resist lustful thoughts, but trying to repress feelings of infatuation usually doesn’t work – so I just think of it a bit like having a virus, and know that it will pass in time.
I would also add that I don’t let it distance myself from people, otherwise I’d probably never have any close friends!”
“It takes a lot of grace and willpower. Similar to James*, I had a crush on a seminary classmate (I can’t believe I am sharing things like this here, but I love it). After seminary it persisted because we saw each other regularly as friends. The first vacation together it was everything I could do not to throw myself at him. It’s taken a few years but things are much calmer because I knew it wouldn’t go there and that it would ruin our relationship. It’s hardly noticeable now but we have an even deeper friendship.”
“I would guess that most of us can relate to you in this – and my thoughts are similar to Sam’s*. I rarely tell a friend when I’ve had feelings for them – it usually makes things more awkward than I’m willing to deal with.
It has been helpful to me to have another person who is trustworthy that I can talk to about these attractions. And the other thing that’s helped me is to ask myself what it is in the other person that I’m so drawn to – and what potential need am I trying to get met by them. That’s helped me sort out my feelings.
And most of the time those feelings fade as I get to know the person better.”
“This has happened to me many times in the past too!!!
I had this friend who I fell head over heals in love with. I was stuck with him on a 5 day camping trip once and it was daunting !!!!! I asked God to help me and I channelled the energy of my attractions for my friend into acts of service to him instead.
Eventually my strong attractions lessened, however those acts of service did amazing things for our friendship.”
“1. Writhe in pain.
3. Writhe some more.
4. Journal like a fiend.
5. Consider telling them and then realize that that’s a terrible idea.
6. Talk to/at somebody you trust.
7. Remember you should probably be praying more.
8. Resent the existence of the sex drive (writhing optional).
9. Actually pray some more instead of just thinking about it.
10. Think about how to be a genuinely good friend to this person (which will probably mean doing the stuff with him that you were doing already, but may mean doing more).
11. Do that stuff.
12. Be too worn out to writhe and have a nice cocktail and/or nap instead.
(Repeat as necessary)”
*Names changed for privacy reasons