When you're friends with real benefits
Q I'VE OFTEN heard that men and women can't be good friends and I never used to believe it.
But recently a good male friend revealed his feelings about me and I feel weird around him.
I want us to go back to normal. Is that possible? What needs to change?
A Can men and women be friends? It is a question often debated by both, and often with different answers.
Previous research has shown that more women than men will answer the question with a yes, while men will acknowledge that sexual tension is more likely to exist.
This may be because men generally have more than 20 times the testosterone level as women.
Sex, desire and attraction may be on their brains a bit more.
Men and women can be friends, and are successful at long-term friendships all the time.
That doesn't mean there may not be periods of sexual attraction, tension or one friend experiencing an unrequited crush or even love.
When people are interested in one another, feel fondly, deeply care about each other's well-being and have a lot in common, romantic feelings can develop.
Or perhaps a friendship was initiated in part because one person was attracted to the other and hopeful for a relationship, and instead settled into a friendship.
Sometimes those feelings linger, and other times they crop up anew, maybe even years into a friendship.
Your experience is not unusual, to want to be friends, but find in actual fact a friend has feelings for you.
Once they confess this to you, yes, it changes the dynamic between you, but it doesn't have to stay that way.
It is entirely possible to remove those awkward feelings. Why?
Precisely because you are friends. A good friendship will allow for respect for each other's feelings, no matter how uncomfortable they feel.
The best way to resume your tension-free friendship is to acknowledge to one another all the feelings you both have.
Your friend has said he has romantic or lustful feelings for you and is hopeful for a something-more relationship and as a result you feel awkward and perhaps self-conscious around him.
He has been honest with you, and now it's time for you to be honest with him.
Tell him how much you value his friendship and being a part of your life.
Now is not the time to be hesitant or misleading by refusing to communicate openly and honestly.
Respect the friendship you do have and be straight with him.
Does he have a chance with you for more than a friendship?
If not, be direct.
He is your friend, and he cares about you. In all likelihood, he will want to continue the friendship with you and will just need some time to grieve the hope he had for a more intimate relationship with you.