Psychology: when you fall in love with your best friend

According to a statistical survey, 25% of men feel more than friendly feelings towards their best friend - A communication expert gives advice

E verything could be so simple: Two people get to know each other, like each other and spend every free minute together. He listens patiently to her problems, she cheers him up when he is lovesick – just like good friends do for each other. But the harmony can quickly end when one of the two suddenly feels more than just friendship for the other.

25% of men feel more than friendship

A survey showed that a quarter of single men have more than just friendly feelings towards their best friend. Eleven percent of single women feel the same way. Psychologists speak of the Harry and Sally syndrome.

However, there is an interesting difference between the sexes here. Many men find their platonic girlfriend attractive; women, on the other hand, rarely describe their platonic boyfriend as attractive. You seem to make a distinction between potential partner and platonic friend.

Confessing love endangers friendship

"If you fall for your best friend, you’re often in a quandary at first," says Wolfgang Bergmann, a psychologist from Hanover. "Because one thing is clear: If you stand by your feelings, some things will change – but not necessarily for the better."Boys and girls who are in this situation are therefore best off thinking about their feelings alone before they come clean with the other person, Bergmann advises. Is it really love, or is there something else behind it??

Psychology: when you fall in love with your best friend

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"Many are going through a difficult time in such situations – have stress at home, at school or at work. You’re frustrated because something isn’t going right," says Bergmann. That’s why they feel especially comfortable in the presence of their best buddy. He or she radiates calm, you feel safe with him or her. "And these sensations are readily mistaken for love."

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Sure, we also want to be loved with our rough edges and yet relationships change us. A survey has investigated how this happens and comes to astonishing results.

According to Manuel Tusch, sudden feelings for a best friend often have to do with a phase of upheaval that one of the two is going through: "The good buddy may have just started his first job and suddenly seems much more mature and responsible," says the couples therapist from Cologne. "That’s why his best friend sees him with completely different eyes. From this feelings can develop in any case."

Whether these feelings have to do with love shows the passion with which one feels attracted to the other person. "If I’m willing to tolerate certain behaviors in my best buddy and even suddenly find things he likes awesome, then that’s already going in the right direction," Tusch is sure. But the boundaries are fluid. Of course, it’s possible to fall in love with your best friend out of the blue, Bergmann says. "I can’t necessarily advise people to just confess everything to the other person right away, though."

Karsten Noack, a communications trainer from Berlin, also warns against jumping in with the gun. "It’s much better to use a trick to find out how the object of desire feels about the issue."One possibility is to talk about other couples who were friends before.

"You can usually tell from your friend’s reaction how he feels about it: If he rejects something like that, it really says it all."If he’s open to the idea, it’s worth being more specific: "You can simply ask the question: Could you imagine doing the same thing at home??"believes the couple psychologist Noack.

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