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April 16, 2024 38 mins

About 2/3rds of couples start off as friends according to recent research. But developing feelings for a friend isn't always a happily ever after situation. In today's episode we break down why it is that we fall in love with our friends, the principles of attraction such as the similarity liking effect and mere exposure effect, whether to say anything or keep it to yourself, managing the pain of rejection or social loss and your best tips for protecting the friendship and your own heart. Listen now! 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
Hello everybody, and welcome back to the Psychology of Your Twenties,
the podcast where we talk through some of the big
life changes and transitions of our twenties and what they
mean for our psychology. Hello everybody, Welcome back to the show.

Welcome back to the podcast.

Speaker 2 (00:28):
New listeners, old listeners. Wherever you are in the world,
it is so great to have you here, back for
another episode as we, of course break down the psychology
of our twenties. Oh right. We love to talk about
a lot of wellness topics on this podcast, of course,
and you know, science based tips for general holistic betterment,

which I enjoy, I think we all enjoy, but sometimes
I also like to discuss some of the quintessential I
think twenty something experiences that we feel we need the
end too. And I'm not just talking about like shallow
surface level advice, but some serious kind of like psychological
understanding in order to move past what we're going through,

the kind of you know, situations that keep us up
at night, that keep us in a thought spiral, that
become the center of our world for a while, even
if it doesn't seem that important to anybody else. And
today is this kind of episode I want to talk
about an experience that I've been getting so many requests on,
and that is the experience of developing feelings for a

friend and kind of what goes through our heads, our
subconscious mind, our bodies when we find ourselves kind of
suddenly having this like romantic tension or feeling for someone
that we've only ever thought about platonically. It's really fascinating
to me when this happens, right because often we have

our friends and we have the people that we are
romantically interested in, and it feels a bit like taboo,
feels a bit strange for there to be like a
crossover there. And there are so many instances when everything
just seems to like kind of take on a new light, right,
Like you can't stop thinking about them, you can't stop
chasing after them, you start can't stop like talking about
them and to them, you start imagining a future together.

And this is somebody who has always been firmly planted
in like the platonic category of your mind. And I
think that it can be very very strange, and we
have this kind of weird tension between suppressing our feelings
and protecting the friendship, kind of suffering without unrequited love

in silence and just kind of hoping it will go
away or saying something and seeing if there is a
potential there for a relationship. And within that, we start
to have a lot of fears and a lot of
doubts and a lot of worries, Right like, what if
we ruin the friendship? What about all the other relation

relationships or connections that exist around this friendship. Are we
going to be permanently kind of stuck in this kind
of quote unquote friend zone. Are we going to experience rejection?
There is a lot to explore today and unsurprisingly a
lot of psychology and science to explain this experience, one

that feels so personal and vulnerable and unique, but is
actually a lot more common. So let's talk about it.
We're going to talk about why it is that we
fall for our friends seemingly more often than you would think,
and what we can do about it, What is kind
of the path forward through this maze of feelings. So

let's get into it. As I said, falling for a
friend is actually not that uncommon. You can breathe a
bit of a sigh of relief if you're finding yourself
in this situation knowing that you are probably not the
only one. I think it's one of those classic like
romantic tropes, you know, like the meet cutes, the enemies
to lovers, forbidden love, childhood sweethearts, falling in love with

a friend. A lot of people find love and find
connection with those who they initially viewed quite platonically. Even
in the world of dating apps and online connections, friendship
remains one of those core ways of I guess discovering
our partner. So back in twenty twenty one, a research

team at the University of Victoria in Australia, they actually
sought to investigate this well. They were noticing that a
lot of couples were having the same story like, oh,
we were friends first and then you know, one day
I just saw them differently. And when you are constantly
seeing a particular trend in something like relationship patterns or

the way that relationship forms, I think it's worth investigating.
And so they talked to over two thousand, five hundred
people who were married or in de facto partner, and
they questioned them separately and then they questioned them together.
And what they found was it approximately two thirds of
these couples started off as friends before they became romantically involved.

Two thirds. Now, that does sound like a lot, but
you have to remember this also includes people from older generations,
and it isn't just referring to the number of people
that we date, right, it's talking about the number of
like who we end up with. So you could be
dating heaps of people who you meet on dating apps,
heaps of people who I don't know, you met through

work or whatever. But the people who we end up
together two thirds of them, the study said we were
initially friends with. What's even more interesting is that they
looked at how long it took for a friendship to
turn romantic in these situations, and they found that the
average length of time was about twenty two months. It's

almost two years of people going about their days been
nice and chummy and pals and friendly before kind of
like something's switched to something flipped in one of their minds.
So about sixty eight percent of these participants reported that
their most recent relationship as well before this relationship also

began as a friendship. And this was regardless of gender, age,
education levels, or ethnicity. It's showing that I think that
really accounts for the people that we date and do
not marry. It's less than the two thirds, but it's
still quite significant that we are finding connection through friendship,
and that rate of a friend's first initiation was even

higher amongst twenty somethings like you and I. I'm assuming
and within LGBTQIA plus communities, with eighty five percent of
couples in this community saying that their romance began as
a friendship. This number is so prizing, but I think
less so when we think about the principles of attraction

and what actually drives our romantic choices and our romantic
interest in someone, it really comes down to three factors. Proximity, similarity,
and reciprocity. These are the factors that really determine the
start of a friendship, but they also determine the start
of a relationship. They underline all forms of attraction, So

let's break these down. I think sometimes it feels a
bit strange to like analyze something as beautiful and magical
as love through a scientific or an experimental lens. But
a lot of our dating choices do come down to
our internal psychology. So in research Conductor back in the
late nineties, this group of scientists kind of noticed that

we are more likely to like someone and express admiration
and respect for them if we perceive that they are
similar to us. So it's the age old saying that
kind of like birds of a feather flock together, and
it seems scientifically quite true. If someone shares similar values
to us, similar interests, beliefs, hobbies, even educational background, the

same kind of cultural family upbringing, we are more likely
to fall for them because it gives us more touch
points or opportunities for connection, gives us more conversation topics,
and therefore more opportunities for vulnerability and eventually attraction. This
is simply known as the similarity attraction effect. We like

people who are like us because they feel safe, they
feel comfortable, they feel familiar, and there are fewer kind
of opportunities for tension i guess or friction or misunderstanding
or having to explain ourselves because this person is so
alike or similar to us. It goes without saying that
we don't just choose our romantic partners based on simi larity,

but also our friendships and so the people that we
inevitably become close to in a platonic capacity. Therefore, kind
of have the greatest opportunity to be our best kind
of romantic candidates. Right, Because if the primary principle behind
attraction is similarity, who is more similar to us than

the people that we hang out with all the time.
Who is someone that we already know that we like
and who likes us back. It's our friends, And that's
why developing feelings for a friend is not as uncommon
as we think. Now. The other principle comes down to proximity. Right.
To put it plainly, we are more likely to develop
romantic feelings for someone we see frequently and who we

are physically or geographically close to. I know this sounds
so obvious, right, we don't. It's kind of impossible to
develop true attraction to someone we've never met and we've
never talked to. But it's deeper than just having the
opportunity for feelings to develop through proximity. It seems that
just being around someone or being repeatedly exposed to them

increases the likelihood that we will be attracted to them.
We also tend to feel safe with people that we
see regularly, and so it's likely that a lot of
love kind of comes down to the mere exposure effect.
So this is a concept that was introduced in the

sixties by this I kind of remember his name. Oh yeah,
doctor Robert zajohnyk Zijohn. I'll leave it in the description.
But he did a lot of work on, once again,
the principles of attraction, and it's kind of like quite
a reductionist theory, but he basically stipulated. He suggested that
anyone can fall in love with somebody else if they're

around them enough. And once again, who are we around
the most? Our friends? We have a lot of opportunities
to make memories with these people. People we feel very
familiar with their inner workings, their dreams, their quirks, their ideals,
the long conversations that we have, the laughter, all of

which are special parts of a relationship. But they also
form a bond, a bond that makes someone a great
candidate for romance if everything else kind of goes according
to plan. This is more likely to be the case
when we imagine or we feel like the other person

is returning our interests. This is known as reciprocal liking.
At first that maybe in the form of friendship, right, like, oh,
I want to be friends with somebody who genuine shows
like interest in me and likes me back. But as
the bond grows, because they are giving back that energy
and investment that we're giving them, sometimes our perception can change,

and so does our interpretation of their actions. It's not
just they want to hang out with us because they
enjoy our company. Start to apply a deeper meaning to
every little moment and decision and action. You know they
want to hang out with us. It's not just because
they're our friend. It's because there's something else going on, right,
and so reciprocity is one of those core principles of attraction.

When we are looking for a mate or someone in love,
we want someone who likes us back, obviously, and sometimes
we confuse the liking as a friend as a liking
in a romantic sense. All of this kind of creates
the recipe for developing feelings for someone that we are
friends with. We know we already have admiration and respect
to them, otherwise they wouldn't be our friend. We know

that we are similar because we are close, that they
are familiar, and you know, proximal and obviously there is reciprocity,
other as the friendship wouldn't have developed in the first place.
And so in short, we have fulfilled what a lot
of psychologists call the conditions of love just by nature
of being platonically. Now, a lot of what we've talked

about that tends to shift liking to loving really rests
in personality similarities. But we're also forgetting about one final thing,
and that is physical attraction, because that is a huge
component of any romantic and intimate relationship. And I think
it's one of the main reasons why we don't just
end up dating all of our friends, right, Like, maybe
you don't have that kind of sexual preference, Maybe you

just don't see them in that way. We can't imagine
sleeping with them, they're not our type. But what about
those situations where you've had like no kind of physical
attraction for many years, You are firmly in the friend zone,
you travel together, you sleep in the same bed, nothing,
and then suddenly you start seeing things differently. It happens

a lot, and I think the question that we often
have is like, has this always been the case? Have
I just been suppressing my true feelings in order to
protect the friendship. Maybe I thought I didn't have a shot,
Or it's because we just genuinely didn't experience the physical
spark that would make us romantically interested in someone until later.
And what is it that changes, Well, let me explain.

Each of us has a very unique set of preferences
around what we would like physically in a partner, or
at least what we know we would find appealing. So
a new study has suggested that beauty attraction is very
much in the eye of the beholder. About fifty percent
of our preferences come down to our life experiences. So

even identical twins who have the same genetic blueprint, they
typically have the same family environment and upbringing, they end up,
you know, sometimes dating completely different people because it comes
down to things like personal experiences, the media, we're exposed to,
the people we meet, the things that we're interested in.

You know, if you're a very active person, you may
like someone who's more lean. If you're obsessed with a
particular actor or boy band, you might find your self
having preferences that align with what these people look like.
As silly as it sounds, and this also tends to
explain why our physical preferences change over time. If it
comes down to personal experiences, those things obviously, you know,

we have more of them as we get older, and
so it kind of makes sense that our attraction that
is derived from personal experiences changes as those experiences accumulate.
Perhaps you have had an experience with someone else that
it shifts how you think about your friend. You have
seen them in a new scenario, like on a trip

together or at a wedding or at their job, and
you just see them completely differently, or you're just like
physical tastes change and you haven't seen them in a while,
and since that time when you saw them last, they've
started dressing differently, they've cut their hair. Suddenly they are
exactly your type, and we have this like epiphany moment

of like, oh my god, God, are they attractive? Am
I into them? When we do reach that moment, that
kind of place of realization, you're probably going to enter
it from the gateway of denial, right, especially if that
is a really valuable and important friendship to you. No

one likes to admit something that makes them vulnerable or
could drastically change something about their life. It is shocking
and it creates an emotional chaos we simply don't want
to deal with. So your denial of your true feelings
when it comes to your friend kind of comes from
a place of self preservation. Even if everyone around you
is claiming that they can tell you have feelings, that

you have a crush, that something's changed, Admitting that to
yourself and others means a giving people information about your
personal feelings that might be quite revealing or leave you
open to judgment or scrutiny, And b it requires you
to either do something or just endure this kind of
possibility of unrequited love until it passes. But if you

are regularly checking up on this person on social media,
if you are finding that you can't stop thinking about
them throughout the day, that you're experiencing a lot of
jealousy when they talk about the people they are dating,
or your territorial over their time, wondering why they aren't
texting you back, always wanting to spend every day with them.
If you're changing your appearance when you're around them, I

think that's a pretty good sign that something is shifted there.
So what are you going to do about it? I
think that's what I want to discuss next, right is like,
why can this be so difficult to manage? What are
the fears that we have to work through? And do
we admit our feelings and potentially face not having them
reciprocated or ending the friendship in the process, or do

we just say nothing? Do we just see what happens?
So I want to talk about all of that and
more after this short break. Developing feelings for a friend
is never the most welcome news. Actually, I think it's

a mixture of many emotions, right, feelings of possibility, the anxiety,
the excitement of the what if, the general like euphoria
and entertainment of having a crush. But we also find
ourselves between a bit of a rock and a hard place.
What if things change and are never the same. How
do we manage our sense of longing and our typical

instinct to really imagine a future with this person whilst
ensuring that we don't get ahead of ourselves doesn't blow
up in our faces. We have a very keen sense
of what we have to lose, and I think we
also understand that it's going to be tricky to navigate.
So in those situations where you have become aware of
a crush, I guess you have two options. The first

option is that you can say nothing. This is the
path of least resistance. If we say nothing, we don't
have to face the possibility of rejection, of loss of
the let's face it, the awkwardness that might come with them,
you know, confirming that our feelings are one sided. There
are a lot of considerations that go into managing our

feelings for a friend, and it's not just about them.
It's also about of course wanting to protect like your
own heart and your own self esteem, but also I
think you really contemplate the network of relationships that you
have built around this friendship. Admitting your feelings can create

tension in a friendship group because people may start to
treat us and other you know, the other person differently
because of our obvious feelings or confession. It becomes a
topic of conversation. And then if you were to say
something and they say, oh, no, thanks, you might find
yourself too embarrassed to be around this larger group who

kind of knows that this has happened. The possibility of
this presents I think a unique type of loss known
as social loss, the pain of losing connections as a
result of some event. It can leave us feeling alienated, isolated,

and worst of all, quite lonely. As a species. We
don't have a particularly good relationship with loneliness. We tend
to villainize it, and therefore we seek any alternative, even
if it means avoiding our true feelings and you know,
engaging in some good old fashioned suppression. But if there
is I think one thing that psychology tells us about

suppressing intense feelings or emotions, it's that they find a
way to come out, whether that's through resentment towards your
friend for not knowing about your feelings, frustration, poor concentration,
needing to constantly seek advice and reassurance. I firmly believe
that with most things like this, there will come a
time when you will need an answer to bring you

some peace. You'll need to know whether there is a
possibility of this being a thing. And I'm speaking from
experience here. I remember having the biggest, all consuming crush
on someone in my first year of university who was
a good friend, and we were very enmeshed in this
friend group together, and I'd formed it was really my

lifeline at the time. This friend group was kind of
the first big group of friends I had in you know,
my first early months of moving out of home. They
were really important, and I spent basically the whole year
pining after this person, having these small moments that felt
enormous at the time, constantly wanting more and not knowing

where we stood until I just had to come out
and say it and get some answers, even though I
kind of knew deep down that, you know, they weren't
going to be the answers that I wanted. I think
it was important and it was really strange for a while.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it, right, Like I remember
a lot of those friends, like who I was previously

friends with because of this person, went on like a
trip together, and like I always felt that maybe if
I hadn't made it awkward for people, I would have
been invited, or that there we were kind of force
to make a choice between the person who was really
deep in their emotions and really struggling and the person
who was like the happy one right and who wasn't

going to accords drama. And as someone who lived through
that got through that, it ends up totally okay. It
always works itself out, And I'm really glad that I
said something. I'm really glad that even though intuitively I
knew that he wasn't going to date me, that we
weren't going to have a future together. It was better

than spending even more months, maybe even years, stuck in
like fantasy and wishful thinking and kind of projecting this
big fairy tale I had of him onto the version
of him that didn't really exist, right like, I was
only seeing the potential, and I think whilst it remained ambiguous,

I could still indulge in the possibility of the what if.
But the what if wasn't getting me anywhere. It wasn't
doing me any favors, It wasn't allowing me to move on.
It certainly wasn't making me a good friend. And it
was kind of a relief to hear and be like no,
and then we moved forward. So saying nothing is one option.

Let me present you with the obvious alternative one that
I just talked about. I'm sure you've all considered. You
can muster up the courage to sit this person down
and say, hey, things have changed for me, have they
changed for you? And you can see what they come back.
With a few caveats here, don't do this if they're
in a relationship with someone else or fresh out of

a relationship. I think that is just like a sign
of disrespect to your friend, and it's not going to
end well. I don't know why I felt they need
to say that, but in case it wasn't obvious, you
still need to respect, like have some level of decency
and not just prioritize your own feelings. But besides that,
I think being honest about your emotions and being vulnerable
it's not going to destroy you. It's actually probably going

to bring you a lot of clarity and make you stronger.
The best possible scenario is that they will reciprocate everything
you're telling them. They will confess their love, They're down
for exploring what this could be, and it grows great,
you know, happily ever after baby's marriage, all the good things.
You're part of that two thirds of people who end
up with a friend, And I think it's almost like

a new chapter, right. You already know each other as friends,
but then you have to get to know each other
as romantic partners, and that may take some time adjusting
because it is a whole new level of intimacy. So
obviously a lot of honest conversations about your feelings and intentions.
Hopefully you're on the same page. I think even this
can be scary, Even getting like the yes can be

scary because what if it doesn't work out and you've
lost both a good friend and a love interest and
a partner. That is a particular kind of loss in there.
I think that's a two in one breakup, which would
just be so difficult. It might also not be completely
smooth sailing right, Like you might sleep together once, be like,

I don't know if that's working out, have a bit
more of a back and forth. You know, you both
had feelings together. That is a whole different situation that
I think it's so nuanced and difficult because then it's
kind of like you have an answer. You know that
this person likes you like them back, but maybe you're
just not meant to work out, Like maybe you're just
not meant to be together, And that is the conclusion

that you needed to know. At least you gave it
to gave it a try, Like at least you're not
left with the hypothetical, You're not left with the what if.
The other scenario is that we are put in the
friend zone.

Speaker 1 (26:02):

Speaker 2 (26:02):
The friend zone I think is more of a pop
culture reference than a scientific term, but it does help
to explain what occurs here in which someone is communicating
that they explicitly see you in the category of friend
rather than partner. The friend zone is an interesting concept
because it's a lot more common in cross gender friendships
between men and women, and according to some psychologists, the

term is used a lot more by men when they
have been rejected by a woman who showed no romantic
interest in them in this way. I think it's a
bit controversial because a lot of feminist writers and thinkers
tend to think of it as like a concept to
soothe male feelings of rejection, and it is kind of
associated with this idea that men see friendship with women

as offering some kind of sexual reward if they are
nice enough to them. But when we take away that
gendered lens, I think the friend zone is really just
an assertion of person and all boundaries around where people
see the relationship relationship kind of existing in the grand
scheme and spectrum of relationships. When we confess our feelings

this is often this is an area that we don't want.
I think it's the fear of rejection that is particularly
scary in this situation. Rejection is painful on a social level,
but also on a physical and neurological level. The experience
of being shut down or pushed away elicits the same

kind of reactions we have in response to a physically
painful stimuli, like a beasting or grazing our knee or
breaking a bone. That's because it ignites the same areas
of our brains that are responsible for interpreting and processing
physical pain. We want to avoid that pain. So when
it occurs, when you've been brave, you've put yourself out there,

and you've been met with a less than ideal answer,
the first thing you are going to be feeling is regret,
maybe embarrassment, and then probably most likely fear that we've
said things we can't take back that are going to
permeate and perhaps all to the friendship forever. That's the
risk we take in these situations. I think when someone

doesn't reciprocate our feelings, it's essentially now an experience of
unrequited love, the emotions, the romantic intimacy that only goes
one way. That's particularly hard, I think, because feelings of
love are obviously meant to be shared, and it's okay
to grieve your idea of what this person could have

been and what you wanted them to be. It doesn't
mean that they still like you in a friendship capacity,
but maybe you do need to take some distance for
yourself as you heal. That would be my biggest piece
of advice is to take a few weeks apart so
you can think of a way forward. Even if you
can stay friends, I think it's still important to have

a bit of like a cooling down period for yourself
to actually think about it and to think about how
difficult these unrequired emotions might be and how you're gonna manage.
I think most of the time we have this impulse
to kind of keep face and pretend it doesn't bother
us and just like hope everything goes back to the
way it was by forcing the same kind of reactions

and interactions that we used to have. I would advise
against this because feelings don't disappear the moment, they aren't reciprocated.
They stay with us, and we often have a lot
of expectations that maybe this person might eventually change their mind.
You have to trust that this person knows what they
want and knows what's right for them, Even if it's

painful for you, try not to get stuck in the
mental loop of questioning their decision, questioning their answer. Is
it because I'm not their type? What's wrong with me physically?
Am I not good enough? It's definitely an now line
of thinking. We like to overly examine our perceived failures
to prevent them from occurring again, or to try and

come up with some cure or a solution, But often
it just gets us stuck in a pretty deep mental hole,
one that is filled with a lot of self doubt,
a lot of insecurity. Just because this person didn't pick
you doesn't mean that no one will, but it can
be really hard to see that when we're shouldering a
lot of deep pain. This is why, again I recommend

giving yourself some space, let yourself feel disappointed, let yourself
mourn for a little bit, and then start to think
about your future as friends and whether that relationship can
be maintained. I think that it's important to try to
focus on the friendship that is at the heart of
this experience. Right Like, you like them for a reason

because they are a good person. But are you going
to be satisfied with not having everything, with just having
the part that is platonic. That is a question that
I think you have to answer for yourself. But while
you're thinking it through, I want to give you five
tips for dealing with this situation from beginning to end.

I think when you first notice that you've developed feelings
for a friend, stop and pause. Do you actually like
this person or are they just the only person around?
This is sometimes a very real possibility, as the proximity
principle tells us, sometimes all attraction takes is physical closeness
to set up a whole chain of reactions. So pause

and consider whether this person would actually make you happy
in the long term, whether you are stretching your imagination
a little bit too much, or whether you are just
seeing potential when there isn't anything actually there. Dating in
our twenties is really hard. First dates suck, blind dates
are even worse. The constant small talk, rejection, the heartbreak.

It can feel like a lot, And so some times,
when we've been through a lot of that, we seek
comfort in the things that we know, which is this
friend that we know will never harm us. But it
doesn't necessarily mean that just because you're good friends that
a relationship with them would work out that they are
the right person for you. So I would say, honestly,
look at this person's personality, look at their character, look

at their behavior. Are they really as wonderful as you
think they are? Do you think that your life would
be perfect with this person or is there maybe someone
else out there? And that's my second point. Give yourself
some space to date elsewhere. Don't date looking for distraction,
but to look for possibility. Sometimes we become very obsessive

when we have one person in mine and we have
decided that they are the one. And maybe I sound pessimistic,
but I think that we have more than just one
person out there who is compatible with us, who would
make us happy. So don't limit yourself before you know
how they feel. Don't don't close yourself off into like

this space of compulsion and obsession towards this person. Keep
the doors open, keep your mind open to the possibility
of someone else, and don't wait for them to act
or to ask you how you're feeling. Be an active
player here, get yourself some answers so that you can
move forward in whatever the direction this relationship is going

to take. You have to be brave to go after
what you want in life in any capacity, and the
answer is always going to be no unless you ask,
in which case, yeah, you know, it might still be
a no. But how can you really confirm that if
you never say anything, if you never speak up. I
think that speaking your truth is one of the greatest

gifts that you can give yourself. If it doesn't give
you a relationship, at least it will give you answers
for those times when things haven't gone the way that
you want them to. I cannot stress this enough. Treat
it like a breakup, or like any other kind of
romantic loss or rejection. When we shame ourselves out of
big emotions, what we are enduring is called disenfranchised grief,

and that is a kind of loss that is not
openly acknowledged and accepted, despite its still being painful for
the person experiencing it. In this case, you remember, it's
okay to miss them. It's okay to be sad about
the possibility that you saw and the future that you imagined.

But it doesn't mean that they are the one. It's
just the result of a bond of attachment of our
memory flare ups. You know, our brains are weirdly wired
to bring up old memories and information when it's not useful.
So it doesn't mean that you've like missed out right
just because you're thinking about this person, just because they're

in their brain is no, there's no deeper meaning in that.
There's no deeper fate that you've missed out on. I
think it's just our natural reaction to not just rejection,
but also to a disruption in our attachment. Wanting to
reach out doesn't make you weak. Mourning something that never
was doesn't make you crazy. I hate that word. You

are just a human with a lot of big emotions.
You are so sensitive, and you have a lot of
love to give, and I think that capacity to love
others is very rare and very beautiful and should be celebrated,
especially during a time where I think everyone really wants
to play games and keep things close to their chest.

It's honestly so radical to be so open with your
love and your feelings for others. And I always think
it's the people who are told they love too much,
who give too much to others, who struggle the most
in dating. But they are the ones who experience the
deepest and most gorgeous, delicate human emotions. And feelings and

passion when they find the right person. This person is
not the right person. They are not the one, even
though you have this attachment to them, even though you
have this connection. But when you do find this person
who is for you, think about how amazing it's going
to feel. And this current experience, what you're going through
is just a chapter in your story. It's something to

perhaps one day laugh about, and you'll soon really realize
that it's part of the journey that gets you to
where you need to be going. So in that space
between now and then, do things you know will help
you heal. Give yourself space to focus on your own
self growth, getting really deep into your goals, your hobbies,

anything to get you thinking about something other than this person.
Consciously shift your thoughts from returning again and again to
your friend and what could have been, to what your
life will be. If you take all of that energy
and you spend it on yourself. You just want to say,
I am sending a whole lot of love personally. I
know it's really difficult. I know that you get really

really wrapped up in what could be and what is,
and it feels like you're never going to get over
this person. It feels like this is going to destroy you.
I've lived through it. It doesn't. It gets better. You will
recover from this. It will just be part of this
great story that is expanding out in front of you.

And maybe it does work out, in which case that's fantastic.
You will join this huge group of people who do meet,
you know, the loves of their lives as friends. And
I think that's just like a wonderful part of human
connection and human relationships is that we have the capacity
to really form these really meaningful relationships both platonically and romantically.

Just because something isn't romantic doesn't mean that it's not
platonically valuable. That's something I also want you to remember.
So again, lots of love, lots of healing, lots of strength.
You will do what is best for you and I'm
hoping that you get the outcome that you deserve, and
if not, you have the everything that you need to
move on and to move forward. So thank you so

much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it,
please feel free to leave a five star review on
Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you're listening right now, make sure
you're following along for when new episodes come out. There's
some pretty good ones coming out soon, some special guest episodes,
and if you have a episode suggestion, if you want
to tell me a story about the person that you've

fallen in love with who might be a friend, maybe
a situation where this has worked out, please send me
a DM at that Psychology podcast. I would love to
hear from you, and as always, stay kind and be
gentle to yourselves until next time.
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