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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

So, You & Your Friend Like The Same Person: Here’s How To Navigate It

Picture this: you and your best friend just happen to find the same person attractive. It’s that classic dilemma where you and your friend have a crush on the same person. Unfortunately, you can’t just turn off whatever you’re watching and go on with your day. As much as we find love triangles entertaining on Love Is Blind or any early 2000s rom-com, it just so happens that this is real life. So, what do you do if your friend likes the same person as you?  

Who’s to say love is easy, anyway? Yet amidst all these messy feelings, there’s a silver lining—a chance to maybe overcome such a conflict, with your friendship intact and maybe even a new perspective on love and personal priorities.

It’s hard to really know what to do when you have shared romantic interests with a friend. It could put even the strongest friendships to the test. Suddenly, the camaraderie that once defined your bond feels strained as you both find yourselves drawn to the same person. This is why I talked to the founder of the Lonely Hearts Club and licensed social worker Lexi Joondeph-Breidbart, LMSW, on how to navigate romantic competition with someone you consider a friend.

Romantic Competition Can Often Lead to Thoughts of Insecurity.

Discovering that a friend shares romantic feelings for the same person can trigger a wave of insecurity. Understand that feelings of insecurity are common when faced with romantic competition with a friend. It’s crucial to address these insecurities and recognize that they stem from comparing oneself to others.

“Questions such as, ‘Are they more attractive than I am? Are they funnier than I am?’ can occupy one’s thoughts and cause a decrease in self-esteem,” Joondeph-Breidbar tells Her Campus. “Dishonesty can also come up in this situation between friends. It can feel uncomfortable to share your genuine feelings knowing that your friend may feel hurt.” The fear of hurting your friend’s feelings can breed discomfort, making it challenging to express genuine emotions. Some may even fear their friend becoming a threat, potentially jeopardizing their connection with the mutual crush.

Prioritize Honest Communication.

With that insecurity festering within you, honesty is the antidote to insecurity in the realm of romantic competition. “Accepting that the situation is uncomfortable can help to initiate a conversation about it with your friend,” says Joondeph-Breidbar. “You can start by saying, ‘I feel vulnerable right now, but I value our friendship and I want us to work together through this uncomfortable situation.’” This stops both parties from seeing it as a competition but rather as a conflict that both of you could work together to overcome.

Establish Boundaries and Self-Care.

There’s never a definitive answer on whether or not you should pursue that relationship. “Every scenario is unique. It all depends on the two individuals and whether their romantic feelings seem to be worth threatening the friendship,” says Joondeph-Breidbar. “There is no ‘right’ answer.”

Whether you choose to pursue the mutual crush or take a step back, prioritizing boundaries and self-care should become essential amid an emotionally taxing situation.“Setting boundaries with your friend will allow you both to respectfully manage your feelings with the other in mind,” she says. Establishing clear boundaries with your friend enables both of you to navigate your feelings with sensitivity.

Consider boundaries like refraining from discussing the shared crush unless necessary or avoiding mentioning each other when discussing romantic feelings with mutual friends. Things like journaling can become a great personal outlet, especially when external avenues for expressing feelings may be limited.

Avoid Any Triggering Posts.

If you’ve decided to take a step back and your friend finds a way into a relationship with said person, it’s up to you to start facilitating ways to prevent jealousy and resentment from causing a rift in the friendship.

“Mute your friend and the person you have romantic feelings for on all social media channels,” suggests Joondeph-Breidbar. “Do not suppress your feelings. Instead, make the effort to sit with your emotions and process them either through therapy and/or journaling. For some, taking time away from seeing their friend may be helpful as they work through difficult emotions.”

Don’t forget to prioritize activities that bring you joy. These moments of happiness can boost your confidence and prioritize which aspects of life you cherish. Remember, life extends beyond romantic relationships, so embrace what it has to offer outside of it.

Whether you get your crush in the end and run off into the sunset or you end up finding someone else, situations like these aren’t just about the possibility of a romantic relationship. It’s about preserving the invaluable bond you share. By communicating openly, setting boundaries, and prioritizing self-care, you can emerge from this experience stronger together.

Krissie Cruz is a National Writer for the Wellness department and a contributor to the Her Campus McMaster chapter. She writes a slew of topics but primarily focuses on all things culture, wellness and life. Aside from Her Campus, Krissie is currently a fourth-year political science student with a specialization in public law and judicial studies. She also has a minor in philosophy and an interest in applied social sciences research. Although her initial dream was to pursue law, her passion for writing has led her to a future in the publishing industry. Despite a shift in interests, politics and social justice hold a special place in her heart. In her free time, she spends hours binge-reading, taking film photography, and curating oddly specific Spotify playlists. She’s an active participant in the queer Toronto space by attending events and if her schedule allows it, volunteering for Pride Toronto.