One of the things just-engaged people often say is, “I can’t believe I get to marry my best friend!” And it’s true that our significant others are often our best friends – sometimes by default, sometimes because we spend so much time with them, and sometimes because they grow to be our best friends as our love for them grows too. But sometimes, it’s because they started out as our best friends before we discovered we had romantic feelings for them.
If you’re like me and got together with/married someone who was your best friend for a long time before you had the sense to shout your love for them from the rooftops, you’ve probably come to understand that there are signs the two of you might’ve ignored or just not understood at the time – you know, before you made that leap from friends to lovebirds. So in light of that, here are the biggest flashing neon signs I wished we’d seen then.
You try to look your best when you know they’ll be around
When my now-husband was around in a friend setting, I would at the very least put more effort into my appearance than if I was just hanging out with a platonic friend or group of friends. I know now that I wanted to stand out to this person, so it makes sense.
Hugs from them feel different
Do you get excited to hug them, and does it last a little longer than a hug from other friends? Is a goodbye not complete without that hug? Might want to think about that.
People ask if you’re dating, or if you’ve dated in the past
This is a big sign that there is a partnership between the two of you that goes further than “just friends.” If (multiple) people around you can see there’s chemistry, there very likely is.
You would do anything to make them smile and/or impress them
This includes making a total fool of yourself for their benefit, or going to a concert for a band you absolutely hate just because they love it. Or pretend you love a gross food they love.
Compliments from them feel like you just won the jackpot
Sure, compliments from family and other friends are nice and flattering. But when that special friend comments that you look nice or that you did a great job with something, it makes you want to climb to the top of a mountain and sing, Sound of Music-style.
Even seconds apart from them seems way too long
When you first start dating someone, you want to be together All. The. Time. But when you haven’t even gotten together yet, every moment with that person seems even more precious.
You definitely have some sort of jealous feeling going on if they bring a new boo around
This one is pretty obvious, but yeah. Cordial behavior aside, explore whether a potential romantic interest for your BFF makes your insides feel like they’re on fire. And not in a good way – like, flames-on-the-side-of-your-face fire.
They pop up in your dreams a lot
No one REALLY knows the meaning of most types of dreams, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that if one person is continually making cameos in your dreams, it probably means you’re thinking about them. And if these scenes are usually romantic, well, it’s kind of a no-brainer.
You find yourself smelling a shirt they left at your place
Or just low-key inhaling whenever they hug you or get close to you or whatever – even if they’ve had an active/sweaty day. Actually, ESPECIALLY if they’ve had an active/sweaty day.
Their pain and struggles feel more personal than other friends’
Any good friend is there for their friends in their most desperate hours. But the hardships of a best friend you’re in love with will feel like your own to the point where they can quite possibly physically hurt you. Stomach pains when your friend is crying = a good indicator you’re in love.
You could easily create a playlist just of songs about unrequited love that remind you of them
Every love song – especially those about unrequited love – will start talking to you like your BFF is singing them to the point where you can create multiple Spotify playlists chronicling the entirety of your relationship, by year (ahem, not that I’ve done that or anything).
Their presence seems to be the only thing holding you together at times
We all need our loved ones in a time of crisis. But a best friend you’re actually in love with? Ben Folds put it best in “The Luckiest”: “And in a wide sea of eyes, I see one pair that I recognize.”
You go out of your way for them more than anyone else
“Hey, I know it’s 2:45 a.m. and tomorrow is your grandma’s birthday party that you have to help set up for, butttt I could really use a conversation.”
If you can imagine your friend saying this and the reason you’d be there for them goes beyond the duties of just being a good friend – like, you feel butterflies in your stomach and honored they’d choose you for this important conversation – there may be something deeper going on.
You have imagined kissing them – probably more than once
No shame. Hey, no one can police your thoughts, OK?