Risking a friendship for love

I’m afraid she won’t see me the way I see her.

Our elder says it’s the chances you don’t take that you’ll regret.

Dear EWC:

Hey, I’ve been holding this thought in my head for a LONG while. I love my lesbian best friend. I’m a coward because I don’t know how to express myself about it.

I’ve just recently started to see women this way. Years ago when she came out to me I said “me too” without thinking, then I said “I mean ‘me too’ to knowing that you were gay,” ‘and she just looked at me confused. Bad huh. I pretend like everything is the same but when she leaves I get teary-eyed. I want to spend all my time with her but I only see her twice a week.

The thing is I don’t have the self confidence to tell her. She has so much self confidence and is so beautiful, I honestly can’t think straight when I’m around her. (Take the pun if you want!) I’m afraid she won’t see me the way I see her and if I do tell her that she won’t want to spend time with me. To be honest, I would rather keep her friendship than wreck it with a built-up fantasy. Especially when my low self-esteem tells me she will never really want to be on the pedestal I put her on. I mean all she has to do is barely mention something and I’ll do it for her.

I guess my question is how should I approach this because I’m scared on so many levels.

Lloyd replies:

Well, your question is about opening up to your friend about your attraction to her, but it could be about a thousand other aspects of life: Where should I apply for college, should I call about that job interview, do I go to that poetry reading on Friday night, can I bike across Missouri on the Katy trail. So I’m going to share my opinion with you about how you want to approach all of those things and maybe it will make it easier to put the girlfriend thing in perspective—and allow you to act.

I’m 67 years old. I’ve made thousands of choices/decisions in my life and looking back, I don’t regret any one of them where I found the courage to try something that scared me—to take a risk that could have a downside, to go for it, even though my knees were shaking. On the other hand, I can think of many times when I talked myself out of a chance, didn’t try for fear of failure, and those are the regrets I have today. I’m not saying that going for it (whatever it is) always provides a positive outcome. I’m saying that I believe with all my heart that in the final tally, one’s life will be so much richer, meaningful, and satisfying if you get to my age and have put yourself at risk and asked for what you want to the greatest extent possible throughout your life.

So, I know it’s easy for me to say and hard for you to do, but my advice is to tell your friend what you are feeling. Don’t wrap it in a pretty ribbon—share with her all the crazy thoughts in your head, your excitement, your lack of confidence, your attraction, your desire to not lose her friendship, your confusion. You can project all you want how you think she will react, but that’s just your fear putting those thoughts in your head. The fact is you can’t know and won’t know until you have that talk. I’m not guaranteeing a happily ever after. I’m guaranteeing that if you live your life the way you live that moment there’s going to be more wins than losses, more joy than regrets. You’re young. You will be okay no matter how this turns out. But I bet that if you open up to her, her response is going to be different than anything you have imagined. The important thing is you will have been brave, and practicing being brave makes it easier to be brave in the future. And that makes for a full life. I’m rooting for you.

Letter #: 449209
Category: Friendship

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