Telling a friend you love them is a massive step. It puts you in a vulnerable position and makes you feel like you have everything to lose. If you get together, you leave behind years of friendship that you built together. If they reject you, you’re left feeling like you can’t be friends anymore. In some ways, it feels like a lose-lose situation. However, telling a friend you love them allows you to move on from your feelings, whichever way the outcome swings. Still, it is definitely possible that they might feel the same, and you need to prepare for that.

Telling a friend you love them doesn’t have to be the end of something good between you. If you know how to prepare, then you can accept the outcome better. Here’s how to deal with telling a friend you love them and being rejected.

Be as honest as you can

When you’ve been rejected, you should be completely honest with your friend about the way they made you feel. This doesn’t mean attacking them because they don’t see you in the same light. It means letting them know that you have deep feelings and expressing how it hurts to be pushed away. As your friend, they will know how to comfort you, and you can talk about it a little afterwards to get your friendship back on track.

Don’t be bitter if they say no

Not everyone in life will love you back, or at least not in the way you want them to. People who have been friends for a long time will also struggle to see you in a new light, so telling a friend you love them is always a risk. However, it’s one worth taking, and though you never know what the outcome will be, at least you can say you tried.

Ask for a little space for your heart to heal

A good friend will understand why their rejection means you can’t hang out for a while. You need space to get over your feelings and leave those emotions in the past. You know it would hurt too much right now to see them with anyone else or even just see them as unavailable to you. While you get over it, you plan to keep clear for your own sake.

Focus on yourself for a while

You’ve spent a lot of time and energy on loving someone else, and sometimes you forget to love yourself too. This time of heartbreak is an opportunity to give something back to your heart. You might do something you’ve always wanted to do, or treat yourself to a fun night with the girls, or even take a trip somewhere you’ve never been before. Healing comes from giving yourself positive energy instead of wasting it on someone who doesn’t feel the same. You can always afford to focus on yourself a little, though it might feel selfish. Right now, you’re the number one priority.

Meet some new people

This doesn’t mean you should be seeking romantic love elsewhere. However, surrounding yourself with new people can be a very rewarding experience. As part of your plan to move on, you can accept new people into your life and give yourself a boost. Especially if you spent a lot of time previously with the friend that rejected you, it could be worth finding some other company while the pain of your broken heart subsides.

Don’t settle for second best

When you have been telling a friend you love them and received a rejection, it can be tempting to dive right in with someone new. You might receive some flirtatious attention from a guy and be inclined to start a fling. While sometimes this can help, for many people, it’s just a way of masking emotion until they inevitably break. There are much healthier ways to get over telling a friend you love them, and it just requires a little bit of patience to figure out what’s best for you. When your heart is still raw, it’s best not to take any action just yet. Wait for you to patch it up at least before searching for other romance.

Never be afraid of your emotions

Romantic feelings can swell so much that you feel like they’ve taken over you completely. When someone tells you they don’t feel the same, you’re inclined to collapse into yourself. Most people try to hold back on this because they think it’s better to try and stay strong, but letting the emotion out allows you to move on much more quickly. If you feel like you need to cry, do it. If you’re angry, head to the gym and take it out on a boxing bag. Whatever helps, do it. Don’t fear what you feel. If you do, you’ll never feel a happy release.

Don’t take the rejection personally

There are plenty of reasons why telling a friend you love them might not work out. It might be that they just don’t see you that way. It might be a difference in age, or they might be attracted to another gender. They might not be ready for a relationship, or they might already have fallen for someone as well. Bear in mind that unrequited love is common for all different reasons. Your friend might be going through the exact same thing. If you want to be the best friend possible, wish them well with their romantic endeavours and leave your emotions behind. You should want them to be happy, and they will want the same for you.

Never assume that one rejection means always being rejected

You aren’t damaged goods just because one person says no to you. Not everyone can be attracted to the same people, otherwise the world would be chaos. If telling a friend you love them ends with them rejecting you, try again with someone else. Love can wait – you don’t have to find it right this second. When you find someone new it’ll be so worth it, and then you can get your friendship with the other person back on track.

Telling a friend you love them is hard, but rewarding

Love stories are always complex. There might be more than two people involved. Gender and sexuality may confuse our perception of how people feel about us, or how we feel about them. You might go from love to hate and hate to love. You could be searching in all the wrong places while the perfect person is right there under your nose. Telling a friend you love them is complicated too, but you gain so much from the experience. You gain confidence from knowing you can do it. You might feel the effects of a broken heart, but you’ll also learn how to mend it. If your friendship survives, you’ll come out the other end much stronger than before. The benefits are endless if you’re willing to look for the rainbow between the clouds. It’s an important part of life to admit your true feelings, and even if you’re knocked back, you can be happy in the knowledge that you tried.

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