It’s not often that our romantic interest in someone is mutually requited do we must learn to exist in the limbo of what I shall call “Romantic Friendship” where it’s not merely as straightforward as a typical friendship but exists with romantic interest for or from one or both parties.

I say one or both parties because it is possible that both parties are interested but for whatever reason, the feelings should yet be sublimated and perhaps the time is not right for declaration–and often in this case one or both are unsure whether the other party feels the same way and as such, are keeping their feelings under wraps until the cost is clear to express them.

Romantic feelings within the context of a close friendship when one-sided or seemingly one-sided poses a serious threat to the friendship and it is not an exaggeration to say that the terrain is rocky in such a case and should be negotiated with care lest things get too awkward or convoluted.

In such friendships, since outright rejection may significantly hurt the other and therefore compromise the friendship, a lot of things remain unsaid and possibly can turn into an endless symphony of misunderstandings and care must be taken in both deciphering the signals given by the other and in expressing one’s own position.

Until such a time when the situation is ripe for resolution where there is a clearing of the air or where the feelings naturally fizzles off, considerable strain is present in the friendship.

Non-response to SMS messages, emails, calls, invitations and/or other overtures must not be disregarded. Non-response or a very delayed response should be considered as messages of disinterest in pursuing any romantic avenues. In this case the interested party must desist from putting the friendship on the line.

In the case of the object of desire, care must be taken to not hurt the other’s feelings but yet at the same time be firm and kind in letting the other down easy or transmitting the message that one is disinterested in taking the friendship to the next level while at the same time not being cavalier about the other’s feelings and using their interest to go on an ego trip.

In the case where both people are interested, care needs to be taken in observing whether the friendship is ripe enough to move on to the next level. Discussions of expectations should be part of the initial conversations after feelings are admitted. Note that the admitting of feelings clearly is crucial for mutual interest to be fully valid, otherwise, the situation is just a glorified game of guesses and assumptions and jumping to conclusions can be lethal to the friendship.

The terrain as such is complex and fraught with dangers but without completely excluding possible rewards. We must be vigilant in not reading too much into what is said and done unless a proper declaration is made because we could easily wind up being hurt and/or looking like a fool and putting the friendship on the line. Good luck!

(c) Niconica 2012