I want him only as a friend

I am a girl of 17. It is three years since I have chosen a boy as my “best” friend. My parents know of our friendship and have never objected to it. One day he suddenly declared his love for me, taking me by surprise. But, I want him only as a friend and nothing more. How do I get out of this situation without hurting him?
Namrata

Dear Namrata,

Looks like you’re in a dilemma — your “best” friend wishes to become your boyfriend, which you don’t want. You are dismayed and upset that your treasured relationship has undergone an irreversible change. And now that he has declared a romantic interest in you, no matter what you tell him, you risk losing his friendship.

The gentlest way to break this dilemma is to be frank yet compassionate. Tell him that you are fond of him and appreciate him as your best friend, but that you don’t see him as anything more than that at this point. Tell him lovingly that you’re aware that he will feel hurt by what you say and that you feel bad, too. Since you have been close friends, seek his participation to find a good solution to the problem. Ask him, ‘how can we work through this and yet retain our friendship?’ If he thinks that he cannot remain your friend only, he might cut off the friendship; or he may want time away for a while; or he might even accept your decision and choose to continue as good friends. No matter what the response, you will need to support and accept his choice, and he yours.

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Nasreen Hashambhoy
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Nasreen Hashambhoy

Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.