He doesn’t want to risk our friendship

Two things:

1. I've been getting some emails about off-topic comments, tone of comments, etc. We're looking into some new ways to filter comments, but in the meantime, feel free to arrange comments by "Best." I notice that it tends to pull the most on-topic comments to the top.

2. Monday is a holiday. We'll take the day off, but I'll run advice written by local high school students. They did a great job.

Speaking of young people ...

I'm about to turn 20, and I have a crush on my best friend. He and I have known each other since we were kids. For a long time there was nothing between us other than a solid friendship. We were also both in serious relationships. But in November, my former boyfriend broke up with me and I was torn to pieces. A few months after the breakup I realized that I was starting to develop a little crush on my friend. He was still in a relationship so I didn't let myself think about it too much. Shortly after his girlfriend broke up with him, though, we became much closer, and my feelings are now a lot stronger. Our friends say we would make a great couple.

I decided to talk to him about it and to tell him how I feel. His response was, "I see what everyone (our peers) else sees, I really do. But starting a relationship with someone who is basically a stranger is easier, because if that relationship ends, well, that's it, the relationship ended. But with you, it wouldn't just be the relationship that would end, but our friendship, too, and I wouldn't want to risk the friendship that we have. I'm sorry, but you're just too good of a friend." My question is: Is he just trying to sugarcoat it and let me down gently? Or is there at least a sliver of a chance that maybe one day he'll grow out of the fear of losing the friendship?

The reason this is important to me is because I haven't felt this way for anyone in a long time, and I just love that I can be 100 percent myself around him, and that he really makes me feel safe and sound. We have so much in common. Most importantly, he's the kind of guy I see myself growing old with – and, to me, there's no point in going out too look for someone like him when he's right there right in front of me. I'm eager to hear what you have to say about this, and thanks for your time.

– Eager

First, he gets an applause emoji (insert here) for being so clear about his concerns. A breakup with you would be different. He might feel casual about relationships at this age, and I don't see how he could be casual with you.

The thing he hasn't thought about, though, is that your friendship has already been altered because of your feelings. You really want this, which means you can't fake a platonic friendship. It might be too difficult to remain his buddy if it means watching him date other people. If your feelings are unrequited, you might need some space to get over it.

My advice is to continue to be honest with him about the state of the friendship. If you find yourself spending most of your time wishing and hoping that he'll change his mind, you'll need to let him know that you can't get back to where you were. Then it's up to him to accept your offer and try, or give you the real rejection you need to move on. Either way, he'll have to understand that the relationship has changed. You can't pretend the feelings aren't there.

One last thought: You might want to skip the talk about "growing old together." I love the honesty, but that kind of concept is too big to consider at 20.

– Meredith