Waiting on his answer

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I finally spilled the beans to my college best friend that I have feelings for him. We've stayed very close since college and often talk on the phone about our lives, and meet up in person when we're near each other (we currently live in different places). He is a genuine, witty, and compassionate person who makes me want to be better at being myself. We can be flirty when we hang out but we've never done anything physical. We are both currently single. My feelings for him have only grown stronger in the recent past. I was keeping these feelings to myself and drove myself batty thinking about it, so I am relieved that I finally said something.

When I told him how I felt, I could tell that he was surprised but not put off by my comments. He thanked me for being comfortable enough around him to share everything. We left it with me saying, "Just think about it," and that all I was asking was if he would be open at some point (and not necessarily meaning right now) to give me a chance.

I am not asking to rush into a relationship or for an intense commitment. What I am really looking for is just the chance to keep talking to him and hanging out with open minds – that if something romantic or more feelings were to happen, that it would be OK, and we could explore it. We've chatted a bit about other random things since "the talk." I don't want to explicitly bring it up because I want to give him space and time to think about how he might feel. My question is: How long do I wait? I'm trying to be optimistic that maybe he could be open to it, but I'm also scared that he will come back and tell me he's not interested at all.

I am going to be respectful and wait until he is ready to talk about it, and I know we will talk about it, but if the option is totally off the table, how do I prepare myself to deal with the blow and begin to focus my mental/emotional energy elsewhere? I know I could lose him as a friend, and/or our friendship could change drastically, but I am willing to accept that risk. I would rather be open to trying this out and having it fail than go on pretending I don't want to explore this.

– Fell for the BFF

It kind of sounds like you're waiting for an answer to a question you didn't ask.

Yes, you disclosed your feelings and asked him to think about being more than friends, but then you made it clear that there's no pressure – and no timeline. You basically told him that if the two of you are together, you'd like him to be open to more. I don't get the sense that he would assume you're waiting on him to announce his own feelings. Really, he might not know what they are.

For that reason – and because of the distance – you should focus your energy elsewhere, no matter what. He is one big "maybe" at the moment, and you need other distractions. Don't stop your entire dating life while you wait for him to make a move. It's best to assume his answer is no until he tells you otherwise.

If you want to bring this up again, maybe do it in person – when he's had time to think about what it feels like to be by your side. He might need more of that kind of quality time before he knows what he wants. You might need it, too.

Also (and I feel like I’ve said this 500 times in 2018), when you fall for a best friend – and all you want from them is something more than friendship – they are no longer your BFF. He is not your platonic pal and hasn't been for awhile. Call him something else.

– Meredith

Readers? Should the LW expect to hear a definitive answer about feelings?