I have had a crush on a friend, but I've been too nervous to say anything. This friend, whom I met while in college, has qualities I look for in a partner. As an individual living on the milder end of the autism spectrum, navigating daily social settings has always been a major struggle for me, and approaching an attractive individual has always been a major challenge.
I've been going back and forth on whether I should tell my friend how I feel about them. Part of me doesn't want to ruin whatever friendship we have, and part of me is afraid that if I don't say something, I'll end up regretting not taking the opportunity to express how I feel. Thanks for the insight.
We get a lot of letters from people who say they're afraid to declare their romantic feelings because they don't want to ruin a friendship. I pretty much always tell these letter writers to speak up.
Yes, there is a risk of ruining the friendship, but ... that relationship is already a little off, isn't it? In your case, when you're with this person, you think about trying for more. You have unanswered questions. Maybe you have to do some acting to keep these feelings to yourself.
Often, when feelings are disclosed but unreciprocated, the friendship isn't ruined; it just changes. Sometimes for the better. Both people know where they stand, and they have a better sense of each other. They can be thoughtful about needs and boundaries. That's not so terrible.
It sounds like you want this person to be your friend no matter what, but you want to be able to manage your expectations. I think you should disclose all of that. Then you can enjoy the results (if this person is into you, too) or figure out the best way to move on.