I’ve had the same best friend since I was 5. Lately, I can’t stop thinking about kissing her. Am I a lesbian? Should I tell her how I feel?
— Age 17
Wow. It sounds like you’ve got a lot on your mind! It can sometimes be overwhelming to try and make heads or tails of romantic feelings that develop in a friendship and it gets even more complicated when you are also struggling with questions about your sexual orientation. So I’m going to try and answer your question in two parts since you are asking two separate, although related questions. But firstly, I want to reassure you that you aren’t alone. Many teenagers of both genders can develop sexual feelings towards their friends and many wonder if these feelings reflect on their sexual identity. Fantasizing about kissing your best friend does not necessarily mean you are a lesbian. It can mean that you feel safe and close to her, that you are curious, that you are lonely or that you love her and are grateful for her friendship. You don’t say if you feel attracted to girls in general, or just to this one friend. It can be hard to draw any general conclusions about your sexual orientation based on feelings toward one person. Feelings, and especially feelings of attraction, can be complicated, and it’s tough to generalize based on just one or two experiences. To start figuring it out, you can try noticing if you also feel attracted to other people, and of what genders. Most importantly, it’s okay to not know yet.
So this brings us to the second part of your question. I know it is tempting to want to share these feelings but first I want you to consider the short and long term impact on the friendship. How do you think your friend will respond? Do you think she will be surprised? Confused? Upset or even angry? If so, I would caution you to hold off on disclosure for now. Becoming romantically involved with your best friend, no matter what their gender or whatever your sexual identity, is a complicated undertaking that generally doesn’t end well. Instead get out there and try to date – boys, girls, whomever you are attracted to. Explore, have fun and grow. Once you’ve dated more, questions about your sexuality should become more clear and chances are you will still have your best friend to share these experiences with!
For more on LGBTQ+ questions and healthy relationships, please visit our Resources section.