After an unexpected kiss, I realized I’ve fallen for my best friend. Problem is, he suddenly won’t talk to me.

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I met my best friend when we were in college. He has had multiple girlfriends in the decade since we met each other, and I’ve had several boyfriends — but neither of us have been serious enough about someone to even move in together. In the meantime, we have consistently spent tons of time together, gone on vacations, been each other’s plus-ones at family and work events, etc.

We hung out a lot during this last COVID year. It was such a relief to be around someone I was so close to and who knew understood me so well. One night not long ago, after a late movie night and some wine, we were sitting close on my couch, and I kissed him.

Maybe this was a long time coming? Maybe I can blame it on the weirdness of COVID? I don’t know. All I know is after it happened, he bolted so fast we hardly said goodbye, and since then, I can barely get him to respond to texts.

The truth is, I don’t know why I kissed him — I do know I liked it though. But I’d be willing to just forget all that if he said to me that he didn’t want to do anything to mess up our friendship, because I value our friendship so very much. At the same time, I liked that kiss. I think I really like him. And based on years of time together, I think maybe he likes me. What do I do to get him to talk to me and help me figure this out?

Wanda says:

Let’s just put it out there that the isolation, stress and weirdness of COVID definitely wreaked collective havoc on emotions. Given that, let’s give your friend a solid pass on his reaction to your, well, also solid pass. Whether he’s nuts about you or completely freaked out by your apparent crush, it’s a lot to take on when your friendship was possibly one of the only stable things he could lean on.

Ditto goes for you; here’s someone who was there for you this past year, and is it at all possible that your romantic gesture and subsequent kiss was a result of feeling super-safe and solid with him while the world seemed to be falling apart around you? Yes, you two need to talk and sort out your path forward, but you have a fair amount of solo searching to do to figure out if your romantic feelings for him are legit, or just a reactive display of passion rooted in the comfort and safety he’s afforded you.

Let’s say, though, that you sort through that, and you decide that in fact yes, you’re nuts about this guy, and that after years of being best buds, you realize at least on your part, you’re on the onset of a budding romance. What then? Well, reinventing your friendship into a romantic relationship would take work. In some ways, it would be like getting to know a whole new guy, as the self we present to friends is often somewhat different from the self we give to our intimate partners. That said, if the past year has taught us anything, it’s to be brave and bold and go for it. Good luck.

Wayne says:

Well, I bet he didn’t see that movie night twist ending coming! And now your story is becoming something of a cliched romantic comedy. Can these best friends become best lovers? “Forever Your Plus One,” coming soon to your favorite streaming platform.

It’s clear you really like him and want more, and are you really unsure if “maybe he likes” you? Of course he likes you! You’ve been best of friends for years. But does he like you like you? That’s tough: I think that if he did, he would have made a move a long time ago. I mean, if regularly attending weddings together with the bottomless champagne, snappy dressing, flirty dancing and romance permeating the air don’t inspire some kind of sparks and post-wedding action, nothing will.

Either way, I agree with Wanda: it’s time to talk. Appreciate that he may also be having an existential crisis about this relationship, but he’ll eventually answer his phone. When he does, as a friend you start with an apology for surprising him. But as someone who now wants this friendship to evolve, tell him you’re not sorry that you kissed him and you aren’t sorry for wanting more. Tell him that the past year has made it clear that you’re in love with him. Period. The end.

Could it backfire? Sure. But the reality is, even if he’s cool with the kiss but wants to just remain friends, this friendship is going to change significantly the moment one of you actually meets someone special who turns into a real plus one. So shoot your shot and don’t half-step it.