So you’ve screwed your best mate, here is how to stop it screwing with your head
A step by step guide on how to manage the walls of the friend zone crumbling around you
Sleeping with your best mate is possibly the easiest way to bulldoze any rational thoughts of friendship your brain may have had. The immediate reaction is panic at the thought of losing a friendship; self-loathing for being so stupid and sheer shock that you’ve now crossed the line from Camp Rock to the Final Jam (possibly the worst innuendo I could have come up with).
Whilst at the time it feels like the most isolating experience, that no one on the planet could ever relate to, because “you were best friends”; “only ever friends” and “were going to be best pals for life”, you’re not the only one who’s been through it. So many of us have been there, wondering how we got into this situation in the first place and we know it’s not always easy.
This guide is here to help you get through it in a way that is as practical and panic-free as can be, even though internally you probably feel as though your brain and heart are melting in unison. Follow these 8 simple steps to prevent yourself from making the fatal errors those of us who lacked this advice made, and probably ended up ruining the friendship. So what you slipped and fell on your best mate’s dick, it doesn’t have to end the friendship.
1. Assess the situation
Before you even begin to blurt out some gibberish probably claiming that what you just did was a huge mistake and should never happen again, think about what you actually want the outcome to be. There are 3 questions to consider:
- Was this just sex or do I like this person more than I’m letting on?
- Was it good sex?
- Do I want this to happen again?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, seriously consider your reaction. Remember first and foremost this person is your best friend and saying something harsh, or “carefree” could hurt their feelings. This is not some one night stand you’re never going to see again, it’s someone you care about a lot- so minimising the collateral is key.
2. Talk about it
Oh my god, if one more person tells me they’ve got with their best friend and it’s never been spoken of since and they’re still cut up about it, my head might spin-off. ROOKIE ERROR (that we all make :/) If you never ever talk about it, there’s going to be confusion and that can lead to miscommunication.
You need to talk about what just happened for 4 reasons.
Work out the feelings of both parties
Does one party have feelings, do you both have feelings, was it just casual for both of you? It doesn’t matter, you just need to make sure you’re on the same page.
2. Establish the story
Be realistic, saying you’ll never tell anyone ever is not. Make sure both parties are happy with what you’re telling your respective friends (chances are if you’re best pals you have mutual friends) And trust, you do not want it coming full circle that your friend thought it was a total accident when you thought it was the start of something. You will feel dreadful.
3. Make sure you’re pal is okay
This person is your best friend before anything else, be a best friend, make sure they are okay before you part ways. Chances are if you are panicking they are also panicking.
4. All the practical reasons
This person is your best pal but you might not know their sexual history. If you didn’t use protection ask them if there is anything you need to get checked (if this stuff comes out further down the line it can be friendship ending). If your friend needs the morning after pill, go with them, they might need the emotional support. Remember all the times before shit got weird, you were just the supportive friend.
3. Take a breathe
Don’t just rush back in thinking your friendship will be exactly as it was the day before. You just showed someone your must vulnerable side that they have never seen before and it might take some time to process that. Depending on all your answers to your situation assessment, you might realise you don’t want this to be a one-off occasion which is so fine but don’t lie to yourself or your best mate about those feelings.
4. Be honest
Lying will get you nowhere. If you tell your best friend you’re fine when you’re actually eaten up with emotion, really struggling and they find out eventually they’re going to be frustrated they couldn’t help earlier. Here’s your 6000th reminder you are still best friends.
If you lie and say it meant nothing to you and then you’re cut to pieces when your best friend starts seeing someone else the only person you’ve played is yourself. If you lie and say it was a huge mistake even though you didn’t think that and you end up making your best friend feel bad you will regret it later on. This brings me on to point 5.
5. Get everything out
Don’t just let your emotions simmer, they’ll start to build up inside you and eventually, they will come out and potentially not in the way you want. Being drunk and emotional and telling your best mate you’ve been in love with them since that night 4 months ago when you got off is never going to end well and inevitably the first thing they will say is “Why didn’t you tell me sooner, we’re best friends?”. The sooner you get things off your chest the better and the longer you are left to simmer the worse it starts to feel.
You have to feel everything you need to feel, but be constructive. I’ll reiterate points 1 (assess the situ) and 3 (take a breathe) here, don’t just blurt it all out at once and say something mean you don’t actually think. Although, you have to get it out, so once the dust has settled and the panic has eased speak up. There’s no use in making yourself feel like crap over something that can be resolved. The only way it will get resolved is if you’re honest with yourself about how you are feeling and you actually feel those emotions and live with them in the present.
6. Avoid the shame cave at all costs
If you do not feel all your emotions, can 100% confirm, you will end up in the shame cave. A deep dark place where your feelings start to swallow you.
The shame cave is the place where guilt meets all the other chaos occurring around you. The shame cave can arrive in hours or weeks but the only way you’ll get out of it is to a) reassure yourself that you’re not a terrible person for having sex with someone (you trust and have known for a long time) and b) get reassurance from your best pal that sleeping together isn’t a criminal offence. Think about the role of a best friend, and the fact that in any other situation you would immediately speak to them about how you are feeling and seek reassurance, why would now be any different?
Whilst your relationship with this person will have changed, even if it’s just a small change it’s different. That doesn’t mean you need to feel bad though!
7. Accept the change
Don’t try and tell yourself things will go back to normal because you can’t pretend like you haven’t seen each other totally naked. However, just because you’ve done the dirty doesn’t mean your friendship has to become painfully awkward.
If you’re having a conversation and your fling comes up, don’t try and dance around it or act like it never happens. If you do this you are making it seem as though what you did was incredibly wrong but at the end of the day its just sex. Grab the bull by the horns and discuss the subject matter. You’ve just gained another dimension to your friendship- see it like you’re now even closer than you were before!
8. Be yourself
Just because the circumstances have changed don’t stop being yourself. This person chose to become your best friend for you, not because the immediately set out with the intention of getting with you. It’s so important to remember that.
When you’re hanging out or messaging, just be the person you’ve always been, don’t alter your sense of humour or change the way you act around this person just because you’ve slept with them. Remember you are best friends and try to act how you would in any other circumstance, protect your best-friendship.
This guide was made by a group of people who wished this guide existed when they did the exact same thing. Hopefully, this will save you from making the same errors that we did. Remember you aren’t the first and certainly won’t be the last person to do this. Keep your head and every decision you make keep one thing at the front of your mind- before anything else this person is my best friend. Treat them as you would treat your best friend in any other situation and you will realise this situation is far more manageable than it initially seemed.