'Should I make a move on my friend when she lives with me in lockdown?'

I’ve developed feelings for an old friend who broke up with her boyfriend this summer. We were messaging frequently and the texts became fairly flirty.

She had moved back to her parents and wasn’t looking forward to a lockdown there so I offered my spare room for the next few weeks and she said yes.

Now I’m wondering if I’ve read this all wrong. It would be awkward on many levels if I made my feelings clear and she wasn’t interested.

I don’t know whether to let her make the first move, wait until the end of lockdown or do I just come out about how I feel?

She’s funny and interesting so I’m looking forward to her company regardless of what happens. What do you think?

When you pinch off developing flower buds in a plant, energy is diverted into creating strong roots and healthy leaf growth.

‘With people, it doesn’t always work like that,’ says James McConnachie. ‘If your relationship wants to flower, why are you stopping it? Friendship and fakery don’t go well together.’

There’s nothing shameful about falling for someone and expressing how you feel.

‘Perhaps you thought you would drive your new housemate away, but did it not occur to you to make your feelings clear before she agreed to move in?’ asks Rupert Smith. ‘By the time you read this, you may have confessed all and moved into a state of blissful cohabitation. If not, you could be in for a long lockdown.’

Of course, it’s quite likely that she is aware of your feelings, which sound like they could be reciprocated, and she may well be enjoying the dance.

‘Some people are quite oblivious to hidden agendas – they take everything at face value and assume there is no hidden motive,’ says Dr Angharad Rudkin. ‘Other people, however, understand there’s more and enjoy the intrigue and excitement this brings.

‘If she does feel the same as you, she will be aware of what she is potentially agreeing to by moving into your home, just as she would be aware of what she was potentially agreeing to if she met you for a date.’

You have a strong foundation in that you are friends, you’ve known each other for a long time and you enjoy each other’s company.

‘So give yourself time to get used to her being there,’ Rudkin continues. ‘Expect to be annoyed by little things you both do, which is normal and doesn’t mean you’re not compatible.’

Now that she’s moved in, we don’t believe it’s necessary to force the matter with a grand declaration and, equally, you don’t need to choke your feelings back by pretending you’re not interested. But you can create the right conditions for growth.

‘Let your feelings show, just a little and just enough so that she can respond if she wants to,’ says McConnachie. ‘Then, moving forwards, try to always keep things upfront, simple and natural.’

The experts:

  • Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist
  • James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)
  • Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor

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