In my early twenties, I became close friends with a sassy, hilarious, sarcastic art school drop-out named Hannah*. I had recently dropped out of art school myself and loved laughing with Hannah over how mutually pretentious our “art education” had been.
“They kicked this one kid out of the program because he wasn’t connecting with his breath. Can you imagine telling your parents you got cut from a top theatre school because you weren’t connecting with your breath?” I giggled to her over cigarettes and coffee the first time we hung out alone. She roared with laughter.
“Yeah, well, I was told my drawing skills were ‘too good’—they weren’t ‘visceral’ enough, apparently.”
It was friendship-love at first sight. Or so I thought. We began to spend so much time together that my closest friends started to incessantly ask me if Hannah and I were becoming ~more than friends~.
“Hell no!” I would scoff, rolling my eyes. “She’s so not my type. We’re too similar. I’m not into other artists. I want a banker.”
One night, we were snuggled up at the bar, as we’d grown accustomed to doing when my straight friend Ruby* aggressively pulled me into the bathroom.
“What the hell are you doing?” she spat.
“What do you mean?” I asked, genuinely perplexed.
“You two are all over each other!”
“No, we’re cuddling in a bestie kinda way,” I playfully punched Ruby in the arm. She pushed my hand away and looked me dead in the eyes.
“Zara. Listen to me. We’ve been best friends for ten years,” she hissed. “Have we ever cuddled?”
I looked at the floor. “No,” I muttered sheepishly.
“Friends, don’t cuddle, Zara. In fact, the thought of cuddling with you makes me want to vomit.”
“Likewise,” I answered, folding my arms. I suddenly craved a cigarette. I always used to crave cigarettes when in the throes of a complicated life epiphany (which is why I smoked a pack a day during my first few years of being out).
As I huffed and puffed on my Marlboro outside the bar, I gazed at the massive California palm trees calmly swaying in the Santa Ana winds and began to break down my new friendship. Shit, we’re crossing friendship boundaries, aren’t we?
Because I was new to being gay, I didn’t quite yet realize how easy it is to kid yourself that the feelings your catching for another lesbian are nothing deeper than a cute “friendship crush.” The kind you used to get in middle school.
And if you’re gay, chances are, you’ve been down this complicated road before. Or maybe you’re stumbling down it right now. Maybe you’re confused. You’re wondering whether you idolize your new friend or if you actually want to jump her bones.
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Now that I’m a seasoned lez, I’ll help you clear it up. Here are some classic signs you’re becoming more than friends with your lesbian bestie.
You’re wildly jealous of her ex.
When you’re “just friends” with someone it’s entirely normal to dislike a toxic ex who treated your lovely buddy like garbage. It’s also totally normal to be a little bit jealous over an ex who you fear will eat up all of your friend’s time if they were to crawl back into her life, leaving you scratching in the dust alone.
Wild jealousy is a whole other thing. If you’re disgusted by the thought of your friend’s ex touching her, kissing her, or goddess forbid having sex with her—you’ve caught feelings. One of the most glaring signs that you’ve caught feelings is having a visceral reaction to the mere thought of them being intimate with anyone (who isn’t you).
One of you always pays for the other person.
Look, I have a friend who is rich AF. She pays for me when we hang out. She’s loaded, and I’m nowhere near loaded. That makes sense.
If you feel this chivalrous responsibility to *always* pay for her drink when you’re in the same financial bracket, if you slam her hand away whenever she reaches for her wallet or vice-versa, then you’re not just casually “hanging out” with your buddy. Deep down inside, your subconscious feels like you’re on a date. And when we’re on dates we want to treat the girl, or we want to be treated. When I’m with Ruby, I’ll buy her a round. Maybe she’ll buy the next. I don’t get any cute thrill out of being paid for by her or paying for her. In fact, that makes me feel weird! Because she’s JUST MY FRIEND.
You want to look hot for her.
When you’re super close friends with a girl you feel awesomely comfortable around her. That means you don’t give a shit if she sees you puffy faced and hungover, in nasty-looking sweatpants or rocking a bright green facemask in your wildly-unsexy underwear. That’s one of the beautiful aspects of sisterhood; you can’t let it all hang out together.
If you have a super close friend, and you’re suddenly wanting to brush your hair and put on your swaggy leather pants and I don’t know… use eye drops before you see her, then that means something. It means something because we want to look hot for people that we want to attract sexually. End of story.
Drunken affection doesn’t feel weird.
Sometimes when I’m super wasted I’ll sit on my best friend Owen’s lap or sling my arm around my other best friend Eduardo’s cute little shoulder. But they’re both gay men and getting touchy with them feels akin to snuggling one of those giant stuffed teddy bears from FAO Schwarz.
I’m a lesbian. So if I get touchy-feely with a girl, and it feels right, then that’s a big warning sign for me. I don’t get touchy-feely EVER with my straight girlfriends or my completely platonic lesbian friends. But if I start to get all cute and snuggly with another lez, and suddenly I’m falling into her arms when I’m loose and drunk and not in my head—I’m definitely feeling feelings far beyond the safe realms of “friendship.”
Your eyes light up when you talk about her.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore my friends. I’m proud of all the epic shit they’ve accomplished in their short lives. I love them.
My eyes don’t light up like a million trillion twinkling Christmas lights when I talk about them. One of the surefire signs I like, like a girl is when my mother says “Darling, your eyes light up when you talk about her!” That’s when I know I’m screwed.
See, the eyes, they don’t lie. You might. But your eyes will not.
You can’t stop thinking about her.
When I’m teeming with anxiety sometimes I’ll feel compelled to text one of my besties or even a new friend, for support. And my tribe of friends definitely crosses my mind throughout the day. Oh, Ruby would love those shoes. Eduardo would hate this prick. Owen would really like this coffee shop. We should go together sometime.
As much as I love my friends, they aren’t spinning through my mind constantly. I don’t daydream about being around them (unless they’re in jail and I can’t see them whenever I please). When my mind constantly circles back to ONE girl, and that girl happens to be gay too, it um, means something. Something dangerous!
When she touches your arm you feel a ZAP of electricity go through your body.
I don’t really notice when my friends touch me. It just sort of happens. A friendly shove of the shoulder. A gentle pat on the back. A brief hug goodbye. A meaningless European peck on the cheek… Yawn.
I totally notice when I’m sexually goddamn attracted to someone if they touch me! In fact, I feel an intoxicating ZAP of electricity swoop through my body and it feels jarring and sexy and terrifying and oh—I want it to keep happening and happening and happening…
Yeah, that doesn’t happen when Ruby touches me, OK?
You have a bizarre desire to introduce to her to your blood family or chosen family.
I love that many of my best friends have become close with my mother. It makes me feel warm and cozy inside like we’re all becoming ONE giant loving family.
When you have a burning, primal desire to introduce to your “new friend” to your family, chosen or blood, it’s worth looking into, girl. It’s in our genetic makeup to want approval from our families over our romantic partners. We stress over what they will think of her. We’ll be annoying and ask our family members ten thousand times what they thought of her. It’s because we secretly, deep down within ourselves, are wanting to know… will she fit into the pack? Will we be co-parents together? Will my sister treat her like a sister when they become sister-in-laws?
You want to know every detail about her day.
If something dramatic or exciting happens, I want my friends to tell me all about it. I love nothing more than to salaciously gossip with my friends (I know it’s sinful, but I don’t really give two shits. I gave up drugs, gossip is all I have left). I love the art of chatting. Let’s have “cawfee talk.” Or a “chin wag” as they say in England.
When I’m mesmerized by every tiny minute detail of your day, when describing your cup of tea to me is grossly charming, when I’m fascinated by what you ate for lunch—or am feeling very concerned if the subway was really crowded on your way to work or wracked with worry that you were too busy to take a proper lunch break—I’ve got it bad for you, girl.
You’re having… dreams.
I’m notorious for having sex dreams about the most wildly inappropriate people that I’m not attracted to at all. I recently had a sex dream about a dude and I’m the gayest gay to ever exist. Sex dreams just happen. I don’t know why they happen, but they happen. Incessantly. To all of us (unless you’re on a psychotropic drug that’s killed your libido entirely.)
If you’re having ~love~ dreams, it usually means something deeply profound. If you’re not just f*cking your new friend in your dream, but marrying them, or you’re clutching each other’s hands and looking into each other’s eyes…and you wake up feeling all warm and lovey-dovey and then freaked the f*ck out because she’s JUST YOUR FRIEND and you can’t shake this lovey-dovey feeling even when you take a freezing cold shower… it’s worth looking into. Trust me.
I’ve definitely been so plastered in my day that I accidentally woke up spooning Eduardo, thinking it was my girlfriend. But whenever I woke up and discovered it was HIM I had my arms around and not HER, I would scream, and we would hysterically laugh about it for the rest of the day.
When I’ve been sober or just a little bit buzzed and found myself being spooned by my friend, and really enjoying it… it means… I like her. Sigh. Purr.
For spooning is a wildly intimate act of affection in which to engage in. I would argue that spooning is far more vulnerable and intimate then sex. I can have sex with (almost) anyone. But I can only spoon with people I like. Because when you spoon, you can’t hide behind anything. There is no sex, no moaning, no sweating… it’s pure affection. And when spooning feels right, it means your bodies fit perfectly together. Like a puzzle!
And guess what? No matter what body type your best friend is, I guarantee your bodies don’t make a perfect pair of compatible, beautiful parentheses when intertwined. That’s exclusive to lovers.
If you’re engaging in more than ONE of these tell-tale signs with a “friend” I would take a long, hard look in the mirror. Get real with yourself, girl.
And if she’s single, and you’re single… I dare you to bring it up to her. Swallowing feelings is for the weak. And you are many things. But “weak” is not one of them. Don’t worry about ruining the friendship. If you’re cuddling and spooning and texting each other every ten seconds, you’re not really friends anyway. You’re “more than friends” and it’s worth exploring.
The worst thing that can happen? You get rejected. Big f*cking deal. Rejection can’t kill us. Suppressing our feelings can kill our spirits, though. And life is meaningless without spirit. So dive in. You’ve got nothing to lose but your pride. And pride is stupid anyway. You’re better off without it. I swear to the Indigo Girls.