DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a crush on my best friend. I am unsure if he has gotten the hint, but he has started to act weird around me. We have been friends for four years, and I could not imagine not having him in my life. It scares me when I think about not being friends with him anymore. I tell him everything. My friends think that I should tell him how I feel. I am nervous; I think that if I do tell him, he will stop talking to me because he won't know what to say or how to act around me. I really like him, and even if we just stay friends, I would be OK with that. How should I approach this situation? -- Nervous, Boston
DEAR NERVOUS: Take a deep breath and collect yourself. I believe your friends have a point. Since your best friend has changed his behavior around you recently, there must be a reason for that. Rather than trying to second-guess what that is, you can be forthright with him.
Tell him that you want to talk about something sensitive. With his blessing, go on and explain that you have developed feelings for him and are unsure how to proceed. Tell him how much you value your friendship and that you do not want to jeopardize that for anything. At the same time, reveal that if he shares your interest, you would like to see what happens if you start dating. Make it clear that if he just wants to be friends, you are good with that, too.
Being honest about your feelings should help to ease the tension, regardless of the outcome.