Expressing romantic feelings for someone can be an unnerving experience and slightly embarrassing if the feelings are not mutual. 

While rejection is a rite of passage in the search for love, it stings more when it comes from a friend. Jerrod Carmichael found himself in a similar situation with one of his best friends. During the first episode of “The Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show,” the award-winning comedian and actor gave viewers a front-row seat into a hard-to-watch conversation. In a quest for love, he found himself in an awkward exchange with rapper and friend Tyler the Creator.

During a stand-up routine in a portion of the episode, Carmichael revealed a text message exchange he had with Tyler. He told the rapper that he had feelings for him in the exchange. After sending the risky text, he was ultimately left puzzled by Tyler’s response. Carmichael and Tyler eventually end up having an on-camera conversation about that interaction. While talking, both brought up points that may have helped a complex situation be less complicated.

Talking About It

During the conversation, Tyler asked Carmichael how he wanted him to respond. The comedian said that he would have wanted Tyler to talk about it in a different way.

“To talk about it the next day,” he said. “Call me, look at me, bring it up and move on.”

Acknowledging the situation may be awkward initially, it only hurts the friendship in the long run if left unaddressed. Talking about it in a sensitive way clarifies how each person feels about the other. That can be helpful when deciding how to move forward in the friendship. 

“Your friend may not reciprocate your romantic feelings, but reminding yourself that this is not something they can necessarily control may help you not take the rejection personally,” licensed marriage and family therapist Kristal DeSantis told VeryWell Mind.

Allow Room for Awkwardness

Tyler brought up the break in their friendship when they stopped speaking.

“It did suck not talking to you,” he told Carmichael. “I didn’t think brushing that off and continuing regular would be such a dent.”

It’s important to remember that the desire to avoid the situation is a normal human response. However, that does not mean it is always the healthiest. It helps to communicate in the friendship, so each person can process the situation. The friendship may feel slightly different for some time, but that doesn’t mean the weirdness will last forever.

Learning to Move On

If the friendship seems as if it can’t recover, moving on may be the best option for both of you. While ending the friendship completely may not be necessary, limiting interactions and setting boundaries can help heal and protect your emotions.