The Knotty Corner: I have a crush on my best friend’s sister… help!

Dear River, 

I’ve got a bit of a problem. I really like this girl. We’ve been close friends for a while and hang out a lot. We get along really well. The problem is that her brother also happens to be one of my best friends. I want to ask her out, but I’m afraid that if I do and things don’t work out, I’ll lose both of them.


Extremely Confused

Hello Extremely Confused,

It seems that you’ve found yourself in a bit of a pickle. Luckily, I’ve got a few useful tidbits up my sleeve that could apply to your situation. 

This may not be exactly the news you’re looking to hear, but in my experience, budding romance within friend groups is rarely harmonious and can often end up being more trouble than it is worth. However, this is not always the case! Let’s consider the potential outcomes of this situation. 

As you mentioned in your email, if you confess your feelings to your crush and they aren’t reciprocated, you risk making her and her brother both feel awkward. Worst comes to worst, it could be possible that your friendship with both of them deteriorates. 

But what if the feelings are reciprocated? Even in this more positive scenario, her brother still might become uncomfortable. Not necessarily because of the familial relationship, but because being a third wheel sucks! Also, this may seem dismal, but relationships rarely last forever, so you ought to consider the implications of a possible breakup. Would you lose both of your friends in that situation? Maybe. 

But listen, we can’t just employ logic and expect it to help us ignore our feelings. I understand that being in your position right now is difficult, and potentially even heartbreaking. But consider what would hurt more: potentially losing your friends, or not getting a chance to express your feelings? Only you can know the answer to that question.

Now we’ve already considered how you feel and how her brother might feel, but what might your love interest feel if you confess your feelings to her? Whether your feelings are reciprocated or not, she would be forced into a pretty awkward position. So, remember that your feelings aren’t the only ones at stake here. 

I can tell that it hurts you to continue to see this girl without being able to be honest about how you feel, so I suggest you take some time to focus on yourself! Find a way to spend a little less time with this girl and see if things resolve themselves. If they don’t, then I suggest you speak to her brother about the situation. Not only will he have the best intel on her feelings toward you, but he may also feel relieved to be in the loop. If you can understand how he might react if you started going out with his sister, maybe you can make a more informed decision about confessing your feelings. 

Make sure you approach this situation with honesty and that you are respectful towards the decisions made by all parties involved, especially your crush. Remember that she doesn’t owe you anything and she deserves the same respect whether she likes you back or not. 

Good luck to you! And remember, when all else fails, stay Knotty my friend. 

Have a tough question that needs answering? Email me at and include “The Knotty Corner” in the subject line. Remember, there is no question too knotty for The Knotty Corner, so do your worst!

Copy Editor (Volume 49) — River is completing a specialist degree in Political Science with special interests in social justice and law. He is currently working as a copy editor at The Medium. In his spare time, River can usually be found noodling on his guitar, obsessively replaying “Red Dead Redemption 2,” dipping into local thrift stores, and flipping through worn paperback fiction instead of doing his course readings.


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