Yeah, this is a tricky one. Where are the boundaries? Where does friendship begin and end? Are you even my friend, or have I imagined it all? Or do you love me dearly, and I totally missed all the clues?
It’s a spectrum, for sure. And it’s a very confusing one, at that!
In the neurotypical world, there is generally a limited gradient in terms of the type and intensity of fondness that one person may have for another.
There is love, such as what one feels for a close family member.
There is love, such as what one feels for a partner or significant other.
There is like-a-lot, the kind that one might feel towards a good, long-time friend.
There is “just friends”, which is how one might regard other good friends who aren’t their “best” friends, but a good friend nonetheless.
There’s lukewarm-like, such as the benevolent, casual feeling one might have toward an acquaintance.
In certain situations, there’s also the infatuation/”crush” that one often develops toward someone one is attracted to.
In another type of certain situation, there’s a purely sexual attraction, in which the people find each other nice to look at and the chemistry flows between them, but…
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