I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship
Your friendship much can make me blest,
O why that bliss destroy!
Why urge the only, one request
Your thought, if Love must harbour there,
Conceal it in that thought;
Nor cause me from my bosom tear
The very friend I sought.
A Stock Phrase
, used when two people are Just Friends
, and a Relationship Upgrade
seems to be in the cards but isn't quite happening yet. There are at least two different forms this can take:
- Said by one member of the couple to the other. This can be a nicer way of saying "I'm not actually in love with you"; even if it isn't, it will inevitably be perceived that way.
- Said to a third party, as part of a discussion about whether or not to pursue the upgrade.
Note that in the first variant the friendship is usually already ruined — or at least radically altered — just by bringing this up.
Compare/contrast Better as Friends
or Stupid Sexy Friend
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Anime and Manga
- In Sasameki Koto, this is Sumika's attitude to her relationship with Ushio for a loooong time. And later vice versa.
- The same for Fumi toward Akira in Aoi Hana.
- Part of the Gayngst in Girl Friends.
- Bokura ga Ita: This is basically Takeuchi's response to his best friend Yano when asked if the former planned to pursue the latter's on-again-off-again girlfriend, Nanami Takahashi. Unfortunately, things get much more complicated after their conversation since Takeuchi decides to ignore the risks and go after his best friend's sort-of-ex anyway, fully aware that he could end up losing his best friend in the process, since Takeuchi believes "he can make her happier." Thankfully, the boys' friendship stays intact by the end of it all.
- Comes up indirectly in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time when Chiaki suddenly asks Makoto out on a date. Just wanting things to be the way they were before, she responds by using Time Travel to go back to the moment he told her he liked her so she can keep it from happening. Since she knows how he feels, though, the friendship's still effectively ruined (only now Chiaki doesn't even know why).
- Gundam Wing has a self-inflicted example, where Relena's Image Songs have her admit that she's in love with Heero, but won't make a move because of this trope, and so is okay with her feelings staying "Always a Secret".
- Halloween of Witch Hunter doesn't confess her feelings for her contracter Tasha, because she has seen how he treats girls who are attracted to him, with complete and total respect and kindness, but a clear message he is not looking for a relationship. She is entirely happy being his supporter, as it means she is the closest person to Tasha and able to understand and see more of him then anyone else, including having a literal mental connection to him.
- The first chunk of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic A Delicate Balance is more or less entirely about this trope; Twilight's biggest obstacle in reaching a Relationship Upgrade with Applejack is both ponies' reluctance to risk screwing up their friendship by injecting romance into it.
- Almost used in A Pleasant Surprise by both Fluttershy and Midnight. The former didn't want to be unfair to the latter by pressuring him into a relationship. The latter didn't think that there was any way that the former would ever see him romantically, much less consider it seriously.
Live Action TV
- If a female Shepard starts to romance Garrus in Mass Effect, this is what she'll say if she breaks it off.
- Henrietta Irving gives this as a reason as to why she hasn't confessed her love to Bram Stoker in Shikkoku No Sharnoth. It's subverted soon after but doesn't end well.
- In one scene in Little Busters!, Riki admits that he does actually have kind of a crush on Kyousuke, but doesn't want to tell anyone because he's sure their friendship would break down if he knew.
- In Daria, Daria says this at one point... as part of a complicated revenge plot.
- In Freakazoid!, Freakazoid bemoans how pretty girls always tell nerdy guys "Let's not spoil our special friendship!"
- Kim Possible. The main reason why Ron Stoppable doesn't get together with Kim before the Relationship Upgrade the two undergo is because of their strong friendship since childhood. Kim's reason is partially due to this, but also because "the food chain" in social conventions and doubts about Ron's maturity. In Ron's case, it almost leads into I Want My Beloved to Be Happy during So The Drama, where Ron decides against telling Kim how he really feels, leaving her to attend the prom with Eric whilst he doesn't go and instead sits in Bueno Nacho feeling sorry for himself... where he learns that Dr. Drakken is using Bueno Nacho as part of his new plan, leading to the reveal that Eric is a synthodrone and allowing Ron the chance to confess to Kim, who returns his affection.
- It's played with on The Legend of Korra between the titular character and Mako. Mako is already in a relationship with Asami, but he and Korra develop mutual feelings for each other. Mako and Korra sort of try to do this trope, but it turns into a Love Triangle that they don't have time to properly deal with (what with Equalists and all). It ends with a sort of unspoken-but-mutually-agreed-upon breakup between him and Asami, after which Makorra becomes the Official Couple.
- Fans have speculated that their break-up was verbal but just not shown on-screen, since the start of their romantic relationship wasn't seen by the audience either. Whatever the case, Word of God is that they did indeed break up.
- In Clone High, Joan of Arc asks Mr. Butlertron for advice on Abe, who doesn't view her as a romantic possibility. Mr. B tells her that "maybe [Abe] just thinks you don't think he doesn't want to not ruin the friendship." When parsed: "maybe [Abe] thinks you think he doesn't want to ruin the friendship," which doesn't seem quite apropos either.
- Victoria Justice from Victorious has been best friends with her co-star on the show, Avan Jogia. If you're a big fan of her, you'd think they are meant for each other, given how close they are and that they spend so much time together. But she has stated that the reason he isn't her boyfriend is because she doesn't want to risk something going wrong and not seeing him again outside of on set.
- Even though they might not necessarily be friends, romantic relationships between co-workers can have an effect on the workplace, especially when things go wrong or one of them gets promoted above the other.
- Walmart has policy against co-workers at different levels of supervision dating in an attempt to avert Sleeping with the Boss and the associated consequences, forcing this trope on some. It got them kicked out of Germany.