In my most profound relationship I considered my partner to be my best friend. We had a great relationship, we did everything together and I truly felt comfortable around him even from the early stages.
A lasting relationship is first and foremost a partnership and should be treated like an investment. The more time invested and the more you nurture the relationship, the easier it will be to maintain when things aren’t going so smoothly. When you choose a partner that you find easy to get along with; when you have similar interests, share the same values and a common sense of humour (all things typically shared with your friends), the more effortless the relationship will be.
We can all accept that some opposites attract. However, for the sake of argument, we mostly drift towards the people most like us. So if you are wondering if dating a friend is a good idea, I would like to explore the topic from a few different angles that will help you clearing your doubts.
What to expect when dating a friend
There are many reasons why you may consider dating a friend, to name a few:
- You know everything there is to know about each other
- You feel comfortable around them
- There should be a mutual respect and trust
- You already have a brilliant time together
- You already know each other’s dating history meaning less secrets
A common deterrent boils down to a question of risk versus reward. Are you willing to sacrifice your platonic bond for a relationship that may potentially not work out? Let’s face it, nothing is guaranteed in life. The better friends that you are, the more risk you may face. There are many reasons for a couple to part ways. However, I personally believe that when friends get together, it can either go great or horrifically wrong. One of the reasons may be your expectations. When you date a friend (and I mean date, not casual sex), you will have expectations because you expect to be treated with the same respect that you have been thus far. The thing is, we treat our dates differently to our mates – some people treat their pals like angels but they are a nightmare to date. You might just see a different side to them that you were not expecting.
Another speed bump you may face is the fact that you will be essentially starting the venture at a place where other couples would be more settled. As you would be automatically starting on the 20th date, it can leave the two of you in an uncomfortable position. The point of dating is to get to know each other, but when you are already friends that initial stage may get a little awkward.
Building a solid foundation before dating
It has been suggested by many that long-lasting relationships often begin with friendship before progressing into romance. I personally am also a believer in this notion – the strongest bonds are built when you have a solid foundation that will last longer than the ups and downs of life. Which would mean that ultimately you are more likely to do mundane tasks together and confide in each other which is essentially maintaining the strength of the relationship. And if you can have fun while doing so – you’ve hit the jackpot. A healthy and lasting relationship will combine elements of friendship and passion.
In a recent poll I found that most women would like to build a friendly foundation before moving forward with any kind of sensual relationship. If the intention is that there be a long standing, committed relationship, it is best to take things slow and get to know each other at the early stages. If things work out you have the rest of your lives to spend together, so why rush the beginning?
Being open to the options
You may not realise but there are wasted opportunities when you do not at least consider someone who expresses genuine feelings for you. You will never find true love when your heart is closed to everything on offer. Is it because you’re too picky? Is it because you haven’t met the right person yet? Are you just afraid to put your heart on the line? Whatever the reason is, you should be sure that you aren’t interested when you tell them “no”.
Think about if you are you the type of person that complains that they can’t find a decent date yet friend zones every “good guy” or “sweet girl” that comes your way. I personally have met a lot of women like this. I would like to point out that I am not encouraging you to force a spark that doesn’t exist – however it would be great to open your mind a little and perhaps something proufound may become of it.
For some, friendships between singletons are never purely platonic. It is a common thought process that friendships between the sexes does not last and usually ends up with one party developing feelings for the other. Although I don’t believe in this statement at all, I believe that it is not necessarily a bad thing anyway. I would encourage you to at least look at some of the friends you have and think about if you have jumped the gun with your friend zoning. The great thing about friendships is that sometimes they can help you see the character traits that you would like in a future partner.
Working the friendzone
One situation we have not yet discussed is how to handle being friend zoned yourself. If you feel this is you, I would encourage you to let your feeling be known – just once. If the sentiment is not reciprocated it is down to you to figure out if you would like to stay involved or not. Time and time again I see a man or woman in the friend zone who haven’t made their feelings clear, but complain that they are getting nowhere. If you don’t speak up, the magic will never happen, people! It hurts to put your feelings on the line only to be shot down so if you are going to take the plunge, be sure about it. It takes courage to admit how you feel, especially with the added worry that the dynamics of the friendship may change.
When the response is positive it can be a really special thing; it’s definitely worth taking a risk over a lifetime of regret. We have already discussed some of the speed bumps you may face later on, but half the battle is admitting to how you feel.
In terms of the sometimes-thin line between friendships and romance, there is not a one size that fits all. Each situation is different just as each friendship is. I am a sucker for a good romance story, so my advice if you have developed feelings for a friend is (as long as they are single) let your feelings be known!