Falling in Love, From Friendship to Dating

They say the best romantic relationships start out as friendship, but how do you take your friendship to the next stage? Introducing the idea of dating can be a scary idea, especially when you know that it could change the friendship forever. Those that take the risk and make it work never regret their decision. But if you try to move from friends to dating and it doesn’t happen, it can be a difficult thing to recover from. Here’s some tips if you think you’re in love with your friend.

Have You Read the Signs Correctly?
One reason people fall for their friends is that they develop feelings and believe their friend might feel the same way. Before you assume that, however, make sure you read the signs carefully. This list from our Dating site gives you nine signs that you’re in love. Our Marriage site also provides a definition of what romantic love really is. These items can help you get a handle on your feelings and help determine if they’re real.
But the big question is: Does your friend feel the same way? Here are signs to look for:
  • Your friend has hinted they he or she would like to try dating.
  • Your friend flirts with you.
  • Your friend seems to get jealous when you try and date other people.
  • Your friend doesn’t seem to date much and you suspect it’s because he or she is into you.

Before You Tell Them
If you tell your friend how you feel and they say they feel the same, you’ll be happy you spoke up. But if your friend doesn’t feel that way, you will feel disappointed and maybe even a little embarrassed. Prepare yourself for any possible outcome but don’t let it stop you from trying to see where the relationship is going. Sometimes you’ll need to show a vulnerable side (and talking about your feelings is definitely one way to do that) in order to take your friendship to the next level.

Most people who never tell their friend how they feel end up regretting it. What’s more, if you ignore those feelings and stay friends, you may end up pushing the boundaries of a strictly platonic friendship. Things get complicated when there are strong feelings involved and no one’s talking about them.
After you mentally prepare for how you’re going to tell your friend, go through what you’ll say if they do (or do not) share your feelings. You don’t need to get stalled in this step, but do give it some thought so you’re prepared. Remember to:
  • Choose a time and place where your friend has the space to absorb what you’re saying.
  • Don’t make it “too” big of an announcement, which can scare your friend off even if he or she has some feelings for you also.
  • Forgive your friend if he or she responds in a way you didn’t expect.
  • Allow your friend time to think if they need it.
Some people easily move from friends to dating and others need to mull it around in their heads for a while. Everyone is different. An introvert, for instance, may need to think things through before they decide how they feel. This doesn’t mean they don’t know how they feel, just that before they can move forward they need to thoroughly play the scenario through in their mind.

What If Your Friend Feels the Same?
If you’ve been thinking about a romantic future with your friend for a while now, you’ve probably figured out how you want to proceed. But your friend might not be there yet even if they do agree to start dating. Give them the space to catch up emotionally, and discuss things if they get weird.

Remember, being friends first gives you an advantage with a relationship, but you still need to nurture things in order to make it work. Go slowly and know that with your friendship as the basis of your relationship, you already have a safe place where you can get to know one another.

What If Your Friend Doesn’t Feel the Same?
The flipside, of course, is that your friend might not be into the idea of dating. If you mentioned this casually and didn’t make a big deal out of it, you might be able to recover and just hang out as usual. But even if you realize that dating would have been a mistake and get over it, your friend might always believe that you want them on some level.

In other words, things will get awkward and they won’t be exactly the same, but friendships do change over time anyways. If you mention the subject and your friend is freaked out, let it go and move on. Don’t harbor hope that things will turn around. If your friend acts like a jerk when you bring it up, perhaps they weren’t really much of a friend to begin with. 


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Love Magazine: Falling in Love, From Friendship to Dating
Falling in Love, From Friendship to Dating
Love Magazine
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