Everything You Need To Know About Dating A Friend

It's a tale as old as time: people developing crushes on their BFFs or falling for friends they've grown close to within their social circle has been going on throughout history, well, forever. If you've found yourself in a situation where you're considering a potential romance with a friend, there are tons of things to think about first. 

There's no denying the fact that romance can grow from any avenue, including a platonic friendship. It would be unfair to assume that successful love affairs only work when things are hot and heavy with physical and sexual attraction right out of the gate. Sometimes, it makes sense for a relationship to start slowly and surely between you and someone who you consider to be a genuine friend. As noted by Join One Love, it's even exciting for romantic relationships to bloom from friendship. After all, doesn't it evoke a sort of fairy tale-level love story in the mind? What's more, Big Think says that converting friends into lovers usually happens after a slow process, and while that may deter some from pursuing a friend as a romantic partner, it does realistically happen sometimes. 

In other words, friends are successfully turning into romantic partners even after an ample amount of time has passed in knowing each other platonically, but when this happens, you need to be prepared. These are some of the important things everyone should consider before taking a romantic leap as big as this one.

Consistent social time helps you both gauge your interest

One of the benefits of dating someone you're already friends with is that you most likely already have tons of consistent social time together on the schedule. When you're already friends with someone, you spend an ample amount of time with them in social settings. Consistent face-to-face interactions easily allow you both to gauge how interested you might be in each other. So, next time you hang out with a potential love interest, take note of any flirting you may see.

When you're dating someone who is completely brand new in your life, you have to go out of your way to carve time out of your schedules in order to see each other. When this happens, one person might feel like they're trying harder than the other to schedule dates and make plans. It's easy to enjoy consistent social time with a friend you might want to date since quality time together has already been the norm for you both.

According to Insider, if you notice a friend often gravitating toward you in social settings, it's a huge sign that they're interested in you, potentially as more than friends. If your friend feels the desire to be near you in shared spaces, it's a very good sign. What's more, according to Psychology Today, plenty of people prefer to choose partners who have similar personality traits. This is something that's easily figured out when enough face-to-face time is spent with someone.

You've probably seen with their exes look like (and vice versa)

One of the cringe-worthy realities of dating a friend is that you've probably seen some of the people they have dated in the past. This can be a good or bad thing depending on your own levels of confidence and self-worth. For example, if you feel like their exes were better looking than you, it can lead to feelings of insecurity. It might be a little tough to stomach the fact that their ex-girlfriend from college resembled a runway model, or it might sting to remember that the woman they briefly dated last year looked like she belonged on the cover of a magazine.  

Contrarily, if you feel that you're better looking than their exes, it can be a slight ego boost. It's probably not something you should admit to them out loud, but it might be a bit nice to acknowledge that they're visually upgrading by choosing to be with you, though, again, this one is better left to yourself.

In that same vein, you also have to keep in mind that your friend has laid eyes on the partners you've had in the past also. How will that potentially impact them, their feelings of self-worth, and their self-esteem? Psychology Today says that although jealous feelings can lead to a sense of helplessness, you should still maintain gentle compassion with yourself. 

You already know that they fit in with your friends

Dating someone who's a friend means they've already spent time around you with your other mutual friends. This is good news because it means they definitely fit in with your social circle. Too many couples face uncomfortable situations where one is disliked by the other's friends, and it can lead to a lot of bitter resentment. 

Here's an example of the worst-case scenario: A woman feels disliked by her partner's college buddies and she gives an ultimatum. She tells him to pick between her or his buddies from college. It should never come to that point, but if one partner feels outcasted by the other's friend group, it can, unfortunately, lead that way. Knowing that you and your friend-turned-lover already enjoy the presence of the same people solves that issue automatically. Psych Central defines ultimatums as threats, which aren't healthy between two people in love.

While there are ways to ensure the comfort of your romantic partner around your friends, things don't always go the way we hope, plan, or expect. Psychology Today explains that couples who share a social circle are more likely to experience satisfaction in their relationship. In other words, an abundance of benefits falls into line when you know the friend that you're dating is cool with the people you care about socially. If it truly improves the relationship to have mutual friends, you're in luck by dating someone who already likes your friends.

You're probably aware of why their past relationships have failed (and vice versa)

In the same way that you'll know what your friend's exes look like, you'll probably also know why their past relationships crumbled too. Knowing this information can work in your favor — or against you. If you've been through a tragic and traumatic split back in the day, you may never have to rehash those details since your friend was already there to comfort you through it. They know all about what your ex did, which means you'll never necessarily have to bring it up again — that is, unless it's truly warranted. 

It might also be uncomfortable stomaching the realization that they know all the nitty-gritty details of what you've been through. Some people prefer to handle heartache by taking those details to the grave when they fall in love with a new partner. Dating a friend means you don't have the luxury of privacy in regard to your past, but this may create a closer bond between the two of you.

There's also the matter of how you'll handle knowing what you know about their past breakups. Were they constantly being cheated on or treated terribly by their exes? Were they always the one to break things off first? Psychology Today notes there are ways to wholeheartedly accept your partner's past. In fact, the present moment should be your main focus rather than whatever happened before you started dating.

You get to skip the basic first day questionnaire

What's your favorite color? What's your favorite food? Where do you go to college? 

Conversation Starter World has a list of topics to cover, but dating a friend means the basic first date questionnaire can be tossed out the window. They already know so much about you, after all. One of the most frustrating parts of dating new people is that you have to re-introduce yourself and re-explain your entire life story. It takes a long time to get to know someone! 

It takes a long time to grow comfortable enough with someone to share personal anecdotes, secrets, and memories. Dating a friend means you don't have to go through this annoying phase. Your friend already knows your favorite color because you wear it so often. They already know your favorite food because it comes from the restaurant you dine at most frequently. They already know where you attended college because you've had conversations of that nature plenty of times. A brand new person in your life will have to patiently learn these details about you despite how long it might take.

Of course, and as noted by Join One Love, first dates can be awkward at times and wonderful at other times. They further explain that heavy subjects like religion and politics should probably be avoided during first-date encounters. Dating a friend means you aren't forced to keep conversations light, playful, and fun. You've already had serious talks about world views and more.

One of you might have an unrequited crush

If it turns out that you have a crush on your friend, but the feelings are not reciprocated, it can lead to some awkward tension. If the friendship is mature enough, the tension won't last long — or won't exist at all. Continuing to be friends with someone you romantically fancy (who has rejected you) won't be the easiest thing ever, but if the friendship is worth it, you'll work for it. You'll have to think about how amazing your platonic friendship with this person felt before you broke the news to them that you had romantic feelings.

It's also not the end of the world to realize you might need to take a break from hanging out with this particular friend. In the case of an unrequited crush, Psychology Today says there are several ways to move on. For example, you can take up journaling, exercising, and going to therapy as ways of healing. Furthermore, Healthline reassuringly notes that even though unrequited love is painful to face, you can certainly heal from it. 

If the roles are reversed and you realize you don't see yourself dating a good friend who has a crush on you, it's best to try and keep the friendship in a healthy place. Don't expect them to feel or act totally normal with your right away, either. It'll require some patience.

Shared interests and mutual fascinations have likely already been established

Friends are usually friends with each other because they like a lot of the same things. Dating someone you're friends with means you already have tons of things in common, including shared interests and mutual fascinations. This is a major benefit that comes along with dating a friend. For example, if you already know you both enjoy true crime documentaries and beach trips, you don't have to go digging to find something you have in common. 

Too many people find themselves physically attracted to others in the world of dating but are unable to see eye to eye about their interests. Physical attraction is one thing, but if they prefer outdoor hikes and camping trips while you prefer spa days and shopping trips at the mall, it might not be a great fit. Knowing that you and your friend already have a mutual fascination can be a game-changer in this area.

Psychology Today explains that couples who enjoy the same interests typically have healthier relationships. Shared passions even lead to less fighting between couples about tricky topics such as finance. Common interests between friends are equally important between romantic pairs.

If things don't work out, you might just lose them as a friend forever

It's important to keep in mind that dating a friend poses a huge risk for the friendship. If the relationship doesn't last, it's possible your friendship will cease to exist as well. This would be the worst possible case scenario. No one enters a relationship with plans for it to fail. Most people start dating someone they're into with hopes that it will last forever. In the real world, though, it's possible for two people to grow apart. 

When you and your friend start dating, you might share similar views and you might have similar plans for the future. As time passes, people change. Everyone is entitled to self-development and growth, which means it's possible for one person to outgrow the other. If this happens, the relationship might not last. If the relationship comes to an end, you have to be prepared to lose your friend forever. After a breakup, either one (or both) of you might not want to continue being friends due to any painful emotions that might be lingering.

After a breakup, Psychology Today advises people to stay as busy as possible. They suggest filling empty schedules and calendars with fun activities that were enjoyable before the heartache. MindBodyGreen says rekindling friendship after a breakup can only happen if both parties involved no longer have intense feelings lingering.

In the case of a break up, your mutual friends might feel divided

Ending a friendship with someone you have mutual friends with can make everyone involved feel very divided. Your friends might naturally jump to the conclusion that they have to make a choice about who they can keep being friends with when all is said and done. The best way to handle this type of situation is to reassure your friends that there's no need to make any cut-and-dry decisions. Everyone should know that they're free to spend time with whoever they want to spend time with.

According to Two Houses, the best thing to do is communicate your wishes within your friend group in regard to you and your ex. They suggest staying positive and being as adaptable as you can be, given the circumstances. Psychology Today says it will be tough for your friends to choose between you and your ex, which means you shouldn't ask such a thing from them in the first place. In fact, it would be emotional blackmail to press on that way.

In other words, don't be the bad guy who makes your friends feel like they have to pick. If you and your friend-turned-lover have ended your relationship and no longer want to spend time in the same places, you'll have to figure out how you can both still maintain solid connections with the members of your social circle without stepping on each other's toes.

In the case of a happy ending, the relationship might become social circle glue

Many people know all about the relationship dynamics between Monica and Chandler from "Friends." They started off as platonic buddies and ended up getting married. Along the way, they sort of became the glue of their social circle. Ross, Phoebe, Rachel, and Joey all knew the one place they could go for some delightfully convenient social time was Monica and Chandler's apartment. 

Screen Rant broke down their relationship timeline, revealing that they were just friends in Seasons 1 through 4. However, by Season 7, they tied the knot in a gorgeous ceremony. What's more, TV Fanatic notes a few other TV couples that blossomed from friendship, including Barry and Iris from "The Flash." The outlet also references Tyler and Caroline from "The Vampire Diaries," Nick and Jess from "New Girl," and Barney and Robin from "How I Met Your Mother."

Dating a friend could result in real-life circumstances that play out in a similar fashion. For a while, Monica didn't look at Chandler as the person she would ever end up with romantically. Feelings eventually developed between them, and they realized they were totally meant to be. Although these relationships are totally fictitious, they still paint a pretty picture of what it looks like to have a great romantic relationship within a tight-knit friend group.