Will Dating Ruin Friendship?

Dating your friend is often the way to find a satisfying long-term relationship. However, there is a risk that you will not only ruin your friendship but also destabilize your social network. First, find out if your friend feels the way you do, then establish relationship boundaries and get advice from those you trust.

Advantages of dating a friend

Dating a friend is incredibly convenient. When looking for a new person to date you have to go through a lot of effort to meet compatible and interesting people. But by choosing to date a friend, you already know them; you’ve got their name and phone number, and you know their basic likes and dislikes.

One of the most important factors in a successful relationship is compatibility. And when you decide to date your friend, you’re already guaranteed that you have some things in common. That is often enough to create a strong foundation for a successful relationship. It also makes dating very simple. For example, if you’re both like baseball, go out to a baseball game. If you both like jazz music, then go to a jazz concert.

Already vetted
Another disadvantage of going out to meet new people is that it takes a long time to get to know them. You don’t know their backgrounds or where they’ve been. Especially that’s true when most people try to appear better than they are on the first few dates, so it takes time to get to know someone’s true nature. But with your friends, you don’t have to go through that. When you’re dating your friends, you can pretty much be honest and just be who you are.

Friends with benefits
Of course, some people don’t want an intense long-term relationship. They don’t want to have a future of marriage, all they really want is friends with benefits. Although that could sound very attractive, most of the time that’s going to end up losing a friendship. Most people are not built to be both friends and lovers. One of you will desire a more serious relationship while the other one wants to just maintain their independence.

Disadvantages of dating a friend

Disrupt your social network
The first disadvantage is that you’re going to disrupt your social network. Not only are you friends with the person you’re dating, you both also have other friends in common. If you come from a tight Social Network, then all of your relationships are going to be affected. You can end up breaking up your social group now that you want to pair off with your date and other friends will resent or feel jealous about your new relationship.

Difficult to go back to being friends
Let’s say that you date your friend for a while but you realize for one reason or another that it’s not going to work out. Now it’s going to be very difficult to go back to being just friends. And again this is going to influence your whole social network. Everybody is going to know what’s going on in your once private personal life.

Breaking up can lose other friends too
If you break up, your friends may have to choose between the two of you. It’s natural to comfort our friends and to blame the other party for any trouble in a relationship. But when both of your friends are breaking up with each other, it can be very difficult to choose one side or the other two comfort. This could lead to the break up of your entire social group.

Clues that your friend wants to be more than a friend

The first signal is if your friend is flirting with you. That’s a very encouraging sign for future dating. You can flirt first and see how they respond. If they respond in a cold or neutral way, that’s not a good sign, but if they flirt back with you, then you have practically started dating already.

A second sign that a person is interested in dating you is that they are jealous of your current or former boyfriends and girlfriends. If they’re always unhappy with your dates, it could be that they imagine that they should be dating you instead. If they suddenly act very jealously over a current boyfriend or girlfriend, that could be a sign that their feelings have changed towards you and they’re no longer feeling as platonic as they were before.

Perhaps you’re part of a big social group, but suddenly you find that your one of the members of your group is trying to spend more time with you alone. They single you out and give you more attention than they give the rest of the group. That’s a sign that they are interested in dating you.

Body language
Also, you can tell by people’s body language how much they’re into you. Perhaps your friend is unconsciously mimicking your body posture and your movements. For example, are they crossing their arms after you cross yours? Are they orienting their body to face yours? Are they looking at you very intensely? All of these are signs that they are interested you in a dating way.

If they’re giving you a lot of Praise, then that’s a sign that they want a relationship with you. If they’re constantly asking you for advice and asking for your feedback- that’s also a symbol that they respect you and perhaps they’re interested in you. If they’re laughing at your stupid jokes when nobody else is, maybe you just have the same sense of quirky humor, but quite likely they’re really getting into you.

And finally, if a person is interested in dating you, they’ll find subtle ways to be near you, and to touch you. It may not even a be a deliberate choice. This could be an unconscious desire to be near you. Sometimes that’s a person’s personal communication style and they do that with all their friends. But if they only do that with you, that’s a clear sign that they want something more in the relationship.

Examine why you want to date a friend

Why have your feelings changed?
The first question to consider is why have your feelings changed. In the past, you could have enjoyed a successful friendship with them and not really desired more. But now you’re considering them in a more romantic way. Consider what has changed. Sometimes the more familiar you are with someone the more attractive they seem to you. That’s actually a very fine way to start a deeper relationship.

Why are you willing to take this risk?
Dating your friend is risky, not only for yourself and your friend but for your whole social network. Why are you willing to risk upsetting the whole apple cart? Are your feelings so intense and your needs so important that you’re willing to face a lot of pain or even create pain and others to get what you want? Sometimes that’s the right move but consider the consequences. If you’re kind of person whose life is full of drama and you have a lot of risky moves in your life, then maybe you should rethink the latest risky move. On the other hand, if you’re calm and collected most of the time but suddenly you feel compelled to date your friend- well maybe you’re crazy or maybe this is your best choice of action.

Which is more important to you sexual chemistry or compatibility?
Let’s face it, sometimes we are interested in people and it’s just about sexual chemistry. Later, we find out we’re not very compatible at all. Those kinds of relationships don’t do very well long term. But by dating a friend while there is certainly compatibility, there may never be any mutual sexual chemistry. If you place a very high value on a stable and long-term relationship that might be enough for a satisfying relationship. But sometimes those special feelings never develop and you are trapped in the friend zone forever.

Advice on how to make it work

Communicate your dating boundaries
Because you have been friends for a long time, it can be too easy to become physically intimate really fast in your relationship. But you still need to establish if you boundaries in this new level of your relationship or you may end up feeling very awkward and ruin the relationship just as it starts. You might think you know all about your friend, but there is only as a friend, so don’t assume you know what’s your friend’s boundary is, instead discuss it openly with them.

Be romantic
Find a way to transition from being friends to being dating, learn to be romantic. While it’s true that you don’t have to dress up to impress one another in order to get them to like you. Still, dressing up going out on formal dates is an excellent way to show how much you respect them and is the best way to elevate your sexual chemistry.

Get advice from family, then friends
Get advice from family and friends whom you feel are wise and trustworthy. But definitely get advice from family first because your friends are going to have a selfish interest in the new relationship. On the other hand, your family will probably be more objective when they can consider whether this is a good match for you. In fact, you might want to wait until you’re confident that you’re going to continue dating and then let your friends know.

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2 Responses

  1. Kasey says:

    Hi Peter, thanks for the article posing the question of whether or not dating a friend will ruin the friendship. You present the good and the bad but I am not sure what your verdict is. Is it a case by case basis?

    Ultimately, I would say the best marriages are made when you are best friends. And you have to date first…

    • admin says:

      It is definitely a case by case basis. I recently read the results of a study about long time couples in Germany that reported on average, the couples knew each other for 4 months before dating. So friendship before dating is very practical.

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