How to date your best friend and not kill your friendship
It’s the stuff chick flicks are made of: you’ve been the best of friends for years and then—bam!—there’s this attraction, and you wonder if there could be something more. Well there might be, or, just like that chick flick, you may find yourself in the middle of serious drama if you don’t handle things correctly. Here is some expert advice for navigating those dangerous waters of how to date your best friend.
- know your motives
- be consistent
- be careful being physical
- go for it
- be weird
- expect true love
- involve other friends
- act like a friend, but wish for something more
Do know your motives
Are you lonely? Are you looking for a quick fix? Are you tired of dating? Just because your best friend is easily accessible doesn’t mean they are the best source for meeting your emotional (and physical) needs. If the relationship is grounded in friendship and you insert selfish needs into it, you’re likely to kill anything positive. Save your needs-based dating for someone less permanent, but if you wish to let your feelings be known, then keep reading…
Do be consistent
Being best friends with someone can be because you are in “friend-zone” with that person. Even friends flirt sometimes, so to be clear in your intentions of interest, you’re going to have to be consistent in your advances. Clearly asking them out and consistently doing so will wake them up to the reality that this is more than just casual buddy behavior.
Even with consistency, there will likely come a time where you have to verbalize your interest. This doesn’t have to be some grand declaration of love (which may freak them out). This can be as simple as “I think I like you more than just friends. I’d like to see where this can go.” By providing them with clear information they can better decide what they want, even if that is a small step in the dating direction.
Do be careful being physical
Getting physical will blow up your relationship—positively or negatively—so be conscientious about introducing it to your friendship. If you’re not sure a spark is there, try small forms of physical interaction that won’t damage your relationship if nothing comes of it, such as holding hands or snuggling during a movie. If you’re really not sure how you feel after that, try kissing. If there’s still no loving feeling, stop there. Going further will complicate everything and likely kill your friendship.
Do go for it
Friends are great, but lasting love is what life is about. Don’t let the fear of ruining your friendship hold you back from expressing a more-than-friend interest. If it all goes sour, you can make more friends. If you really want to know what this can be, you have to put yourself out there and go for it. You’ll never know unless you try.
Do not be weird
Dating is awkward enough with someone you don’t know, but with a friend, dating can be awesome. Suddenly liking someone can start pulling out the “acting weird” card. Relax, and remember the factors that make the two of you friends in the first place. In the movie When Harry Met Sally, their friendship evolved to weirdness because they forgot the things that made them friends. They were able to rebuild towards love once the safety of their friendship was back in tact.
Do not expect true love
Hollywood’s hype of this style of romance can put a lot of mental pressure on a situation even before it begins. It’s likely that you’re friends because there wasn’t anything there initially. And that still might be the case for the other person, so leave room for that possibility. Dreaming of weddings and babies before you’ve even tried to be more than friends will put unnecessary pressure on things, and likely weird out the other party.
Do not involve other friends
I know you want to bat around the idea with your other friends, but if they are good friends with your bestie, introducing this new relationship element may complicate things. Remember, moving things to the “next level” is between you and your friend, not your entourage. It’ll be complicated enough just between the two of you. You don’t need the opinions, advice, or perspective of others to skew your interactions.
Do not yo-yo
If you’re sure it’s love, it may take awhile for your friend to come around, as they may need time to process that knowledge. That lack of immediate validation may make you feel insecure and want to retreat. Yo-yoing from friend to interested to friend will confuse the other person, so be strong, firm, and secure in your feelings. Give them the time they need to know how they feel about you.
Do not act like a friend, but wish for something more
Life isn’t a movie. If you want something, you’re going to have to be obvious about it. Acting like a friend, but wishing for something more will make you feel anguished, all while they’re oblivious. Not pursuing things can lead to years of wishing and wasting your time. You deserve love and if this person isn’t it, you need to know that and move on. So get on with it!
Love based on friendship is the stuff true love is made of. By being clear with your intentions, careful with your physical advances, and practicing communication, your friendship may have a chance at blossoming into something deeper.