The Friday Five: Going from Friend to Boyfriend/Girlfriend
It’s an age-old dilemma: are your friends on or off limits for dating? On the one hand, you don’t want to ruin the friendship. But on the other, some of the best relationships come out of two people who were friends first. If you and a friend have discovered you have feelings for each other, here’s how to make the transition while protecting both your friendship and each other.
Take it slow. Going from friends to boyfriend and girlfriend is a big transition. The slower you take it, the less likely someone is to get hurt if, in the end, one of you decides you’re actually better off as just friends. Instead of jumping into a serious relationship right away, take a few weeks to slowly start hanging out more and get more intimate. During this time, keep analyzing your feelings and making sure that a relationship is really what you both want.
Keep it quiet. New relationships are exciting. And although you may feel like telling everybody, at the beginning it might be best to try to keep this one quiet. That way, if things don’t work out, it won’t be as awkward because less people knew about it in the first place. And the less awkward it is, the easier it will be to resume your original friendship.
Get your information about the relationship from each other. If you’ve just started dating one of your friends, chances are you guys have friends in common. Resist the urge to ask your friends what your new significant other has said about you, and also resist the urge to talk (too much) with your friends about them. Instead of getting information about your feelings through a game of telephone (where you’re never getting the correct info), get you information about the relationship from each other. If you have a question about the relationship, ask it. And make clear that your friend/new bf/gf should do the same. Don’t play games, be overly sensitive to each other’s feelings, and be open and honest with each other. The more fairly you treat one another, the less likely that your friendship will be ruined if things don’t work out.
Keep the peanut gallery out of it. There’s nothing juicier than a friend hook up. And it’s likely that most of your friends will have some sort of opinion about the relationship. That’s all fine and good, but don’t let their opinions influence your own. No one completely knows a relationship except for the two people in it. And any relationship decisions you’re going to make should be coming from you and your new significant other, not the influence of your friends. It’s about what the two of you want as a couple, not what all your friends want as a group.
Don’t let it ruin the friendship. One of the strangest things about making the transition may be suddenly not knowing how to act around someone you used to feel totally comfortable around. If this is the case, don’t over think it. As best you can, keep the friendship and your interactions the same. The only difference is that now when you see your friend you may kiss them instead of hug them, you may hang out more, and be more intimate. But the friendship you guys had in the first place should still be a part of your relationship. In fact, it should be the foundation of it. After all, that’s what drove you two together in the first place.
Have you ever taken the leap from friends to bf/gf? Did it work out? Were there any consequences that you didn’t expect? Tell us in the comments how you handled your situation!
Amber Madison has been writing about sex, love, and relationships since college (she went to Tufts University) when she wrote for her school newspaper's sex ed column. Since graduating, she's published two books: Hooking Up: A Girl's All-Out Guide to Sex and Sexuality and Talking Sex With Your Kids and has been quoted in a ton of different media outlets from Seventeen magazine to MTV to NPR. Have a question for Amber? Send us an email!
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