You’ve heard the common refrain about romance: “It’s better to be friends first,” but how often does it happen and is it really that easy?
It is the norm to hear about online dating sites and finger-swiping apps as ways to date or hook up with people. Every single person isn’t eyeing the friend they’ve known for the last five or ten years as a possible love interest.
But once in a while, friendship does bloom into more, and it can be tricky to make the transition into lovers. If you are considering taking a friendship to the next level, here are some things you can do to smooth out the process.
Quit the buddy behavior.
If you’ve been friends for any period of time, it can be hard to see each other in a new way. Even though your intentions are good, it can be easy to fall back into old friendship routines. While friends, you may have been used to hanging out in old sweats or dingy jeans. Instead of just “hanging out”, try purposeful dating where you put a little care into the planning and sprucing up.
Also, it’s time to level up on your terminology to describe your relationship. Instead of “buddy” or “friend” – let’s slowly work in more meaningful terms of endearment. When my (now) husband and I started dating, he was quick to turn on the mushy terms. I remember them sounding strange at first after being friends for so long, but I came to appreciate his desire to establish what I meant to him. You don’t have to jump right into “honey”, maybe come up with your own unique names for each other to make the shift.
Remember your why.
Let’s be honest – moving from friendship to romance can feel like crossing a line and there may be moments where you wonder if you are making a mistake. Fear is natural but can keep you from someone who is good for you.
Assuming you’re dealing with more than physical attraction, think about the qualities of your friend that made you want to try for more. Is it the way you’ve seen them treat other people? Is it how dependable and trustworthy they can be? Is it their integrity or sensitivity? Whatever those characteristics are, allow them to keep you in the game so that you give things a fair chance. The friend zone is safe, it keeps them in your life without possible heartache. But no risk, no reward.
Prepare to discover.
If you’ve known each other for a while, you probably know all the things you have in common. You may already have rituals around your shared interests and likes. Now that things have progressed, make efforts to form new memories and new rituals together.
Try things neither of you has ever done before! You may discover new passions or that your significant other gravitates to things you didn’t expect. This gives you the opportunity to incorporate new things as you embrace what you already know about each other. As people, we are constantly changing, and just because you “know” someone, doesn’t mean you sacrifice the excitement of what you get to learn about them.
You know what your friendship has been like, but romantic relationships are very different! It can be easy to take for granted that you know each other and try to forego really important conversations that can make or break a relationship.
- What do you want out of the relationship? Just fun? To see how it goes?
- What do you want for yourself down the road? Marriage? Children?
- Is either of you prone to jealousy? How do you handle it? How will you handle it together?
- What are your views on intimacy? The timing?
- Which boundaries are important to you? How do you feel about constant phone calls? Someone showing up at your job?
Depending on how close your friendship has been, you may have discussed some of these things. Even though you may have already shared many of your hopes, dreams, and fears with the other person, it is important to keep sharing your thoughts and feelings. They evolve as we do and your relationship may also contribute to that evolution.
Let it take the time it takes.
You already have friendship as a foundation, there is no need to rush. You have nothing to prove to the rest of the world or to each other. Like most other things in life, the journey along the way is a treasure in itself. Enjoy the moments that make your new relationship worth cherishing as you find your own rhythm.
Have you made the leap from friend to romantic interest? How did it turn out? Any tips for making it successful? Tell us about it in #Adulting Facebook community.