Crossing that line from friendship to romance can be both beautiful and extremely tricky. In social psychology, friendships that merge into love fall under a type of love called Storge. Many people may have a secret crush on their friend but resist pulling a When Harry Met Sally for fear that the relationship will turn sour. What if you happen to lose the friendship altogether? On the other hand, what better basis for love than an intimate friendship? If the union is a solid one, it will hopefully be able to sustain an unsuccessful attempt at adding romance.
Just to be safe, however, here are a couple of things to keep in mind in order to increase the odds:
Just the mere thought of having a romance with your friend has already changed the way you are thinking about him. As friends, you would disclose just about anything to this closest person in your life. How about now? People in the throes of romance can begin to hold secrets and play the game of love. Are you beginning to hold back?
If openness, self-disclosure and candor were the basis of your friendship, why not continue along that path? You shouldn’t use insider knowledge you have about each other to manipulate or take unfair advantage.
“Acknowledge the change in your relationship and express an interest in retaining the friendship. The best lovers are the ones who are also friends,” says Kathryn Alice, relationship expert and author of Love Will Find You.
Don’t assume anything! For instance, you are not exclusive until this is discussed. Now that you are lovers, you may have different expectations. Therefore it’s doubly important that you connect openly. People tend to relate more to the fantasy than the reality of their relationship. Discuss your trepidation, as well as your affection. If your feelings are mutual, then you can proceed with the same honesty that you have enjoyed in the past and allow the relationship to blossom. If the feelings are not mutual, you can share your disappointment, and move on with the friendship; the disappointment will fade and you will still have the friendship.
Lip Service To Change
Pay some lip service to the change that has occurred, so that your partner feels honored, adds Alice. “This means going on a few formal dates, giving a romantic gift, dressing up a little more than when you were just friends.” To just continue to hang out in the same unstructured way doesn’t honor what is going on. Romance is special and should be treated that way.
Things to Consider If You Wanna Up The Ante
There is the popular belief that men and women can’t really remain friends to begin with. Critics will argue that men cannot think of a woman without thinking of how she would be in bed, while women cannot relate to a man without trying to seduce him. So if you are interested in becoming FTL (friends turned lovers), here are a some tips:
Next time you are hanging out, incorporate touch into the mix. Offer a back rub or slightly touch his arm. Whisper something into his ear. Also, make sure you are always well-groomed. Add a splash of perfume and dress sensually. “This can help your friend to start thinking of you differently,” adds Alice.
If things don’t naturally evolve from there, bring up the topic of becoming more than just friends and see what your “friend” has to say. If (s)he says (s)he’s not attracted, believe him or her and move on. But if (s)he’s willing to try a romantic relationship, then go for it, using the closeness you two already share as a good start for connecting.
Before you go through all the trouble of trying to win over your friend, keep in mind that if you (the female) is the one making the first move, there’s a strong chance that he’s just not that interested, says Greg Behrendt, one of the authors of the popular book He’s Just Not that Into You. He may want to upgrade the relationship to friends-with-benefits but that doesn’t mean he wants a meaningful romance.
That whole ‘I don’t want to ruin the friendship’ excuse is a racket, says Behrendt. “It works so well because it seems so wise. Sex could mess up a friendship. Unfortunately, in the entire history of mankind, that excuse has never ever been used by someone who actually means it. If we’re really excited about someone, we can’t stop ourselves — we want more. If we’re friends with someone and attracted to them, we’re going to want to take it further. And please, don’t tell me he’s just “scared.” The only thing he’s scared of … is how not attracted to you he is.”
In the end, just know that you are taking a chance. Do you deny your feelings or do you risk affecting the friendship? No matter your choice, stay in your center and do not give all your power away.