Who doesn't love the idea of falling in love with her best friend?
It's the more wholesome, feminist fairy tale for girls who fantasize about romance: You meet a guy, befriend him, grow close to him over a period of time, become best friends and one day realize you're perfect for each other.
In fact, research agrees the most successful marriages are born out of strong friendships. People who consider their partners to be their best friend have longer and happier marriages than people who consider their partner and their best friend to be separate people.
If you find yourself harboring feelings for your closest friend, you may be onto the beginning of what can be a beautiful and lasting relationship. After all, you already know you like spending time with each other, right?
It's actually not that simple, though. A strong friendship doesn't necessarily translate into a strong relationship. Don't jump into anything without thinking.
Here are five questions to ask yourself before turning your best friend into your boyfriend.
1. Are your feelings more than platonic?
Think about what you feel for your best friend. There should probably be some indication that you're interested in something more than friendship.
Do you find him attractive? Despite his flaws, can you look at him and think he's just the right kind of handsome for you, or do you think you'd have to force yourself to dig his appearance?
Does being with him feel right? Does he make you happy when he's around, and does he seem to get you?
Think about your relationship with him, and how you've felt about him throughout the relationship. Has it gotten stronger over time? That could be a sign that a relationship might just work out for you.
2. Can you guess what his reaction will be when you tell him how you feel?
This is more than whether or not he'll tell you he feels the same way, too. Although that's the ideal outcome and the goal of confessing, you also have to consider what his response will be if he's not interested in you romantically.
Will he be uncomfortable by your proposal, and will your friendship be damaged by the revelation?
Some guys can get weird when a girl confesses to him. He may even start treating her differently as a result — asking for sex without dating or taking advantage of the girl's vulnerability.
You expect to run into this kind of behavior on a dating site, but if he's your best friend, you might feel like you can trust him to be kind to you.
That's why you need to think critically about what kind of person he is and how he would react to a girl he isn't interested in confessing to consider what he might do.
3. Do you see a future for the two of you?
After you ask him if he wants to be more than friends and he says yes, what's the plan?
As close friends, you probably have a general idea of what his ideas for the future are.
Before asking him, you need to critically consider what his goals are, what yours are and whether the two are compatible.
After all, unlike the typical dating process, you don't need to go through the getting-to-know-each-other phase and can skip straight to building a relationship.
You have to think about the future of your relationship before it begins.
4. Is he involved with anyone else?
You need to think about the cause and consequences of your confession here.
Is he seeing someone else? Is he happy in his relationship? Would confessing to him compromise two of his closest relationships?
And further, are you motivated by love or feelings of jealousy?
If your best friend has a girlfriend and starts spending more time with her than you, you may start to feel upstaged and like you need to do something drastic to win him back — like make him think he should date you instead.
If you've been his closest female acquaintance for a while, having that spot snatched can inspire some feelings of insecurity and loss. Make sure you're confessing for the right reasons.
5. Do you think he could be a good partner?
Here's the big question.
You could love him from the bottom of your heart, and he might even feel the same, but will he be a good romantic partner?
Think about his romantic history, how he's treated his girlfriends and how he treats you.
Are there any red flags that would suggest he's not necessarily as good a partner as he is a friend?
Don't mistake closeness for love, and don't mistake love for compatibility. You need to consider how his behavior towards his girlfriend might differ from behavior towards his best friend.
Don't blurt your feelings out without thinking about the aftermath. Evaluate your relationship with your best friend. Does it need to be taken to the next level, and can it be?