Can Dating Within Your Friend Group Ruin Your Relationships? Experts Weigh In

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Coming to the realization that one of your friends is a total babe is actually a pretty common occurrence. Sometimes it happens after three months of friendship, and other times it happens three years! It’s like all of a sudden you realize that they have literally every quality you could ever want in a bae, and the best part is you’re already friends! But assuming you and your friend-turned-crush are part of a larger crew, you’ve probably wondered — will dating a friend ruin your other friendships?

And while personal experience makes me want to rush and scream "Definitely!" the truth is that it really does depend on the other dynamics in the group and exactly how tight-knit you are. It’s much more likely that dating within a smaller friend group of three or four people with whom you have years of history with is going to turn out badly when compared to a larger group of much newer friends. But love is love, and if the feelings are mutual, then pretending you aren’t totally sprung for the sake of keeping the status quo seems like total torture. Before deciding whether or not to date a friend, it’s really important to think things through, especially if your newly found love can potentially impact your relationships with your friends.

There's A Big Chance It Could Change The Dynamic Of Your Group

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"Dating within a friend group will certainly change the dynamic of the group," dating coach Erika Ettin tells Elite Daily. "Whether that's for better or worse is really something no one can know until it happens."

Of course, there isn't anything inherently wrong with dating someone in your friend group. And while the potential of harming an already existing friendship is often the reason people use for not dating a friend, Ettin suggests not letting fear get in the way of following your heart.

But what about the real-life havoc that could potentially unfold?

"I would advise a word of caution for those who have overlapping friendships within a group, as other friends will insert themselves into your relationship, forming opinions and so forth," author and relationship expert Alexis Nicole White tells Elite Daily.

And let's be real, everyone is certainly going to have their opinions on any new relationship within the fold. Despite how difficult it might be to avoid spilling all of the juicy details to your other friends, if they're also friends with your new bae, then that might not be the best idea.

"I would keep the details of your relationship as private as possible to maintain the integrity of all bonds," says White.

PDA May Be A Bit Awkward

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If you think that once you start dating a friend you'll be able to skip off into the sunset hand-in-hand with the rest of your crew happily trailing behind, then think again. PDA in the presence of your other friends could probably illicit some weird vibes, certified love coach Nikki Leigh tells Elite Daily.

"If you value the other friendships, be aware of their reactions when you're around [them]," suggests Leigh. "If they seem to be upset or having other bad or negative reactions, talk to them or see what you're doing different that may be having an impact on them."

As someone who has witnessed friend groups implode over relationships that didn't last, being sensitive to the fact that a new relationship could impact everyone — even though it feels like it shouldn't be their business — is key. Try to be understanding of the fact that your new romance might cause someone you care about to feel jealous or left out.

If It Doesn't Work Out, Things Could Get Weird

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"When you realize you're interested in a friend as more than friends, really think about it carefully, approach them with caution" and "be sure you want to make this move," says Leigh.

Chances are you've already thought about how awkward it would be if things went south. IMHO, and as Ettin pointed out, this shouldn't be reason enough to keep you from pursuing a relationship, but it's also important to analyze how strong your feelings actually are.

If just hooking up is what's on your mind, and you're not sure if you could actually see something meaningful coming from it, then it may be safer to hold-off.

Hooking up with a friend is pretty much guaranteed to complicate things, and while risking utter mayhem for love is totally cool, risking it for a hook-up might not be worth the subsequent weirdness in the end.

A Breakup Might Cause You To Lose Friends

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"Naturally, people take sides when relationships fail," warns White. "Be prepared for others to side with your partner."

As weird as it may be to think about, breakups within a friend group could very well result in all of your "friends" potentially turning against you. This could ultimately lead to you not only losing your ex as a friend, but all (or at least some) of your other friends, too. Again, this may be a risk you are willing to take, but it's definitely something that deserves thought and careful consideration.

Sometimes really amazing relationships start off as platonic friendships. And ideally you shouldn't have to sacrifice your own happiness simply for the sake of not making things awkward for your other friends. Yet, time and time again, friendships fall apart because romances within already established crews get complicated. It is 100 percent up to you and your potential boo (nobody else) if the risk is worth it, and if you both decide it is, proceed with caution and consideration.

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