Should You Start Dating Your Friend? 6 Signs The Timing Is Right To Give It A Try
Whether you've always had a massive crush on your best friend or you just realized that your gym buddy is kind of hot, you may be wondering: Should you start dating your friend? As Bianca from 10 Things I Hate About You would remind you, the difference between like and love can mean liking your Sketchers but loving your Prada backpack. Of course, for the people out there who aren't living in a '90s rom-com, differentiating between liking and loving someone can feel nearly impossible. (Just ask the French — they have one word that means both!)
"A friendship can bring two people closer on many levels that make dating a natural next step," Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Elite Daily. "It's often the case that when two people say and indeed feel they are just friends, there are actually stronger emotions brewing, growing, and developing."
If you're starting to feel some feelings for a friend, you may be stuck between a mixture of like and love. And if you're wondering if it's time to turn up the heat with your BFF, look out for these six signs.
1. You Specifically Want To Date Them
Listen, after a dating drought or a not so #hotgirlsummer, turning up the heat with a friend can feel anything from comfortable to straight-up logical. According to Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and creator of Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, if you're considering dating your friend, you need to make sure you're attracted to them, not the idea of them. It's unfair to date someone just because they're available.
"Before you jump into any discussions, make sure that you truly are attracted to them romantically and not falling for them because they are convenient," Silva tells Elite Daily.
As Silva shares, experiencing feelings for your friend can be common. However, if they're more into you than you're into them or you're just dating them because you want to be in a relationship, consider their perspective. Take their emotions into account before changing any major friendship dynamics.
2. You Get Each Other
If your friend is naturally in tune with your needs and always seems to be on your wavelength, it may mean there's room for romantic growth.
"You both seem to be in continual agreement, as though you're two separate people with one mind," Susan Winter, New York City-based relationship expert and love coach, tells Elite Daily. "There's a comfort and trust. You feel safe."
After seeing your friend sick in bed with "food poisoning" (read: the worst hangover ever) or watching them get a little too frustrated at the self-checkout counter at Target, you may start to connect with their true self. And if you're still on the same page after being open and honest with each other, your friendship may be headed for a deeper connection.
"When romance grows from friendship, it's based on admiration," Winter says. "You know this person. You've had a chance to observe their behavior when they weren't trying to impress you. You know their true self rather than their 'I want you to want me' self."
3. You'd Rather Stay In And Watch YouTube Videos With Them Than Go Out On That Hinge Date
What's the gender-inclusive version of "ovaries before bro-varies?" Mates before dates? Of course, you can always take time and space for pals, partners, friends, and dead-ends (@ all of the people I've dated). However, if you're finding that you continually would rather see your friend than potential boos, Silva shares that you may already be emotionally invested.
"[If] you'd rather hang out with them than go on a date, essentially, you are technically already dating them, in your mind," Silva says.
Additionally, if you keep comparing your dates to your friend because no one seems as sexy or interesting, it may be time to ask your BFF out.
4. You've Talked About Dating Each Other
It may not sound like the sexiest thing, but when you're thinking about dating your friend, communication and transparency are a must.
"If both friends express feelings that go beyond a platonic friendship, it is imperative to be open and honest about what each want next," Dr. Klapow says. "Dating, romantic outings, discussion of feelings — all of this has to be out in the open."
Dr. Klapow shares that the more you and your friend talk about your feelings, the less of a chance you'll have to miscommunicate and hurt them.
5. "Butterflies" By Kacey Musgraves Plays In Your Head
Roll your eyes and say it's corny, but Silva attests that feeling like there are butterflies in your stomach is a real thing.
"Your body is releasing adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin, in addition to testosterone and estrogen," Silva says. "Increased adrenaline levels are what makes you start to sweat, your heart race, that 'butterflies in your stomach' feeling, and your mouth going dry whenever you are around the person, hear their name, or talk about them."
Silva adds that wanting to be around someone a lot or feeling super intense joy when they make a joke or text you is also common. "There are a few neurochemical processes that are occurring when you are falling in love," Silva says. "The intensity of these reactions is euphoric and is what makes you 'hooked' on your best friend."
6. You Want To (Consensually) Kiss Their Face
The most significant sign that it may be time to talk to your friend about turning up the heat is feeling physically attracted to them.
"Do you feel the need to be around them, close to them, connected with them on some physical level? That may be the most powerful sign of a physical attraction," Dr. Klapow says.
Of course, before anything physical happens — from a friendly hug to a full-on make-out session — consent is mandatory. Dr. Klapow shares the importance of making sure you and your friend are on the same page about your feelings and urges before anything happens. "If those feelings are mutual, it may be time to move from friendship to something more," Dr. Klapow says.
Having feelings for a friend can be super sweet. Do they always know exactly what to say to make you feel better? Would you rather hang out with them than see anyone else? If so, it's no wonder you want something more. The butterflies in your stomach are real and unique. If you're thinking about dating your friend, the best thing you can do is talk to them. Whether you like them, love them or a hybrid of both, open communication is the only way to find out what's next.