Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg, what’s common between them? All these couples were best friends before they dated and got married. Transitioning from the friendzone into the relationship zone is fun but it could prove to be not as easy at times. Dating your best friend, as fairytale-esque as it might sound, can turn into a giant nightmare if you aren’t careful.
If your best friend is in love with you and you too feel the same way about them, then you may be ready for starting a relationship with your best friend. Before reciprocating their feelings, there are certain factors that should certainly be taken into consideration.
According to a study1 shared by CNN, among adults in a romantic relationship, the vast majority (83 percent) considered their partner to be their best friend, and only 44% of college students indicated that their best friend was also their romantic partner.
These statistics do suggest that being in a relationship with your best friend is not uncommon. However, to make your relationship last, there are certain rules of friends to dating transition that you should be mindful of.
Starting A Relationship With Your Best Friend
When you start dating your best friend, the dynamics of your friendship change. They are still your best friend, but you will now be romancing this person and that is kind of scary. The proposition of being romantic with your best friend can leave you both feeling like you’re grasping at straws to stay afloat.
Likewise, the initial days of dating your childhood friend or best friend are a bit confusing and awkward. You want to hold hands, hug and kiss but feel shy and awkward like high school kids thinking whether it’s too early or inappropriate. The idea of holding hands with a person, who you once must have treated as a sibling in your childhood, feels weird in itself.
All kinds of thoughts come into your mind after you accept the proposal and you feel scared thinking whether starting a relationship with your best friend was a bad idea as this could hamper your friendship and will change literally everything.
Dating your best friend can bring a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions. Here are 10 useful tips for dating your best friend. However, once you smoothly sail through the different friends to lovers stages and find a comfort level as romantic partners, it can prove to be the most beautiful relationship of your life.
You already know each other like the back of your hand, you share an unparalleled comfort level. Now with love and romance thrown in the mix, you build the wholesome relationship there can be
Related reading: 10 Signs You Are Moving From Friends to Lovers
10 Useful Tips For Dating Your Best Friend
Falling in love with your best guy friend or girlfriend can be a little unnerving. You may spend a lot of time confused about your feelings. Once you accept your changing feelings toward them comes the part where you endlessly wonder if your best friend is in love with you too. Followed by days and nights of mulling over whether you should fess up your feelings and then getting used to being in a relationship with your best friend.
Best friends to dating transition can truly be a long-winding process. It’s only natural for you to want to tread carefully, after all, you don’t want to lose your most special friend to a hasty decision. After all the due deliberations, when you finally decide that you want to take things forward, you’d want it to last.
For that, here are 10 useful tips for dating your best friend that will hold you in good stead:
1. Don’t rush things
At the beginning of the relationship, you are still figuring out your feelings and figuring your way around the relationship. You’ve said yes, but you need to accustom yourself with the “boy” factor replacing the “best” in the friend.
The first step is to establish an emotional connection between you both, which you never shared when you were best friends. This will make your foundation strong and will help in the transition. Thus, it is important to build a connection as only feelings and chemistry aren’t enough to keep the relationship going.
If you want it to stick, you need to be patient and understand each other at an emotional level. Falling in love too fast is never a good idea! Try to take your relationship forward one step at a time rather than making giant strides from the beginning.
For instance, sleeping with your best friend soon after you’ve both admitted your feelings for one another may not be the best idea. Or eloping and getting married on an impulse just because you’ve been friends for years before dating can backfire.
2. Manage your expectations
When you are dating your best girlfriend/friend, you expect more from them than a regular relationship. You expect them to know you from inside out and thus don’t expect them to hurt you. You need to understand that nobody is perfect, not even your best friend.
Even your best friend, now boyfriend or girlfriend, is bound to make mistakes and there will be times when all will be not roses. Fights, hurting, misunderstandings and lots of drama come as a part of the package in every relationship, even one with your best friend.
You need to treat this relationship like a normal one and manage your expectations accordingly. After all, they’re human too. Even though you may have been friends for years before dating, new facets of their personality will emerge once you’re in a relationship.
Related Reading: 11 Dating Tips For Beginners
3. Be honest
The best thing about falling in love with your best guy friend or being in a relationship with your best girlfriend is that you can be open about your feelings. This person knows the real you and you don’t need to hide your true self from them.
Unlike any other relationship, where both partners spend the honeymoon phase putting their best foot forward and being at their best behavior, when starting a relationship with your best friend, you can just be yourself.
Be honest about your feelings with your partner. No matter how bad it is, you will always get a hug from the other end. This is one of the perks of dating your best friend.
Related reading: Why I prefer friendship over romance with my partner
4. Know the stakes
Always remember the fact that you are dating your best friend. Any screw-up can cost you your best friend and you know how painful that can be. If either of you messes up, you’ll be losing both your best friend and your partner. That means double the heartbreak and dealing with the excruciating pain of losing one of the most important people in your life.
Being in a relationship with your best friend means putting the most solid friendship in your life on the line. If things don’t pan out between you two romantically, you cannot just go back to being best friends again. The angst and unpleasantness of a relationship gone wrong will damage your bond.
Always keep this in mind. Remember how important this relationship is to you and make the most of it. Sleeping with your best friend can have its own set of pros and cons. So, take your time before taking the plunge of getting in bed with your bestie.
5. Listen to yourself
Never pressurize yourself in the relationship. At times, people try to be hard on themselves to make their best friend now partner happy because they don’t want to lose them. They start sacrificing too much of themselves to keep the relationship going.
I had a friend who was still transitioning from best friends into the boyfriend stage, and when her boyfriend kissed her she freaked out. She wasn’t comfortable but didn’t tell her boyfriend. Eventually, she couldn’t take it anymore and broke up with him.
She still wishes that she had listened to herself and told her boyfriend that she wasn’t comfortable. Things would have been way different. Being romantic with your best friend doesn’t come easy. You have to give your mind time to process the transition in your relationship.
If at any point, you’re not comfortable with the way things are progressing, be honest and upfront about it. Remember, this is your best friend in the world, and you can share anything with them.
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6. Plan romantic dates
Movie nights are great but it’s now time to go a step forward. You both are no more just friends. You two need to start doing things that couples normally do. Creating some spark is the key to being romantic with your best friend.
Plan a candlelight dinner or a romantic terrace date. It may be a cliché but isn’t the idea of dating your best friend too? These romantic dates will help bring you both closer as partners and make being in a relationship with your best friend more effortless.
The romantic things you do as a couple don’t have to be sexual or culminate in sex always. Look at these dates as an opportunity to build emotional intimacy in your newfound relationship, taking your bond beyond the realm of friendly bonhomie.
7. Don’t end up being friends with benefits
Many a time, best friends get this rush of feelings and end up as sex buddies. The guilt tricks them into thinking that it’s love and before you know it, you both are committed. Commitment isn’t a product of guilt or chemistry.
It’s a result of love and being sure that the person is the one you want to be committed to. If you aren’t sure, put a red flag right there or else you both will end up as friends with benefits hiding behind a relationship with no love.
Casually, sleeping with your best friend can be a slippery slope. What if one of your develops deeper feelings for the other? What if the other falls in love with someone else and wants to move on? And what if you get trapped in a phony relationship with your best friend for the sake of sex?
There are so many ways this arrangement could go south. So, it’s best to steer clear of the temptation of getting physically intimate with your best friend if there are no real feelings involved
Related reading: I’m in a friends with benefits relationship and I love it
8. Bask in the glory of love
You both might have known each other since eternity and been friends for years before dating but your feelings for each other are new. Sink in the love and the rush you feel for each other and acknowledge it. Tell yourself that this is normal and it’s all going to be great.
Don’t feel awkward about kissing them or feeling sexually aroused by their touch. At the beginning of the relationship, you may find it hard to keep your hands off each other or may want to text each other through the day. Remember that these are just normal emotions that couples in a relationship go through.
Once you normalize feeling your heart skip a beat at the sight of your friend-turned-partner, you will be able to transition through the different friends to lovers stages faster.
9. Keep in mind their past
Being a best friend, it is your responsibility to heal them from the scars of their past. You must have been the first one to know what went wrong in the previous relationship and how bad it broke your partner. Avoid making mistakes that their ex made.
For instance, if you know that your best friend hates being lied to because a former partner who was cheating on them was dishonest in the relationship, try to be as transparent as possible. When starting a relationship with your best friend, your endeavor should be to cultivate a bond that erases all the pain and agony their past may have brought them
Keep it as a checklist of all the wrongs that you can right. It will help heal your partner and lead to a healthy relationship between you both.
10. Keep checking on your best friend
Now that you are the best friend cum boyfriend/girlfriend, you need to take more care of your best friend than usual. Keep checking on your partner and make them feel cared for. Show them that they are special and this relationship means something to you.
Show the extra care and love that a boyfriend/girlfriend would show. Don’t hold yourself back from expressing your love and affection just because it is your best friend that you’re with. And don’t expect them to just know how you feel about them.
Be expressive. It will make them feel special and feel that the relationship decision was the right one.
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Pros of dating your best friend
Dating your best friend could be your romcom fantasy come true. If done right, being in a relationship with your best friend can be much better than what’s portrayed in pulp fiction. Here are some of the key benefits of dating your best friend:
- No fear of being judged: You can be yourself and explore your hidden desires without caring about being judged by your partner. This is a person you already share a comfort zone with, so you can delve into the relationship with all your feelings, emotions and fantasies
- You will be loved: Your partner already knows the real you and no matter how weird you get, he/she will still adore you. They have seen you cry, nurse a heartbreak, get into fights with your parents, fail and excel in different spheres of life, and have been with you every step of the way. You’ve always known that they’ve got your back. And that’s never going to change
- No unpleasant surprises: There aren’t any surprises because you already know the worst parts of your partner. You have probably got drunk and nursed hangovers together, been partners in crime. You have seen them at their highest highs and lowest lows, so there are no unsightly skeletons in the closet
- Never run out of things to talk about: Conversations will be never-ending because you both will always have something to talk about. And the best part – no jealousy. Given how important communication is in a relationship, you should count it as the biggest blessing of starting a relationship with your best friend
- You trust them: You know your best friend in and out and trust them with your life. Nothing can break that kind of bond. Being in a relationship with your best friend means no struggling with insecurity and trust issues
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Cons of dating your best friend
As exciting it is to date your best friend, every relationship has its cons. When starting a relationship with your best friend, do remember the flip side of this romantic association. Here are some of the disadvantages of dating your best friend:
- Dragging the past into fights: Your best friend knows you too well and often they might just bring up the skeletons in your closet when you both fight. This means you can both end up saying hurtful things to each other, which can affect your bond as partners and friends adversely
- Lack of space: There is nowhere to hide when it comes to dating your best friend and this at times will also not give you space for yourself. Your best friend-turned-partner can become a constant presence in your life and you in theirs, since you’re now playing a dual role
- Losing your support system: You won’t have anyone else to talk to when things turn rough in your relationship because your one confidant may now be the cause of it. You won’t be able to discuss your relationship with your best friend anymore, and that means losing out on the biggest support system in your life
- No surprise element: Not having a surprise element in your relationship could also be a bad thing. Since you already know each other so well, the excitement of discovering new things about each other may be lacking in your relationship. This can make the initial days of dating somewhat dull and boring
- Losing your best friend: The biggest con of dating your best friend is the risk of losing them forever. God forbid, if you both break up, you will not only lose your partner but also your best friend in one go. That can be devastating, to say the least
Being in a relationship with your best friend can be a thrilling and fulfilling experience as long as you both know how to handle your romantic partnership without letting it ruin your friendship. It can be a tricky balance to strike but one that you can achieve with some practice and patience.
No, it’s not a bad idea to date your best friend as long as you both intend to carry on the relationship for the long haul and work to build a romantic partnership without letting it dent your friendship.
Yes, there are so many instances where people have been friends for years before dating and then went on to get married or stay together for life. A relationship with your best friend can prove to be one of the most fulfilling relationships you’ll ever get into
If you feel that your best friend is behaving differently around you, for instance, you may find them checking you out or paying you compliments instead of endlessly pulling your leg or being a little more protective of you, it could be because they’ve developed deeper feelings for you.