How to handle falling for a close friend

It’s a common scenario – you’ve known somebody for a while as a friend and you start to feel that you may be developing feelings for them which fall well outside the realm of just being good buddies.

It makes sense that a good friend may catch your eye. After all, you already have a strong bond that has developed over time, you have shared memories and experiences, and you like them as a person. At the end of the day, all successful relationships, no matter how you met, involve a level of friendship. Many say the happiest and strongest relationships they have had are actually those that started out as friendships. A fact that has been backed up by statistics, with a recent study finding 40% of couples interviewed had indeed been friends before they started dating.

But the big question is, how do you get there?

It’s a well-trodden path to make the transition from just friends to dating but that doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly. After all, this friendship is an important part of your life and you don’t want to risk jeopardising it if your feelings are not reciprocated by the person you like. It can be scary to take the leap as you can’t undo what has been said once it is out there, leaving you worrying about the fact that it could be tough to just carry on the friendship like nothing happened.

Here are a few things worth bearing in mind before you fess up to having fallen for somebody close to you.

Can you tell if they feel the same way?

Although you are probably already very comfortable in each other’s company, keep an eye out for non-verbal signs of flirting which may well suggest that they do indeed have mutual feelings. You can also try some subtle flirting, such as holding eye contact or lightly touching their arm, to see if they return the flirtiness. If they are being flirty with you in a way they don’t act with others, it can be a great sign they actually feel the same way. They may also give themselves away if they act jealous when you mention other people or dates you’ve been on.

Will you make a good couple?

There are of course practical considerations you’ll need to weigh up before you make the bold move of admitting your feelings – firstly, they need to be single and secondly, you should both be on the same page about what you are looking for in a relationship. It’s not likely to work if you want to be in it for the long-haul and you know they are a commitment-phobe who prefers a string of casual hook-ups. Plus, the reason you liked them as a friend may not translate into a successful relationship – their desire to be the life and soul of the party five nights a week might become exhausting if your idea of a great date night is a boxset and takeaway on the sofa at home. Make sure this person is somebody who has the qualities that are important to you and you’d want to date them regardless of your how familiar you are with each other as friends.

Things might be awkward

It can feel strange to move from friends to lovers. One minute you’re just hanging out and the next you’ve moved into couple territory. Despite how long you’ve been friends when you transition to a relationship it’s important to take it slow. Realise that although it might seem awkward to become intimate with somebody you’ve known so long as a platonic friend, it does not necessarily mean the relationship isn’t working. Communication is key to navigating your new status and you both need to be willing to work on the areas which may initially feel awkward.

What if it doesn’t work out?

As much as it hurts to consider it, there is a big question of what would happen if you did date, and the relationship doesn’t last. It can be hard to maintain a friendship with an ex and there’s the question of how you’d feel if you both still share the same social circle following a break-up. If you are questioning whether your feelings are strong enough to take this sort of risk, it may be best to just remain friends.

If you’ve decided to broach the subject of dating, there’s a couple of ways to go about it. Many experts think it’s worth keeping it light, asking playful questions such as “have you ever dated a friend?” and push the subject depending on their reaction. If they shut down the idea, it’s easier to backpedal and laugh it off with no lasting harm done.

However, it may well be worth being direct and honest about your feelings to avoid a situation where you’re tied up in knots yearning for this person, but your subtle signs go unnoticed. It ultimately might hurt more to be left wondering what might have been if you keep your feelings hidden and life ends up taking you in different directions.  

Have you decided it is the right time to meet somebody special? Working with a matchmaker helps you easily meet people who you’ll really share a connection with, taking all the hard work out of your dating journey. Give our expert team a call today to find out how we can help!