Why You Might Not Want to Date a Friend, Even If You Both Like Each Other
Few things can complicate a friendship more than romantic feelings.
While unrequited love can create a tricky situation, success isn't guaranteed even if the feeling is mutual. We reached out to psychologist Dr. Funke Baffour-Awuah, better known as Dr. Funke, to talk about some of the possible consequences of beginning a relationship with a friend. Before you take the plunge and start dating your bestie, you may want to consider the following.
Sweety High: What are some of the biggest risks of dating someone we're already close with?
Funke Baffour: If you date and it doesn't go well, then the friendship can be in jeopardy. The relationship dynamic may change, and it can become very difficult to return to the previous dynamic and get back that friendship you once had. Plus, if they were someone you could confide in when you were having relationship troubles, suddenly you don't have that close friend you always had to talk to about whatever difficulties you're going through.
SH: What are some of the ways a friendship can change once you start dating?
FB: It can be awkward, especially at first when you're both getting used to the changes in your relationship. It's not going to be exactly like it was when you were just friends, because it's a choice you both made to be more than friends. They also may not feel totally comfortable sharing their feelings with you, especially when there's tension in the relationship, and you may feel the same way.
SH: What are some of the biggest potential pitfalls of changing your dynamic from friendship to romantic relationship?
FB: Dating someone may show you new sides of a person that you may not like. It's very possible that they're going to be a different kind of boyfriend or girlfriend than you may have expected based on what you know about them. Your friendships with mutual friends may also change. And if they put you under unwanted pressure, you may have to set new boundaries that feel like they actually put more distance between you.
SH: Can there be any downsides to knowing someone too well before you start dating?
FB: One of the biggest conflicts can arise when you're fully aware of their flaws, and you feel unable to change them. The problem is we should never focus on changing people.
SH: If two people do decide to stay just friends, how can they work to leave their feelings out of the friendship?
FB: Both people need to be transparent. They need to discuss and plan how to move past this phase together, without shoving the situation under the rug. They should be focused on moving on from this phase, rather than on the feelings they might have. It's also a good idea to avoid situations that may trigger boyfriend or girlfriend-like behaviors until both people have fully moved on from being attracted to each other.
Does it ever make sense to end a friendship over your feelings for someone? Click HERE to see what Dr. Funke had to say about the subject.