Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Ask me Anything: Should I date a close friend?

Monday, January 24, 2022
Graphic by Emma Kratky

Hi! Welcome to my new column, “Ask me Anything.” I’m a psychology and journalism major and hope to be a relationship counselor one day, since interpersonal relationships fascinate me. I also love thinking about why things are the way they are, so … I’m here to answer all of your burning questions! I’d love to answer anything from questions about life or relationships, deep questions, absurd hypotheticals — whatever’s in your head.

Today’s question: Should I date a close friend?

“I wanna ruin our friendship … We should be lovers instead.”

Does anyone remember that TikTok trend? I mean, I get it: catching feelings for a close friend can be thrilling, and it’s hard to see your options clearly through those notorious rose-colored glasses. But fear not, reader! This is my practical guide to considerations for dating a close friend.

Before you make any decisions, think about WHY you want to move from friendship to relationship. What do you like about your friend? Do you have the same interests? Sense of humor? Major life goals? Are you genuinely attracted to them, not just the idea of being with someone who *gets you?* If you can’t name anything that elevates them out of the friend zone, a relationship might not be the best move.

Once you’re sure you're interested, it’s good to look at your potential partner as objectively as you can. How many of these traits do they check off?

They talk well about people who aren’t in the room.

They respect you and your boundaries and care about you even when there’s nothing in it for them.

They’re someone you feel comfortable having hard conversations with.

If the answer to any of these questions is a no, your relationship might be best kept platonic.

OK, so you’ve made it this far. Now what? Well, before getting into a relationship, it’s crucial to be on the same page as someone you're thinking about dating.

Some big things to consider:

Are both of you ready for a new relationship?

Do you want something casual or serious?

What are your expectations for what dating looks like and what a good partner should do?

Are you both OK with the possibility of breaking up and potentially losing the friendship (and what would that look like with any mutual friends)? The answer to this question can be — and for many people — is a yes, but it’s not a decision to take lightly.

If you’ve talked through these questions with your person and feel confident your expectations are similar, you’re good to go.

“But, Lizzy,” you might say, “I don’t even know how to bring it up!”

And understandably so — it can be daunting to ask if someone wants to be more than friends. It’s important to gauge if they’re actually interested: showing you more special attention than their other friends and going out of their way to talk to you or get physically close to you are all good signs. Bring up the subject casually, and if it isn’t received well, brush it off lightly.

(Or at the very least, be kind and understanding, and save crying about it in your room with a pint of ice cream for later.)

Dating a good friend can be incredibly rewarding, but it also comes with unique challenges. So, if you've thought it through and feel comfortable with the idea, in my *professional* opinion: Go for it!

Do you have a burning question? Submit it here.