our everyday life

How to Start Dating a Friend

by Erica Loop

The two of you are best buds or simply like hanging out together. While your relationship has been totally platonic up to this point, you're beginning to realize that you may want more than just a friendship. Even though you're past the getting-to-know you stage, taking a friendship to a romantic level means understanding your friend on an entirely new level. Before you can begin a budding romance, you'll need to make sure that your friend feels the same way, weigh the pros and cons of moving your relationship in a different direction.

Scope out the situation. If you're not entirely sure if your friend likes you in a romantic way, look for signs. A lingering mutual gaze, direct eye contact and a sweet smile often indicate affection, according to the article "Exposed: What Does Your Body Language Communicate?" on the PsychCentral web site. Look for other signs, such as your friend keeping the physical distance between the two of you at a minimum or looking for excuses to hug you.

Weigh the pros and cons. Even if you're sure that your friend likes you in a romantic way, taking your relationship to a more than platonic level may ruin what you already have. Ask yourself if you are ready to accept the possibility that your friend may not be part of your life if the romance doesn't work out.

Demonstrate your interest. If you're ready to make the plunge, show your friend that you mean business. Let your friend know that you care about him if you want to turn your relationship into something that's more serious, suggests psychotherapist Ken Page in his article "Seduction Strategies Don't Lead to Love -- These Skills Do" on the Psychology Today web site.

Get to know your friend in a new way. Ask her out on a date. Try something different from what you've done in the past when the two of you were just hanging out. For example, if you regularly watch DVDs together and order pizza at her house, hit the town for a dinner at a fancy restaurant and then go dancing.

Discuss your relationship goals. Ask each other if you just want to casually date or are looking to get serious. If you're already close friends, you may have done the groundwork for forming a committed relationship well before you decided to start dating. Decide whether you want to keep it light and open or deep and monogamous.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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