Turning a friendship into love can be challenging, especially if you’re unsure about your friend’s feelings for you. Falling in love with a friend can be a promising prospect, but making a transition from friendship to romantic interest requires precautions before you take the leap. Moving beyond a platonic relationship changes the entire dynamic of your interaction. Ultimately, if your romantic involvement fails, you risk the possibility that your friendship will significantly change.
Identify your feelings. Take some time to distinguish between the platonic feelings you have for your friend and those of a romantic nature. Social worker, professor and author of “Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships,” Geoffrey Greif, says that “Men often feel more comfortable disclosing intimacies to women than to men," so determine whether you’re mistaking the intimacy of friendship for something more before you disclose your emotions.
Examine your options. Ensure that you have evaluated the possible benefits of revealing your romantic interest against the risk of losing your friendship. Revealing your romantic interest in your friend can take an immense amount of courage because you’re exposing yourself to the possibility of being rejected. On the other hand, taking the risk and exposing vulnerability may facilitate a strong foundation for a loving relationship. Psychologists Charles D. and Elizabeth A. Schmitz, writing for SelfGrowth.com, say, “If you wait to make a commitment until you have no doubts, it will never happen.”
Address the changes to the dynamic of your friendship. Develop a mutual understanding of how your relationship may alter your interaction. Author and professor at the University of Cambridge Terri Apter says, “Friendships between women and men are often passionate, and they are rarely simple. Like all human attachments, they involve a range of emotions.” Discuss the physical and emotional changes you will encounter in the transition and agree to remain friends if the romantic relationship is unsuccessful.
Refrain from moving too fast. Make time to develop the romantic side of your relationship. Resist the temptation to rush into an intense relationship. Learn about each other from this new perspective, psychiatrist Paul Dobransky says. Your interaction is going to change. Give your feelings some time to progress from platonic to romantic ones.
Nurture your friendship. Remember to maintain the bond you shared as friends before the romantic relationship. Recall the significance of the times you’ve spent confiding in one another, crying on each other’s shoulders or laughing together. The Schmitzes emphasize that "the person you commit to must, first and foremost, be your best friend. You cannot make a lifetime commitment to someone you only love. Lifetime commitments are made to those we consider our best friends!”
Anna-Sofie Hickson is a freelance writer with six years of writing experience. She writes for "LIVESTRONG Quarterly" magazine and contributes to various military publications. She is a certified personal trainer and holds a degree in English and psychology from Franciscan University. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Texas.