Can buddies become soulmates? Yes, they can! In fact, some of the most successful romantic relationships started as platonic friendships.
Transitioning from just friends to lovers can be confusing yet thrilling at the same time. It takes open communication and a willingness to explore new (and sometimes uncomfortable) territories to navigate the twists and turns of friendship to relationship stages.
Think you’ve got the hots for your good friend? Here are some stages you’ll likely go through as you redefine your relationship as you consider taking it from a close relationship to a more intimate relationship.
But first, let’s quickly consider the risks and challenges that may be lurking along the way as you journey from friendship development to romance.
Things to Consider Before Taking the Plunge
As wonderful as the idea of turning a platonic friendship into a romantic relationship may sound, there’s always a risk of losing the close friendship if the romance doesn’t work out.
No matter how strong the spark of attraction you feel for your good friend is right now, stop and answer these questions honestly before taking things further:
- How strong is your friendship? Is your bond strong enough to withstand conflicts or misunderstandings when they eventually arise? Remember that there’s nothing like a conflict-free relationship. Disagreements or fights are bound to happen sooner or later.
- Do you trust each other? What’s your communication like? Do you have mutual respect? If your friendship isn’t built on these fundamental elements, what you feel for your friend or each other may just be fleeting.
- Are your values and long-term goals compatible or even similar? Having shared dreams and visions for the future helps you have a sense of harmony and supports mutual growth when you eventually transition from friends to lovers.
- Would taking things from friends to romantic partners create any conflict of interest in your professional circle? How would family members be affected, and in what ways would your new status affect your mutual friends? While you should not bother too much about other people’s opinions, you want to be sensitive and factor in how they adapt to the new relationship dynamic.
Reflect on these questions and consider discussing them with your friend. Be open and honest with each other about the complexities involved with taking things further.
This way, you are both in a better position to determine whether shifting gears from a platonic relationship to a romantic relationship is the right move.
7 Friendship to Relationship Stages to Move From Friends to Lovers
1. The Initial Spark: Spend More Time Together
Hanging out with friends is natural, except with this particular friend, you tend to spend an awful lot of time together and begin to develop more of a romantic interest.
When you hang out, your conversations are deep and more meaningful. You thoroughly enjoy their company and feel at ease making them a part of your life.
And, God forbid, you’re apart; you always look forward to being with them, even though there are actually no strings attached, at least not yet.
When you’re apart, you want to stay in touch with them a lot more than other friends.
While there may be no flurry of back-and-forth text messages at this stage (usually because one or both of you are trying hard to deny your feelings), you still have them front and center of your mind.
Sometimes, you may wonder why you feel such a strong connection with them.
Actually, it might be nothing.
Then again, it could signal the beginning of your transition from a platonic to a beautiful romantic relationship.
Give your feelings time; this way, you’ll know if they are fleeting or not.
Tip: Avoid broaching the subject of romance with your friend just because they enjoy spending time with you. Look for other clues before taking the plunge.
2. The Denial Stage: Tackle the Confusion
You’ll likely go through a denial phase after realizing that your feelings for your friend are a bit beyond friendly.
Acknowledging the initial spark is often tough and even scary because you’re used to seeing your friend as just that ― a friend.
You might try to talk yourself out of your feelings, yet they grow stronger as time passes.
And while you are uncertain about a love relationship, you can’t help but feel excitement at the thought of being romantically involved with your friend.
Before long, you’ll catch yourself romantically visualizing your friend, even when you try to banish the thought from your mind.
Tip: Don’t feel guilty or deem yourself inappropriate when thinking of your friend romantically. It’s a normal part of the journey from friendship to romance.
3. The Jealousy Phase: Feed the Desire to Make Them Yours
An unexpected feeling of jealousy indicates that you might have the hots for your friend. As mere friends, you’re less likely to be bothered when your friend views others romantically or even talks about their ex.
However, all that changes when your feelings for them morph from friendly to romantic feelings.
Suddenly, you no longer like it when your friend gives others too much attention, especially those you perceive as potential rivals. Or you might notice yourself getting jealous when your friend talks about their ex.
If you experience a feeling of jealousy over your friend, consider doing the delicate dance of testing the waters instead of allowing yourself to be consumed by resentment.
Tip: While it is natural to be bothered about potential future partners, try not to let jealousy get the best of you. It can end the romance before you even get a foot in the door.
4. Make a Move: Test the Waters
There’s usually only one way to find out if your friend feels the same way about you; make a move!
That said, you want to proceed cautiously, and that’s where subtle flirting comes in.
Make eye contact and hold it a bit longer than you normally would. Tease them about being a couple. Find creative ways to subtly flirt with them without making them uneasy.
If using a direct approach isn’t your thing, perhaps because you’re somewhat reserved, you could causally pose questions to gauge their reaction.
Tip: It’s important to take things slow at this stage. Don’t push it if your friend feels differently, or else you risk ruining your existing friendship.
5. Strengthen the Connection: Allow Your Desires to Grow Stronger
This is one of the trickiest friendship to relationship stages to navigate.
Mistakes happen when we let strong emotions (like lust or sexual desire) get the better of us. They can mar a once beautiful friendship, especially when your friend doesn’t feel the way you do.
That said, it’s generally a good idea to explore romantic possibilities if you feel strong physical and emotional attraction for your friend.
If your friend feels the same way about you, make time for intimate conversations to get to know each other on a deeper level. This will help you build a stronger relationship that goes beyond physical attraction or sexual desires.
Tip: You’re heading toward a romantic relationship if you start replaying each laugh, hug, and innocent touch over and over in your mind. Don’t fight it. Rather, explore the possibilities.
6. Make It Official: Have the Talk
Once you’re sure about your feelings and have some level of confirmation that your friend feels that way about you, it’s time to discuss how you feel.
Tell your friend exactly how you feel, making sure you are as honest and respectful as possible.
While having this conversation can be uncomfortable and awkward, it is crucial to help you redefine the future of your relationship.
Tip: Be optimistic and confident during the conversation, but be willing to accept any outcome.
7. The Final Stage: Go On Out on a Romantic Date
Lastly, go on a romantic date to signal the end of a platonic friendship and the beginning of a new romantic relationship.
Remember to put your cards on the table; honesty and transparency are non-negotiable if you want to build a long-lasting relationship.
You can have a successful romantic relationship if you’re honest with each other, even if you don’t live in the same location.
By the way, if you’re looking to turn your long-distance relationship into something more concrete (like marriage), check out this post for practical tips.
Tip: Use the word “date” so you both understand it is a romantic outing, not just friends casually hanging out.
It might not be the easiest thing, but open communication is crucial when it comes to turning a friendship into a head-over-heels, crazy-over-you kind of relationship.
Knowing what to expect as you navigate the friendship to relationship stages can help you test the waters while making sure you don’t jeopardize your existing bond if things don’t pan out as expected.
Indeed, you may not go through all the stages outlined here, and that’s okay because relationship stories are unique.
What’s more important is exploring romantic possibilities if you feel something for your friend beyond being friendly.