Friends are great, the world wouldn't be the same without them, but dating friends can be a whole new ball game and very different from being just friends. It can be the most amazing thing - there's trust, passion, romance - but on the other hand it can affect whole groups of friends if things go wrong. Often if you work a shift or work long hours then your friends can also be your work colleagues and if you start dating it could also affect your work (go to dating in the work place for specific tips on dating at work).
Pros and cons to dating friends
To try and help you decide about dating a friend list here are some common pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages to dating friends:
The good points to dating friends:
- You might work similar hours if you see one another often enough to be friends
- They may live nearby
- Similar interests, likes, dislikes, values, beliefs
- You trust them
- You probably don't need to worry that he/she won't get on with your group of friends
- They've probably seen you not looking your best but still fancy you
The bad points to dating friends:
- They probably know your bad points!
- They may know your "history", past partners, etc.
- If you break-up your group of friends may never be the same again
- Does someone else in your group of friends also fancy your partner because they told you before you were going out?
Being rational about dating friends
However it's all very well to list the good and bad points but if you want to date a friend it's very hard to be rational about it and make a rational decision - you might see them all the time, you know you like similar things, you have similar values, you trust them. So sometimes it's about managing the situation and trying to deal with it rather than making a conscious decision.
It may be relevant to suggest there are four situations you may find yourself in:
- you want to date them but you're no sure if they like you the same way
- you've gone past the stage of being viewed as someone to date and and now "seen" as a friend
- you know they want to date you but you'd rather stay friends
- you're positive that you both want to date one another but afraid of the risks and ruining a good friendship
So what can we do about dating friends?
Referring back to the list immediately above:
- This can be a bit of a "leap of faith", and you need to be prepared for a knock-back, or being rejected. A good way to check the potential is asking indirectly and trying to do it in a light-hearted/joking way. But it may be best to ask them when your other friends are not around as this could put them under pressure and this situation may also give them an easy way out if they are not sure for now.
If they say yes, great! If they say no, don't feel bad especially as they just might need a bit more time to have a think and they might change their mind later on.
- You know you are seen as a friend but you want him/her to see you as a potential date, see you as "hot stuff"! This can be a case of perception and maybe changing the way you look (perhaps try to create a different "look", treat yourself to some new clothes!) or making a bit more effort to look good or smell nice (try and find out what they like) to try help them re-evaluate how they perceive you, how they "see" you. Try and see it from their point of view, for example, have you ever gone to a special event, a ball or a night out and seen someone looking good who you wouldn't normally have thought of going out on a date with; suddenly you see them in a different way, see them in a new light - it is creating this situation that may help you to be perceived diferently.
- You think you might be "hot stuff" and you've got people after you?! Nice one! Joking aside, you need to be careful and be sensitive to the situation especially if they're a friend. You could always get yourself a partner and then they know you're not available although that may be taking it a bit far! You could wait and see what happens but it may be wise to have a general idea of what you might say if they do ask. There's always what could be considered the classic responses "I'm not looking at the moment","I've been hurt before and not ready for something else", or "just want to stay friends". But especially as they are a friend they may prefer and respect an honest answer and remember it's not always what you say it's the way you say it to someone, that is, giving a considered approach to how you talk to them and the surroundings you are in.
- So you both want to date one another but worried about the risks to your friendship. I suppose the first thing would be have a think how important your friendship is in comparison with how much you like them and think a relationship would work out. It might be an idea to find out if you're both looking for the same kind of relationship - long-term, casual, marriage??! It might also be an idea to agree to some rules to your relationship at the outset to try to protect your friendship and the friends around you - I know that doesn't sound very romantic or realistic but it might help. It might help to agree not to be "couple-ly" or romantic in the company of your friends so as to separate your relationship and your friendships.
Dating friends is a tricky situation and can be an especially frequent problem among people who work alot together and spend the longer periods of time at work because alot of your friends could be work-related, and spending large amounts of time together can allow you to get to know one another very well in both fun and stressful situations to want to take it to the next level. Good luck!