If turning a good friendship into a relationship is the Holy Grail of many a best friend too afraid of losing a companion to speak out and say what they feel, making a success of it is the Atlantis: legendary and hard to find. Does it even exist?
When someone falls for a friend, things can get really awkward. Raising the possibility of dating after knowing one another for a long time is incredibly difficult. But does it really need to be said? Try treating her like she’s already your girlfriend and not so much like another of your friends.
Picking up small gifts for her and complimenting her eyes or her laugh, putting your jacket or your cap on her. When you get a coffee or a meal together, sit beside her rather than across from her and express affection through physicality: playful pushes, squeezing her shoulder, putting your arm around her. Women respond emotionally to touch.
Assuming that you do get together, romance with a previous friend isn’t as easy-going and laid-back as it might seem. The pressures can be considerably higher than a normal relationship and both parties might still be scared of losing a friend. You have to keep the golden rule:
Never forget where you came from.
Avoiding a shipwreck
The romance in your relationship is an addition to your friendship, it doesn’t substitute or replace it. This means its important to keep nurturing your friendship together too by continuing having fun with another and doing things based on mutual interests just like you did when you were ‘only friends’.
You got together because you felt comfortable with and trusted one another, recognised that you held genuine affection and cared for each other. It’s important, obviously, that none of this changes but the crucial one is trust and honesty. The open and sincere communication you had as friends has to last throughout your romance, or your relationship won’t. It is your foundation and only a fool would jeopardise it.
Don’t play with each other’s heads and you’ll probably remain friends even if you do break up. It’s important not to get too bewitched by the socially-defined roles of what boyfriends and girlfriends are. Forge your own path and be ready to define your relationship in your own mutual terms rather than what conventions tell you to be.
Which leads onto the final point: don’t change too much for the other. Remember that you liked her and she liked you when you were just friends, there shouldn’t be any need to change yourselves to fit roles – or to please the other. If you were the more outspoken before you were a couple, don’t suddenly become submissive and compliant just because you are in a relationship. Remind yourself to be yourself; it’s the foundation of why she loves you.
A romantic relationship that blooms from friendship can be a rocky road. But if you keep its humble origins in mind and never compromise on what made you good together before you were together then you’ll have a better chance at making a success of it and remaining friends even if it doesn’t work out.