It is so important to establish a strong friendship with someone before or right at the beginning of dating. It is sometimes hard to actually be friends with the opposite sex due to attraction and feelings getting in the way, but it is at least good to know each other well and have a friendly relationship before things start to get serious. Sometimes we struggle with getting out of the friend zone and moving towards a more romantic relationship. There are pros and cons to the transition, but I feel that moving from friends to something more is worth the risk.
Moving from friends to significant others can be very difficult and messy. The friends could be on completely different pages with one feeling attraction and the other not feeling anything different. When you see someone as your close friend, it is hard to completely reconstruct your idea about him or her right away. Some friends may be so close it can feel like they are siblings, which would make things really weird if they were not on the same page. It is especially hard when you find out your friend likes you, as it puts a lot of pressure on you to make a decision about how you want to proceed with the relationship. Maybe you never wanted anything to change.
Many have told me how awkward it is with their friend once things getting messy with feelings. This transition or conversation you have with your friend could completely ruin your friendship. It is important to be very open with your friend (depending on your comfort level with him/her) and to talk out your relationship once you feel confused or unsure about what is happening between the two of you. Before ending any friendship, one should try to keep an open mind and talk it out with his/her friend as much as possible. Before it even comes to this awkwardness and you want to move the relationship along, change how you act around your friend in very subtle ways.
So how can we make this transition as smooth as possible? How do we actually go from friends to something more? First, one must be extremely open-minded and patient. Chances are, you will not be on the same page as your friend. You need to make sure you do not force anything. I would start out by being a little flirtier. If you know someone really well, they will probably be able to pick up hints you drop. Be very subtle at first so that you can gauge your friend’s reaction. Make sue that you never come off as needy or wanting to be in a relationship out of nowhere. It could completely throw your friend off guard and make him/her uncomfortable. It is also a huge attraction killer if you try to rush things emotionally or physically. Make sure you make very small steps without being too obvious.
After you start to flirt very subtly, you need to slowly add some attraction into the friendship. Attraction is the missing link from your relationship (or at least it may be one sided). You need to grab your friend’s attention in a different type of way. Many people expect to be courted in a particular way and see a strong distinction between their friends and romantic partners. You need to discover this distinction, find out what your friend is attracted to, and see if you could tailor yourself to this attraction. You are not changing yourself; you are just promoting yourself in a different way than you used to.
A huge distinction between friendships and relationships are how the two people touch. People in romantic relationship touch a lot. They will sit close to each other, touch during conversations, even without realizing it! People in friendships do not touch the same way. Try to touch your friend on the arm, shoulders, hair, back, etc. If they are uncomfortable with it, you will know. Remember to keep it very subtle so that you do not freak your friend out. You want to send discrete messages to their brain without your actions being obvious.
The friendship will never change into something more unless you start changing how you act. You need to be patient and move slow. If you realize that your friend will never want to move to the next level, or he/she told you that your actions are uncomfortable, then it is time to bring the relationship down a notch. It is hard to have the same type of friendship after having romantic feelings. You may need to back off for a while for both of your sakes.
Friendships that turn into relationships are so amazing. You already have a strong bond with someone, and you know all about him or her. After the initial transition, it is so easy to get comfortable in the relationship. If you are hesitant about a friendship that could be moving in a romantic direction, I would say to just go for it! After one person’s feelings change, the relationship will never really be the same. You might as well try it out if you are curious! Do not give up if it is weird for you at first – remember that you can move at a level you are comfortable with. There are no rules to this kind of thing, so you just have to go with what feels right for you. Take a chance, and you never know how great the relationship could be!