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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USFSP chapter.

Consuming media has always been a big part of my life. When I was a toddler, I would take all my picture books and keep them in my crib, which led to my parents calling me “The Librarian.” When I got older and went to elementary school, I would get in trouble for reading when I was supposed to be doing schoolwork. As I reached my early teenage years, however, I slowly stopped reading. It was quickly replaced by watching movies and TV shows. I was still connecting to characters and stories, just in a different way.  

Nowadays, I’m back in my reading era and am watching less movies. I’m lucky that I’m not a particularly picky reader. Every single genre, from literary fiction to fantasy, has something that I love. 

One genre, however, has always been very hit-or-miss for me. And that genre is romance. For whatever reason, I always have a hard time rooting for romantic relationships in media. I find a lot of romance tropes a little bit silly and melodramatic, and instead of swooning, I’m usually rolling my eyes playfully. 

However, as I have started reading more romance, one trope is an exception to this rule. I haven’t read much romance, but the romance books I have enjoyed have the same trope in common: friends to lovers. There’s so much to like in friends to lovers, and it has so many aspects that truly make it not just my favorite romance trope, but one of my favorite tropes of all time (spoilers ahead for Harry Potter and When Harry Met Sally!). 

The first time I remember reading friends to lovers was in fourth grade, when I first picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I devoured the series in a matter of months, and by the end, I loved the romantic pairing of Ron and Hermione beyond belief. I loved seeing their relationship grow from good-natured bickering to being truly ride-or-die for each other. It set up my favorite hallmark of the friends to lovers trope: shared history between the couple. Friends go through a lot together, from major life events to the mundane every day. They tell each other their secrets, their hopes, their dreams. They know everything about each other, which means that their relationship feels real.  

This is best exemplified in the iconic When Harry Met Sally confession scene, where Harry tells Sally what he loves about her, information acquired over years of them knowing each other. We’ve seen their relationship develop throughout the film, so when this declaration of love happens, it doesn’t feel like insta-love. The best friends to lovers stories know exactly how to make couples believable and get you to root for them through this history that they share. 

Friends to lovers isn’t universally beloved, however. One of the most popular romance tropes currently is enemies to lovers, where two people who are diametrically opposed end up falling in love. Readers who love this trope view it as super exciting and dramatic, more so than friends to lovers. But what goes under the radar for many readers is that a lot of times, enemies to lovers incorporates friends to lovers. The progression of a romance is not enemies immediately to lovers, it’s more like enemies to reluctant allies to friends to lovers. It is only after their relationship develops that two enemies become romantic partners. To me, friends to lovers is a foundation of good enemies to lovers romances, because without mutual respect and love, how can they ever escalate to seeing each other in a romantic light? 

Even though I haven’t read a lot of romance, most of the romance novels on my to-be-read pile include friends to lovers. The one I’m most excited for is People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. Henry wrote Beach Read, one of my favorite romance books, and I’m excited to see her spin on my favorite trope. Farah Heron’s Kamila Knows Best just crossed my radar, but the plot sounded so fun (the main character hosts a puppy prom?!) that it immediately went on my list. Finally, You, Again by Katie Goldbeck promises a When Harry Met Sally-esque romance, which means it obviously shot to the top of my to-read list the second I heard about it. The diversity of these plots means that there is probably a perfect friends to lovers story for anyone, even for those who may not have ever considered the trope before. 

Personally, I love the friends to lovers trope because I can only ever picture myself falling in love with someone I know inside and out. I want to be with someone who knows me and cares about me deeply, not despite my quirks, but because of them. But until that day comes for me, I will keep living vicariously through the books and movies I consume.  

Anna Burns


Anna Burns is a freshman at the University of South Florida. She is an English major with a concentration in Literary Studies. When she is not procrastinating assignments, she loves reading, listening to music, and talking her friends' ears off about bands.