Friends Have Benefits: Ever Thought of Dating a Close Friend?

A lot of us have been there: the bad breakup, the awful blind dates, the boring weekends. Enough of those, and suddenly a close friend can seem like an appealing prospect for romance. Should you start dating a close friend?

Evaluating friends

Not every two friends, even if they are close, are suitable for dating each other. Security, independence and an expressed interest (or hints of mutual attraction) are key. If a close friend is on the rebound, he or she is not a good candidate for dating, because the relationship could quickly turn into a one-sided affair.

The advantages

In a way, dating a close friend can make things less complicated. Both already know each other as real people without the need to impress each other. Chances are that both parties also already share a lot of common ground. You shouldn't have a shortage of conversation topics, because you already have shared interests and activities.

The disadvantages

It is possible, of course, that dating a close friend will lead to a romantic relationship with an emotional attachment. The problem is when one person does not feel the closeness but the other one does or even falls in love. (No, the female isn't always the one to fall in love. It can happen to the guy, too.)

Boundaries can be another problem, especially when deciding which events to attend as a couple and which to attend as friends. On the one hand, you'll have common interests and want to still "hang out." On the other, would it be appropriate to show up at a friend's wedding with your "friend'? Also, how will your existing friends react to this new romantic arrangement?

If you decide to turn a close friendship into a romance, there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Once you cross that line, the relationship is forever changed. Whether for better or worse depends on the individuals, but unless the relationship becomes permanent, the entire friendship can be ruined. Even a mutual breakup (if there is such a thing) can make the remaining friendship awkward at best.

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