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Friday, July 3, 2009

Can friendship prevent romantic relationship?

Myself being a believer in getting to know one another well before becoming romantic (Usually being friends for a while first), the question popped into my head, Can friendship prevent romantic relationships? And if friendship can, why?

In case you guys hadn't realized, I'm no genius, not the brightest star in the sky, but for the life of me, it never accured to me that friendship could be a hindrance to a possible romantic relationship. I have always thought that it was only a benefit. Either you get to know each other well enough and know that you can give more a try, or you realize that you are better off as friends. Either way it works out.

In a recent post, the queenofrelationships said that if the friendship goes on too long, without sex, the woman will put the guy in the friend category. Interesting thought!

So, give me some feedback on what negatives there can be to being friends first that can hinder going further into a romantic relationship?




  1. First of all, please don't put yourself down! You always pose provocative questions and bring up great points! :)

    Second, I think being friends first is the best foundation for a relationship. I only skimmed the post you linked to, so I might have missed something, but I think the blogger was talking about dating relationships in which the guy isn't making a move rather than friendships. If two people have agreed that they're going to start as friends, then neither should have the expectation that sex will be part of the package until they've decided to move beyond the friendship.

    Now, can a woman (or a man) become frustrated if the friendship never progresses to a romantic relationship and give up? Sure. But, hopefully, if both people understand that the friendship is a prelude to a relationship and there's some doubt on either side about where it's headed, one member or the other will check in and ask for a status update of sorts.

    The real problem arises when two people become friends without expectation of necessarily dating, develop an attraction, and wait indefinitely for someone to make a move. In that case, it is likely that someone will give up and move on sooner or later, but who it is and when that happens are dependent on the individuals involved. There's no formula that can tell you how long you should wait before introducing a romantic or physical element. I'd say you just have to play it by ear, be attuned to the other person's signals, and, ultimately, have a little courage.

    Aside from this potential for miscommunication, I don't think friends-first relationships have any drawbacks. Well, maybe one--if it doesn't work out, you risk losing a great friendship.

  2. Thank you Elsie. I think many times I use phrases like "...not the brightest star in the sky" as a kind of lead in to something I want to stress. I actually believe I'm half bright :)

    I think you said many of the things I was trying to say, but a lot more elegantly. The Queen was making the point that if a move wasn't made then it has a time limit, so you're right. I just looked strictly at the friendship time limit by itself.

    I have always found that if two people (friends) have an attraction with each other, that someone would make a move of sorts, usually through heavy flirting.

    Thanks for the great feedback Elsie!

  3. Shouldn't look it as hindrance, more likely when it's a good time to make a move :)

  4. HSG, we agree completely! And the best part is that you get to know the person much better by then :)

  5. I agree as well...if there is no spark, there's no life or passion to the friendship that can move it into that domain for a woman. I think sometimes friends to women means "I can't see myself physically with this person." Expectations need to be the same, and if one person hopes/expects that "something in time will come" and the other doesn't and there's not up front honesty about that, then yes...it can be destructive.

  6. Hi Special K! I think what you said makes sense in any circumstance. And I agree that honesty is always a must. What could it be that is specific to friendship itself that can hinder a romantic relationship, if any? I can't really seem to find any.
    Thanks so much for the feedback :)

  7. Well. Hmmmmmmmm. I think this is a very interesting post. Because if I were to have spent time getting to know most of the guy's I've been in failed awful relationships with . . . if I'd gotten to know them as friends first, I think that I would have never entered into a relationship with them.

    If you're friends first you know for sure that a) you really like the person b) that you're compatible with the person.

    The awkward part is if one party feels attracted and the other doesn't. And how do you broach that without it being a really strange moment. But then, a good friendship can endure strange moments.

    From a female point of view. If a guy is going to be my friend first, I don't want to have the feeling that he is just biding his time to see of he like-likes me. I want him to genuinely want to be friends. Then if a little chemistry comes up down the road, I would really respect him if he took it upon himself to address that chemistry and ask if I would want to go on a date or something. But things change when you go from being friends to lovers and I might be confused or right a guy off if he was still acting like a friend and not a boyfriend but we were dating.

    Let me clarify: I would still want him to act like a good friend. But throw in some romance. Just cause we're friends doesn't mean that the rest is a home run.

    And if I felt some chemistry and the guy didn't do anything for a while, I would get over it and just be glad we're good friends. So if you don't speak up for your romantic feelings, you might get passed by.

  8. I completely respect someone believing in being friends first then being romantically involved. Yet, the physical attraction and chemistry of the two usually is at the beginning. You can wait and 'get' to the romantic part later, yet the attraction is still there but like Queen mentioned if the physical intimacy doesn't happen, in time it will fade and you will find yourself in the friendship zone. You can develop a friendship over time, yet it is much difficult to develop a physical attraction and the chemistry for explosive passionate intimacy, if it is not there from the get go. There are some women who have confessed to 'knowing' if they were ever going to be romantically involved with a man as soon as they meet him. So in essence, if both parties are honest, they know where they want their relationship to go; just be friends, or be friends and 'see' where it goes from there.

  9. Welcome Love Idiot! You make valid points all around. For me, it's worth more to get to know someone well enough to see if we could be compatible, then to take a chance and find that I'm very wrong in the long run. Thanks for your input!

  10. Singlutionary- when you say, "I think this is a very interesting post. Because if I were to have spent time getting to know most of the guy's I've been in failed awful relationships with . . . if I'd gotten to know them as friends first, I think that I would have never entered into a relationship with them."

    I tend to find this is many people's perspective also, including me. Yes, there can be that awkward part where one person is interested and the other not, but better to deal with an awkwardness than a break up down the road I feel.

    "Let me clarify: I would still want him to act like a good friend. But throw in some romance. Just cause we're friends doesn't mean that the rest is a home run."

    BINGO! I wish more people would try and keep a friendship going along with romance. It just makes all around sense to me.
    And yes, speaking up is very important, especially to shy guys like myself :)
    Thanks so much!

  11. I'd like to comment on something the love idiot said. I think that, yes, typically you can tell just from looking at someone if there is any chemistry there. But the best people are surprising. And sometimes through friendship and the emotional intimacy that comes along with any good friendship a person can grow on you. There have been a few times when somone started out as a "not" but as I got to know him he became "hot". Most of the time, though, my snap judgements about people are spot on.

    But if I really grow to respect a man . . . well respectability is very attractive.

  12. Singlutionary- as my British friends would say, spot on. All of my relationships have been with woman who were friends first. Here's the kicker, even though they didn't work out, or last (for a variety of reasons including death unfortunately), we remained friends. To me this is very important.

    Yes, I have seen quite a variety of couples who started out not even thinking about one another in a romantic way.

  13. Very intriguing question Bobby. I do think that women put men into the friend category or the romance category, but I think that for most women they decide which category man falls into very soon after meeting them.

    I think that a relationship can certainly still be progressing in a romantic way even if there isn't sex for quite a while. That being said, there is still a difference between the conversations, tone and type of dates that you have with someone who is a potential romantic interest versus someone who strictly sees you as a friend. I think getting to know someone before getting physical is very important, but I still think you can send a message that your interest is romantic rather than just as a friend.

    I don't think that it can hurt to ask a woman about seeing each other exclusively while you are getting to know each other. Then she'll either have to say that she really only sees you as a friend, or she'll be very pleased to know that you're willing to make a bit of a commitment before getting physical.

  14. @Tina you know something? I was told by many woman that they do put a guy in one of those two categories very quickly. The confusing part, especially for me, is that after being friends for sometime with a few woman, we became romantic.
    This being the case, I'm not sure how much it matters, or should matter to a guy?

  15. This is a really interesting conversation, and I feel compelled to chime in because I tend to do what you, Bobby, are saying that a lot of women have told you, that they put a guy into either "friend" or "potential romantic partner" category very quickly.... I'm not sure whether this is a "right" or "wrong" impulse, but it's a very real one -- and if a guy gets put into the "friend" category, I become very very surprised (and slightly confused) if things change. In fact, I have been so surprised by this very thing happening in recent months, that even though I am stil dating the same guy who I hooked up with in late May (yeah, the one I posted about at Onely), I am still not sure how to think about him because I always before categorized him as a "friend" before.

    Besides the confusion on my end, though, I don't feel the same kind of pressure in this relationship that I have in the past when dating a guy from Day 1.... So that's a pretty big beneft.

    -- Lisa

  16. Lisa- Not only can you chime in, it's mandatory :)
    Although there are many woman that have told me about this friend or romance category, not many guys like to do the friend thing first like I do, so I can only give my perspective on the past benefits of it.

    I agree that the pressures do seem to be less when two are friends first and I'm happy to hear about your experience in this relationship :)

  17. You know, on the 4th of July I was watching the fireworks- and it was pouring down rain- each time the firework would go off it would fizzle out almost immediately.

    Me, having the philosopher's heart, pondered as I stared...it reminded me of every connection I have ever had- based off of an intense attraction.

    Is it explosive? Yes. An amazing display of beauty? Yes. Breathtaking? Every time...

    But I am learning to try out the friendship first thing... I think as you grow older you realize there just might be potential of something growing into an attraction. A different kind than the fireworks...but an attraction never the less..

  18. Amy-what a great imaginative you used! I see that many people are interested in getting to know a person better so the firecracker doesn't fizzle in the rain ;)

  19. The hard thing about falling in love to a friend is that you might lose your friendship because you are taking your relationship to another level. However, I guess it depends between friends on how they will handle the situation.


  20. I think it's a great way to start a relationship. If it doesn't go any farther then maybe it's not meant to. Then again, if you start feeling romantic inclinations it's important to come up with a game plan to test the waters, so to speak. Sometimes when we meet someone and there is a spark we tend to jump into things - romance first, friends later so to speak. I would just suggest that you take things slowly and really get to know each other before getting too involved.

  21. Hi Bobbyboy! :)

    You surprised me with your never ending great thoughts here..which I am never used to you at MP..Behind that "one liner person" there..
    but here...ur so brilliant and so open minded..

    Sorry but this is off topic here, but I would love to read ur thoughts anf others here..

    Cheers to you my long lost buddy!

  22. Why thank you so much Miss Unknown lol.
    You are most free to read as much as you want here, I hope something might be helpful :)

  23. I met this man on-line and we both wanted to meet one another. We have seen one another for about a month now and he drives the distance about 40 miles to spend Sundays with me. We are both Seniors and he has stated many times that we need to take this slow. We enjoy one another's company. He call me almost every night. He traveled on business for 3 days and called each night. I like him alot and the problem is that the difference between men and women is the woman gets attached and feelings start to take over. I do agree with him about being friends first and he is a great guy, has made no advances. I only kissed him on the check at our last meeting. He wants to make sure that we are on the same page and tells me that he doesn't have so-called friends and really likes me as a "friend." We both stated in our profile on-line that eventually we both want a everlasting relationship the next time around.
    It is the "what ifs?" We pretty much see eye to eye in alot of things and we both enjoy conversation and laugh alot. Could this possibly turn into more than a friendship or do I wait for his move, if at all?

  24. Hi Anonymous,
    I am no relationship expert as I ask more questions on my blog then give answers. However, I can tell you what I believe and maybe that could be of some help.

    You are both mature adults who know how to communicate in relationships, and that is a big item for myself in relationships. The principles I guide myself with are:

    1. Know who you are and what you want.
    2. Know who they are and what they want.
    3. Communicate openly and honestly.

    If anyone follows these principles I believe they will arrive at a certain answer as to a relationships status and possibility.

    I also believe that woman can, and should, make the first move if they feel the time and circumstance is right, just like a man does. I think with flirting alone you can get the right feel as to what he wants. If you feel more comfortable with just asking him what possibilities there are between you two, then I say go for it, why not?

    All in all, give it the time you feel is needed for both of you to get to know each other a bit better and keep the "Friendship zone" at arms length, at least until you know for sure what his intentions are.

    I wish you the very best of luck and whatever the outcome, feel free to come back here to the blog and let me know-I'm in your corner! :)

  25. Here's my question on the topic do women who have guys friends who have generally never showed interest in her before feel more comfortable if they were to communicate their feelings to her and see what happens or progressivly introduce more physical contact (ie arm around shoulder, try to hold her hand, wave my hand through her hair casually ect..) and gauge her reaction? It seems like crossing over from friends to more than friends can be tricky regardless of how you go about it, but as friends you generally are comfortable speaking with one another does it apply in showing ones interest in the other? Or is it better to resort to more dater/datee non friends mode which is less open communication and more physically focused in terms of gauging the other persons interest...Just a thought

  26. ok hey guys..

    so how do you create that chemistry?

    because I am really great friends with this girl and I want us to be more than friends..

  27. Hi Anonymous,
    not sure you can create the chemestry if it isn't there per se, but if it is, I'd take the advice of the commentors here in this post!

    Best of luck to you :)

  28. Hi first Anonymous, thank you for your input here!

    I'm not sure how a guy may introduce more interest in a long time female friend, maybe through your examples, or maybe some other way (s), but it is an interesting question!

    I like the question of can communication cross over into romantic talk. I believe it can if a sort of flirting stage (mutual) has taken place first, sort of like groundwork.

    I think a cross between the physical and the communication is key, although one may triumph over the other depending on the individuals involved.

    Great questions to be answered!

  29. What if there has been some sexual stuff at the guy's instigation but he still prefers to say we are good friends? And then he starts seeing and even sleeps with someone else when we have known each other nearly a year ? And he has said he cannot ever see himself marrying me or having a sexual relationship with me although I feel we have already crossed some boundaries but he hays he wants someone with a fit body and rich and I an neither compared to the girl he slept with

  30. I note that it has been some time since anyone posted here, but I feel the need to ask your advice. I have never written in response to this sort of thing before, but I have never been in this position before either. Please help me out...

    There's this guy whom I've known for a bit longer than a year now. We started talking at a mutual friends Halloween night, and exchanged phone numbers. There was some chemistry and when I had to leave we spent the next several hours texting back and forth. We got to where we texted each other all the time, and talked whenever we saw each other in person. We both agreed that even though we had not know each other for long, it felt like we'd known the other our entire lives and we wished we could have met each other sooner. I fell in love with him that Halloween night, but knew he didn't return the feelings. We became very close friends. And eventually best friends. Time passed, and he went through an awful relationship and experienced some hardships in his life. Alot happened. In any case, let's fast forward. Last Saturday he and I were hanging out together. We walked around looking at stores, then went back to where he was staying and hung out, watching TV and talking. And he told me he loved me. I was shocked, because I had loved him for so long and he never returned those feelings, I didn't really bother to hide them after the first few months. But he said he was worried about hurting me, about ruining our friendship, that maybe he was still vulnerable because of everything which had happened to him and thus was reaching for closeness. His worries. We talked about this a bit. Then he asked if he could kiss me. We kissed. We made out. Some of that. I stayed until 7:30am hanging out, nearly napping in his arms at the end. He walked me to the door, kissed me, hugged me, then I got in my car and went home. Later that day I came back to hang out for a bit and he was kinda distant. When we were saying goodbye he said we'd talk wednesday. Yesterday now. He wound up telling me that he didn't regret kissing me. That he had feelings for me, but didn't know what they were. That he didn't feel he should be in a relationship with anyone right now. That for once he was gonna follow someone elses advice and maybe later he'd discover he wanted me.
    I can understand his reasons for it, which I won't bother to speak of since they play no part in the advice I need. But...I am so confused. I am afraid of hurting or losing our friendship too, but we are so close, that I have no idea what we could do that would ruin it. We are always honest with each other, help each other out, talk, we're not idiots...what could happen that would ruin that? I just don't understand how us getting closer would drive us apart when clearly he was into me that night. His reversal was so sudden, I am filled with uncertainty. He kissed me and told me he loved me. Why is he now saying things so differently?
    Is he just afraid? Does he not want to be with me? Is it something else? I still feel so generally shell-shocked about it all. We were super close that night and now he's acting like it never happened...

  31. Hi Anon, thanks for sharing your story. As I am not even close to a relationship expert, I hope some of the other bloggers will chip in and help here.
    To me, the guy seems very confused about his relationship with you, for whatever reasons. It's up to you to take the bull by the horns and make some decisions here I think. Maybe a cooling off period of no contact with him will help him decide his true feelings. You need to know for sure where he's coming from and sometimes, the harsh reality, is distance can help one to think more clearly.

    If this relationship stays the same after some time away from each other, I would recommend a break, even with the friendship as there is too much involved with the friendship alone to move forward in a positive way.

    Best of luck to you :)

  32. Hi Anon (first one), to me, the guy doesn't sound like a good pick for you. Although he's honest for the most part, which is good, his honesty seems to be at odds with what you are looking for in life. I hate to say it not knowing all the circumstances, but move on the someone who will appreciate you for who you are.

    Best of luck!


Thanks so much for your comment and input! :)

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