Friends sometimes develop crushes or strong feelings for other friends. Knowing what to do with those feelings can make or break a friendship.
Will dating a friend ruin the friendship?
Dating a friend will ruin the friendship because dating changes the entire nature and context of a friendship. Dating involves new emotional attachments, expectations, chemistry, and romantic feelings. Breakups usually end friendships and can even split friend groups.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about “Will dating a friend ruin the friendship?”
10 Reasons Dating Ruins a Friendship
There are ten good reasons that dating ruins friendships.
Knowing these reasons will help you decide if risking friendships is worth it. The reasons include changed perspectives, expectations, and lingering hurt emotions.
1) Relationships Change the Nature of Friendships
Once a friendship changes into a relationship, it’s nearly impossible to go back.
If you’re in a committed romantic relationship with your friend, the friendship has changed forever.
Even if nothing happens (i.e., the relationship fizzles out) and you try to remain just friends, the nature of that friendship will never be the same.
The “just friends” part is really what’s important here.
Friendships change as people grow and mature, but dating transforms those friendships far more profoundly than normal. It’s like cosmetic plastic surgery on your connection.
The connection might look pretty much the same as before but, on closer inspection, it’s superficial and inauthentic.
2) Relationships Get Emotions and Egos Involved
Once you shift from a friendship to a relationship, you put skin in the game. Your identity is now inexorably linked to them.
Friends are more separated into distinct individuals.
If one friend has a bad day or week, you don’t feel the same pressure to fix things because their feelings aren’t wrapped up in your identity like they are when you’re romantically involved.
Even if a friend is snippy or frustrating at times, it doesn’t affect your overall emotional state like it might if you were dating.
After you invest that much in a romantic relationship, it’s nearly impossible to sever those emotional ties. You can still be friends (in some sense), but the friendship is immutably different.
3) Expectations Change
Friends don’t expect the same things of each other that romantic partners do.
There’s more concern about how something might affect the other person in a romantic relationship.
Suddenly, where you are and what you do come into question. There are boundaries and expectations not present in a platonic friendship.
Like the other items on this list, once expectations change, they often change forever.
4) Chemistry in Friendships Doesn’t Always Translate to Relationships
Chemistry is a big issue in romantic relationships.
Friends don’t always experience the same chemistry once they transition into a romantic relationship, and that takes away from their relationship.
When you like someone as a friend and later decide to date them, there’s no guarantee the effortless vibe will carry over into a new type of relationship.
Even if it does, chemistry is not something that’s easy to pin down or maintain in a relationship.
If you’re unsure about it in the beginning, don’t risk a friendship over something that might not last—or that might alter your outlook irreparably.
5) Romance Changes the Dynamic
Romance changes the dynamic of a friendship.
Take it from someone who’s been there: Leaving romantic relationships isn’t as simple as leaving friendships, and those changes reach far beyond your history with a person.
Even if you can eventually coexist without romantic feelings, the dynamics will never be the same again.
6) Most People Are Not Mature Enough To Navigate Friendships With Exes
Friendships with opposite-sex friends can be complicated, but adding romantic feelings can complicate them even more.
It’s asking a lot of your ex to maintain an important relationship when you’re still interested in them as a romantic partner.
This isn’t just about what you want for yourself. It’s also about how that person feels about you.
7) Most Relationships Don’t Last
Friendships can last for years, decades, and entire lifetimes. However, most romantic relationships don’t last longer than a few months.
And the longer the romantic relationship, the harder the eventual breakup.
Therefore, the very nature of relationships is temporary. When things don’t work out as a couple, it’s only going to make going back to a friendship more challenging.
8) You Can’t Rewind the Clock
When you break up with someone, it’s over—no matter the intensity or length of the relationship.
That means all those great times and intense emotions are erased by the breakup. No matter how good a job you do of putting that relationship in the past, there will always be emotional baggage on both ends that distracts from the friendship.
It may not be a problem now, but eventually, someone is probably going to want those experiences and feelings again.
This usually happens after spending time with an ex as friends, or realizing you’ve built up so many memories together that it’s impossible to ignore how you feel.
9) One Person Usually Ends Up Hurt
After breakups, one person is usually left hurt and heartbroken.
That doesn’t bode well for any eventual platonic friendship. When one person still has feelings, it corrupts the innocence and authenticity of a friendship.
If it’s one-sided feelings, then that person has to deal with the awkwardness of trying to remain friends.
If it’s mutual, then both people are forced to go through a slow internal breakup.
10) It’s Hard To See Your Ex Dating Someone New
Let’s say the two of you try a romantic relationship for a few weeks or months, decide that isn’t working, and remain friends.
Everything is going swimmingly at first.
But then you or they introduce your new boo to the friend group. You are forced to hang out with your ex and their new relationship.
Some people can handle it, but most people can’t.
Will Dating Within Your Friend Group Ruin the Group?
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Dating within your friend group can ruin the group. When two friends date, it changes the dynamics of the group. Not only does it change the dynamic, but it also changes the way people act towards each other.
For example, the two friends will now display public affection.
This can be a bit awkward at first as the friend group gets used to the new relationship.
Most of the time, some people in the group are closer than others. If a relationship ends, individuals in the friend group will often take sides.
It’s probably not hard to see how that predictably leads to the group splitting up.
In the worst-case scenario, your entire friend group takes the other person’s side. You end up losing everyone.
Is It Worth Risking a Friendship for a Relationship?
Ruining a friendship by dating may or may not be worth the risk. Most of the time, it is not worth the risk. However, if both of you share the same relationship expectations, want a serious relationship, and accept the possible consequences, it is worth the risk.
Before you jump off the deep end into a relationship, there are a few things you should consider.
Consider these factors first:
- Do you share the same relationship expectations?
- Do you share similar life values and goals?
- Do you both want a serious, long-term relationship?
- Are strong feelings already involved?
- Can you accept losing the other person as a friend?
Sharing the Same Relationship Expectations
Just because you want a serious relationship doesn’t mean your friend does.
If you both share the same relationship expectations, then dating is more likely to succeed.
It’s also less of a big issue.
Some people are okay with only seeing the other person once or twice a week. Others cannot handle not having their significant other all the time.
Sharing Similar Life Values and Goals
If you’re going to risk a friendship, don’t do it with someone you know won’t work out long term.
Know what you want in the future.
If you both share the same values and goals, it’s more likely to last. Shared values form a strong foundation that can withstand the eventual ups and downs of life together.
If You Want a Serious Relationship
People jump into relationships without thinking about where they stand long term.
Just because you’re dating, doesn’t mean you need to start planning your wedding day. However, casual flings are more likely to create havoc in friendships than long-term, serious relationships.
Both can ruin friendships, but a long-term relationship built on a solid friendship is a better bet.
Strong Feelings Are Already Involved
If you or your friend already possess romantic feelings for each other, then it’s already not a 100% platonic friendship.
In a true friendship, neither person is waiting for a relationship to happen.
Once one person catches feelings, it changes things.
The friendship most likely doesn’t have a future anyway, so you might as well attempt a romantic relationship.
Can You Accept Losing the Other Person as a Friend?
Whether or not you can accept losing your friend if things don’t work out is another factor to consider.
Are you okay with never talking to each other again?
Can you handle seeing them go out on dates and living their own life without you?
If both of you can accept losing the friendship, then it might be worth it. Knowing the consequences can prevent hurt feelings and resentments in the future.
Should We Date or Stay Friends Quiz
Here is a simple quiz to take to see if you should date or stay friends with someone.
The “rules” of the quiz are simple:
- Answer the questions honestly
- The more positive answers (Yeses), the better
- If you score 80% or higher positive answers, go ahead and date
Should we date or stay friends quiz:
- Have you been friends for 6 months or longer?
- Have you spent more than 8 hours at at time together?
- Do you both feel strongly about each other?
- Do you share similar political views?
- Do you share similar spiritual views?
- Do you share similar views on money and finances?
- Do you share simlilar views on having children (and raising them)?
- Do you both plan to stay in the local area for at least 2-3 years?
- Do you hope to eventually live together?
- Are both of you already in love with each other as friends?
- Are physical feelings involved as well as emotional ones?
- Have you taken long trips together?
- Have you suffered through hard times together?
- Can you be yourself around each other?
- Do you trust the other person?
- Can you handle tough conversations with each other?
- Does both of you take personal negative criticism/feedback from each other well? (i.e., you’re too agressive, too loud, too messy, etc)
- Are you both emotionally available?
- Are you both emotionally mature and intelligent?
- Do you each feel like you’ve gotten to know each other’s true personalities?
- Would losing the friendship hurt too much for him or her to be worth it?
If the majority of these questions result in positive answers, then you should date.
If most or all questions result in negative answers, stay friends for now and see how things go.
Does Dating a Friend Ever Work?
Dating a friend, breaking up, and then remaining friends can work. Remaining friends after a breakup usually works when the breakup is mutual, the relationship did not last very long, and both parties are emotionally mature.
While this is rare, it is possible.
Here is a good video that shares three tips for when you are considering dating a friend:
Final Thoughts: Will Dating a Friend Ruin the Friendship?
Ultimately, whether or not you date is entirely up to the two of you.
There are risks, but also serious benefits. Friendship is a wonderful foundation for romantic relationships. Also, you might just end up trading a friend for a life partner.