c/o Olivia Berger

c/o Olivia Berger

Scroll through a list of rom-coms and you’ll find that most of them center around the classic friends-to-lovers trope. As someone who has had a long-term relationship with someone that I was friends with for years before dating, I understand this fascination with romantic love developing out of friendship. All the time I hear about couples who were friends before dating, some of them even eventually getting married. It makes total sense: You clearly have interests in common, enjoy spending time together, and are building a foundation of trust and communication. In many ways, developing a friendship with someone mirrors the start of dating. So if you already have this friendship as a solid base, it makes sense that you might jump to dating as soon as mutual attraction and sexual tension spark. However, often the rom-coms stop after the declaration of love and don’t give us any insight into the actual transition from friendship to a relationship. So today we’re going to give you a more practical guide through the friends-to-lovers pipeline.

The question of realizing and expressing your feelings to your friend deserves its own article (or multiple) as there’s a lot to unpack here. So we’re going to approach this article from the position that you have already decided to start dating (yay) and are now trying to actually transition from friends to partners. 

One of the most important reminders is to not forget to actually date. It sounds silly, but most of the time we forget to actually go on dates and just continue to hang out like we did as friends. Even though you might be many years into friendship, your romantic relationship is still in the early stages. It can feel weird to go on an official first date when you already know each other so well, but it is really important to match developments in your emotional relationship to the ones in your physical relationship. 

We also have to talk about navigating mutual friends and friend group dynamics when two friends start dating. In my experience, this was one of the most stressful aspects of the transition to dating because I did not want to change the vibe of the friend group that I loved so much. I didn’t want to make my friends uncomfortable or feel like they were third wheeling, but I also didn’t want to totally separate how I acted with my boyfriend when we were with our friends versus on our own. It also felt like all eyes were on us because our friends were also adjusting to seeing us as boyfriend and girlfriend, rather than just friends in the group. 

The reality is that the vibe of the friend group will inevitably change a little bit, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing! I think that it is unrealistic to expect the dynamic to stay entirely the same, and trying to prevent it from changing can put a lot of strain on your relationship because there will be a large divide between your public and private relationship. While it’s normal that you don’t act entirely the same when you’re alone or with other people, if there’s too much of a gap here it can feel like you’re keeping each other a secret or like you’re still just friends. Don’t be so worried about the vibe changing that you miss the fact that it’s supposed to! You’re not just friends anymore, and that’s the whole point. Just remember to prioritize your friendships and have intentional quality time with your friends away from your partner. Otherwise, your friends can feel like they’re being forgotten. 

Overall, the friends-to-lovers narrative is one that may be difficult to adjust to at first, but ultimately can lead to beautiful romantic relationships. Keep prioritizing yourself and listen to your feelings as you look to embark on such a storied journey.  


Dill & Doe