August 30, 2012 at 11:26 am EST | by Meghann Novinskie and Kim Rosenberg
Crossing that line

It’s not unusual for friendships to develop into romances. But if you find yourself developing more than platonic feelings toward a long-time friend, it’s a risky venture. Show your hand and you could lose not just any hope of a dating relationship, but the friendship as well.

So how to navigate these feelings? First off, there’s nothing wrong with loving one of the people closest to you. In fact, we’ve seen many scenarios where best friends became lovers for life. But moving from friends to partners has many variables — let’s talk it through.

First, consider why you now see your best friend in a new light. Is there mutual undeniable chemistry? Have his/her compliments come across as flirtatious? Are you noticing more physical closeness when just having a genuine chat on casual afternoons? These could be little signs that you’ve fallen for you friend. Whatever you do, don’t wait until you’ve had a couple (too many) martinis to make your first move. Though you may know your friend quite well, be sure that (s)he possibly has mutual feelings for you, especially since there’s so much at risk in this situation.

Unfortunately, friendship sometimes turns to lust when there is a lingering jealousy that swirls around your time spent together. Is your best friend dating someone new and spending more time with her/him than you? Did (s)he get a makeover/lose weight/get promoted or achieve some other thing you covet before you did?  Origins of “I’m in love with my BFF” can be varied, so reflect and make sure your feelings are genuine and not a bit of immaturity or jealousy. If you pursue her/him in this manner too quickly or for the wrong reasons, you’ll likely ruin your relationship potential as well as your friendship.

What to do? Start with asking yourself if you’re ready for the shift in dynamics here. With risk of sounding somewhat callous or too pragmatic, you have to weigh the pros and cons thoroughly. Spontaneity can be exciting, but don’t jump into his/her pants without fully considering the negative ramifications if this new “relationship” goes south suffering irreparable damage. Do you want to risk a long-term friendship for this?  Your social circle is also going to have to adjust to the change, so be prepared for a mixed reaction to your new found love with your BFF.

We all know that the more time you spend with someone you find attractive, the more undeniable those feelings are. That said, many times in our community, our best friends are straight (or straight “for now”). Therefore, acting on your instinct and sharing your desire for something more may result in dealing with issues of your best friend coming out as a mature adult and you may find yourself helping your friend struggle with finding her/his place within the LGBT community, let alone, your relationship in general. This doesn’t have to be a negative experience, just be prepared for all the emotional commitment and work that comes along with it.

On a positive note, ever consider how relationships develop? Have you looked at the people you surround yourself with? What are the common threads between your different social networks? It makes total sense that, as we age, we could become attracted to a close friend. You’ve shared ups and downs, lots of life experiences and a genuine interest in being close. All these are characteristics of a loving partnership as well.

Falling in love with a close friend is quite common, yet daunting when truly considering taking the step from friends to lovers. Make sure to give this pursuit of transition from friends to lovers some thought — it could be one of the best or worst decisions you make in your love life.

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