When All Else Fails, Should You Date a Friend?


Dating one's best friend is always a questionable activity and Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman take on a new approach to answer this question. In the 40 Days of Dating social experiment that has gained national attention on CNN and Mashable, Walsh and Timothy blog daily about their hopefully successful (readers will not find out the outcome until August 22) transition from a platonic cross-sex relationship to romantic. People should date their friends because the transition from platonic to romantic is similar and people should live without regrets.

In platonic cross-sex relationships, Burden claims romantic attraction occurs in cross-sex relationships and benefits of cross-sex relationships are "companionship and shared activities; emotional, physical, and financial support; conversation and advice; and perspectives on the opposite sex." Each friend is extremely comfortable, already knowing each other intimately on a platonic level; there isn't much transition from romantic to platonic. In new relationships, dating history may be a sensitive subject. Most platonic friends already have discussed dating history, strange dating anecdotes and also providing support. Friends know the history, so they avoid the awkward conversation. Most platonic friends have experienced all aspects of each other's personality — the good, the bad and the ugly. One of the best things about a relationship that starts out as friendship, is physical intimacy develops at a slower rate. Sometimes relationships start out extremely passionate and can result negatively. In platonic-turned-romantic relationships, the lead-up to physical intimacy can be more exciting.

There are also cons when dating a friend. If the relationship goes sour, what would be the end result? Unfortunately, that answer is extremely circumstantial. The outcome depends on the stability of the platonic relationship, the terms of the break-up, the romantic relationship and other numerous factors. Fortunately, the actual relationship, the positive and negative aspects, outweighs the regret of not knowing what could have happened. The sense of mystery may not exist when dating a friend, but older couples admit to continue to find new information about each other.

The one thing that sways most couples in taking the plunge is, "What if?" What if I never take that leap and become romantically involved? What chances am I missing? I try to live life with no regrets. Dating my friends may have ended disastrously, but it has left me a stronger individual. So take the chance and date your friend despite the consequences, you'll never be left asking yourself, "What If?"