Best Friend, Soulmate: Why Dating Your Best Friend Might Be A Good Idea

Updated March 15, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Some of the best relationships start as friendships. Although it may sound like a plot in a romantic movie or book, this is actually a common experience. In fact, statistics indicate that two-thirds of romantic relationships start out as friendships. If you find yourself crushing on your best friend, it could be that you have met your soulmate. However, there are worries that can come with these thoughts as well.

So, how do you know if dating your best friend is a good idea for you? What are the potential benefits and drawbacks? Should you date your best friend? Today, we will explore those questions and talk about how to navigate this possible relationship change or shift.

What are the benefits of dating a best friend?

You may discover that there are benefits to dating your best friend as opposed to trying to find someone new to date. Here are just a few of the benefits of upgrading from friendship to something more.

Dating your best friend can be a better idea than you think

Half the work is already done

When you start a new relationship, you often have to look at your compatibility in any areas that might matter to you. You’re getting to know them, and you’re starting at the very beginning. This means learning the basic facts about a new person, finding common interests, and discovering what you will enjoy doing together. Although it’s most certainly not always the case, this sometimes means that you’ll find out partway through that you aren’t the best match. When you’re dating your best friend, you may not have to worry about these things quite as much. You already know that you have fun together. 

The foundation for a healthy and thriving relationship is already partially laid when you’re dating your best friend. You may have to cobble together new avenues, but the journey will likely be much easier given the history you have. Additionally, if there’s an important part of life or your personal value system where you may disagree, it’s more likely that you already know about it. Though it may not always be the case, this could give a relationship with a best friend an edge over a relationship with a stranger.

You care for one another

Choosing to stay friends with a person continuously, through thick and thin, says a lot about your connection, and many people who consider themselves best friends have this experience.

You already know that you care for one another because you have chosen to remain friends for what may be a long period of time. This is a great advantage when going into a romantic relationship because you likely already feel special and loved. You have already built that baseline of care for one another, making it much easier to stoke the fire of your love. In other words, the emotional intimacy is already there in some ways.

Now, there are some potential nuances to this. If your best friend rarely checks in on you or doesn’t always show concern for your well-being, you may not want to date them. You deserve to have a partner who cares about you and the things going on in your life. Dating your best friend can be a good idea, but you’ll want to consider whether this person treats you how you deserve to be treated.

You understand each other

Having a history of friendship means that, depending on how you interact with each other as friends, you might understand more about each other than your average new couple does. This offers great benefits because you are tuned in to one another early on. This will likely make it easier to navigate many of the firsts that can throw a new couple for a loop.

For example, one of the most difficult things to face in a new relationship is your first fight. It is a dreaded and inevitable experience for any new couple trying to make a new relationship work. When you are dating your best friend, you’re likely to have some valuable insight into things like how they engage in conflict, if they’re particularly sensitive to a certain topic, certain cues they may give off when they’re down, tired, or angry, and so on.

While this won’t be enough to avoid an argument for a lifetime, it can help you navigate some of the typical things that every couple encounters, like disagreements or unintentionally stepping on one another’s toes. You may already have the skills you need to communicate effectively with your best friend. Maybe you understand how to soothe them when needed, and, if so, they probably know the same about you. This can be a great asset!

You have a solid foundation

Dating your best friend may be a great idea because if you think about it, a relationship built on the foundation of a solid friendship can be a true gift. It’s true that, oftentimes, the foundation that you build in a friendship differs from that of a relationship. They do have similarities, though. For example, you would want to trust and be open with a friend just like you would a partner. While stepping into other forms of intimacy could be new, other things may already be there. You have memories together, and you may have helped each other through difficult life experiences or transitions already. You might’ve even grown up together, graduated high school or college around the same time, or had similar experiences with the other person by your side, depending on how long you’ve known each other. You might know their family, and they might know yours. All in all, you have a history. There's a great chance that your solid foundation with each other will result in a long-lasting partnership.

You know what to expect

Too often, you get into a relationship with someone only to realize they are not who you believe them to be. Though it’s sad to say it, some people act out of character to establish a relationship but fail to keep up the façade once they’re together. When you date your best friend, it’s possible that you’re eliminating some of the guesswork as far as what they’re like in romantic partnerships, though this can’t be said for sure. You could’ve seen one another through multiple other partnerships and breakups or separations, and as best friends, you might’ve turned to each other during these relationships for support. That means that, in some ways, you know how the other person’s heart works. They may have opened up to you about something that made them feel misunderstood, appreciated or unappreciated, and so on. This means that you probably have real insight into how to love them, and they may have some insight into how to love you, too.

You know how to handle time apart

A common struggle for new couples is learning how to spend their time apart. When you are dating your best friend, you may already know how to handle time apart. You likely already have structures in place regarding what time you spend with them versus the time you spend with others important to you. It could even be that you have an initial understanding in this relationship that the other needs a certain amount of alone time. One or both of you could be introverted, and you’re used to giving each other room for things like hobbies and vacations. This is not to say that other new couples don’t have this but having a baseline level of each other’s needs can sometimes be a unique benefit or advantage.

You can be yourself

Dating your best friend can be a better idea than you think

New relationships are notorious for their awkward moments, at least for some. Meeting up with someone who you may or may not get along with, and opening up about the more difficult parts of life, such as potential physical or mental health concerns, and so on, can be challenging. When you are dating your best friend, you’ve most likely already gone places together, even if it wasn’t a formal date. You probably won’t have to worry about ice breakers or having small-talk conversations about your childhood. Instead, your dinner conversation can revolve around common interests or exciting things that happened throughout the week. Additionally, you likely already know about quite a few of each other’s quirks. When you're dating your best friend, you may just be with your soulmate. 

Potential drawbacks

Every friendship, just like every romantic partnership, is different. Where there may be various benefits, there could be some drawbacks, too. One of the most frequent worries acknowledged by those who have romantic feelings for a friend tends to be the fear that it will negatively impact the friendship if anything happens. This doesn’t mean that it’s not the right choice; it could be mitigated, at least to some extent, by a conversation. You might want to make sure that you’re not entering a relationship due to something like loneliness. It’s a good idea to consider whether you’re seeing a friend because you have feelings for them or because they’re helping you through a difficult time.

Can online therapy help?

Talking it out and making sure you’re in it for the right reasons is a great way to set yourself up for success. Sometimes in life, we don’t know until we try. None of this is to say that a friendship will end if a romantic relationship doesn’t work out. Again, many couples start as friends, and regardless of how a partnership started, people in relationships often do consider themselves best friends as well as lovers.

If you and your partner, whether you were previously friends or not, encounter something that you need support with, a therapist or counselor may be able to help. You can find a provider through an online platform with independent, licensed therapists like Regain, or you can look for a qualified professional in your area. Regain is an online platform that offers matches to the right therapist for your needs, and you can meet with someone either alone or with your partner—all from the comfort of home.

Online therapy has proven to be beneficial for many people working through relationship issues. When dealing with more than one schedule and/or location, online therapy offers flexibility. Online therapy has also been found, in many cases, to be as effective as in-person therapy, if not more so.

No matter what, you deserve healthy bonds, and there’s never shame in asking for support when it’s something you or your relationships could benefit from.

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