How to Differentiate Between Love and Friendship

Three Parts:You're Just Friends!You're in Love!Finding Out Once and For All

You've been close friends for a while, and it's never been a problem. Until now. Suddenly, you find your face flushed when they appear. You're up all night wondering what exactly they meant in that conversation you had that afternoon. Was he/she looking at me longingly across the room today, or was it normal? What was that dream about her about, anyway? No matter the reason, it's time to dig deep for some self-reflection and get to the bottom of your relationship. Are you potential lovers, or just the best of friends?

Part 1
You're Just Friends!

  1. 1
    Count up the following steps to see how friendly you two are. If more than 4-5 of the following seem right, you're probably good pals. Everyone is different, but the following behaviors take place firmly in the Friend Zone.
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    You feel genuinely happy if your friend is dating someone. This one is a dead giveaway. When your "friend" tells you he's met someone new, and that this person may be "the one," what is your first response? If you're truly happy, and can't wait to meet the special person in his/her life, then you're a great, and very non-romantic, friend.
    • Do your friend's significant others always like you a lot? If they didn't, it could be due to jealousy-- and your friend could be harboring secret feelings.
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    You feel 100% comfortable around your friend at all times, in all situations. This is a sign of a true friend. Someone you can hang out with when you're recovering from a cold and sound like an asthmatic old man. Someone you can see without makeup--or without showering. A person you can burp or fart in front of without apologizing.
    • Of course, when you find true love, you may eventually feel 100% comfortable around that person, too. But the courtship phase will most likely be filled with nervousness and uncertainty-- not this level of friendship.
    • Friends are casual with each other. They don't mind showing their bad or grimy side to you. But if your friend loves you, you'll see a lot more effort in their attitude.
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    You can go a few days without talking and you don't care. If you're not wondering what your friend is up to, wishing he was there, or worrying about whether or not he's safe, then you're probably friends. Friends, even good friends, can be out of touch for a few days or even a few weeks without worrying too much about what's going on.
    • This doesn't mean that you're not a little hurt if you completely don't hear. But you've got other friends. You've only got one wanna-be lover.
    • If they were in love with you, you'd hear from them somewhat regularly, trying to keep conversation going, since you're so clearly on their mind 24/7.
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    You feel cool with each other--there's never any drama. If you and your friend are really just friends you probably have little to no drama. Sure, things happen and you get upset at each other, but it's easy to deal with and brush off. Lovers get entrenched in fights and arguments, not friends.
    • Low drama. That's why you're friends, isn't it?
    • You've each got other friends you can go chill with without a problem. He/she will hang out with other people, and he/she has no need to tell you about it. He/she is just a friend.
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    You don't care too much about how your friend acts. Sure, your friend may not be perfect, but you don't worry too much if he or she rolls with the wrong crowd, drinks too much, or just gets him or herself into a stupid situation. You'll care somewhat, because you're good friends, but you won't go out of your way to try to make your friend change, or to discuss every little thing that you disapprove of. Usually, you'll find it kinda funny. You're just friends, and you recognize that the other person isn't perfect, just like you.
    • Friends tend to take each other at face value. They don't generally try to change each other unless one person is engaging in harmful behavior because they aren't in a relationship and don't have to make every little thing work.
    • You know when you're making a questionable decision -- and they do too. If they laugh or encourage it, it's usually cause they're just friends.
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    You and your friend split up on date nights. It's Saturday night, and the two of you are planning how to find new guys and girls. You're off on your own adventures, and you share the stories later. Sure, you can hang out with a big group on one or both of those nights, but as a generally rule, you don't stay in together on a Friday night--there are too many other things going on.
    • When you do hang out on weekends, he/she's in sweatpants and an old shirt, and/or they're looking for other people to come hang out too.
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    You can show up at your friend's house in a sweatsuit, you lazy bum! You can show up at your friend's house in a sweatsuit, in your pajamas, or after a sweaty workout at the gym. Why would you care about your looks if you're not trying to impress your friend? This one is a no brainer -- you're just friends.
    • Ditto your friend -- they just care about hanging, not impressing.
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    Everyone around you knows you're just friends. Maybe you really have been lifelong buddies since the 4th grade and everybody understands how you work. Sometimes the people around you can pick up on things faster than you can, and if there's nothing to pick up on, then maybe you really are just friends. Think about how you would view your relationship from the outside. Does it look like dating, or just chilling?
    • When people suggest you are dating, or look like a couple, they just laugh. Defensiveness or blushing, however, might indicate some feelings...
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    You can skip town for a few days without checking in. This is a sign of true friendship. You know you're both fine and don't have to call, text, or see each other every five seconds just to feel connected. If you're friends only, then waiting a few days to make contact should be no big deal, unless something important is up. What's your communication style?
    • If they disappear on your sometimes, and are happy to pick it up when you are back face-to-face, then they're just visiting you in the Friend Zone.

Part 2
You're in Love!

  1. 1
    Count up the following love arrows to see if your feel deeply for him or her. If you're the spitting image of 4-5 of the following points, then you have 4-5 of Cupid's arrow points firmly lodged in you. Everyone is different, but only lovers feel most of the points outlined below.
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    You're never happy with your friend's significant other. Have you found that every significant other your friend has ever introduced to you has been too stupid, ugly, cocky, annoying, frivolous, or just plain not good enough for him? Do you find yourself fighting feelings of jealously, even if your friend clearly doesn't like that new person so much? Of course you don't think anyone is good enough for your friend--except you, that is.
    • Are you unhappy, even when your friend is happy with someone?
    • Does your friend hate all of your dates too? Do they leave when you're hanging out with them, or avoid them in conversation? They may be in love with you.
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    You feel awkward or nervous around your old friend. You stutter in the middle of normal conversation, or you feel like you swallowed a rock when you see your friend from across the room. Things were completely normal just a few weeks ago, though! If you find yourself doubting what to say, wondering if you look stupid, or feeling jittery and not completely like yourself, you may not be completely comfortable with your friend anymore. It's because you want something more.
    • If you find yourself suddenly caring how you looked or "came off" in front of your friend, then you may really be falling in love.
    • Your great friend suddenly avoids you, blushes when you appear, or seems distant, though nothing happened-- it's not your fault. They're probably crushing on you.
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    You wonder constantly what he or she is up to. If you're in love, then you can't go more than a few hours without thinking about your so-called friend. When you're in love, then there's no such thing as "out of sight, out of mind." They're going to be dancing around your imagination all day, whether you want them their or not.
    • Do they check in or text shortly after you've left each other? Does he or she try and make plans, or text you funny stories while you're apart, especially when they used to leave you alone when apart? He/She may be into you.
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    Your fights, when you have them, are barn-burning battles. Do you find yourself in epically long fights? Lots of tears, name calling, passive aggressiveness, and general bickering? Do you often storm out of the room when you're hanging out? If so, then you may have been bitten by the love bug. Are you fighting like a married couple, or a couple of friends?
    • If you feel like your fights are long, passionate, and deep, then yeah, you may be more than just typical friends.
    • Does he/she seem overly hurt or slighted when you make fun or accidentally hurt them? They might brush things off like a friend, or take it really hard like a lover.
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    You're super overprotective of your friend. Do you get worried when your "friend" goes away for a long weekend in the mountains? Do you get nervous when you see your friend hanging out with the wrong crowd? Do you feel jittery if your friend is engaging in generally reckless or stupid behavior that can lead to a broken heart or a broken bone? It's okay to be worried for any friend, but if you feel an overwhelming sense of protectiveness over your friend no matter what he or she does, then you may be falling in love.
    • You could just feel like a big bro or sis as well, wanting to protect them without feeling in love. Ask yourself -- do you see yourself in this protected future, or do you just see them?
    • Hopeful lovers will take your bad decisions personally, like you're letting them down with your goofy, foolish behavior.
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    You're off on classic, movie-style dates with only each other. It's real easy to end up on a date and have no idea that it's a date. Do you try to look nice, get picked up promptly, and go to the movies, dinner, concerts, or other date-like events with the person who is supposedly just your friend? Is only one of you paying the bill?! If you were watching the two of you from the outside, would you guess you were on a date or just hanging out?
    • Think about it. Why would you choose to spend Friday night in or Saturday night out with your best friend instead of all of the other dating options out there?
    • Who pays for the "non-dates"? Do you always offer to pay for the other person? Do they offer to pay for you? If so, it's even more of a sign that you are dating.
    • If they always insist on paying, or often suggest intimate, one-on-one dates, then they could be courting you, beautiful!
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    You spend most of your time before hanging out in front of the mirror. Have you suddenly spent much more time grooming, looking in the mirror, or being generally unhappy with your outfit before you go and see your friend? If so, then it's because you're starting to wonder if your friend sees you in a romantic light. Why else would you put on a brand new outfit before seeing your friend or check your face or makeup in the mirror five thousand times when you hang out?
    • Have you found that your friend has started to compliment your looks more? Are you noticing their looks more often? Answer quickly -- do they look hot right now?
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    Everyone is asking if you're dating or in love. If every person on the planet has come up to you and asked what the deal is with you and your friend, then maybe something really is up. This is more than your mom's wishful thinking--if everyone in your orbit can see your chemistry and really knows how much you like each other, then there may be some truth to their words.
    • Sure, some people misread things. But the more people think something is up, the more likely they are to be right.
    • Think about how you respond when you're asked these questions. Do you just roll your eyes and brush these people off, or do you blush and get really defensive whenever the question of your supposed "love" comes up?
    • Does your friend always mention it when people say "we'd be a really good couple?" They're planting a few romantic seeds in the soil, perhaps.
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    You have to talk to each other at least once a day. Do you have to text your friend as soon as you wake up, call him during your lunch break, or eat at least one meal together or you go insane? Sure, you may just be really, really close friends, but it's more likely that you're wanting something more. If you can't seem to do anything without calling your friend and need him or her to make you feel whole, and it's more than in just a "friend" way, then you may be falling in love.
    • Think about how you feel when the phone rings and you know it's your "friend" calling. Does your heart skip a beat, or is it NBD?
    • Are they always starting conversations or staying in touch, often the minute you leave? That's cause you're still running around their brain.

Part 3
Finding Out Once and For All

  1. 1
    Compare your loving traits to your friendly ones. How many of the steps above felt like they describe you? More of the friendship ones, and you're likely just friends. More of the lover ones, and you can hear the wedding bells ringing already. And if you're split down the middle, never fear! You just have to to be patient and see how you feel in a few weeks. Relationships change over time -- and it could be slowly changing into something a little more "intense!"
    • If they're sticking hard to the best friend traits, don't make a move. They could be great actors, but more likely than not they just aren't that into you.
    • If the love bullets are an outline of your friend's daily schedule, they're likely looking for more than your friendship.
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    Leave it alone if you're both just friends. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. You'll just complicate things and make him/her start guessing your relationship. Don't bring this whole romance thing up unless it comes up naturally and you need to clear the air. Why stir the pot?
    • If you think they're in love, but you're not, let them bring it up! Don't assume things and make it weird because you're convinced they love you. They probably don't!
    • Research does show that in a guy-girl friendship, the guy is more likely to have romantic feelings and more likely to think his female friend has a crush on him, even if she doesn't.[1]
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    Don't jump into "love" without thinking things over first. Sure, many great relationships have started as a friendship, but many great friendships have also been ruined because of ill-advised attempts at romance. Remember how great it was for Dawson and Joey to realize that they were in love in Dawson's Creek? Oh wait...right. If you want to make the next step, you better be damn sure that you're ready to risk the friendship for something more.
    • If you really do think that there is serious dating potential there, than go for it. That's different from thinking, "It might be kinda cool to hook up with my friend..." If you think that you and your friend can have a casual fling and then go back to normal, think again.
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    Just bring it up with your friend once you're sure. Okay, so you've decided that you're falling in love with your friend and want to say something. Find a quiet place, a time when you're both not stressed, and make sure your friend isn't caught completely off guard, either. Just tell him or her that you're starting to have romantic feelings and ask if he or she feels the same way. It's best not to lead off with, "I think I'm in love with you..." Rather, something like, "I'm starting to like you as more than a friend" is a lot less likely to freak your friend out.
    • Keep it light -- you're friends after all! Think about how you would want the news broken to you. "I love you" is super strong and intimidating, "I think we should try going on a date together," is much easier to get your head around.
    • Don't be nervous about taking the plunge. This is your old friend we're talking about, remember? If you feel strongly enough to bring it up, you need to bring it up already.
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    React like any good friend would--whatever happens. Basically, you have two options: either your friend likes you back and you begin a romance, or your friend doesn't feel the same way and you have to lick your wounds. Whatever happens, just be proud of yourself for acting brave enough to change the status quo. Here's how to react, no matter what your friend says:
    • If your friend doesn't return your romantic feelings, then act like it's no big deal. Get some space for a while and then see if you can slowly go back to being friends. If it hurts too much to be around your friend, then there's no shame in easing up on the friendship for a while. In every case, a bit of humor and joking will be your best friend when making things "normal."
    • If your friend does say he or she likes you back, and is maybe even falling in love with you, too, then you have your work cut out for you. Don't fret--this is a good thing! Now, you can slowly start to ease into the relationship. Now away with it, you love birds--and good luck!


  • True friends and a true love are both really hard to find.
  • Know that love can sometimes be a normal part of a good friendship.
  • Since they are so similar, you really have to watch yourself and listen to your feelings and your heart.
  • Most relationships start by two people being great friends.
  • For someone to be your True Love, they must also be a True Friend, but taken to the next level.
  • It's very possible for True Friendship to eventually turn into True Love.
  • Just question yourself about 'Am I happy'?
  • Don't feel hurt if they told you they don't feel the same way. Give them space for a while and ask them if you could be friends again. Besides, there are still other guys or girls out there.


  • You may get heartbroken if the other person only likes you as a friend.
  • It may be tough but you will make it through without them being your lover.

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Categories: Family Friends and Dating