How to Go from Friends to Dating

Three Methods:Determining If You Should DateMaking Your MoveCementing your Relationship

When your feelings are more passionate and stronger than what you'd expect from a normal friendship, it might be time to take things to the next level. Navigating this transition, however, is far from obvious. That said, if you act natural, communicate your feelings, and respect your friend, you'll find that you might start one of the most meaningful relationships in your life.

Method 1
Determining If You Should Date

  1. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 1
    Think about where your friendship currently stands. Do you talk frequently, hang out together in your free time, or simply know each other through other people? There is no “right” answer that means you can successfully transition into a relationship, but you need to think about where you both stand before you decide to go out together. A strong friendship is often the best base for a strong relationship. You know the person well and already enjoy spending time together. Signs you two might be ready to move to the next level include:
    • Willingness to tell each other secrets, dreams, and thoughts.
    • Frequent and honest communication, at least 1-2 a week.
    • Calm, enjoyable conversation whenever you are face to face.
    • A few hobbies and ideas that you both share and enjoy.[1]
  2. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 2
    Build trust together, even if it is only a little bit. Be supportive when they're in vulnerable situations to show that you care and can be a strong, positive presence in their life. If you cannot trust someone with a secret or a problem then you will never trust them with your heart. Building trust takes some time, but there are ways to get the ball rolling:
    • Share something about yourself – giving trust is the best way to receive it. Talk to them about your family, your history, your dreams or goals, and your occasional worries or insecurities.
    • Be dependable, on time, and helpful whenever you make a promise.[2]
  3. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 3
    Ask a mutual friend for their opinion. Ask someone you can trust whether they think your friend has mutual feelings for you. Oftentimes an outside perspective can illuminate things that you might ignore or miss thanks to romantic notions. Be specific and honest when asking for advice: saying “Do you think they like anyone?” will not give you the same useful advice as, “Do you think we could be good together.”
    • Make sure this friend is reliable and won’t spread the news to any other friends before confiding in them.
  4. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 4
    Avoid talking excessively about past relationships or other crushes. You shouldn't avoid talking about your past relationships at all, as this can be a healthy way to get to know someone's romantic preferences and past life. You do not, however, want to constantly complain about your exes or talk about how "perfect" you were together, as this can lead someone to think you aren't over your last girl or boyfriend.[3]
    • If your crush is constantly talking about other lovers, crushes, or ex-partners, they may not be ready for a relationship either.
  5. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 5
    Remember that relationships are about more than physical attraction. This is extra important when trying to date friends, as there is much more to dating someone than “a friend who you can make out with.” Relationships aren't just about sex and physical relations. They are a meeting between two people in all aspects - emotional, social, and physical. If you just want a friend you can sleep with then you don’t actually want to date them. Don't start a relationship you won’t commit to.
  6. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 6
    Spend time alone to see if you make a good couple. One of the most common scenarios is when a crush develops within a larger group of friends. While there is nothing wrong with this, relationships rely on the ability to be alone with someone else, not always in a group. While you don’t have to go on a date, you should try and find time to be alone with someone before deciding they are right to date. Ideas include:
    • Ask them to help you get drinks, food, etc. for a party.
    • Sit across or next from them at the dinner table.
    • Ask them on casual “dates,” like exercising together, checking out a new bar, or helping out with a project/homework.[4]

Method 2
Making Your Move

  1. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 7
    Ask yourself if you are willing to potentially lose your friendship when asking someone out. Unfortunately, some people will not be able to return to being "just friends" after one person makes a move. The attraction gets in the way, one side is thinking of what "could have been," and it becomes awkward to be alone. This does not mean, however, that you should not make a move. You need to be willing to risk a friendship for something more -- but if becoming a couple is important to you than this is a risk worth taking.
  2. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 8
    Use open, romantic body language to signal your attraction. Body language is often the forgotten branch of flirting, but it is a key way to tell someone you are interested. It also helps you see if they feel the same way. While everyone is different, there are a few gestures that universally signal attraction and respect:
    • Turning shoulders and hips to face each other.
    • Making clear, consistent eye contact.
    • Fixing, brushing, or playing with hair and clothing.
    • Mimicking posture or speech patterns.
    • Leaning in or close to each other.[5]
  3. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 9
    Turn up the heat with subtle flirting. Before you make a move, you should see if she/he is going to be receptive to a romantic relationship. While you don’t want to go overboard, subtle advances show someone that you are interested in moving to the next level. This is a great way to get them thinking about romance. As you try the following tips, ask yourself how they respond—do they shy away or laugh it off? If so, they may want to stay friends. However, if they respond with similar behavior, make good eye contact, or make romantic gestures of their own, you may have found a match. To start the flirting:
    • Make eye contact and smile. Smiling is proven to be the most effective flirting technique you have.[6]
    • Break the touch barrier: a simple hand on the shoulder or upper back, brushing someone’s arm, or going for a longer hug (2-3 seconds) are all paramount to signal attraction.
    • Use genuine compliments to make them feel good. Everyone loves being complimented, and it shows someone that you care. Make your compliments specific for added effect – “You crushed that last math test” instead of “you seem really smart.”
  4. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 10
    Ask them out. Sitting and thinking about asking someone out is not only excruciating, it is detrimental to your chances at starting a relationship. Once you are sure you want to take this to the next level, get them alone and go for it. This doesn’t have to be anything grand or romantic; it just has to be honest. Any answer will be better than no answer at all. Remember this as you muster up the courage to ask the question. Pull them aside or ask them on a casual date and say:
    • “I’ve really enjoyed our friendship, but I want to take things to another level. Would you want to go on a few dates?”
    • "We're great friends, but I have feelings for you beyond friendship. I would love the chance to get to know you even more on a date."
    • Even something as simple as "Let's go out on a date next Thursday" can work perfectly.
    • Except for large tragedies or life-changing events, there is no “perfect time” to ask someone out. Just go for it!
  5. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 11
    Avoid grand professions of love, opting instead for sincere, respectful comments. No matter how you feel, telling someone that "they are the only one for you" and that they "complete you" will only scare them away by turning the dial from friendship to relationship too quickly. Keep your calm, and be respectful but sincere when you talk. Some things to consider saying are:
    • "I care about you and our friendship a lot, and I think we could be really good together."
    • "Getting to know you has been incredible, and I would love the chance to get to know you even more."
    • "You are a great person, and I'm very lucky to call you a friend.
  6. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 12
    Accept the answer you are given. If they feel the same way, then you're about to start your relationship together. But if they say no it's time to move on and start getting over your feelings. Continually asking them out, begging for another chance, or giving them the cold-shoulder will prevent your friendship from returning.
    • If you think you can be friends again, you'll still need to spend some time alone. Try not to hang out for several weeks and see what happens when you return. Though you shouldn't expect to be best friends, time can help you get over your feelings and return to friendship.
    • Know, however, that some people struggle to return to friendship after romance. This is unfortunately a risk you will need to take.[7]

Method 3
Cementing your Relationship

  1. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 13
    Communicate your expectations early in the relationship. Dating a friend can be fantastic: you already know each other’s quirks, you have similar friends, and there is no awkward “feeling out” phase. But dating friends can also get awkward if you don’t talk about what you are looking for in the relationship. Do you want someone you can see casually, or are you looking for your soul mate? Do you see things progressing slowly, or are do you want to go “all-in” and see if you are compatible? This conversation, though not easy, needs to happen.[8]
    • Try beginning the conversation with your own needs, stating something like, “I know we’ve been friends for a while, but I am looking for something long-term.”
    • Follow up with, "What are you looking for in this relationship?" "How do you see things moving forward?"
  2. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 14
    Go slowly, even if you feel like you’re ready to rush. Friends often rush over the early parts of the relationship, getting physical with each other before they are technically “dating.” While there is nothing wrong with this, there is a problem if you don’t slow down and talk at some point. Don’t try and hide your intimacy and attraction to each other. Rather, use this opportunity to make your move and say how you feel. Trying to bury a random hook-up or kiss will lead to relationship issues later on when you are both confused about what happened before. [9]
    • If someone is moving too quickly for you, casually remind them that "Our friendship comes first, we've got plenty of time for everything else."
    • Just because you are dating now does not mean you need to spend every hour together. Keep your space and take things slowly.
    • Keep remembering that a strong friendship makes the base of a strong relationship.
  3. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 15
    Spend time with your mutual friends. No one likes it when a couple gets together and disappears from the world, only to reappear holding hands and ignore everyone else from time to time. Not only is this tough for your friends, it puts a strain on your relationship. If you stop dating, you’ll have alienated your core friends, showing them that you only cared about them insofar as you got a date.[10]
    • Make time for group activities, and maintain plans and traditions you had before dating.
    • While you shouldn’t hide your relationship, you shouldn’t let it affect your other friends. Spend alone time with them and focus on other friends when you are in a large group.
    • Be discreet – there is no need to tell your friends all of your "couple’s stories." They don’t want to hear them and your partner might not want to share them like you do.
  4. Image titled Go from Friends to Dating Step 16
    Develop hobbies and activities between just the two of you. While you shouldn’t ignore your old friends, you also shouldn’t try and keep things the same now that you are dating. You need to find things you love doing together. Talk together and spend time alone to help your relationship grow from friendship into something more. If you only wanted to date someone without putting in the effort to love them, you would have stayed friends.[11]
    • Maintaining a relationship takes time, energy, and work, but the payoff is a close-knit bond that is unique to just you.
  5. 5
    Stay true to who you were when you were just friends. Just because you are dating now does not mean you should change who you are to make them love you more. They fell for who you were when you were still friends. While everyone will go through changes as they build a relationship, becoming someone’s girlfriend or boyfriend is no excuse for a personality shift.
    • Your friendship should stay intact no matter how romantic you become.[12]
    • Make sure you are comfortable together. If you feel like you need new clothes, new lingo, or new hobbies to make them love you then you might be better off as friends.
  6. 6
    Understand that, if the relationship falls apart, you will likely not be able to return to being friends. When you get to know someone romantically, it becomes incredibly hard to remove those feelings and return to friendship. Dating someone is an intimate experience, and you will learn things, good and bad, about the person you never knew about. Coupled with any lingering romantic feelings between you two, you have a mixture that makes friendship difficult if not impossible. Remember the great times you shared together and move on, knowing that you both did the best you could to make things work. Ultimately, this is all you can hope for.


  • Remember that if they say no, that doesn't mean that this means the end of your relationship as friends. Keep your chin high and your mind in a good place. Everyone has crushes.
  • Keep it slow. If you feel confident enough to take your relationship ahead, do it. But remember that your boyfriend/girlfriend may not feel that it's time.
  • "I don't want to ruin our friendship" often means I just like you as a friend. On the occasion that it is true then you should be close enough that if things don't work out you can eventually go back to being friends.
  • Avoid over-analyzing your friendship to look for clues. Things that you think are important are likely casual tics, habits, or off-hand comments-- not secret professions of love.


  • If your friend doesn't like you back, no matter how heartbreaking it is, you need to keep a positive mind.

Article Info

Categories: Family Friends and Dating