Prince Charming may be closer than you think. If movies like He’s Just Not That Into You and Just Friends have taught us anything, it’s that after years of looking for Mr. Right, some girls end up with their best guy friend. In a way, it makes sense: he listens to your pointless rants and remembers your birthday, and you obviously enjoy hanging out with him. But like any other type of relationship, this kind of romance has its drawbacks. Before you decide whether or not you should give him a chance, see what our relationship gurus and other collegiettes have to say about dating your best guy friend.
No Awkward “Getting to Know You” Conversations
What’s your favorite movie? How many siblings do you have? Where did you grow up? Sometimes, dating feels like a cruel game of “20 Questions.” When you date a guy who’s already your friend, you can skip the small talk. “We already knew each other extremely well when we started dating, so we didn’t have that awkward ‘getting to know each other’ period,” says Julie*, a senior at Northeastern University who dated her male best friend. Since you already know your guy’s interests, the two of you can jump into more serious conversations early on.
Dating Your Best Friend may Lead to a Long-Term Relationship
Who doesn’t want to end up with a guy who has Chris Hemsworth’s face and Ryan Gosling’s body? But, as every collegiette knows, looks aren’t everything. Since a set of killer abs will be replaced with a beer belly before you know it, it’s important to be in a relationship with a guy who you enjoy spending time with. According to Susanne Alexander, relationship coach and author of Creating Excellent Relationships: The Power of Character Choices, a best guy friend fits the bill. “The reality is that a sustainable relationship or marriage requires the best qualities of friendship as part of the foundation,” Alexander says. We’re not encouraging you to pick out your wedding dress and force your guy to say “I do” from the get-go, but if all goes well, the two of you may be together for many years to come.
Your Friends Already Love Him
As much as you may like a guy, he won’t make the cut without your friends’ seal of approval. Unless your potential beau has serious beef with your besties, there’s a good chance that your buddies already know and like him. “[My friends] were friends with him, so it wasn’t awkward when we all hung out,” says Gemma* a senior from Boston University who dated her best guy friend. “Plus, I knew they all approved of him already and I got to avoid the ‘meet my boyfriend’ introduction.” At the same time, you won’t have to worry about if your boyfriend’s friends like you. Awesome? We think so.
You’ll Feel Free to be Yourself
While a girl rarely says no to a romantic dinner or movie outing with a new guy, these dates can carry a lot of pressure with them. What’s the dress code for that super trendy French place? Who pays? What should you order (a burger is too messy while guys sometimes pity the girl who orders the salad)? When you’re dating your best guy friend, you can finally relax and just enjoy hanging out with him.
“There’s no need to put on a façade; you can just be yourself,” says Patrick Wanis, a human behavior expert and author of Get the Man You Want. Since you’re already so comfortable with your beau, there’s no need to laugh at jokes that aren’t funny or go to his favorite, expensive Indian restaurant when the thought of curry makes you a little queasy.
“We do random stuff that I would do with my other friends, like staying in all weekend and watching movies,” says Emma Squire, a senior at Vanderbilt University. To avoid being complete couch potatoes, treat yourselves to a date night each week.
You May be Dating Him for the Wrong Reasons
Even if you claim to love “the chase,” there’s something very appealing about a convenient, stress-free courtship. If your friend has feelings for you and you clearly enjoy hanging out with him, why not give it a chance? But be warned, collegiettes: convenience is rarely a good reason to date someone.
“You may be entering it out of comfort and familiarity, not necessarily because you want something romantic,” warns Wanis. “I have one client who’s dating a girl because he likes the way she loves him. He’s just interested in receiving what she has to offer because she’s a good friend [to him].” Before you and your guy friend go out on a date, think about why you’re willing to give this a shot. If convenience and comfort are your only reasons, it may be smart to move onto the next guy.
It may Change the Dynamic in Your Social Circle
Just because Monica and Chandler’s group wasn’t hindered by their relationship in Friends (thank you, television gods) doesn’t necessarily mean yours will be the same. No matter how much you like a guy, spending time with just your friends is crucial. But what if he’s there during that time, too?
“If I didn’t feel like seeing him or if we were in a fight, it’s awkward when he’s either there and you aren’t speaking to each other, or he can’t hang out with his friends because you’re there,” Gemma says. All this time together may have you dreaming of the days when your boyfriend and best friends were two separate entities.
You Risk Losing Your Friendship
Let’s be honest: staying good friends with an ex is extremely difficult. Whether you broke his heart or he was the one who left you crushed, grabbing lunch and catching up with an old flame is never fun. Unfortunately, this unhappy ending doesn’t change when you’re dating a friend.
“What’s scary about moving a friendship to a relationship is that it’s very difficult to go backwards,” Alexander says. “It raises the risk of losing a best friend.”
Though awkwardly bumping into your former flame is a normal occurrence for a lot of collegiettes, breaking up with a best friend can feel more like Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.”
“I used to talk to my ex every single night before we started dating. I haven’t talked to him since we broke up,” says Madison*, a senior at Boston University. “He unfollowed me on Twitter and unfriended me on Facebook. I guess it was that painful [for him].” If you’re not willing to risk a friendship, you may want to think twice about dating your partner in crime.
Though our collegiettes’ dating experiences had their own set of pros and cons, it’s important to remember that no two relationships are the same. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s important to go with your gut. Whether or not you and your best friend are soul mates, we promise that Prince Charming is on his way!
*Name has been changed.