Are You Friends Or More?

Blurring the Line Between Friendship and a Relationship

Friends or something more?. Tim Robberts/Getty Images

How do you know when your friendship is really just that, or something a little more? The first question should be, why do you ask? If you’re worried or wondering about whether your friendship might be more than just platonic, chances are it is already edging toward the “something more” side of things. If you and your friend are both interested and available, it could be the start of a new relationship. If not, it means trouble.

Since relationships of any type are rarely cut and dried, you’ll need more than a feeling to confirm whether or not your friendship is platonic or moving toward romance. Here’s some help.

You’ve Thought About Your Friend In More Than a Strictly Platonic Way

If you’ve daydreamed about your friend in a romantic way, it means you’re developing feelings. It doesn’t mean your relationship has crossed a line yet (unless you’ve acted on those feelings), but it does mean that somewhere in your mind you’re considering things. The next step is, what should you do?

If you or your friend are involved with someone, you should back off and get your friendship back to a platonic only status. You might need to spend time away from your friend if you’re struggling to get things back to an appropriate level. If you are involved with someone but your friend is not, figure out why you’re thinking of your friend. You might be fighting a lot with your spouse or partner, and as a result your friend is beginning to look good to you. Or perhaps you’re closer emotionally with your friend than your partner, and this has you wondering if you should pursue a relationship. (Here's more about having an opposite sex friend if you're married.)

Since changing your friendship from platonic to romantic is a risky thing, you need to be cautious and think before you act. If you feel like your friend might feel the same way, then make sure you’ve wrapped up loose ends in your relationship before pursuing anything with your friend. Don’t “test things out” before you’ve ended your romantic relationship and are totally free to purse something.

When your friend is with someone, however, romantic feelings are a no-no. Get some distance so you don’t act inappropriately and ruin the friendship.

You and a Friend Have Kissed or More

If you’ve physically crossed the line in your friendship, or occasionally make out or sleep together, your friend is on the boundary. It’s best to decide what you want for your friendship (to date or not) and pursue it rather than leave things ambiguous.

When you or your friend don’t care enough to clarify the boundary lines, it means one of you is not as committed or sure about the relationship as the other person is. Figure out what you want from the friendship and then act accordingly.

You Flirt… A Lot

Flirting is a sign you’re attracted to a friend, but that doesn’t mean you’re crossing a line yet. However, if one of you is dating someone, take their feelings into consideration. Would you like it if they flirted with their friend? If not, then it’s best not to do it with yours.

If you’re both free, then it could mean you’re edging toward a romantic relationship. Sooner or later someone is going to have to make a move and see if the romantic side of things is where you want to be.

Figuring out where your friendship is takes some honest self-reflection. Messy boundaries usually usher in hurt feelings down the road, so make sure you know where you stand.