The Four Stages Of Falling For A Friend

I used to be a girl who kept her male friends in a box. This wasn’t so much a friend zone, but a sub-zero well that was impossible to get out of. I was an advocate of instant attraction, waging a war against friend-to-friend dating. 

Well, not quite. But I didn’t get it — one month a friend “can’t imagine having sex” with another, the next you catch them doing the deed in the kitchen. Of course, it’s sweet when two friends couple up. But where does the chemistry come from?

According to a study conducted by The University of Texas; the longer you know someone, the more attractive you find them. To test this, they got first years to rate each others’ attractiveness out of ten (very scientific), then collected one value at the start of term and one at the end. Sure enough, sixes became nines within a matter of weeks. 

So if our brains are programmed this way — why do so many of us have reservations? I take a look at the sometimes reluctant path to getting involved with a friend. 

Step 1. The Catalyst

Every friend-ship has a catalyst. Maybe you’re browsing through Badoo and your friend pops up. You swipe yes to be polite, then a faux-flirty chat ensues. You’re just satirising app culture(!) but enjoy the conversation. The seed of attraction has been planted. 

Step 2. The Transition

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Perhaps he gives up a seat for you or offers you his spare beer. Maybe you tease him about something or have a chat that gets unusually personal. Whatever it is, your relationship will undergo small progressions, a result of your latent crushes on each other. 

Step 3. The Realisation

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The realisation can happen at any point. Maybe he leaves the pub early and you feel disappointed. Or you see him laughing with another a girl and get a little bit jealous. But either way, it can be sudden and surprising. This is the point to confined in someone you trust. There’s nothing like being told you’d be great together to affirm your new-found feelings.  

Step 4. The Consummation

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You know you like him, but this is when the doubt sets in. Could you have been imagining it? Maybe that beer was out of date? It’s easy to psych yourself out because it’s scary. Just remember, he has also been behaving differently. If you were making weird advances, he would be backing off — not cosying in. Also dutch courage is a sitcom trope for a reason, its fine to be drunk when you finally cross that line of friendship. 

So next time you come across a pal on Badoo, why not have a chat and see where it takes you? I am a reformed friend-ship hater and would now recommend them to anyone. Your friends are the same, you respect each other and he’s probably already seen you in the depths of your ugliest hangover.

Isabel O'Brien