This whole thing got me to thinking about friends becoming lovers and how that shit all plays out.
I have made friends with some people in the last year and several of them went from comfortable friend-zone relationships into me having to ask myself "Wait, is this moving in a romantic direction?"
I'll be the first to admit it - my gaydar SUCKS. And it takes me slightly longer than the average person to detect if someone has an interest in me. However, given enough time (several years) and a few hints (show me your boobs), I will eventually get there.
Note: Girls who are direct and can speak plainly and communicate how badly they want me get 100 bonus points for not making me guess. Plus, it's just sexy.
When a friend green-lights me and I'm clued in that she'd like more, I start to feel a little torn. On the one hand, I think some of the best relationships people can have start out as solid friendships. I like the idea of not putting pressure on a new relationship with someone that you feel a strong connection to because those people are rare.
On the other hand, what's an appropriate amount of time to have said friendship before moving in a romantic direction? You can either rush (and ruin) it or take too damn long and place yourself permanently in the Friendzone.
I had a great friendship with a girl I met online last year. This girl was always making me laugh, think from a different perspective and was really fun to talk to. She never put everything all out there so talking to her was like bringing up little buckets of water from a well by cranking a lever. You'd work really hard to get that bucket up from deep within her and then, there was the satisfying cool drink at the end when she would finally give you a tiny nugget of her truth.
I felt that if she met me and could see that I am (normal?), she might open up more and the friendship would really take off. However, when I finally did meet her, it wasn't what I had expected. From the moment I laid eyes on her, I began to hear "Dream Weaver" playing in my head. The world around me disappeared and she seemed to be covered in disco-ball lights and glitter and all things shiny. Her voice was sultry like Jessica Rabbit and her laugh was the most charming, sexy laugh I've ever heard.
I had no idea how much of an attraction I was going to have - the whole friendship thing just evaporated for me.
Take Away: If you ever have a "Dream Weaver" moment, ignore this feeling and go take a cold shower! If you start feeling strongly attracted to a new friend, slow that shit down and take some time to think about what you're doing. Ask yourself if it is this the right time for both of you to be starting a romantic relationship. (Hint: If you are still communicating with your ex or they are not letting go or you are within 6 months of a breakup, the answer is no.)
Needless to say, it was not the right time for either of us. The friendship should have remained a friendship until we had both cleared past our break-up drama that was still going on with our exes. My thinking that we 'would still develop our friendship while also having hot sex' seemed rational to me at the time.
Except that we didn't know each other well enough to be vulnerable, to develop real trust or to discern what was really us and what part of us was just the effect of both exes actively trying to win us back having on us. With 85% of all of our conversations spent strategizing about how to keep the exes at bay, the relationship never developed the way it should have. In the end, the exes won the battle of wedge-driving and, to have peace and quiet, she backed out.
It would have been so much easier just to cultivate the friendship and taken my time to really get to know her and have her get to know me before we threw ourselves into the ring like a tag-team of amateurs who never fought together. And let me just say we were up against some pros. We got our asses kicked in the first round.
So where does my sad story leave the people who are friends first for a while and want to transition into something more?
Look, I have no idea. I'm asking y'all. I really want to know the answer. I want to be able to develop a friendship with someone who can be real with me. But I also want to be able to take that shit to another level someday. What is too soon and when is it "this would just be freakin' awkward now"?
My only friend-to-lover compass consists of 2 sets of oddly paired couples that have not left a favorable impression of this model for me. These 2 couples went from being pals to becoming lovers/dating and seem like they were just happy to settle for someone familiar who was not a threat. They didn't need to really be vulnerable. They didn't have to put the time in to meet and get to know someone new, discover their flaws and struggle to analyze their red flags. They dread the discovery part of relationship building instead of delighting in it.
They are in relationships of convenience and they are cheating themselves out of what they really want because they are being lazy.
Timing is everything. Jumping into a romantic relationship for the sake of lust seems as dumb as entering into one with a friend so you can avoid doing work on building something solid with someone you are far better suited for.
Best practice? I'm only speculating but I think when you find someone that you have developed real trust with and there is a mutual physical and emotional attraction, you might just be okay to take it to the next level. If I'm wrong, don't be hatin'. But if I'm right, be sure to invite me to your wedding.