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by Jennifer Brown Banks

Should Friends Become Lovers?

Long before the days of “When Harry Met Sally,” experts, scholars, and common folks engaged in dialogue and debate over whether men and women could be “just friends”.

And, in a similar vein, many have questioned whether it is ever really wise to cross the line, and go from friend to lover.

This topic is particularly dear to my heart, in that most of my friends are men.


And most of them are hunks!

Like my musician friend in California, my sexy side-kick who’s on the board of directors of a not-for-profit for kids, and a blue-collar beefcake who’s 7 years my junior.

Because I greatly value their role in my life, I’ve pretty much always stuck to a “no fraternization rule”. If we started out as friends, that’s how we’d stay to the end. True Blue!

One reason for this “policy” is that a failed relationship might ruin a future friendship. Once you cross the line, can you ever go back? I didn’t want to take the risk.

But now, with more experience and perspective under my belt, my position has been slightly altered.

Should friends become lovers? Well, it depends…on the people and the circumstances involved.

I’ve come to the conclusion that a lover should in fact be “a friend”. Ideally, your best friend. That someone whom you can share your biggest secrets and fears. Someone with whom there is ultimate trust.

I believe that it’s the basis and the root of most quality, lasting relationships.

But going from friend to lover can be tricky: proceed with caution.

Some time ago, I decided to make an exception to my long held rule, and dated a guy who had been my dear friend for many, many years.

What made me take the gamble? We had similar interests and goals, mutual respect, a long history, and I thought he was a really smart, special guy. In some ways, I still do. (And did I mention that he does serious justice to a pair of jeans?!)

On the Plus Side…
We had incredible, incredible chemistry. I still blush today at the thought of it. We never argued, and there was a comfortability that only comes with knowing someone the way we did.

On the Minus Side…
I discovered that you never “really” know someone until you’re involved on a day to day level. Much to my surprise, he could be uncompromising and stubborn. And so could I. So, at times we were at a stalemate, with neither of us truly winning. I wanted what I felt I wasn’t getting. He wanted me to require less of him.

After the relationship ended, there was a period of months that were particularly awkward. Like a “relationship purgatory”, if you will.

We were now more than friends, but less than lovers. Not to mention, in years before, I had always been able to rely upon him for moral support, cheerleading, his lightness of spirit, and sound business advice.

Should I call? Would he want to hear from me? Should I wait for him to call? Would the chemistry get in the way? It was deep waters to navigate.

But five months later, he did call. And we took up where we left off. Nobody knows what the future holds, but I expect we’ll always (minimally) be friends, and that our lives will be richer for it.

Would I ever break “my rule” and date a friend again? With the right man and the right circumstances… with record breaking

Here's What You Should Consider Before Taking the Plunge:

» Do you have compatible personalities and lifestyles? For instance, if he/she "likes to party like it's 1999" and you're a homebody, it may not last.

» Are you willing to compromise? All the chemistry in the world won't work if the two of you are not committed to working at the relationship and making the other person happy.

» Can he/she be trusted?

» Are your expectations realistic? Don't expect to make any "make or break" decisions in 30 days or less. Relationships have "learning curves" just like jobs. Give it a little time.

» Are the two of you mature enough to handle a breakup? In other words, if things don't pan out, can you refrain from being bitter and putting the other person's "dirty laundry" out in the streets?

» Are there more potential rewards than risks?

In business and in love remember to keep your head... and follow your heart!

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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