Is it a good idea to start a relationship with your best friend?
Ailbhe talks about why starting a relationship with her best friend was one of the best decisions she's made
We have all seen those romantic comedies where one of the best friends realise too late that they are in love with the other. This realisation is normally sparked by a new relationship or an out-of-the-blue engagement. Then by the end of the movie, 9 times out of 10, the best friends both realise they truly love each other, and get together. Honestly, I think many of us question whether the relationship would actually work since it took them so long to realise their feelings in the first place … so would it?
My partner and I have been best friends since we were 18, and we are now almost a year together at 23. Ironically, I used to be strongly against the idea of best friends becoming romantically involved, for fear of ruining a good friendship. Now though, there are a number of reasons why I feel falling in love with your best friend (and vice versa) is actually the ideal situation to find yourself in.
Why I think it works
There is already a foundation of understanding and respect
Because you have been friends for so long already, you already have a strong, solid base of respect and understanding for a relationship. Think about your best friend and how much you love and respect them. Are they one of the first people you call when something good or bad happens to you? Are they your first call when you have a free afternoon and want to hang out? Best friends know exactly how to help you in ways new partners don’t sometimes. This is because you have built a foundation of trust with them, and they have been around for longer. So, naturally, when you progress into a romantic relationship with your best friend, these little details most couples have to learn about each other are already well known between you both.
They already accept all your flaws, so you can be yourself
I know for a fact that when I was in relationships before this one (they were all with people I had known for less than a couple of months), I hid a lot of my flaws, my anxiety and my opinions. This was so I would be considered more easy-going and more fun for the new guy in my life - I was basically not being myself. The person who I always vented my frustrations to and cried in front of was my best friend. Your best friend is almost always your rock and knows exactly what to say to help you feel better, because chances are that they have stuck by your side through tough experiences over the years you have known each other. This ingrained trust is crucial in any successful relationship, romantic or not.
They already know and get along with your support systems
Best friends will have gradually built up trust with you over the years, as well as with the majority of your other close friends, family members and colleagues. If you get into a relationship with your best friend further down the line, the terrifying ordeal of meeting their family and friends is completely irrelevant. They likely all already get along and will fully welcome you as a part of their family, because they know and trust you.
They already know the most important things about you
All of the important experiences you went through that have shaped you as a person, both good and bad, have already been shared between you both. We have all had that experience where we’ve stayed up until 3am when we shouldn’t have, talking about every taboo topic under the sun and revealing our deepest darkest secrets to our best friends. Breaking down these walls and trusting someone enough to let them in on everything you think about the world is the most vulnerable thing you can do. It is experiences like this that make the closest bond.
The comfort level is unrivalled
You can fight, and know you’ll make up. You can be as chilled out as you want on your days off; lying on the sofa with no make-up and wearing sweats, watching Netflix and ordering takeaway for dinner, with no judgement because they will always be up for joining you. You can sit in complete silence for hours, reading, doing assignments, working or whatever you might want, without once questioning if they’re bored of you. There is no pressure to have to entertain each other or always be in a good mood, because they know you. This is a big deal for me because I have pretty bad anxiety, and am constantly questioning whether people genuinely like having me around or not, and I avoid conflict like the plague. This level of comfort is the dream.
They understand how you operate
Particularly from personal experiences and from a point of view of anxiety, because I have been so close to my friend for so long, he knows what I need when I’m not having a good day. Being able to openly admit you’re struggling without feeling like you’re being a burden to someone is the most relieving feeling imaginable. Best friends tend to be able to tell if your smile isn’t reaching your eyes and will ask you later when you’re alone what’s going on, and you’ll realise you have absolutely no fear opening up and telling them. This closeness is what I feel makes a friendship so special, when they see the pain behind your eyes.
Everyone is different and no two relationships are the same. So while you’re obviously close to your best friend, you may not want to be in a romantic relationship with them, and that’s completely fine.
If you feel like you may be falling for your best friend, make sure you’re 100% sure. While in some cases it may not work, if it does, it can be one of the best feelings ever.
However, for me, that old cliche of marriage being like a sleepover with your best friend every night doesn’t exist for no reason.
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