THE BLOG

Is Dating Your Friend a Good Idea?

11/06/2014 11:56 BST | Updated 11/08/2014 10:59 BST

My oldest friends from New Zealand, Dave and Julie met at university when they shared student accommodation. They got on really well as friends and one night they decided to play a prank on a friend they had staying for the weekend. They slept in the same bed so the friend would find them together in the morning and think they were a couple. The pretence worked too well and they've now been married many years. More recently Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino, who are very old friends, revealed they were an item at the Cannes Film Festival. Will that relationship work as well as my friends has? What is the difference between relationships born from friendships and other relationships? Should you go for it or not take the risk?

On the positive side friends often already have similar values, shared interests and similar attitudes. In the case of my friends they were both accountants and careful with money. They already enjoyed each other's company and had a similar social circle. Like many in his situation, Dave said the biggest risk was telling each other that they liked each other, in that way. Because they were friends the risk and impact of rejection is much higher. At the other end of things, if the relationship doesn't work, particularly if it ends badly, you run the risk of ruining the friendship.

Things to consider if you're considering dating a friend:

Are they interested too? Look for the signs very carefully as they're probably less obvious with a friend. If they flirt or are "touchy feely" with you, dating might be an option, but not if they treat you like a brother or sister. If they like other people and are always talking about the people they like, they probably don't consider you as a possible date.

What do you both want? If one of you wants a more serious relationship and the other wants something more casual, it won't work. If it is just casual dating it may not be worth risking the friendship.

Think about the risk. What is it you feel for your friend; is it just chemistry or do you feel there is more to it than that? You might want to discuss what will happen if the relationship doesn't work out before you get together - you are friends you should treat each other with honesty and respect.

If you decide to go for it. Treat them like a boyfriend or girlfriend: make the effort to put things on a romantic footing so that you make the most of your new relationship. Everyone wants to feel special in the beginning (and throughout). If you treat your new partner the same way as you did when you were friends that spark may die really quickly.

When it works, it's fantastic, you have similar values, you have a lot in common, you understand each other, and it's why you were friends in the first place. Sometimes we don't want to risk the friendship, but if you are both interested, and want a relationship, why not give it a go? Life is about taking risks. One of your good friends might just be Mr or Mrs Right.