From friends to lovers: 15 stages you’ll go through + how to make it work

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Some of the best love stories have started out as simple friendships.

Transitioning from friends to lovers is a wonderful experience. The relationship has great potential since you already care about each other.

However, when best friends become more, there are some risks involved that you should keep in mind. As you go through the stages of becoming lovers, one or both of you might realize that it’s not what you want.

On the other hand, if you do both want to be more than just friends, you’re off to a great start. You could still use some tips for going from friends to lovers and you’ll read about them later on in the article.

Right now, let’s focus on some stages that you’ll probably go through as you turn from friends into partners.

Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you get things right when going from friends to lovers. You may want to try speaking to someone via for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.

15 Stages You’ll Go Through When Transitioning From Friends To Lovers

All love stories start in a similar way: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love.

But what if the boy and girl become friends first? Well, they are likely to go through the following stages before they become a couple.

Realizing that you have the hots for your friend can be confusing. But it’s also a lovely experience that might lead to true love.

Here’s how it’s likely to go down:

1. You start talking more often and spending more time together.

You’re friends, so you always used to text, call each other, and hang out.

But not this much.

If you’re starting to become more than friends, you are likely to talk more often and spend more time together.

Your conversations will be long and meaningful. You’ll feel like you have a deep connection with your friend. This connection might be what first indicates that your relationship is not purely platonic.

You’ll enjoy sharing things with them and letting them be a part of your life. When you spend time together, you won’t simply hang out. It will feel more like you’re really dating even though you’re still just friends.

Compare how often you were in touch before to how often you’re in touch now. Also, try to notice how much time the two of you spend with other friends. Compare it to how often you spend time together and for how long.

You are likely to spend much more time with your special friend than any other friends if you’re heading toward a relationship with them.

2. You experience jealousy all of a sudden.

When you were just friends, it didn’t bother you when your friend talked about their ex or a romantic interest. Now, you suddenly feel jealous of their possible future partners.

You don’t like them talking to members of their preferred sex. You are uncomfortable when they talk about other people they might be into.

Maybe they feel the same way about you. They don’t like it when you give attention to other people of your preferred sex. They get jealous when you talk about your ex.

Jealousy is another of the early indicators that your feelings for your friend have stopped being just friendly.

You don’t want to visualize your friend with someone else because you want to be more than friends with them. Maybe they don’t want to be just your friend either. If so, you are on the road to a romantic relationship.

3. Innocent touches feel different somehow.

When your relationship stops being platonic, your bodies know it even before you do. So, there will be body language signs which show that something has changed.

Your friend’s innocent touches will feel different somehow. You’ll know that they’re not just friendly or at least that you don’t want them to be just friendly. You are likely to engage in physical touch much more often than before.

It will be clear that your friend is special to you. After all, you don’t engage in physical touch that much with other friends.

You will probably try to sit or stand closer to each other and feel the need to touch each other more often than you used to. The way you look at each other can also reveal the hidden desires you share.

You will sense that your friend wants you when they make intense eye contact and gently touch you.

4. You treat them differently than other friends.

If you’re just friends, you’ll treat them like any other friend. But they’re not just a friend to you anymore, and it will be clear that you treat them differently.

Maybe you don’t spend as much time with other friends, you don’t touch them so often, or you don’t talk about them as much. You are certainly not jealous when any of your other friends talk to someone attractive.

The way you and your friend treat each other will change when you’re becoming more than friends. You’ll give each other more attention and make each other a priority. You’ll want to talk to them all the time, and when you’re not talking to them, you’ll talk about them.

Basically, you will show all the normal signs of falling in love even if you’re still trying to act like friends. Most of the time, other people will notice this much sooner than you, but more on that later.

5. You start flirting.

Obviously, you will start flirting before you go from friends to dating. You will give each other compliments and engage in subtle eye contact. You might even joke about being a couple or tease each other about liking one another.

Your flirting might even appear harmless like it’s just friendly teasing, but it’s probably not. Friends give each other compliments, but you can tell when it’s a friendly compliment and when someone is hitting on you.

Even if you can’t put your finger on what exactly made it different, you’ll know that your friend is flirting with you. And you’ll flirt back, but the two of you will probably still be afraid that it’s just friendly teasing.

It takes time before innocent flirting between friends turns into something serious. Again, people around you will probably realize that you’ll hook up sooner than you become aware of it.

6. You experience lust.

What makes the biggest difference between friends and lovers is sexual desire or lust.

You’ll have the hots for your friend in the form of feelings of lust. When this happens, you are definitely on the road to becoming more than just friends.

If your friend is sexually attracted to you, it will show in their body language and the way they act around you. So, if it seems like there’s an unspoken sexual tension in the air whenever you come close to each other, you’re not just friends.

It’s important to note here that this is the stage where transitioning ends for some friends. Instead of becoming a couple, they act on their lusty feelings and become friends with benefits

If that is what you both truly want, there’s nothing wrong with having a relationship like that. However, if you want to have something real and serious with your friend, it’s better to avoid becoming just friends with benefits. You can do this by taking things slow with them but more on that later.

7. You find ways to be alone together.

Friends often hang out in groups. But you and your friend now find all manner of excuses to be alone together.

Even when you’re with a group of friends, you sit close to each other and leave to be alone together. Maybe your friend asks you to go for a walk when you’re at a party, or they simply put all their attention on you. If you can’t be alone together, you’ll probably focus more on each other than on any of the other friends present.

When scheduling times to meet, you also try to get some alone time away from other people. Maybe you hang out at their place, they come to yours, or you go somewhere where you can have privacy and alone time together.

This all indicates that you’re going through one of the stages of turning your friendship into a relationship.

8. You put them first.

Your friend is your top priority, and it’s clear that no one else is as important to you as they are.

You change your plans to fit their schedule, you ignore other friends to meet with them, and ditch work to help them. You’re always there to help them when they need a helping hand or just to listen to them talk about their problems.

When they want to see you, you ditch everything else to be with them. Basically, you do all that you can to be with them as much as possible and make them happy.

They have become your top priority, unlike any of your other friends. This is a clear sign that your feelings for them are not just friendly. If they put you first too, they probably feel the same way about you.

9. You give each other sweet nicknames.

Friends can have pet names for each other, but they’re usually something goofy. When your friend starts calling you “sweetie,” “babe,” or “honey,” the relationship might not be so platonic.

Pet names are a great way to express affection, and couples use them all the time. Friends – not so much. When you and your friend start calling each other “babe,” you probably want to become something more.

Your friend might even give you a special nickname that refers to an inside joke. If you have names for each other that no one else understands or even knows about, you have a deep connection. If those names are also something that’s usually reserved for couples, you might as well already be dating.

10. You talk about each other more often.

Every conversation somehow leads to you mentioning your friend. Their name pops up in random conversations that don’t even have anything to do with them.

You feel like you must make these references because your friend is constantly on your mind. You can’t stop thinking about them. Maybe you even catch yourself daydreaming about being with them.

What’s more, you know exactly what they are doing at any moment of the day. They don’t even have to keep you posted because you know them and think about them that much.

When you don’t know what they are doing, you are thinking about it and feeling tempted to ask them. If someone is on your mind 24/7, you are falling in love with them, even if they are just a friend for now.

11. You feel different around them.

Suddenly, being around your friend feels different than it used to. You get nervous and awkward around them and there’s tension in the air.

You feel the need to impress them as if you would someone that you’re dating. You care a lot about what they think about you, and you feel lusty when they’re near you.

If they behave differently around you too, they might be feeling the same way. Something’s changed. It’s probably the romantic feelings that have occurred in your platonic relationship.

When something like this happens, people can sense it, so the air around you feels different. You’ll know that it’s because you’re not just friends anymore.

12. Your shared friends are on to you.

When things change between you and your friend, your other friends will be able to sense it even before you do.

It’s not just that they’ll notice something’s going on – they won’t hesitate to bring it up. Your friends will probably tease the two of you or try to explain how you’re obviously attracted to each other. They might make an effort to make sure you sit next to each other when you’re hanging out in a group. They’re likely to do other things just to get the two of you to finally hook up.

Friends like to help their friends hook up, whether it’s with other people or with each other. When they see two of their friends developing feelings for each other, they’ll do their best to make them act on it.

13. You worry about losing your friendship and feel confused.

Once it’s clear to you that your feelings for your friend are not just friendly, you might feel confused, or even worried.

Will getting in a relationship make you lose your friend? Would it be better that you stay friends if you want to keep them in your life forever? What if you get into a relationship and break up? You might worry about all these things before acting on your feelings.

The feelings on their own might make you feel confused. It’s strange when you suddenly see someone differently. You’re so used to seeing them as a friend that it feels weird to suddenly picture them as a potential partner.

Should you act on your feelings? Do they feel the same way about you? What if they want to stay just friends? This transition is going to be confusing for you before you decide that being with someone you’re into is worth the risk.

14. You’re ready to risk it.

After being confused for a while, you’ll come to the conclusion that being with your friend is worth the risk. You’ll be ready to risk losing them as a friend in order to gain them as a partner.

This is a good thing. After all, you can’t go back to being just friends now that you’ve fallen in love with them. If you instead become partners, you’re not losing anything, you’re just gaining.

Love is always worth the risk, and when you love your friend, the relationship has great potential. They are your friend, so they already care about you. You’re already a team, partners in crime. Now, all that’s left is to introduce romantic feelings into your existing relationship.

15. You go out on a real date.

Obviously, the final stage of transitioning from friends to lovers is going out on a real, romantic date. This might not be so obvious though. If no one uses the word “date” you’ll wonder whether this is a date or just friends hanging out. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can’t tell!

If your date is romantic, it’s definitely a date. It is a perfect opportunity to come clean about your feelings and become a couple. When you finally hook up – that’s it – you’re not just friends anymore. You are much more than friends.

And, since your relationship started as a friendship, it has great potential and is likely to be successful.

10 Tips When Going From Friends To Dating

Can friends become lovers? Yes, they can. When the necessary feelings are present and the timing is right, it is absolutely possible for a friendship to turn into a relationship.

While you’re turning from buddies to soulmates, you could use some tips to make sure that your relationship works out.

The important thing is that this is what you both want and that you don’t rush into it. Keep reading to learn about those and many more tips for when you’re going from friendship to relationship.

1. Make sure both of you want the same things.

The most important part of all this is that you’re on the same page. Your friend should feel the same way about you as you do about them.

If you both want to be more than friends, nothing’s stopping you from starting a relationship. However, if only one of you is pushing the subject, things aren’t going to work out.

Make sure that you both want this before you become more than friends. When only one of you really wants it, you are likely to end up in a one-sided relationship.

Losing your friend by becoming partners is worth the risk, but only if both of you want the same thing. You can look for signs that your friend’s falling for you too or even ask them directly. Make sure to do that before initiating something more than friendship.

2. Know the risks.

What are the risks involved with becoming more than just friends? Obviously, there’s a risk that they don’t feel the same way about you, but you probably already know that they do.

The biggest risk you’re dealing with is losing them as a friend if your relationship doesn’t work out. If you break up, things are likely to be awkward in your social circle at least for a while.

Is it worth the risk? Well, if you’re into your friend, they’re already not just a friend to you. Your friendship can’t really be lost when it’s already grown into something more.

You could nurture that relationship or get some distance to be able to go back to being friends. But, when your friend is already a crush, they aren’t likely to be just a friend again. So, you can only gain something, not lose it.

3. Don’t rush things.

While your feelings might be sudden, strong, and intense, your relationship shouldn’t be.

Don’t rush into a relationship with your friend as soon as you start having romantic feelings for them. Give it some time and process your feelings. Let things develop naturally and move at their own pace.

Don’t ever try to pressure your friend into being with you. Spend time with them and take your time in getting to know them even better.

Connect on an emotional level before you introduce physical intimacy into your relationship. Otherwise, you’ll be at risk of becoming friends with benefits instead of partners.

Take things slow as if you would with anyone else that you just started dating. They’re not going anywhere, and there’s plenty of time for the two of you to act on your newfound feelings.

Be patient because chemistry and feelings aren’t enough to make your relationship work.

4. Stay friends even when you’re lovers.

While you were friends, you probably had a lot of fun together. You would go out, see movies, party, and go to restaurants. Maybe you would engage in the same hobby or sports activity.

Whatever it is that you were doing while you were friends shouldn’t stop once you’re a couple. Keep things fun and exciting the way they were when you were just hanging out.

Being in a relationship might put extra pressure on you, but try to be as carefree as you were. Keep feeling comfortable around each other. Be yourself around them, be honest with them, and don’t hesitate to be playful and joke around.

Don’t forget that you didn’t stop being friends. You are now partners too, but you should still be friends as well.

5. Don’t get too comfortable in the relationship.

You should feel comfortable around each other when you’re dating. However, you shouldn’t get too comfortable.

When you were friends, it might have been okay to meet them without putting any effort into looking good. Now that you’re dating, you should act the way you did with any of your previous partners. Put effort into impressing each other now that you’re more than friends.

If you instead still act like friends, you might go back to being just that. You should be friends, but not only that. Make sure to act the way you would if you were dating anyone else.

Being friends didn’t require much effort, but a romantic relationship does, so keep that in mind. Be willing to go the extra mile for them and make an effort to make things work.

6. Go on real, romantic dates.

It might feel weird to be all lovey-dovey with your friend, even if you’re now dating them. You might be tempted to just watch movies and hang out like you did when you were just friends.

Don’t do it.

Make an effort to go on real dates and make them romantic. A candlelit dinner sets the perfect mood for building emotional intimacy. Intimacy is what you should focus on now.

Your dates don’t have to be sexual or end in sex. Just make sure that they’re romantic and work more on emotional than physical intimacy for now.

Connect on a deeper level than you ever did before, and don’t hesitate to get all lovey-dovey. You’re not buddies anymore, you’re partners, so act like that not to get stuck in the friend zone. Make sure that you’re really dating not just hanging out.

7. Be honest but don’t tell them everything you would tell a friend.

Your friend already knows the real you, so you can be honest with them about your feelings. Show your true colors and open up to them.

However, keep in mind that they’re not just a friend anymore. Don’t talk to them the way you would talk to a friend. While you should be honest with your partner, you don’t tell someone you’re dating the same things you tell your friends.

Overly personal and even gross details about yourself are something you share with friends only. For instance, you can tell your friend that you haven’t shaved for a month, but it’s certainly not something you’d tell someone you’re dating. Adjust your conversations to your relationship status.

8. Let your common friends know that you’re dating.

Your relationship can be private when it’s just starting, but don’t keep your other friends in the dark for long. Let them know that you’re dating once you’re both sure that this is what you want.

You have no reason to hide that from them, and things might get awkward if you do. Your friends are probably going to cheer you on and be glad that you’re together. So, there’s really no harm in telling them.

Keeping your relationship a secret from them will just force you to act like friends again. You’re not just that anymore, and you should avoid going back to the way things were.

Work toward a future together, and don’t look back to the time when that wasn’t a possibility.

9. Don’t become friends with benefits.

Becoming partners after being friends is risky, but becoming friends with benefits is even riskier.

It’s very likely that one of you will develop deeper feelings for the other at some point. One of you might meet someone else and decide that they want a real relationship with them.

When you’re friends with someone, adding sex into the relationship makes sense if you’ll be in a real relationship. If that’s not what you both want, becoming friends with benefits instead will just be confusing and complicated.

Some people make it work, but those who do eventually go from friends with benefits to a relationship. You can skip the fwb part and go straight to being a committed couple if that’s what you want. If not, it might be best to just stay friends.

10. Use the things you know about them.

Since you were friends with this person, you probably know a lot about them and their past. You can use this information now that you’re dating them.

For instance, maybe you know that their ex-partner lied to them and betrayed their trust. You could take note of this and be transparent with them as much as possible.

Remember all of their triggers and make sure to use the knowledge to make your relationship better. Treat them with empathy and consideration while keeping in mind the things that they’ve already shared with you.

You probably already know what kind of relationship they were searching for. Let them have that relationship with you and make them happy.

Going from friends to lovers can be messy, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you’re both on the same page and you follow these tips, you’re likely to have a successful relationship!

Still not sure how to successfully transition from friends into a relationship? Whilst it’s an exciting time, it can also be full of anxiety and confusion. To help you cope with it all and to coach you through the change, speaking to a relationship expert is a good idea. So why not chat online to one of the experts from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out.

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About The Author

Ana Vakos enjoys writing about love and all the problems that come with it. Everyone has experiences with love, and everyone needs dating advice, so giving these topics more attention and spreading the word means a lot to her.