What Happens When There Are Friends Who Like Each Other But Are Not Dating?

When two friends like each other but are not dating, they may experience emotional ambiguity, fear of rejection or change, frustration or a feeling of regret for not acting. In this scenario, the dynamics of the relationship can vary depending on the circumstances and preferences of the people involved.

Thus, in this PsychologyFor article, we will analyze What happens when there are friends who like each other but are not dating? We will explore how and why love between friends arises, the consequences of this situation, and provide advice for those who wish to transform their friendship into a successful romantic relationship.

When love arises between friends

Love between friends can arise for various reasons, often unexpectedly. Next, we will see when it arises:

  • When there is already a connection and mutual trust: when values, interests and life experiences are shared, which lays a solid foundation for more intense feelings. Closeness and mutual knowledge can, over time, transform into romantic attraction.
  • When more personal experiences are shared: Changes in relationship dynamics, such as spending more time together, can be catalysts for these feelings. Additionally, a friend’s perception may change as new facets of her personality are revealed, which may increase attraction. Sometimes a specific event, like overcoming a challenge together, can ignite the romantic spark.
  • When personal circumstances change For example, if both friends experience significant changes in their lives, such as a breakup or a new beginning, this can open the door to exploring the relationship from a new perspective.
  • When you idealize the other person: The evolution from friendship to love can also be driven by the idealization of the person. Here, admired qualities are magnified, leading to seeing him/her as an ideal potential partner. However, this idealization can lead to unrealistic expectations and confusion between platonic love and romantic love.

It is crucial to recognize that while some friends fall in love and form successful relationships, others may discover that their friendship is more valuable in its original form. Understand and accept the nature of these feelings It can be an emotionally complex process that requires introspection and honest communication.

What happens when there are friends who like each other but are not dating?

When friends develop romantic feelings, but do not move toward a dating relationship, the following consequences may arise:

  • emotional ambiguity: Understanding and managing feelings within the confines of a friendship can cause confusion. There may be an increase in ambiguity and tension in the relationship, sometimes resulting in uncomfortable interactions or misunderstandings.
  • Fear of rejection: Some people may decide to maintain their friendship without exploring a romantic relationship for fear of rejection or change. They prefer to avoid complications that may arise when crossing that line, and choose to preserve the friendly relationship they already have.
  • Frustration: arises if one of the friends wants to move towards a romantic relationship while the other prefers to keep the friendship as it is. This can lead to an imbalance in the relationship, where one feels emotionally hurt and the other feels overwhelmed or guilty. In these cases, we recommend that you consult this article: I am in love with my best friend, but she is not: what do I do?
  • Feeling of regret: In situations where both friends feel attraction to each other, but choose not to act on it, a feeling of “what could have been” can arise. This sometimes leads to a persistent feeling of regret or doubt about the decision made. Emotional closeness without a formal romantic relationship can also cause blurred boundaries.

This situation can be an opportunity for personal growth. It can foster greater self-awareness about emotional needs and expectations in relationships, both platonic and romantic, as well as strengthen communication and mutual understanding in friendships.

What happens when there are friends who like each other but are not dating - What happens when there are friends who like each other but are not dating

How to go from friendship to love and make the relationship work

To transform a friendship into love and make the relationship work, several steps must be considered. Below, we present the most fundamental ones:

  • Evaluate your feelings: It is crucial that you honestly reflect on your emotions. Distinguish whether what you feel is romantic love beyond platonic affection. Consider the intensity and nature of your feelings, and think about how they affect your view of the friendship and your future expectations.
  • Tell him what you feel: Telling your friend is an essential step. An open and honest conversation can clarify doubts and establish a foundation to better understand mutual feelings. It is important to express your emotions clearly, maintaining respect for what the other person feels.
  • Evaluate risks and benefits: Reflect on how changing from friends to partner could affect your current relationship. Think about the potential benefits of a romantic relationship, but also the risks, such as the possibility of losing the friendship if things don’t work out.
  • go on dates together: Try spending time with your friend in situations that are more like dates. This may include activities or environments different from what you normally enjoy as friends. This can help you see the relationship from another perspective. Here we give you ideas of interesting and deep conversation topics that you can discuss.
  • Be patient: Give your friend time to process their feelings. It is important not to pressure him so that the relationship evolves naturally and at his own pace. In this article, we tell you how to have more patience.
  • Flirts: Start with light, playful flirting to gauge your friend’s interest. This can include jokes, compliments, or affectionate gestures that are subtle but indicative of your romantic interest.
  • Accept the possibility of rejection: Prepare for the possibility that your feelings may not be reciprocated. Maintain a realistic perspective and be emotionally prepared for any outcome, remembering that rejection does not diminish your self-worth.
  • Prioritize friendship: If a romantic relationship doesn’t develop or work out, strive to maintain the original friendship. The ability to return to a strong, healthy friendship can be a sign of emotional maturity and mutual respect.

This article is merely informative, at PsychologyFor we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to What happens when there are friends who like each other but are not dating? we recommend that you enter our Feelings category.


  • Camirand, E., and Poulin, F. (2022). Links between best friendship, romantic relationship, and Psychological Well-Being in emerging adulthood. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 183(4), 328-344. https://doi.org/10.1080/00221325.2022.2078684
  • Emamzadeh, A. (2022). Dating apps and blind dates may not be the path to love. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-new-home/202202/how-and-how-often-friendship-turns-love
  • Patrick, W. L. (2021). Research reveals a link between friendships and long-term relationships. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/why-bad-looks-good/202102/the-upside-dating-friend

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