Friendships vs Romantic Relationships: Where Do You Draw the Line?
Updated: Mar 15, 2021
By: Mint Suetrong, Contributing Writer
It has always been intriguing to me to see someone’s demeanour completely change when they are around certain people. We all have our boundaries and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Please feel free to take some time to think and leave your answers in the comments below!
Where do you draw the line between friendships and romantic relationships?
Disclaimer: This article is purely to explore how my friends and I interpret the similarities and differences between romantic relationships and platonic relationships. We are all very new to the romantic side of the spectrum. By that I mean two of the four of us have never been in one before. As of when the questions were answered, none of us were in a romantic relationship. I will be using A, B, C and D to represent the replies from each person.
How do you know when you're romantically interested in someone?
A: It feels good to talk to them. They show you that they care about you by giving you their time and attention. You start waiting for them to send you a message.
B: I honestly never realise these things until someone makes a move due to me being much more passive in this aspect, but I guess that it would be how I am able to be myself around them without fear of being judged or looking forward to meeting them.
C: When they’re the first person you look for in a crowded room and you feel recharged when you’re with them. Everything they do is just so endearing, especially the silly things.
D: I tell them things I would never tell anyone else. When I like someone, I care about them a lot - their thoughts and feelings affect me more than those of other people. I am willing to change for them and look past their ‘negative side’.
2. Three words you would use to describe or explain ‘romance’ as you see it.
A: Protective. Supportive. Trust.
B: Time. Trust. Care.
C: Comfortable. Compassion. Consensus.
D: Caring. Sharing. Trusting.
3. What do you consider as the most important thing in a romantic relationship?
A: Trust. Trust the other’s actions and how there is always a reason behind the decisions they make.
B: Making an effort to keep them close and make sure you never lose them, ever.
C: Being comfortable around them. For me, the word ‘comfortable’ encapsulates trust, honesty and care as it means that you can truly be yourself around them and can communicate freely. There are no expectations to meet and that to them, you will always be ‘you’ no matter how much you grow and change.
D: I feel like a relationship should be something that improves both of us and helps us grow to be better people.
4. What do you consider as the most important thing in a friendship?
A: Not being egotistical. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This applies to romantic relationships as well but I think it’s important to make sure that you don’t get into the mindset of, “only one of us can be right and the other must be wrong.”
B: Making sure that they’re fine with how I cope with different situations like those days where I want space and to be left alone. I want them to trust me enough to let me have that with no guilt tripping.
C: To agree to disagree and embrace our differences.
D: Enjoy both the good and the bad in life together. Laugh first when we fall, then both reach out to give each other a helping hand.
5. What are your thoughts on jealousy/possessiveness? Do you think that it is ‘natural’ in romantic relationships?
A: I don’t see jealousy or possessiveness as a good thing but I find myself feeling this way sometimes. I don’t think it’s something that can necessarily be controlled, but it would definitely vary on how much you trust them or the environment that you grew up in etc.
B: Personally, I see jealousy as a normal thing that most people have and that it’s perfectly fine as long as you aren’t reacting harshly and hurting the other person. However I wouldn’t say jealousy is something that’s impossible to unlearn. If you’re looking for specifics in relationships, there are these two artists on Instagram (@jokko_art and @meikomassun) that are poly and both have really cute comics about their thoughts on jealousy and polyamory.
C: Generally, I am not the type to get jealous or possessive over someone, no matter how much I like them. I think that it’s because there would be reciprocated trust and understanding that you both play a significant role in the other’s lives. Constantly checking up on them and being openly affectionate are both sweet gestures but I would feel uncomfortable if they tried to control where I go or who I go with. Rather than the phrase, “two becomes one,” I prefer, “two becomes one team.”
D: A little jealousy shows that you care, but too much jealousy shows that you have no trust. I think it depends on how you show your jealousy as well. For me, if the ‘jealousy’ was due to the extent of how much you care for them, I’d want them to be openly affectionate to me, recognise my value and just overall know me the best. They must respect me and my boundaries. They must be as good as my dad.
6. Does the development from a friendship into a romantic relationship worry you? If so, in which aspect?
A: I personally have not experienced it yet but I would imagine that the thought of the relationship ending badly would be scary. It’s incredibly subjective and dependent on the person because the ending does not always have to be bad.
B: Even as a demisexual- someone who feels sexually attracted to another person only when they have already formed an emotional bond with them- the thought of a friendship developing into a relationship is still a scary one because I worry all of the time that if I happen to ever get the courage to ask someone out, it’ll deteriorate the friendship. This is either through rejection and how the other might feel awkward and uncomfortable staying friends knowing I had growing feelings for them, or if I were to get with someone and we break up, that would ruin the perfectly fine friendship we had before the relationship.
C: To be honest, yes. I’m scared of losing them if the relationship were to end badly because our friendship is very precious to me, but on the other hand, I think that the feeling of being able to openly cheer them on would be amazing.
D: Not really. I think it's good because you might be able to talk more, get to know them even better than you do now and you’d feel more relaxed around each other.
7. What would change if you suddenly start dating this person? In other words, how are romantic relationships different from friendships?
A: There would be more expectations. You’d be around them more. I feel like relationships are just friendships but in a condensed form- you usually get to know them very fast but it might end fast as well. “These violent delights have violent ends.”- Shakespeare.
B: I’ve never been too vocal about my love for anyone, but if I started dating someone then I might express my feelings more and possibly share things I wouldn’t have before. Also some relationships mean you’d be spending more time with them compared to time with your best friends but to me, that’s completely subjective and depends on the person.
C: Putting that extra effort to see each other and check up on one another. Make time for one another. Show up to support the other person. Probably hug them a lot more.
D: Care about each other even more than before. I think I would also feel more comfortable sharing certain thoughts and feelings that I would not share to others with them.
Friendships and relationships share many similarities. I myself found these questions unexpectedly difficult to answer despite being the one who came up with them. All in all, if you care about someone, tell them. Hold them close when you still can. If I had to choose one, I would much rather choose to regret doing something than to regret not doing something.
To quote my very wise friend, “you grow through what you go through.” There is always a meaningful lesson to be learnt, no matter what choices you make. Live life to the fullest. The world isn’t in black and white and who’s to say whether your actions are wrong or right? Remember to respect others’ boundaries but also don’t overlook your own. Self love is best love.
Link to cover image: https://pin.it/2O0L38X