Closeness, intimacy and openness may mean that your friendship is something more.

How to Know if a Relationship Is More Than a Friendship

by Anthony Oster

The lines between a platonic friendship and a relationship often become blurred. The concept of platonic friendship can be polarizing, with some people believing that friendships are just that, while others thrive for the opportunity to be more than simply friends. In many cases, one friend may want to pursue a relationship while the other is worried about safeguarding the integrity of the friendship, which would be at risk if the friendship turned into a romantic relationship gone awry. Identifying if your friendship has romantic potential requires that you look closely at subtle patterns in your friendship.


A key component of most relationships is the amount of physical attraction that you share toward one another. Although feelings of attraction can develop over time, the level of attraction you feel toward your friend is an indicator of whether your friendship has relationship potential or if it is better off remaining strictly platonic.

Emotional Connectivity

In addition to attraction, the emotional connection that you have with your friend can indicate whether your friendship extends beyond platonic boundaries. If you find that you and your friend confide in one another, trust in one another and are each comfortable being yourself around the other, then there is potential for a deeper, less platonic relationship.

The Effect of Age

Your age may play a significant role in how your friend perceives your friendship and if your friendship has romantic potential. Research published in the "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships" suggests that emerging adults tend to report physical attraction to platonic friends more frequently than those in early and middle adulthood, regardless of whether that friend is involved in a romantic relationship.

Taking a Chance

If you are unsure of where your relationship with your friend stands, or if you are unclear about your feelings for your friend, take a chance by talking about your relationship with your friend. Though you run the risk of rejection, testing the relationship waters with your friend by bringing up the topic in conversation, sneaking in a kiss or expressing your feelings in a card can spark the next stage of your relationship together.

About the Author

Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.

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