By Taylor Wolf

With Valentine’s Day coming up, taking a risk and turning a great friend into something more can actually be one of the most rewarding experiences. This isn’t a catch-all statement… I’m betting some of you are reading this and are thinking, “Ha, well that couldn’t happen to me” or “Well, I had a situation like that blow up in my face,” but crazy, unlikely things do work out sometimes. And when they do, you might find yourself wondering why you ever tried dating a stranger.

Here’s my list of reasons why dating someone you’ve been friends with for a while is actually the best.

1.You get each other

You already know who they are — their personality, their quirks, their pet peeves and their worldview. There’s no room for misjudgment or misinterpretation when they say or do something. You’re not going to go through the “trying to not offend” stage.

2. You’ve probably already seen each other at your worst

True friends are there for each other when needed the most. Odds are, you’ve helped each other work through some things or just listened to each other rant. Therefore, you’re not afraid to be real or emotional when you begin a relationship and you already know that they will be there and genuinely care for you.

3. You’ve already done embarrassing and/or gross things in front of them

Burping, boogers, spit, you name it. When you’re just friends, you’re normally not trying to impress them or censor yourself, so you’re already pretty comfortable around each other.

4. You get to skip the awkward “trying to impress” stage

You’ve already seen each other lounge around in sweatpants and you’re not caught up in trying to show off your knowledge of indie bands. No one is obsessed with coming off super cool and perfect. You already know you like and find each other interesting so, you just relax and focus on the time together and not keeping up appearances.

5. No surprising red flags

As friends, you probably learned each other’s backstory and have trust and understanding established.

6. You already have an idea of each other’s values

As a couple, it’s important to know and respect each other’s values and boundaries (of all sorts). When you already have an idea of that, it’s easier and less awkward because it’s not a game of finding the right time to talk about that kind of stuff.  

7. You probably already know each other’s dating history

This omits the need for the uncomfortable conversation and you’re already sensitive to each other’s past relationships.

8. You’ve already bonded and know how to spend quality time together

No need to force a good time or try to bond and be vulnerable with someone you just met. You also probably have things you enjoy doing together. You already know things each other loves or hates, so there’s no guessing or awkward unwanted surprises.

9. You already have met their friends and/or family

Makes it easier on everyone.

10. NO “what are we” CONVERSATION

Odds are, if you’ve decided to take the steps from friends to more-than-friends, your feelings are obvious and you already know you want to be in a relationship. You already know what you are to each other… that’s why you decided to be a couple in the first place. Honestly, this is the best part about dating a friend is that once you talk and decided to take that step, you know where you stand from the very beginning of the relationship.

Dating a friend isn’t for everyone. A lot of the time, there’s a fear of possibly ruining a friendship — but a true strong friendship can survive anything as long as it’s rooted in trust and respect.

So maybe this V-Day, you’re thinking about someone who’s been in your life for awhile a little differently. Any relationship is a risk, but one that started as a friendship certainly has a higher risk-to-reward ratio in my opinion.