Could your friend actually be your future lover?

Maybe being in the ‘friend-zone’ isn’t as bad as you think

Dynamic colorful portrait of a couple - stock photo
(Image credit: Getty Images / Victor Dyomin)

Relationships and dating can be difficult to navigate, no matter how many online dating tips you search or which of the best dating apps you join—but a new study suggests that most relationships actually blossom from friendships.

Now, we’re not suggesting you try it on with all of your friends, but it seems that building a relationship from a friendship is actually the more preferred method of starting a relationship these days.

The Friends-to-Lovers Pathway to Romance, a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, found that 68% of participants said their current and past relationships began as friendships. The researchers at the University of Victoria also found that 47% of those surveyed said this was their preferred dating method. 

Girl friends hanging out together - stock photo

(Image credit: Getty Images / Nick David)

It shows that actually, it’s not all about that instant connection, or love at first sight feeling. Most people are actually opting for more of a slow burner. There are merits to a friendship first connection too—you’ll likely find out any deal-breakers before you’re committed. Plus you find out if you actually get along and have things in common, not just attraction.

The study also found that among the Gen-z’s, 85% said that they were friends with their partners before they became romantic. 

It’s a refreshing thought that this is becoming the norm, our favorite rom coms and nostalgic tv shows often depict that heart-stopping moment, when your eyes meet across the room and the rest is history—which just leaves us with unreal expectations of how we’re supposed to feel.

Young couple fooling around in street, man carrying woman over shoulder - stock photo

(Image credit: Getty Images / Franek Strzeszewski)

Danu Anthony Stinson, psychology professor and lead author of the study said: “We might have a good understanding of how strangers become attracted to each other and start dating, but that’s simply not how most relationships begin.”

He also explained that: “These studies affirm that friends-first initiation is a prevalent and preferred method of romantic relationship initiation that has been overlooked by relationship science.” 

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.