There’s a fine line between friendship and love.
By Amanda Chatel — Last updated on Nov 10, 2023
Photo: Helgy | Canva / Sjale | Getty Images
By the time I graduated from college, I had, at least at one point or another, kissed most of my guy friends. Whether it was because of some drunken night playing Spin the Bottle (Yes, that’s what we do in New Hampshire to stay warm), or a brief misguided attempt at making something out of our friendship, it just happened.
I also slept with a couple of them, too, which is something I try to forget every time any of them pop up on Facebook with photos of their wife and kids. In my circle of friends, it wasn’t completely unheard of, this behavior, because for a decent amount of time most of us were single, so why not?
Crushing on a friend? “Friendcest” won’t end well, says research.
Friends hooking up with friends, or as it’s being called, “friendcest,” is nothing new. While I completely believe that men and women can be friends with no problems or expectations from each other, I think the dynamic changes when both parties are single. You have a great time with each other, you’re wonderful friends, so we get confused and think pushing the boundaries of the friendship will be a good idea. It rarely is, of course.
A recent survey in the UK delved into the “friendcestual” relationships people have with their friends. What was found, and not too surprisingly, is that sometimes being friends with the opposite gender can get a little sticky.
Of those surveyed, 10 percent of the participants had kissed one or more of their friends, and 32 percent said they’ve done the unthinkable and dated someone in their circle of friends. Almost 25 percent had been intimate with a friend (Bad idea!), and 19 percent said they had drunkenly kissed a friend at one time or another. But when it came to how these indiscretions played out, it didn’t look very promising. Both 17 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 10 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds said that the friendship didn’t end well thanks to these missteps, and 13 percent of that latter age group admitted having even gotten involved in the first place.
When it came to more complicated things, aside from, oh I don’t know, sleeping with your best guy friend, one in ten surveyed said that they had been involved in a love triangle, and 8 percent of 25-to 34-year-olds had dated the sibling of a friend.
“Friendcest is an easy trap to fall into. If you socialize in a close circle of friends, your opportunities to meet new people can be limited,” says Match’s relationship expert, Kate Taylor. “Dating a friend might feel like the perfect solution, but there are dangers. You might have friends in common, but not necessarily share the same interests, goals, or ambitions.”
And the problem is that when you do break up, because of those friends in common, you make it awkward for everyone else. All of a sudden people have to choose sides and it’s like a custody battle of who gets to keep what friends.
The easiest choice isn’t always the best choice, so Taylor advises that people branch out in their search for love. Looking outside of your circle is only going to prevent future drama for you and your friends. Unless, of course, drama is your thing, then by all means, date and hook up with your friends … just remember you were warned.
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Amanda Chatel is an essayist and intimacy health writer for Yourtango, Shape Magazine, Hello Giggles, Glamour, and Harper’s Bazaar.