A Friendship to Romance

First they were friends for a long time and only after that they turned to couples. A new report published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science shows that two thirds of romantic relationships start out platonically.

Early studies on the beginning of relationships found that nearly 75 percent focused on the spark of romance between strangers. Only eight percent of studies focussed on romance that develops among friends over time.

Lead author Danu Anthony Stinson (psychology professor, University of Victoria, Canada) mentioned that a lot of people felt very confident in saying that they know why and how people choose partners and become a couple and fall in love. However, the professor noted that their study showed a different view.


Pointing out that it could be difficult to understand that strangers get attracted to each other and start dating, the study said that this was not how most relationships began. The researchers looked into nearly 1,900 university students and adults. In the survey, the researchers say that 68 percent pointed out that their current or most recent romantic relationship began as a friendship. The researchers also did not find any big difference with respect to gender, ethnic groups and level of education. The study showed that the rate of friends-first initiation was higher among 20-somethings and within LGBTQ+ communities.


Among the university students, the study showed that “friends-first initiators” were friends for one-to-two years before beginning a romantic relationship. Most of the couples said that they did not enter into a friendship for becoming romantic couples. Stinson points out that the pre-romance friendships meant that the couples were genuine. Apart from this, the study also said that half of the students started as friends as they thought it was a preferred way of developing a romantic relationship, making it for and away more popular than other options presented, such as meeting at a party or online.

Stinson hopes that their study would help in further research on the topic. Though romance and friendship are thougt to be dissimilar types of relationships that form in different ways and meet distinct needs, she says that the lines between friendship and romance are blurry.



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