What distinguishes a friendship from a romance?
August 13, 2013 11:01 PM Subscribe
Somebody I've known for a year rather suddenly told me that she "felt attracted" to me. We've agreed to have dinner when she gets back into town. New as I am to dating, I'm confused as to how I should proceed.
posted by d. z. wang to human relations (20 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've got my act together in many areas, but not dating. Notable incidents include somebody approaching me in a grocery store to invite me back to her apartment for lunch (we became close friends for several years until she moved across the country), somebody offering me her phone number so we could meet up at an upcoming dance (I said I wasn't very good and offered to introduce her to some more experienced partners), etc. Actually, despite how many women I've been friends with, I'm pretty clueless about relating to them in any way where the gender is actually relevant.
I would like to make this work. I like talking with her, I like dancing with her, and I like arguing with her. (We seem to have a sweet spot of enough values in common to have a basis for argument, yet also enough differences that we don't just agree all the time.) In the last year, I've reliably enjoyed her company as a friend. I'm a little confused how to make the transition to a romantic relationship, though. At a high level, I imagine it's more of the same, but with an eye toward marriage someday. At a low level, in the everyday course of things, I don't know what distinguishes good friends from girlfriends.
Please don't tell me everybody is different. Everybody talks a little differently too, but that hasn't stopped linguists from publishing. I am explicitly asking for generalities. What are some things people commonly look for? What are some behaviors seen between couples more often than friends? Or, if it makes you feel more comfortable, tell stories about your own relationships and I'll do the meta-analysis myself.
As I write this question, I realize I've passed up a great opportunity. When she first told me she felt attracted to me, I expressed some surprise because she is very religious and I expected that she would be looking for someone of her own faith. She said this was an important consideration, but her feelings were unchanged nonetheless, because I "have a lot going for [me]." I could have asked what, exactly. I didn't because it seemed too self-indulgent, and also because I didn't want to ask her to commit herself so explicitly before I was ready to offer something similar. But in retrospect, the answer would be useful now.