Two-Thirds of Romantic Relationships start with Friendship

We are always watching movies and dramas about romantic relationships starting between strangers but in real life, it is far more different. Real-life couples are more likely to develop romance starting initially as friends. About two-thirds of romantic relationships start platonically, suggests a new study of social psychology and personality science.

This friend-initiated romance was often failed to notice by researchers. Authors examining a sample of previous studies on how relationships start found that the majority of 75 percent focused on the spark of romance between strangers and only 8% of people focused on this platonic start.

Lead Author Danu Anthony Stinson, a psychology professor at Victoria University, Canada says that “There are a lot of people who would feel confident that they know why and how people choose partners and become a couple and fall in love. But this is not the case as per our study.”

She added, “We might have a good understanding of how strangers become attracted to each other and start dating but that’s not simply how most relationships begin.”

Romantic Couples starting as Friends

The team analyzed data on 1900 University students and crowdsourced adults in which 68 percent reported that their current or most recent romantic relationship started as a friendship. A little variation was noticed across gender, level of education, ethnic groups. But the rate of friend-first relationships was even higher among 20-somethings and within LGBTQ+communities, with 85 percent of such couples starting as friends.

A conclusion was drawn that among those friend-first initiator university students, they were friends for one-to-two years before entering into romance. Among these also majority of people stated that they didn’t enter into this friendship with kind of intentions like romance or attraction. Stinson noted that the people that undergo platonic relations before romantic relationships are likely to be a more genuine couple.

Nearly half of students preferred starting their romantic relationship as friends first rather than far more popular options present like meeting at a party or online.

Stinson would like to further research on this topic and would like to examine studies on friend first initiations. She hopes to revive people about the preconceived notion about love and friendship.

Stinson noted that:

“We are always told that friendship and love are two different things. But our research says that the lines between friendship and love are blurry and I think that this makes us get into this topic of what makes our friendship good and also what makes good romantic relationships.”


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