The question of whether love comes from friendship is on most people’s minds when they analyze their current relationship. The individual personality traits of the couple, the levels of physical attraction and their emotional connection all factor in as to whether or not friendship develops into something deeper. Friendship is a relationship between two people who view each other as equals and includes the elements of trust, respect, enjoyment and acceptance, according to psychologist Keith A. Davis in "Getting Connected, Staying Connected: Friendship, Love, and Sexual Intimacy" on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension website. For friendship to turn into love, however, passion and caring must also exist.
The Friendship Factor
At some level, friendship usually comes before romance. That is not to say that all friendships are on the fast track to love, however. Healthy friendships have eight distinct elements, Davis states. Besides enjoyment, acceptance, trust and respect, true friends also mutually help, confide in and understand one another, and are also spontaneous and authentic when communicating. These elements can become the foundation to a lasting, loving relationship -- but not all relationships have the time to develop in all these areas before the two people fall in love.
For a healthy friendship to develop into something deeper, passion and a level of care must exist that puts your partner first. Friends may or may not always put each other first, but relationships that last involve a great deal of personal sacrifice for the other person’s happiness. When passion ignites between two people that have previously been friends, the relationship grows into one of commitment, compromise and understanding, suggests Philippa Perry in the article, "How Do You Know You are in Love?" for Psychology Today. The attraction that signals something more allows two people to build a new and different relationship that has a foundation in friendship.
Loving relationships that begin as friendships tend to develop into strong partnerships over time. According to the book, "Two Plus Two: Couples and Their Couple Friendships," by Geoffrey L. Greif and Kathleen Holtz Deal, couples who are friends before and during marriage have more fulfilling and exciting partnerships. Greif and Deal say that the overall increase in marital happiness these couples experience is because their strong friendship enables them to enjoy an increasing attraction to each other, have a greater understanding of one another and are able to negotiate differences in healthy ways. While romantic love is still the predominant guiding factor in your decision to marry someone, friendship is a proven component in love that lasts.
Respect and Admiration
Solid friendships are also built on respect for and admiration of one another. Like the other elements of friendship, respect and admiration are key to healthy, loving relationships. Although it is possible to be interested in someone based on reputation alone, it is difficult to deeply respect and admire a person you do not know well. Being friends with someone first allows this type of respect and admiration to grow as your relationship becomes something more.
- The University of Nebraska Lincoln, Neb Guide: Getting Connected, Staying Connected Friendship, Love, and Sexual Intimacy
- Psychology Today: How Do You Know When You Are in Love?
- Two Plus Two: Couples and Their Couple Friendships; Geoffrey L. Greif and Kathleen Holtz Deal
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