Figuring It Out: Would You Date Your Friend?

I remember praying, legitimately, when I was 16 that I would not have to marry one of my guy friends.

I don’t know where it came from–I had either seen a movie, or heard some adult say that sometimes the right person has been ‘right in front of you the whole time,’–but I was terrified that I was gonna have to marry one of the guys I hung out with. It wasn’t that they weren’t great and cute and whatever you looked for in male friends at 16; but falling for a friend was not my idea of a good love story.

Even still, I find it hard to imagine that I would suddenly fall for one of my current male friends. Don’t get me wrong, they are wonderful (there’s a reason we keep each other around, after all, right?). They possess many, if not all, of what I’m looking for in a match.

But chemistry is chemistry. You either have it, or you don’t. Right?

Wrong, according to internet phenom, fortydaysofdating.com.

Chances are, you’ve read it, or read about it somewhere online. The premise is simple: two longish-time friends decide to launch a ‘dating experiment’ where they give it a go romantically for 40 days (the time it takes to form a new habit. P.S. didn’t it used to be 21 days? Is it taking us longer to form habits now? Crap.) Part of their motivation revolved around the fact that Timothy and Jessica had both recently found themselves single and, coincidentally, with the opposite relationship problems; her falling too hard and too fast, him, hopping from relationship to relationship, dodging commitment. So they thought, “Hey, let’s see if we can’t help each other overcome these issues with a grand dating experiment.” The rules of engagement (pun intended): they had to see each other every day for the 40 days, go on 3 dates a week, see a couples counselor, and go on one weekend trip. They chronicled their experience, day by day, in a fascinating he said/she said format that, from the looks of their site, is being picked up for a movie (the final three days of the experiment have yet to be revealed.)

In a recent article about the blog/experiment Timothy, was asked, “Can you fall in love with anyone if you spend forty days with them?” His answer? Absolutely.

‘With anyone?’ I thought, with a raised brow.

This experiment brings up a lot of questions: were Tim and Jess already attracted to each other when this started (my guess: yes)? Is familiarity really the same thing as chemistry? Or more personally, should I be taking another look around at my friends of the opposite sex?

16-year-old me would be so pissed.

I’ve long had a theory that women can change their mind more easily towards men than the other way around. Meaning that when women and men meet, they inevitably put each other in ‘folders’ or categories. Namely: do I want to French you or not? The difference, I’ve seen (and experienced, actually), is that women can change their minds pretty easily. We can have an unexpected conversation, see you do something cool/brave/impressive, discover a different side of your personality and–BAM–we see you in an entirely new light.

A datable light, that is.

Men, I would argue, have much more inflexible folders. Once in the friend zone, always in the friend zone.

So I guess, when it comes to dating your friends, I’d bet that if a guy’s up for it, he kinda always was up for it in the first place. He hasn’t changed his mind, he’s just been given the opportunity, or the timing is finally right.

Women, on the other hand, are wild cards. Which is kinda the best part about being us.

So, Everygirls, I am dying to know: would you do a similar experiment with a guy friend? What would your terms be? Have you dated your friends in the past? Can men and women be just friends? Hit me.

READ OTHER FIGURING IT OUT COLUMNS BY LYNDSAY RUSH:
Stop Taking Dating Advice
No Such Thing as a Blind Date
The F Word
Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number… Right?
I’ve Changed My Mind About Marriage

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