Dear Dr. Frankie,

I recently went on a few dates with a girl. We totally clicked and had so much in common. But after a few dates she told me she is relatively new to the gay scene, just had a relationship end abruptly and wants to take things slow. She said she wanted to focus on developing good friendships. She made it clear that she thinks our personalities and interests are similar, and really wants to continue being friends. We have plans to hang out again. For longer lasting relationships do you think it’s better to be friends first? Can a romantic relationship develop from a friendship? If someone ants to be friends does it automatically rule out possibilities for something more?

Dear Friend,

What a wonderful question! I applaud you for your positive outlook and for embracing your new friendship rather than wallowing in disappointment. An initial friendship is often the launch pad for a romantic relationship. A strong friendship is also the core of healthy, fulfilling, long lasting relationships. Relationships that begin as friendships have the added bonus that both of you can learn about one another in a more comfortable manner, free of complications and pressure. My partner of ten years and I began as friends. We soon realized we shared a mutual attraction and began dating, but at the core of our relationship is a rock-solid, ride-or-die friendship. Often when we meet someone with the sole intention of dating, the pressure and fear of rejection can affect our ability to be natural and comfortable. It can stifle our ability to bring our most authentic self forward. When we meet someone new in a platonic setting we often feel more comfortable to be ourselves. We are less anxious, less guarded, and less afraid of judgment and rejection. I would advise you to be open to the possibility of a future romance, but do your best not to place any such pressure or expectation on the friendship. Be patient and see what transpires between the two of you. Remember there’s no need to rush the relationship. I believe that things will develop as they should, as long as you allow them to. Best of luck and keep me posted!

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