Scientifically proven: ‘Most relationships start as friendship’


Just ‘very good friends’ or ‘friends with benefits‘? Watch out, you’ll fall in love before you know it. Research shows that many relationships start with a good friendship.

There is scientific evidence that couples are much more likely to emerge from friendship. While our traditional view of relationships may lean more towards ‘love at first sight’, in practice this does not appear to be the case.

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Research into relationship

Last week appeared in The Journal Social Psychological and Personality Science an extensive publication on relationships and friendships. The American CNN spoke to Danu Stinson, one of the researchers. Stinson is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Victoria in Canada and has been researching relationships for 20 years. She started to suspect that more and more relationships stem from friendships and thought it was time for more extensive research.

To do this, the researchers compared multiple publications on the subject and seven of their own studies on relationships. To her surprise, she discovered that many relationships arise from a close friendship. There were almost no differences in age and ethnicity.

From friends to lovers

66 percent of all participating couples turned out to be close friends before. Many of them had been friends for months or years. The researchers also found, from an old study of 300 college students, that the friendship lasted an average of 22 months. After that, romantic feelings arose. The vast majority of the respondents had no intention of getting into a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend beforehand. It also appears that within the LGBTQ+ community the results were even higher and many of them entered into a relationship from a friendship.

In addition, two-thirds of married respondents were found to be friends before becoming a couple. Many of the participants were also firstfriends with benefits‘. For those unfamiliar with this term, it refers to friends who also have sex with each other.

Boundary between friendship and relationship blurs

According to Stinson, these findings show that our ‘traditional’ view of relationships is not always correct. She explains that we often think that we experience romantic feelings when we meet for the first time. But according to the researcher, you can also slowly grow together. For example from a friendship. Stinson sees that the line between friendship and relationship is becoming increasingly blurred. “I appreciate that definition is a bit messy these days.”

Stinson is far from done with researching relationships. For her next project, she wants to follow several friends for a few years to see if they become lovers.

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Scientifically proven: ‘Most relationships start as friendship’



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