| || || | So, you're getting to that stage in your life when all of your guy friends gradually start to partner up, pop the question and enter a life of ball-and-chain bliss. As much as you may make fun of them, it's hard to ignore the sting that often comes from being the only one in your group of friends who's alone. This might lead you to think that your longtime female friend represents an intriguing solution to your loneliness -- but considering her as possible girlfriend/wife material is all sorts of wrong. You need to discover why this could be the worst idea you’ve ever had. Understand, we’re referring to the friend you see and talk to often, not the chick from college you run into after years of not speaking; she is definitely an option.
You know each other too well
You know that exciting first stage of dating when every fact a girl shares about herself seems like a clue to the overall mystery that is her -- and you're like a modern-day Indiana Jones? This stage doesn't last forever, nor is it the most crucial element in a relationship, but that doesn't mean it's not important in its own right. In an age where all our personal information is splattered all over Facebook, Twitter and whatever other social network is in vogue, mystery is highly underrated. In fact, it's been proven that a lack of mystery creates problems for men in the beginning of relationships, much more than for women. Do you think there's going to be much mystery to the chick who vomited all over your shoes one drunken night or told you all about her first pregnancy scare? Probably not.
There’s no honeymoon phase
When you first start dating someone, you’re either playing games or trying to impress her. That intoxicating feeling that causes girls to dress up in their best outfits and causes you to pretend to like the same movies she does is a quintessential first step of most relationships. Somewhere in the midst of those little white lies, you learn an appreciation and tolerance for things that you would never enjoy in the company of a friend. You’re skipping right past this phase if you start dating a long-time friend by heading straight into the comfort zone -- a land of sweatpant Fridays and snippy comments about each other’s interests. Do not pass “Go” and do not collect $200.
If you’ve never thought about your friend in "that way" before, chances are the base physical attraction simply isn't there. And if it was never there before, you’ll find yourself forcing it to fit your newfound goal of making this girl your serious girlfriend -- which is bound to lead to some horribly awkward physical encounters. Your head might want to turn your friendship into something more -- but it doesn’t mean that your penis is going to agree with you.
The potential for settling
The question of “am I settling?” comes into play in almost every serious relationship at one point or another. Most times you have to ignore it and realize it’s just a product of the “grass is always greener on the other side” human condition. But when you’re taking a longstanding friendship and hurtling it full-steam ahead into a relationship, the question of whether you just settled with the nearest and easiest possible option for a girlfriend is entirely valid and a tough doubt to deal with.
The end of your friendship
Whether your attempt at turning your platonic gal pal into a serious girlfriend lasts for a week or a year, the friendship you once had with her is over. Period. There’s no going back. You might lay down the ground rules before you enter into this experiment and swear that you’ll remain friends no matter what happens, but that’s just one of those comforting lies we tell ourselves -- like Santa Claus and soul mates. A healthy, platonic relationship with a member of the opposite sex is a rare thing -- and it will rapidly become extinct in your life if you choose to cross that line.
She's your friend, keep it that way
If you've managed to keep a healthy relationship with a female friend for a good amount of time, there's a reason why you aren't a couple. She might be fun and great to talk to, but chances are she's only becoming an option now because of the current state of your relationship affairs. Forcing a friendship into something more is usually doomed to fail and worse, destined to ruin the previous bond you had. Females outnumber males in the world -- focus your sights on any one of the thousands you haven't met yet, and away from the one chick who knows you bawled like a baby every time your beloved sports team didn’t win the championship. That one’s for the vault, buddy.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA