Many people think that dating a friend is a bad plan. “Aleeza, I can’t date my friend, I don’t want to mess up the friendship.” I think it can be a great idea. Here are my 9 reasons why you should give it a shot:

1. You know each other well. How nice is it to come into a relationship where you already know each other! And you can just be yourself. Also, if you’re close friends, you have probably seen and heard the good, bad and the ugly about this person...and you still like them.

2. You already have a connection. That spark, affinity and care that binds you two together exists between the two of you even before that first date.

3. You can be yourself. You don’t have to put on any airs; you can just be who you are. Your friend has likely seen the real you and you are likely used to being yourself around them.

4. You have already developed trust. Trust is the foundation of a relationship and it’s one of the hardest things to build. Trust takes time. And since you’re friends, you’ve already built up a reserve of trust between yourselves. This is invaluable. Coming into a new relationship with trust puts your relationship ahead of the game and sets you up for success.

5. You accept each other's differences. By now you are probably well-versed in knowing your similarities and differences. And if you’ve still chosen to be friends, then there’s a good chance you’ve accepted each other’s differences to some degree. Acceptance of differences, like trust, is what builds the foundation for a solid and lasting relationship.

6. Is there already love? It is likely you have developed the kernels of love already. We develop love by giving and friends are used to giving to each other. It is through giving that we increase our love for one another.

7. You have respect. We usually choose to spend our time with people we do respect. Without respect, we can’t look up to someone or build a deeper relationship.

8. Cares about me. Friends are great at caring about each other, as well as taking good care of one another. It takes time to get to know someone and to learn how to best care for them. Since you have already developed care and concern, you can focus on other things that come up and develop a deeper connection more quickly and easily.

9. You enjoy spending time together. You already know that you enjoy hanging out with this person.

Not all friends can be transformed into a successful relationship, but there is one good thing that does come with trying: living with no regrets.

I once had a best friend whom I was interested in. When I finally got the courage up to say something, I didn’t get the yes I was hoping for. However, looking back, I don’t have any regrets. I thought there was potential and I went for it. The answer was no. We remained friends. Naturally, it took some time to get past the uncomfortable feelings but our friendship was strong enough to weather the storm.

On the other hand, I have a client who successfully turned a friend into someone he is dating seriously. They have had to make some adjustments in their relationship (like actually dating instead of just “hanging out”). Building a relationship has taken some patience, time and effort. But the comfort of being with someone you know, like and trust is worth investing the time to build the relationship.

What’s better than having a friend? Marrying one! Build up your courage and think about the best way to approach the subject. Need more tips on how to go from friend to boy/girlfriend? The next article will tell you how to do it.