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In one episode of FriendsJoey decides he wants to be in a long-term relationship.
She suggests that she and Chandler work so well because they were friends first —maybe he should try that. In a classic Joey interpretation, he takes this to mean he should hit on his existing female friends.
But according to social psychologists, she was right. A study published Monday in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found that roughly two-thirds of romantic relationships begin as platonic friendships.
Stinson tells Inverse these challenge outdated, dominant narratives about romantic relationships and reflect a more accurate reality. How the discovery was made — Stinson and colleagues first reviewed a sample of studies about how romantic relationships begin.
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They found that nearly 75 percent of studies of those studies focused on a romantic spark between strangers. Only eight percent focused on friendships that later develop into romances. They then performed a meta-analysis of seven studies they conducted in their labs. This varied slightly among age, gender, and ethnic demographics.
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Nearly half of the students reported that their preferred way of developing a romantic relationship was by being friends first. This far surpassed other options like dating apps.
To Stinson, this finding suggests a few possibilities. Among university students, "friends-first initiators" were friends for one-to-two years before beginning a romantic relationship. Stinson says this length of pre-romance friendships means it is likely that the couples were genuine, platonic friends before transitioning to romance.
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Indeed, most of these participants reported they did not enter their friendships with romantic intentions or attraction. Skeptics might assert that some of these people entered into friendships with people to whom they were attracted in hopes of a romantic relationship developing. Still, the researchers saw little of this in the data.
Among the university students who ended up in romantic relationships with friends, participants had been friends with the person for one to two years before becoming romantically involved. However, research suggests younger people who are most likely to have friends with benefits relationships are among the least likely to have romantic relationships result from them.
Why do it years in and not earlier? Katie MacBride. A couple flirts at a diner in New York City. Related Tags Psychology Relationships. Mind and Body.