I am close friends with this girl, and she recently told me that she likes me. She said, would you like to date, and I said I'll get back to you (I know, terrible response).

I never thought this would happen, I always saw us as just best friends, but she actually likes me, and here's what I want to say to her, but I'm not sure the best way to put it:

I don't like you in the way you like me, but we are still best friends. Since we are very close, I still would consider dating you, and maybe if it works out, it works out, if it doesn't, then it doesn't. I want to "try it out", and see how it goes.

I don't like her the way she likes me, but maybe if we actually started dating and spending more time together, then I will. I don't know.

But I don't want her to get the impression that "I'm trying it out", because obviously that's not something proper to say in my opinion. What would be the best way to put this?

  • 3
    How old are you two? And how long have you been friends?
    – apaul
    Oct 21, 2017 at 3:45
  • 20
    "Trying out if we work together as a couple" is pretty much the definition of dating. When you would be 100% sure your relationship would work out, you could skip the dating phase and book a wedding.
    – Philipp
    Oct 21, 2017 at 14:50
  • 3
    What's your definition of "dating", and how is it different from what the two of you are doing now? I.e. does it include having sex immediately, or just more romantic-type evenings but without necessarily any intimate activity, or something in between?
    – 1006a
    Oct 21, 2017 at 15:25
  • 1
    @1006a more like the romantic-type without the intimate
    – K Split X
    Oct 21, 2017 at 19:25
  • 1
    How do you now "the way she likes you"? Perhaps she is less certain than you think and only wants to try and see as well.
    – user510
    Oct 22, 2017 at 12:58

5 Answers 5


If you are genuinely interesting in pursuing this, not out of pity, then just be honest and open about it. That means you do need to tell her that you're 'trying it out,' if not in so many words:

I hadn't thought about us romantically before. But we get on so well together, and I really like you as a friend. I'd like to see where it goes if we start dating. Would that be OK with you?

To be honest, I'm all against entering relationships with half-hearted feelings, but that's just me. At this point she might pull back and decline. "If you don't feel the same way then I don't want you to force yourself," would be the reasoning. She might be a little upset, but that's also the case if you outright reject her. On the other hand, she might be happy that you're giving her a chance! Ask her directly where she stands and decide together from there.

You really have to be mindful of her feelings though. If she's a very confident person, she may be happy with the chance to change your mind. But you're effectively putting her in a position of weakness. That is bound to make her feel anxious. She may be constantly wondering when your feelings are going to change (if ever), what she can do to 'prove' herself, why she isn't good enough, etc. Meanwhile, what are you going to do to make her feel self-assured and hold up your end of the relationship while you're still figuring things out? You take on a certain amount of responsibility when you start dating someone, so be sure that you're up for it.

I do believe that different people develop feelings at different stages. Attraction can be aesthetic, romantic, sexual, emotional, or intellectual; in dating, all can be involved, or only some, and they definitely don't come in the same order for everyone. If you genuinely think that your feelings might change, and you're willing to deal with the consequences if they don't, then just be honest and open, and mindful of her feelings as well. Best of luck!


Worst thing you can do to a person is give them hope, then rip it away. Aka leading them on.

Be honest with yourself: are you interested in her, or not?

And I'm not just talking about a quick roll in the hay, either. Relationships are different from simply being friends with benefits. You confide in the other person, you listen to their problems, support them through their hardships, etc. If you don't genuinely care about the other person, that's not going to happen.

And if you don't have feelings for this person right now, then that's not likely to change. You'll constantly be looking around you, at other girls you'd like to be with, and feel like she's obstacle in your path to pursuing them, at which point the "experiment" ends in tears.

  • This is true, "experiment" if you say so, but really, it's not some random person. I understand if it was someone completly random, this would be a terrible thing to do. Not sure in this case though, since we are more then "random people"
    – K Split X
    Oct 21, 2017 at 11:34

Date her, that being said, you can't just say that you're just trying it out, she won't believe you. She'll only believe what she experiences, not what you say.

Imagine yourself, you're dating a girl, she says she just trying it out and asks you not to take the relationship too seriously, and after one month, everything seems to be going great, so you think you've won her over, but suddenly, she breaks up with you, and you have no idea what happened. You're bound to be very resentful if that happens to you. The same goes if the reverse happens and you break up with this girl who likes you one month from now, for apparently no reason.

So being explicit about wanting a tentative dating relationship is not really going to work. The next best thing is to be explicit about not wanting an exclusive dating relationship. This will convey the right message to her, that the dating relationship must have some clear boundaries and that she can't take the dating too seriously. Say this even if you're willing to date her exclusively and even if you have no idea if you'll be dating other girls or not.

If she doesn't want to date you under those terms, or continue dating you under those terms, that's fine, but it will be her decision.

Keep things light initially. No fancy dinners. Don't let her spend too much money on you. Split the bills, or take turns paying. Coffee, tea, picnics, lunches, home-packed lunches and home cooked dinner. Correct her privately afterward if she calls you her boyfriend publicly. But if she does it again, correct her publicly.

Don't go out with her more than two or three times a week, or she will think there is something more. Don't spend the night with her on Valentine's day (even if you're not dating anyone else). Don't let come to your place unannounced, or uninvited. Don't let her leave stuff at your place to mark her territory, clothes, a lost earring, etc.

That being said, you should not to date while going out in a group. The peer pressure and the judgments from your peers will only get in the way.

If she asks you about other girls, that you might be dating or that you might be interested in dating, or that you previously dated:

Tell her that "I don't talk about other girls".

Say this even if you're not dating anyone else. She doesn't need to know. Repeat this line as many times as necessary. And the same goes for her too, tell her that you're not interested in hearing about any guy she's dating, or interested in dating, or has previously dated (assuming she's sexually responsible).

If she becomes too possessive, end the dating relationship. Dating like this is not for everyone. It's not anybody's fault when something like that happens. It's just nature. Just don't continue dating her when you see those red flags, or her possessiveness will only get worst.

And yes, like AndreiROM says, there are tears, I've cried before when those types of relationships ended, but I wouldn't trade those past experiences for the World. And waiting until you have the perfect girl in front of you before dating her is just hogwash. If you don't have experience, you really don't know what you want in a relationship anyway.

  • 3
    This all seems to be advice about non-exclusive dating, but the OP never stated that they wouldn't be willing be be exclusive.
    – sudowoodo
    Oct 21, 2017 at 11:06
  • Reads more like "how do i handle a dating relationship with x person" type of answer. That is not what the OP question was about Oct 21, 2017 at 17:57
  • @sudowoodo, Thanks for the correction, I've clarified my answer. I'll also work on making it shorter when I get a chance. I realize it is still a wall of text. Oct 21, 2017 at 21:04

First...As someone said before, "trying out" is the base concept of dating. So basically you are dating her if you are trying out.

So short answer you only have to say "Yes" to date her.

Now onto the underlying problem, it sounds like you are dating her for pity. And you must never do that. You have to be honest with yourself first.

There are many existential questions to face when deciding to date someone, but the most important i think for entering a relationship should be: "Would I be happy if I entered this relationship".

No matter the outcome (positive or negative) a relationship is about being happy yourself. Sounds egoist but sincerely you can not make another person happy if you are unhappy, no matter how much are you attracted or infatuated with the other person.

Dating is mostly about self discovery and exploration of a new way of being happy with someone else. Dating does not equal marriage or instant happiness.

Things like i don't love her as much as she/he does, or i love him in a different way are in no way real obstacles to a relationship. Everyone loves/shows affection in a different level and way.


Oh OP, you must be honest with your friend, unless you wish to lose the friendship and create much unhappiness and confusion for both. Honesty is not an insult, it's more respectful than any complimentary version you could possibly find to make something "sound better."

To figure out just what to say, first ask yourself what exactly bothers you about telling her just what you told us: she's your best friend, you don't already feel romantically towards her but don't know whether you might develop those feelings (or in any case feelings that, whatever their nature, would be satisfactory to her). If you fear that learning you don't "love" her "that way" (yet?) will hurt her, allowing her to think something untrue will hurt worse.

I would guess that you feel it sounds somehow ungentlemanly to say you want to try because it has some association with the notion that to enter into couplehood is supposed to be a commitment and you don't "try before you buy". But you aren't buying her, or "trying" HER, you are willing to try to be her boyfriend; the sense is something like "I would try, for you, because I care for you already, so maybe we would also be happy as a couple, if we tried". Whether this is something she will want to pursue, or not, the honesty is what you owe her as well as the way to get happiest results.

If she cherishes certain kinds of notions about romantic love, she may be disappointed you don't feel as she wishes you to, and not want to try to be together on any other basis. This would be sad, but still better than her believe anything that isn't true about your feelings; if those romantic ideas are important to her, the worst thing you could do would be let her think you do, when you don't. Then again, she may be a more pragmatic sort, who wants to be with you and appreciates that you care enough to try, because she wants to, and it might be great.

Everything depends on what kind of person she is and how she feels and what she wants-- does she see starting a relationship as a momentous life-changing thing (with wedding dress?) and you as the husband of her dreams? Or does she value your friendship a whole lot, and think it would be the basis for an awesome partnership with sharing a bed and future and family? If you don't already know her mind, find out-- ask her to share her mind on the subject, and listen really carefully, and tell her the truth about what you think and feel.

You won't sound like a romantic hero from a black and white movie, but you won't insult your friend either, or set up any future nightmares in which she thinks you're in a romantic movie only to realize you're humoring her to avoid hurting her feelings. Loving someone "like that" who doesn't return the feelings can be painful, and there may be no way to avoid some heartache; as her best friend her hurt feelings would normally be something you could help her with, but in this case there might be some hurt you can't help. Do what you can, and if someone else can help with the part you can't, be glad.

Best friends can actually be a splendid basis for a marriage, especially when you think long-term and in practical ways like "If I live long enough to make it to a nursing home... do I want to have this person in the next rocking-chair?" If you can tell her that honestly-- that you want to be part of her life and have her in yours-- then whether you get together or not, stay a couple or not, you should both be okay.

Best of luck to you, both individually and together.

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