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85% of LGBTQ couples start off as friends, study finds

On average, couples are friends for 22 months before getting together.

2021-07-13

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Pexels

The concept of the 'friend zone' has thwarted many a crush - but playing the long game might just lead to love, a new study has suggested.

Research shows 68% of coupled-up respondents began their relationships as friends - rising to 85% of LGBTQ couples.

Respondents in their 20s were also more likely to have been friends first.

The research also found that the average length of a friendship before it turns to romance is 22 months.

"You really cannot define for somebody else what a friendship is versus what a romance"

The research was co-authored by Danu Anthony Stinson, an associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Victoria, Canada. Stinson commented (as per The Guardian): "There is a huge, messy, blurry line between friendship and romance… It emphasises how you really cannot define for somebody else what a friendship is versus what a romance is. They define it for themselves.”

The professor continued: “You get people complaining about being ‘friend-zoned’… based on this idea that relationships between men and women are somehow, by default, sexual.

“When we actually ask people, they say they have friendships with people – of all genders – that they could potentially theoretically be attracted to one day. Sometimes they act on them and sometimes they don’t.”

The investigation involved 1,900 university students and crowdsourced adults, 677 of whom were married or in a common-law partnership.

Named 'The Friends-to-Lovers Pathway to Romance: Prevalent, Preferred, and Overlooked by Science', the report is available to read here in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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