Imagine this: two characters standing opposite to each other in the pouring rain, sheltered by clear, plastic umbrellas. Both, undeniably awkward, have something to say. Person A feels a lump in his throat as he whispers a confession that would have been lost in the sprinkling pitter-patter of the rain, but no, Person B caught it, her breath hitching.
You, the reader or viewer, think this is it. This is finally the moment where they confess. After pages or minutes, they’ve finally stopped beating around the bush or overcoming their obliviousness towards their friend’s true feelings towards them, or perhaps, he or she had seen the friend who’s always been by her/his side in a new light.
Ah, yes. Friends to lovers - one of the most popular romance tropes found in novels, TV shows, and movies. Some iconic couples have started out as friends and then worked their way towards their blooming romance such as Katara and Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender, who, after 60 episodes, got together in the series finale. There’s also Jodi Kreyman (played by the talented Ava Michelle) who ended up with Jack Dunkleman, her long-time best friend.
However, does the popularity of the trope really say anything about its quality? Is it even realistic? How and why is it better compared to another famous romantic trope opposing it?
Today, I am going to enumerate and explain some points regarding friends to lovers, a trope so common book and media wise.
1. Its Tension
While some may argue that others may like enemies-to-lovers because of its highs-and-lows, friends-to-lovers also has that suspense and drama with some slight hints of angst and obvious anxiety from the obliviousness or fear of losing a solid friendship. This is why the trope also delivers the tension that many would or could grow to adore, especially when it sparks many questions such as:
“Does Character A also like Character B?”
“Are both characters just afraid to ruin their friendship?”
“Is Character A dating someone, while Character B is not?”
“Will Character B just have to ignore their feelings for the happiness of Character A?”
Among other questions, the tension in the trope can also come from their position. As friends, it would be harder if they were to have a falling out or if they were to drift away due to their feelings. Enemies can be cut ties with, but friends, especially if they’re really close or if they see each other often, would feel another level of hurt and awkwardness that comes along with a broken relationship.
2. The Established Respect for Each Other
Being friends first means that they have a closer, more loyal bond with each other, and the respect found in a friendship is, for me, absolutely crucial in a relationship. With the established respect, and the knowledge of all their favorite things or dislikes, friends-turned-lovers already know how to react or act once they start their relationship, what not to do and what to do. This bond and respect for one another stabilizes their relationship, and more trust is evident, which doesn’t lead to either of them questioning fidelity.
3. Friendships Will Eventually Be Made Throughout the Course of Almost All Tropes
I’m pretty sure the title summarizes this point well. With every trope, at some point, there is a discreet friendship that will blossom between the characters. An example of this would be Belle and Adam, from the titular movie Beauty and The Beast. After the kind hearted Belle takes the place of her father in prison, and Adam takes a chance, the two soon form a friendship of some sorts with both mutual respect for each other.
4. It's Realistic
According to a study published by the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, about 68% percent of couples started out as friends based on the 1,900 people who had participated. About 18% of the participants involved had also admitted to initiating the friendship because of their romantic interest in the other person, while about 70% of those who had answered had felt feelings of attraction towards their friend once they grew more or matured in their friendship.
Now, this fourth point brings my article to an end. Once more, the four reasons why I think that friends-to-lovers is wonderful are its tension, established respect, the element of friendship that comes as the story progresses, and its prevalent appearance in our everyday world. With all the four points I listed down, I am confident in saying that indeed, friends-to-lovers is the superior romance trope.
"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
Epic Reads. (n.d.). Why friends-to-lovers is better than enemies-to-lovers. Retrieved from https://www.epicreads.com/blog/why-friends-to-lovers-is-better-than-enemies-to-lovers/
Fielding, S. (2021, July 26). Two-thirds of couples started out as friends, study finds. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/two-thirds-of-couples-started-out-as-friends-study-finds-5193598
Novack, S. (2020, June 29). It's time to admit that friends to lovers is the best romantic trope on television. Retrieved from https://www.tvfanatic.com/2020/06/its-time-to-admit-that-friends-to-lovers-is-the-best-romantic-tr/
Travers, M. (2021, August 15). How often friends become lovers. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/social-instincts/202108/how-often-friends-become-lovers