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Friendship and Love: How Do You Determine the Difference Between the Two

Updated on March 25, 2019
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Heather has a Bachelor's Degree in English from Moravian College and has been freelance writing for more than 15 years.

When it comes to friendship and love, it's hard to separate between the two. Both relationships deal with a lot of emotions that can hardly be split apart. When a fight occurs, everything is thrown out of whack. A break-up is like The Titanic, a hurricane and a tornado all rolled into one. Before going through the unneccessary drama, let's go back to the start of it all and see how a genuine relationship can start with the like and end up with something much more substantial.

The only hitch is determining whether a relationship is truly love or just something simply platonic. Love is something received by both sides with open arms and free of complicated circumstances. What also happens when a love affair can complicate a friendship as well? Should you choose the friendship or the love affair instead? Here are three signs to see if your love affair is genuine or the friendship is just that. Look closely to see if what you're feeling is the real deal or just a fantasy projected by various romantic comedy stereotypes.

Accepting Your Partner (Flaws & All)- Bad Teacher's Cameron Diaz was a woman on a mission to find a wealthy guy and found him in a fellow teacher (Justin Timberlake). Unfortunately, he wasn't truly the one of her. Her heart truly belonged to her intellectual match in the school's gym teacher (Jason Segel) who helped ground her crazy behavior and allowed her to be herself. Once she sees him as her better half, will she pursue him with the same wild vigor or let him slip through her fingers? If she does land him, will he run away in fear of what she's capable of? The lying, the cheating and the scheming. Audiences can't forget When Harry Met Sally... which followed two longtime friends (Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan) that battled through their mutual quirks, mistakes and some distance to find potentially long lasting love if they're willing to accept eachother's character flaws. Every last one of them. It's also learning to accept your partner's unconventional appearance, such as in 1987's Roxanne, when the title character chose your beauty challenged friend over an attractive fireman.

Betrayal of the Heart- What happens when friendship is threatened by a complicated relationship possibility? Just Between Friends followed the scenario of two female friends Sandy and Holly (Christine Lahti and Mary Tyler Moore) who became fast friends without knowing that they shared a common relationship with Holly's cheating husband (Ted Danson). His death revealed their connection and both had to decide whether to let bygones be bygones. The story also had to have Holly determine whether her friendship with Hary (Sam Waterston) could survive their growing relationship. Could she overlook her relationship baggage brought on by her late husband to find genuine happiness?

Timing- Are you both really ready for a relationship? Have you gotten over your last ex-boyfriend who really broke your heart? In Friends With Benefits, Jamie (Mila Kunis) and Dylan (Justin Timberlake) were two damaged souls who jumped into a stringless sexual relationship that was turning into something more. Unfortunately, both have had their hearts broken so many times that they were afraid to open their hearts to the possibility of love. Each time they have an opportunity one of them makes an emotional misstep that burns the other. Jamie starts dating another man and Dylan had something scathing comments about Jamie's emotional baggage. Can they look past their bad habits and their mistakes to embrace their evolving relationship?

Timing is also of the essence when deciding whether a friendship is truly the love affair of the ages. You and your potential partner have to decide whether you're both willing to make the leap to the next step. Just Friends' Chris (Ryan Reynolds) worshipped the ground his best friend/crush (Amy Smart) since high school and had his heart broken. He returned to his hometown to exact revenge. What he didn't know was that his true mission was to win her heart all over again. The only question was that whether his antics were going to cost him a true chance at happiness. Permitting that she was willing, of course.

In the end, the difference between friendship and love is a very thin line that's very hard to cross without getting a little damaged. You just have to determine whether the risk is truly worth the reward once you find out if it's really love or just a passing fancy. If you get to the finish line unscathed, you've definitely won the ultimate prize: the key to someone else's heart and vice versa. Enjoy.

Friends With Benefits Movie Poster
Friends With Benefits Movie Poster
Just Between Friends Movie Poster
Just Between Friends Movie Poster
Roxanne Movie Poster
Roxanne Movie Poster
When Harry Met Sally... Movie Poster
When Harry Met Sally... Movie Poster
Just Friends Movie Poster
Just Friends Movie Poster

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