Study: Romances don’t typically start when two people fall in love

If you’re on the prowl for your next romantic partner, consider your friend group: A new study finds that most couples begin as friends.

This is news. Both laypeople and academics have long believed that people meet and then fall in love, a notion long supported by the plot lines of sitcoms and romantic comedies, in which two characters meet cute and persevere to fall into bed. But this is typically not the case: There’s a “friend” stage before the fireworks.

Isn’t that calming?

The researchers analyzed data from 1,897 participants (1,013 adults in the U.S. and Canada, 884 psychology students), all of whom had participated in lab studies over the prior 18 years. Two thirds reported that their current or most recent relationship began as a friendship. That rate jumped up to 85% among 20-somethings and LGBTQ+ participants.


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