If you’re on TikTok, you may have noticed that people are going around kissing their best friends and filming their reactions. This trend has a hashtag – #kissingmybestfriend – and it's garnered more than 1 billion views. Besides my deepest hope that such physical actions were consensual (and didn’t violate any boundaries), I am curious how many people genuinely used this trend to test out the waters, satisfy their curiosity or tell their friends that they like them.
This online trend has given people courage, lowered the risk and depth of potential rejection, and offered a pretty convenient excuse for a first kiss.
If you have feelings for your best friend, before broaching the topic (or kissing them) it may be helpful to do some soul searching.
Is this really what you want? Is this desire driven by boredom or sheer proximity? Are you both single? Are you looking for the same thing?
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It's not uncommon for friendships to turn into romantic relationships, but it’s not always the easiest transition. If Joey and Rachel from "Friends" taught us anything, it’s that some great friendships can’t take that next step.
Many friends are faced with the following concerns:
Will the physical spark/intimacy be there?
What if we break up and ruin the friendship?
Does this person know too much about me?
How will our other friends feel about us dating?
It can feel scary to tell a friend that we see them as more than, well, just a friend. It's easier to do so if we have received some signals that they feel the same way. Regardless, there is still something romantic and honest about telling a friend how we feel about them (unless certain contexts would make that wildly inappropriate). In order to preserve the relationship, it’s important not to place expectations or ultimatums. Respond gracefully regardless if they don’t feel the same way. If they want to remain friends, you may need some time and space, but at least they will know why you are taking it.
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If they feel the same way, here are several things to keep in mind:
Make sure you’re both in the same space emotionally.
Explore what the goal is for the relationship.
Adjust boundaries, roles and expectations.
Stop assuming that everything will stay the same (with the addition of extra perks)
Create opportunity for romance. Introduce new activities into the relationship.
Friendship should remain an important part of the romantic relationship.
Be aware that there was a healthy degree of curiosity and mystery that may have created “sexual tension” in your friendship. Remember that in a romantic relationship you will have to be intentional about keeping the desire and mystery alive.
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Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds talk about being friends before dating, and the deep friendship they possess in their marriage. Being friends with someone before dating has its benefits, and being friends with someone you are in a relationship with is necessary for a healthy relationship.
A final word of advice: Before you go out there and kiss your best friend, keep in mind that most of the things we see on TikTok are rehearsed. Ambushing someone with physical touch may not be as romantic or welcomed as they make it seem. However, if you find yourself wanting to try out this trend, it's a good indication you should at least be having a conversation with your friend about your feelings (even if you choose to do it after the kiss).
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Sara Kuburic is a therapist who specializes in identity, relationships and moral trauma. Every week she shares her advice with our readers. Find her on Instagram @millennial.therapist. She can be reached at SKuburic@gannett.com.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: TikTok's kissing my best friend trend: How to know when to make a move