“Let’s be friends!” We’ve all heard it before. Think back; do you remember hearing these words repeatedly and not knowing what to do, feeling frustrated and mad, and having a hard time accepting it?
They wanted to be your friend, but for some reason, you twisted and turned it and did everything you could to try to convince them that being friends was not what you wanted. You wanted a relationship. Take heart, as it may not be another case of unrequited love.
To build a friendship before a relationship is eventually a good thing for both of you.
We are often caught between reality and what we want
After trying to convince them, you may have finally decided it was time to give up and walk away. Yet it took you a long time to let go.
Many people have been through this. Many people want to be with someone who doesn’t want a relationship and only wants to be friends or just be friends before dating. So, should we build a friendship before a relationship, and is it good or bad? Let’s find out.
Being friends gives you the opportunity to get to know the person for who they are and gives you the opportunity to learn things about them that you would not have learned otherwise.
When you jump into a relationship without being friends first, all types of issues and challenges may occur. You begin to expect more from the person and sometimes set unrealistic expectations.
By trying to build a friendship before a relationship, you can easily decide whether they are the perfect one to date or not, as there will be no pretense and more open space to talk about things that matter.
Friends first, then lovers
Why put so much pressure on someone because of your own expectations and desires? When you develop a genuine friendship, there are no expectations. You both can be your true selves.
When you try being friends before lovers, you can learn everything you want to know about each other. You don’t have to worry about pretending to be someone you’re not.
Your prospective partner can relax knowing they can be themselves and not worry about if you’re going to ask about a relationship.
Developing a bond and building a friendship before a relationship may be better than just letting attraction get the better of you and discovering later that you can’t even be good friends.
Why is it important to build a friendship before a relationship?
The importance of friendship in a relationship is vital for several reasons. Firstly, friendship forms a strong foundation of trust and understanding between two individuals. It allows them to develop a deep level of familiarity and appreciation for each other’s values, interests, and personalities.
The friendship-based foundation can contribute to the longevity and success of the relationship, as it creates a solid bond built on more than just physical attraction.
Additionally, building a friendship first allows both parties to establish open and effective communication, which is crucial in navigating challenges and resolving conflicts in a healthy manner. Overall, building a friendship before a relationship sets the stage for a more fulfilling and meaningful connection between individuals.
15 reasons why you should be friends with your partner first
Being friends before dating is never a bad idea, as it means that there is nothing superficial about the relationship. In fact, the chances of having a successful relationship also increase if you are a friend first.
But before forming a friendship before a serious relationship, you may have genuine confusion and questions like “How to be friends first before dating?” or “How long should you be friends before dating?”
Well, it all depends on your initial chemistry and how it develops as you get to know each other. For some, the transition from friends to lovers happens within months, while others may take years.
So, the next time they ask about becoming friends before dating, consider saying okay and remember that this is an opportunity for you to get to know them without being emotionally tied. It’s not the end of the world to put friendship before the relationship.
Though it’s not what you want or expect, there’s nothing wrong with being their friend and accepting that this is what they want. Many times, being friends is the best option.
Below are 15 compelling reasons why starting as friends with your partner can lead to a more fulfilling and enduring romantic relationship.
1. Strong foundation
Building a friendship first provides a solid foundation for a lasting romantic relationship. Trust and understanding are cultivated over time, ensuring a robust connection that can weather challenges.
2. Shared interests
Friendship often begins with shared interests, creating a bond that extends beyond the initial attraction. This shared foundation encourages compatibility, making it more likely for the relationship to thrive.
3. Communication skills
Friends communicate openly and honestly. By developing a friendship first, you can establish effective communication patterns that contribute to a healthier romantic relationship.
4. Trust development
Trust is a cornerstone of any successful relationship. Starting as friends allows trust to naturally evolve, providing a stable framework for a deeper connection.
5. Discovering personalities
Friendship enables a gradual exploration of each other’s personalities. This gradual process allows for a more nuanced understanding, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings.
5 ways to build a strong friendship with your partner
Establishing a strong friendship with your partner is a key element in building a lasting and fulfilling romantic relationship. This foundation goes beyond the initial attraction, focusing on open communication, shared experiences, active listening, respect for differences, and mutual support.
Below, we’ll explore five practical ways to strengthen the friendship aspect of your partnership, cultivating a connection that stands the test of time.
1. Open communication
Nurture a strong friendship with your partner by prioritizing open and honest communication. Share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences openly, creating a foundation of trust and understanding.
2. Quality time together
Dedicate meaningful time to shared activities and experiences. Whether exploring new hobbies, traveling, or simply enjoying each other’s company, quality time strengthens the bond between you and deepens your connection.
3. Active listening
Cultivate a strong friendship by actively listening to your partner. Show genuine interest in their concerns, joys, and daily experiences. This practice not only deepens your understanding of each other but also demonstrates empathy and support.
Watch this TED Talk where Dr. Marisa Franco explains why friendship is just as important as romance:
4. Respect for differences
Embrace and respect the unique qualities and differences that make each of you individual. A strong friendship acknowledges and appreciates these distinctions, promoting an environment of acceptance and love.
5. Mutual support
Build a foundation of friendship by being each other’s support system. Celebrate successes together, offer encouragement during challenges, and provide a safe space for vulnerability. Mutual support creates a resilient bond that withstands the tests of time.
Building and maintaining relationships can be a complex process. Friendships often serve as a foundation for romantic relationships, but it is essential to navigate this transition carefully to avoid potential pitfalls. In this section, we will answer some common queries related to friendship in a relationship.
How long should I be friends with someone before dating them?
The length of time required before dating a friend varies for everyone. Establishing a solid foundation of trust, understanding, and compatibility is essential. Observing how you both handle challenges, communicate, and support each other can give you an insight into the potential for a successful romantic relationship.
Is it possible to fall in love with your best friend?
Absolutely! Falling in love with a best friend is a common occurrence. The emotional bond, shared experiences, and deep understanding can create a strong foundation for a romantic relationship. However, it’s crucial to consider the potential impact on the friendship if the romantic relationship doesn’t work out.
How can I tell if a friendship is turning into a relationship?
Signs that a friendship is evolving into a relationship can include increased emotional intimacy, flirtation, spending more time together, discussing future plans, or even physical affection.
What are some of the challenges of transitioning from friendship to relationship?
Transitioning from friendship to a romantic relationship can have its challenges. Potential pitfalls include fear of losing the friendship, changing expectations, navigating new boundaries, and dealing with previous relationship baggage.
The bottom line
To build a friendship before a relationship gives you the opportunity to be free, free to be who you are, and free to choose to be in a relationship with him or not.
Choosing friendship first means embracing a relationship built on genuine connection and shared understanding rather than conforming to preconceived notions of what a romantic partnership should entail.
Dr. LaWanda N. Evans specializes in helping couples build and maintain a healthy, loving, lasting, strong relationship. She teaches couples how to communicate to be heard and understood, how to manage conflicts and find solutions to the most difficult problems affecting their relationship, using the Read more Gottman Method Couples Therapy approach. She provides relationship counseling, education, and development that focuses on improving communication, managing conflicts, affair recover, and premarital counseling and education. Dr. Evans isa Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, Healthy Relationship Expert, Relationship Therapist, Speaker and Author.
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