The Benefits Of Being Friends Before Dating

198f6678df2bfa6cb420d02293378f42.jpgThe process of becoming friends makes me think of old school romance. It’s slow and steady, rather than dating now, which has become more fast-paced with technology and social media. Friendship is a time where you learn about one another, see each other’s silly sides, comfort one another when you’re upset and ask questions to get to know each other. There isn’t the romantic aspect in it, and it feels natural and steady. There are many benefits of being friends before you start dating.

You get to see a different side of them. Sure, they’re still the same person, but being friends first allows you to see how they handle certain situations and how they treat you when you’re just friends.

The focus isn’t on any romantic aspect. You learn their story and when you’re just friends there’s this certain kind of humour that doesn’t pass a line. You grow a level of respect towards one another, in knowing not to do anything that would make one another uncomfortable.

Some people grow more attractive over time. Of course, Mr Penguin has always been attractive to me, but when you’re friends you don’t obsess over their appearances too much. Once you do start dating, you see their beautiful characteristics shining out more and more.

He knows what makes you happy and sad. When you’re good friends first, the person already knows a lot of things about you. You know one another’s stories, memories and views towards certain things.

There is already an element of trust created. Talking, sharing things and spending time hanging out means you already have a level of trust with the friend. Once you start dating, that trust can grow stronger and stronger.

You have a similar sense of humour. I find that there’s this pressure when dating, that sometimes causes some people to not be completely themselves at first. That’s not always the case, but generally speaking. However, when you’re friends first, you can joke about the silliest things.

Taking the time to truly get to know someone. Friendship takes time, and sometimes going straight into dating can seem more fast paced. Although, there’s nothing wrong if it’s the right time, but sometimes dating is about timing.

There is already an attraction there. No matter who we’re friends with, we’re friends with them because there’s something we’re attracted to about them. We’re friends with someone because we like them.

Communication comes more naturally. Communication is definitely something that gets better and better over time. When you’re first friends with someone, you’re more direct and honest right from the beginning, compared to if you started first dating someone.

Art by Naomi Wilkinson

Old School Romance Vs Modern Dating

8bcb060db0994afa623c3c4d2bcb2669.jpgI recently watched a video here, from the channel Off the Great Wall. I thought it was very interesting and made me think about how much dating has changed in the last ten years. I recently had a class at uni, where we discussed how much social media and technology is apparent in our daily lives. It makes us realise how often we check out phones for the smallest things, or how long we spend time on the internet on a day to day basis. When they talk about missing the mystery aspect, it makes us remember how important it is to leave certain things unknown, in order for the person to take time to genuinely know more about this person.

Several years ago, I still had a Sony Ericsson Flip phone with buttons you click. Computers already had messenger on Facebook and Skype to chat. On one hand it’s convenient to have these especially when you’re in a long distance relationship. Although, when we lived together, we rarely used our phones when we’re out together. In the past we would write snail mail to one another and send gifts. In our modern dating world, life is far more fast paced and quick. When I wrote about Traditional Love Vs Hookup Culture here, one of the things I feel is that many people in our generation feel that love should always feel good. However, love means both side committing and working through the good and the bad.

The video talks about how it was simpler back in the day, where dating was much more innocent. Remember the days where we’d call the persons home phone number? Going the extra mile was natural back then, whereas today it’s often seen as desperate or too cheesy. Old school dating doesn’t exist the way it used to. Most people might meet each other online or chat online before getting to know one another in person. They mentioned awkward silences, which I find are really wonderful because they make getting to know someone, feel more real. When we use technology, we can’t really truly experience those moments.

A lot of people are able to meet or talk to people online now. There is that sense that we lose that art of knowing someone on a personal level in person. Whenever someone asks how I met my boyfriend, I tell them that I met him at church. The first reaction is usually “That’s so sweet!” When my boyfriend and I talk about dating now, we feel like it’s extremely fast paced in our generation. Especially, because we took it quite slowly in our relationship. Love is not something to be thrown away, whereas now there are apps and media telling you you can meet someone here, here and here.

Watching older films always reminds me of how our parents generation and in the past, dating required effort from both sides. There was more time spent to truly know someone in person. If you didn’t see each other everyday, then it was fine. The small things are worked through together. I wrote about When People Use Their Phones On A Date With You here, because it was a conversation my boyfriend and I had. We don’t use our phones unless we need to, but it made us feel sad whenever we were on dates, and couples were constantly on their phones.

Old school romance doesn’t need to let everyone know. Whether it’s on social media or in person, there isn’t a need to share photos or need validation from anybody. There isn’t anything wrong to share photos together, but you don’t feel the need to post a kissing or hugging photo every week. Love is often private and secretely felt. The ‘Dating Game’ has changed hugely since just the 90s, and early 00s when we didn’t have smartphones and you had to place a phone call on a wired phone to your loved one. Physical attraction can only be felt in person, and there really is no substitute to face-to-face meeting someone.

Taking things slowly was very normal in old school dating. I can’t count the amount of times in the past someone would say that that is cheesy, or don’t do that. But, when we both took those gestures of writing a card or giving a gift, it felt good. In modern dating, there is too much of an idea of keeping your cool and your identity in a way. In the online world, there is such an easy way of ignoring, deleting or unfollowing someone, when in real life you wouldn’t ignore what someone said to you in person, or walk out as they are talking.

Remember to find time to express your love, whether it’s through a letter, in person or an email. When we were long distance for two years, those were a few of the ways to really express our love for one another. Dating now doesn’t mean you need to make it official online, in order to be truly dating. However, in our culture of ‘if you don’t post it, it didn’t happen’, more people are willing to show more of their lives. Sometimes it’s important to leave some things as a mystery, and remind ourselves the importance of taking time to truly get to know someone.

Art by Naomi Wilkinson