It’s not always easy to predict how things will turn out when dating somebody new.
Will the two of you end up walking down the aisle; will you end up driving each other crazy, or will the communication simply die out with time, without the spark to carry you past the second date?
There are so many ways a new relationship prospect can go; however, there is one small piece of advice that could make your life so much easier.
That bit of advice is to build a friendship with somebody first, before dating them.
“Build a friendship first?” you may be saying. “But that could take ages!”
The truth is that yeah, being friends with somebody before considering a relationship with them does put the brakes on things a little.
However, there are many good reasons for this, for which we’re sure you’ll thank us later.
Here are 9 good reasons all relationships should be preceded by friendship.
1. You’ll both have shared interests.
Why do we become friends with people? Well, it usually all starts with having similar interests and hobbies. It’s often one of the simplest foundations on which most friendships flourish.
If you and your partner were friends first, you’ll likely already know how they’d like to spend their Friday night, or what they’d like to do on their day off. Similarly, spending time together will be easier, as you won’t need to segregate time apart in order to do the things you both love.
Of course, you guys won’t agree on everything, and that person doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of you (and shouldn’t be). But if you’re both into hiking, healthy eating and watching conspiratorial documentaries, the chances are you’ll enjoy spending time together more than if you had to compromise on these things.
2. You’ll already have what it takes to make a relationship work
This isn’t to say that every friendship will or should lead to a relationship (some people are just friends for a reason!).
But most good friendships naturally involve trustworthiness, fun, loyalty, honesty and genuine connection – all of the qualities it takes to make a relationship work. Therefore, if you and your friend do decide to take things to the next level, a strong foundation will already have been paved.
3. It removes a huge amount of pressure
Forming a friendship with someone removes all of the usual pressures that often come with dating.
The pressure to perform in the bedroom, or to put across only the side of yourself you think the other one will like, can often get in the way of an otherwise great relationship.
When you build a friendship, you can allow yourself to be vulnerable; to be honest, and to have that person see you at your worst as well as your best. There’s also less fear of rejection – so if a disagreement or obstacle did arise, you’re less likely to compromise your morals in order to still be attractive to the other person.
After being friends for a while, you can of course introduce the usual pressures of dating later on, but you’ll be much better equipped to handle them.
4. You’ll find the other person more attractive
Research has shown that we find people more attractive the longer we know them (or are friends with them).
In a study by researchers at the University of Texas, students were asked to rate one another at the beginning and end of the semester. Overall, ratings increased over time, with sixes becoming nines in a matter of weeks.
This suggests that aesthetics have less to do with it than we think. By simply getting to know one another and forging connections, the way we perceive others immediately becomes more favourable.
5. The most enduring romantic relationships are more about compatibility than sexuality
Time and time again, studies have shown that long-lasting love is more about compatibility and companionship than sexuality.
The same researchers at the University of Texas carried out another study in which they interviewed 167 long-term couples. 40% of those couples said they were friends before their relationship began, suggesting there’s a lot to be said for getting to know your interest on a platonic level.
6. Initial first impressions aren’t coloured by physical attraction or lust
More often than not, it’s easy for people to fall into a relationship simply by hearing the ‘right’ things. Similarly, when we fall for someone physically, that lust and desire to ‘get’ something physical from the relationship may blind us to who they really are.
Becoming friends first, with no physical expectations, allows us to step back and see if that person is truly a good match for us. You’ll be able to see that person exactly as they are, in a range of emotional states and scenarios, and decide whether their personality truly meets your standards or whether your values really align.
That way, there’s less time and heartache spent if nothing romantic comes out of the relationship.
7. You’ll have more experience communicating with each other
All too often, couples get into arguments not because they disagree, but because they simply misinterpret each other or have trouble saying what they really mean.
We all have different ways of expressing our feelings and labelling emotions. In fact, while some couples might be on the same page semantically, they can be speaking entirely different ‘love languages’, which leads to a lot of mixed messages or crossed wires.
As friends, however, you’ll be less likely to experience this problem. Friends have usually learned to interpret one another’s language and communicate in a way that is free and easy, especially if they have been friends a long time. Therefore, when you become lovers, you’ll find it much easier to get your meaning across and enjoy a mutual understanding.
8. You can still date other people
By not committing to a relationship too early, you’ll be free to explore other possibilities whilst still enjoying and building a budding friendship.
Even if you feel strongly about one person and are sure they are “the one”, it’s a good idea to still date other people, in case the right one for you is still out there.
9. Friendships keep us rational, stable and logical
We all know that relationships can do funny things to people. Because emotions run high in a relationship, we’re all too likely to become a little irrational, clingy or do something rash in an ‘act of love’.
However, in friendships we tend to be much more grounded. We’re always kind to a friend; we look out for their best interests, and play an equal part in the partnership. Because there’s no feeling of ownership (at least, there shouldn’t be), people are less likely to become possessive or controlling.
Of course, there’s always a chance you might become that crazy person after you’ve started dating your friend. But if the friendship is strong, and the fit is right, it’ll be much more likely to handle it.
A ‘friends first’ approach to dating
It may be difficult to get your head around this new approach to dating at first. Thanks to GreyZone Club, you could meet people with a difference and find true friendship that could lead to a meaningful relationship.
Set against the backdrop of London’s exciting nightlife scene, GreyZone Club offers the chance to meet people on the same wave-length through unique events like speed dating, singles nights, masquerade balls and other themed parties.
As the only dating agency in London with a ‘friends first’ approach to dating, GreyZone Club helps busy, ambitious professionals meet like-minded people in a way that seamlessly fits their lifestyle.
So ditch the monotony of swiping left and right and replace it with exciting, real-life situations, by becoming a member of GreyZone Club.