Growing up, all of my boyfriends tended to be people I had been best friends with first. It was great. We had a connection, we got to know each other, we cared for each other, and we loved each other. And therefore when we did start dating, our relationship already had a solid foundation.
Getting to know someone before you start dating them can never be a bad thing. It’s like a tasting menu—you try out a sample and see what you’re getting yourself into. And in my experience, when you do start dating, the relationship tends to be stronger.
I strongly believe in the idea of friendships as precursors to relationships. Here are 7 reasons why I believe in dating your friend:
1. You already know their life story.
When you date someone you were already friends with, you get to skip the boring bits and get to the good stuff. Instead of spending time catching up on each other’s histories, families, what school they went to, blah blah blah, you can spend time getting to know who they are now. Who you are together. What they want now and in the future.
2. You treat each other better.
You care for each other on two levels: as a friend and as a significant other. You respect each other and you still value your friendship. This inevitably leads to thinking twice about hurting or upsetting one another.
3. You share the same values.
Mostly likely, the two of you will already share the same core values or beliefs. This makes a difference because similar morals are the foundation of a successful relationship, and at some point or another they will be tested. It’s better to know you’re on the same page from the start than to get a shock later down the line.
4. You can be yourself around each other.
You get to skip the awkward beginning of relationships where you worry about what you’re saying and how often you can text. You’re already comfortable enough around each other to send them twelve texts in a row about how badly you want cheese fries. You can tease each other and banter and debate with each other. You know you love spending time together and don’t need to be in constant lip-lock to show how much you care about one another.
5. You like each other’s friends.
Most likely, you’ve met their other friends and like to hang out with them. You don’t feel the need to always be alone together and your friends can enjoy hanging out with you two without feeling like the third wheel.
6. You’ve seen each other at your worst.
You’ve already gotten into blowout fights. You’ve hurt and insulted each other. You know each other’s insecurities and helped them through hard times. And you’ve gotten through it all, so you know you will again.
7. You’ll stay friends.
To this date, all my ex-boyfriends that started off as friends are still my friends. Admittedly, when the relationship didn’t work out, the breakup hurt a lot more. I always felt the double-whammy of losing a boyfriend as well as a best friend. And maybe I was just lucky, but given enough time, I always got my friend back. Despite the relationship not working out, once the initial hurt and sadness washed away, we always made the effort to rekindle our friendship. Not all relationships last forever, but true friendship stands through all the ups and downs, the good and the bad.