Dating to Make Friends: An Alternative View

Dating is one of the best friend finders there is. I read recently some advice from an elder statesman who said that we should all try and make one new friend every five years. What excellent advice. When we are very young we collect friends like sweets. As we get older we lose some along the way kind of like natural wastage. We fall out and we fall in, we change and adapt and we end up with a core group of our best friends, usually quite small but reliable and close. I think its fair to say that most of us will never have more than a handful of extremely close friends as we grow older simply because its not possible to have very close relationships with so many people. Best friends require maintenance.

Where dating comes into its own is in it’s simplest form – introducing us to new people. We meet on a one-to-one basis to chat and discuss and basically find out if we get get on well enough to become friends. Dating often misses out on this aspect, the fact that to become lovers we should become friends too. It’s not just about if we are attracted to their hair, face, breasts, legs etc. It’s about how we get on, what we have in common, if we share the same belief systems, skills, laughs, humor, outlook, background and passions. If we do then this may well be the very basis for a great relationship.

If that certain X factor is missing we often discount the whole deal as if to say well they weren’t good enough to date so I will discount them completely. What we are missing here is the fact that in every other way we got on. We made a new friend. Then people will say, yes but I am not looking for another friend. Well let me tell you my friend, we can all do with extra friends. Yes, okay, our closest friends are often our longest friends who we have shared everything with, but there may have been a time when we didn’t know them either so who is to say. My point is, nice people are hard to find so let us not just discount people because they fell at the first hurdle.

I am not suggesting that we gather every failed date as out next new closest buddy. I am suggesting that amongst all the people you do date, there will be one of two people who may not be your ideal match, but who could be your ideal friend. So try and keep an open mind. Maybe you can suggest that although you don’t feel you would make it as a couple you would like to stay in touch and then actually do get in touch to do something. Make sure you have defined this as a fact and are clear though and don’t string someone along and have them thinking there is some romance in the air.

We must try and remember that one of the best facets of any perfect match is friendship. People often say that they would like to marry their best friend. In other words, your partner should also be your best friend. What we mean but that is that the concept of “best friend” means the person we can rely on, trust in full measure, turn to when in need and talk to about everything in the world. It is a beautiful notion and one that should be kept in mind.

Really, dating is all about making friends and then loving them even more than that. It is about forming close bonds in a fairly short space of time and then building upon them. This is why a purely sex or physical relationship doesn’t often hold much long terms hope. It is surprising how many good friends also become lovers too. I have read some good true stories about people who had been best friends and went on to get married.

I think these days that dating has become such a clinical and organized subject that the basic elements are in danger of being lost. To love someone you have to trust them. To trust them you need to open your heart to them very early on and take the risk included. Opening your heart means a willingness to trust. It is a willingness to make that person your friend. Trust and friendship are the building blocks of every proper relationship and therefore there are no quick paths to eternal happiness. Date and find a friend. Make friends and then fall in love.

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