How to Start a Relationship with: Your Best Friend
If you were to start dating someone new today, who would you feel the most comfortable with?
The following article you are about to read is information that has been highly pressed to my heart. I honestly think we have fairly sloppy relationships in our society, and I wish there could be something done. I believe we need to love our friendships, walk alongside our neighbors, show kindness to our enemies, and respect our soul mates. There is a great deal of wondrous progress in our society, but I do think that with the rate of divorce, likelihood of cheating, domestic violence, and sex trade that we need to rethink our concepts at the root of romance. I dare you for the next week to challenge the status quo of dating. I think this social convention is a wolf in sheep's clothing and though it works for some, for many this tool has a low success rate.
We will get to how to approach your best friend, but first I think you need to understand my philosophy. That way in the end of reading this you can decide for yourself if the formula I will offer you is accommodating to your needs. I do not believe in dating. I do believe in love. Falling in love is one of the greatest human experiences, and with it I think we need to be more careful, to slow down, and realize that we are vulnerable and this world is full of emotionally abusive, disease spreading suitors. You are of value. You do not need to be dating someone who treats you in a way that you do not deserve. If anyone ever hits you and calls his or herself the love of your life, then you need to get help. Whether counseling, leaving and moving-in with a friend, or calling the police -- you need to get out of abusive relationships. And if this person hurts your children: consider what trauma this is causing them.
Relationships are a significant factor in your life. In a relationship, you need someone who supports you, loves you for who you are, isn't going to pigeon-hole small trivial things about you, and can be patient in the thin times. All relationships will go through "thin" times; it's like climbing a steep mountain. Your lungs will burn, your legs tire, your head is pounding with pressure, but once you reach the end you're stronger, the vista is worth it, and the bond with those you traveled deepens.
Dating does not set you up well. It puts an ungodly unreal amount of pressure on both parties. It glosses up for the hope of romantic gestures that often tend to be stale, robotic, and rehearsed. I believe in allowing love to be organic hat we shouldn't be forcing our lives into little compartments to direct romance. Romance can happen at any time and often does unexpectedly. Love will come on its own time. I do think you should prepare for it, but trying to take the bull by the horns only frustrates the bull; you have to let it come to you and allow itself to be gentle at your side.
Relationships take time. There are plenty of times where two parties initially meet, fall for each other, and chase after the rainbows. Of course, they will find their storm clouds, but rather than putting so much into a weekend getaway I want you to consider this: studies have shown that longer courtships, more unrequited love before being in a relationship is an indication that the relationship will be more successful and happy. A stranger is mysterious, alluring, but also you don't know their history and you could be blindsided by their dashing good looks to end up realizing too late something tragic that negatively influences you as well. Of course, a long running friend can do the same to you, but more than likely you've already walked with them through many of their dark secrets. You have experience with their emotional skeleton.
I don't know why people have been saying that love is not logical, that's a major misconception that hurts you. Love is logical. It's highly biological, it's predictable, it's beautiful, and it's complex. It's not just an emotional experience, there is some amount of formula involved. For some of you this may make you want to resist the topic of love altogether while for others this may give more meaning and hope. Our world is made up of codes everywhere; everything relates to numbers, properties, and patterns. We read about relationships so that we can understand the patterns and that therein we can have hope. Personally, love is one of the most logical and emotional experiences of all which is why in one moment you can be a stable minded sharp individual and then in the next moment... down in the slumps looking at an oblong angle trying to understand what is negatively influencing your love life.
So with that in mind, do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. Dating sites, clubs, and the like can foster romantic experiences (and for many it works out great). What I'm trying to do is relay what seems to be particular keys that have allowed people to long lasting and happy relations. It's okay to be single. There are many lessons which are hard to describe that arise in your single-hood. Your singleness will inform you, give you the chance to develop valuable skills, and give you independence. You may end up at this road several times whether from a break up or the death of a partner. Don't dismay if your single. Soak in it. Society doesn't give singles enough leverage because to be honest, it doesn't fit our capitalist ways. We can market sex to couples; how do we market singleness? Through adventure? Relationships unfortunately off the bat deal with a great deal of materialism due to our background societal thinking. If you want to combat that, many years in single land learning to fast, abstain, sober up, develop new skills, pioneer your mind will help you to develop a unique sense of you. Sure, food, sex, alcohol & drugs more than likely have their places and are often merely scruples. But if you're letting the scruples take control over you, then you are allowing it to be your master. This is the battle one faces with the material which isn't necessarily inherently evil or good -- it's just something to consider so that it doesn't diminish you because again... you are a valuable, beautiful, and necessary person in this world.
Your best friend is your best friend for a reason (if not many reasons). It takes time to become a best friend, especially with the opposite sexes (at least in my experience). You have to develop some amount of trust, history, insider knowledge (such as jokes or tears), and commitment. Time and time again one or the other will develop feelings for the other, and you know what, this is down right okay. That is if you're not in a relationship, of course. People fall in love with their best friend all the time, and with all the history you have it actually can make for a strong relationship. It's scary to approach someone you find attractive, especially when they've been your friend so long and you may be driven by fear not to tell them how you really feel from: the fear that you'll no longer be friends if it doesn't work out, the fear that they'll suddenly be afraid of you, or the fear of rejection. Here's the truth: don't let fear drive your motivations. This is easier said than done.
Instead know that telling your friend that you've developed an interest in them isn't actually a matter of love, but of trust. You need to trust that your friend will be understanding, that they won't make a big scene, and that in the end the friendship is still there. To be honest, most of the time in these situations if the pair do break up, they are able to keep their friendship whether immediately or down the road. So this is what I want you to keep in mind to remember:
1. Setup a convenient time where you can talk to this person one on one. Preferably during the day, on a weekday, or normal hours. Trying to convey feelings around the company of others is awkward and distracting.
2. Don't make a big deal out of it. Keep it short and sweet. Don't lay on thick details about how beautiful their hands are and how much you want to hold them and how you think of their lips. This might actually scare the living crap out of them, especially if they're not interested in you. Tell them, "Hey, I just want you to know that I think you're really awesome. I would like to spend more time with you and get to know you more, and I think you might be interested in that too and I'm sorry if I'm mistaken. I want you to know that I like you and I'm curious how you feel at this point." This is inviting, it isn't aggressive, it lays out what you're thinking clearly, is concise, and is open to conversation rather than manipulative. Do give them a moment. Say, "I know that this may be a lot to take in or you may not have ever considered this, so I can give you your space and know that if you're not interested in me I still want to be your friend." They may not have considered you as a potential partner in your whole history. So yes, they may need a few minutes, a few days, or a week. Any longer than a week is cruel and unless they generally are super indecisive, it probably is a "no" on their part.
3. Just because they are not interested does not mean you need to despair. In fact, I would say before leaving, especially if they do say no at that point say something like, "If you happen to change your mind at any point and I'm still single, feel free to broach this topic again." People and their interests change so be open to that. They may not see you as a potential right now, but they may later. Also, don't become overly distressed and depressed. That isn't going to help your case. You may feel that way, but don't display it. Take some alone time to process your thoughts and feelings. Congratulate yourself for putting yourself out there -- go buy a steak dinner. You didn't do anything bad even if you feel bad. And now that your friend knows your thoughts... they may start to see you in a different light and that may take time.
4. They may be interested in someone else who they may 1.) succeed in getting into a relationship; or 2.) end up getting over. It may hurt when they get into a relationship, but play it cool. Overtime you will definitely find someone else. And don't blow off your friendship over something like this.
5. Whoever it is that you like, you can't be certain that they will be available forever. You don't want to treat them like a piece of meat you have to swipe directly from the butcher's knife, but you do want to keep in mind that if they're hot property then it's guaranteed that someone else knows it too.
6. Before even getting to this point of confessing feelings, make them feel special. Figure out what they like and speak to their hearts. And over time... you may win and soften their heart to your own. If you see them being less guarded and opening up, then you're doing your job right.
7. If it's your best friend... than you can trust them to handle this conversation so don't be too pushy, or over the top. Be yourself. Let them know it's worth trying, the friendship won't be ruined.
8. Studies also show that the longer you can hold off on physical intimacy, the better your communication skills will develop overtime causing you to have... a more successful and happy relationship. Don't let the passion come in too early and wreck what may be a nicely paced romance.