A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with one of my friends who had recently met a guy who she thought was fantastic. He was smart, loves Jesus, and seemed to have similar interests to her. While I was asking her about him, and most likely teasing her in the way a fifth grader would, she stated to me clearly, “But Olivia, it’s nothing, because he sees me as a friend.” And in this moment, though I’ve frequently repeated this to other friends when analyzing a romantic relationship, I thought: why is friendship the end of it? Does friendship mean you’re doomed?
So I shouted in a (potentially) hypocritical way, “SO?! What’s wrong with that?” Then, much to my friend’s dismay, I ranted and raved on why friendship would be a bad thing when you want to date someone; this made me realize I’ve met more than one person who’s talked about being friends with a significant other in the same way one would talk about our impending doom.
Why then? What’s the problem? Why CAN’T people be friends before starting a romantic relationship? Because of this whole “friend-zoning” epidemic.
We start to become friends with someone from the opposite sex; we share everything (mostly) with one another, we ask each other for advice, and sometimes we burp/fart in front of another. We are completely ourselves around each other. Cue the gasps. Who would dare to be themselves in front of someone they think is cute? But sadly, doesn’t this sound like an ideal marriage?
We’ve watched plenty of romantic comedies and films about the dangers of being friends with someone and how being yourself could lose the one you really want to be with. Further, the most romantic scene we can paint is staring at your future spouse from across the room, amidst the glowing lights in a bar, and suddenly you know. Although I am an avid lover of romantic stories, I think that it’s necessary to be realistic when it comes to certain aspects of a relationship. There are plenty of people in this world who have actually experienced a “love-at-first-sight” moment, but there are also a lot of people who have been friends for years and then decide to date.
Through friendship, we discover more about one another without this intense pressure of having to be pretty or handsome. We get to know what the other person loves, how they take their coffee, and which movies make them laugh or cry. Friendships are extremely important and they are how we receive love daily. So why wouldn’t you want to be friends with the person you’d spend the rest of your life with?
Therefore, I suggest that you and I, dear readers, learn to look at friendship as a stepping stone, not as a permanent state. I don’t think we should always go into friendships with the hope of romantic outcome, but I do think that friendship is not only important, but necessary in order to have a successful relationship. Whether or not you start off being friends, it’s necessary to have that sort of relationship as time goes on.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am a hopeless romantic; who doesn’t wish for your own Captain Von Trapp or locking eyes with a beautiful stranger in a crowded room, only to find they’re the love of your life? But I can also say from experience that it is in friendship where I feel the most comfortable, where I get to know people best, and where I truly become a better person by another’s example. So why wouldn’t you want to find friendship at the heart of your best romantic relationship?
So the next time you’re hopelessly crushing on someone and you start to become friends, remember: it’s not the end of the world. It could, very likely, be the beginning.