By Stephen Cook
With Valentine’s day nearly here, it is that time of year where lines are clearly drawn in the sand: single or taken.
Now, I’ll get it out of the way: I’m single, but I don’t consider that a curse. This isn’t an anti-relationship column, it’s actually quite the opposite.
Relationships aren’t only formed by taking someone to dinner, meeting someone at the club or connecting with someone through an online service.
Hopefully, they’re formed well before you ever ask that someone out.
As contrary to modern thought as it may seem, it is incredibly important you get to know a person very well before you begin dating. Take a moment to think about it — if you get to know someone as a friend, you get to learn about them in a very honest way. They aren’t trying to impress you and you shouldn’t be trying to impress them. You are both mutually friends — companions, not romantic partners.
You may spend time with them in a group or alone. You will see them at their best and at their worst. You will see how they interact with others. You will see how they talk about others. You will see what is most important to them and what they really believe. If it is a sincere, true friendship, this will all be natural interaction.
Most people consider this being in the “friend-zone”, and that sounds about right. But, it is talked about as if it is a bad thing. That thought couldn’t be further from the truth. After all, you’re supposed to marry your best friend, right?
I would happily take a solid friendship over a one-night stand anytime.
Throughout high school I didn’t date because I knew I wasn’t going to get married anytime soon. I had friends who were girls, but I didn’t “date”. And those friendships didn’t turn into a romantic relationship — and that is perfectly fine.
Why do people date in the first place? It should be a way of finding your soulmate; the person who you will spend the rest of your life with. It shouldn’t be about cheap thrills and shallow pleasure.
Dating and courting should be full of shared respect and care for one another; it is about love and serving your significant other.
And if you’re single, don’t worry — life isn’t all about being in a relationship. You are worth just as much as an individual if you’re not “with someone”. In fact, you can use your time flying solo to your advantage. For starters, not to sound like a downer, but you don’t have to worry about the time and money investment in a boyfriend/girlfriend. As a young person, you can use this time to work ahead and prepare for the approaching years.
Often, people hop from one person to the next, not pausing for a second to think about their motives or future plans.
Wait for the right person to come along; in the meantime just be yourself and treat others with respect. In the end you’ll have saved yourself — and others — plenty of heartache.
Contact Stephen Cook, editor-in-chief, firstname.lastname@example.org.