Love Advice: Be Friends First
Ever seen those Black People Meet commercials? You know, the ones where seemingly happy couples are asked by their family and friends how they met? Embarrassed by the origins of their relationship, they tell lavish stories of stumbling upon each other while traveling in foreign countries or participating in exhilarating extra curricular activities. Then finally, after another couple proudly announces that they met online, they come clean.
Amused by these commercials, if you were to ask my partner how we met, he will start the story of our romance with, “Well, one evening we were both strolling through Paris.” All in good humor, he tells this outlandish story, later acknowledging that we in fact connected thanks to good ole’ social media.
While our genesis is not romance filled, our friendship has been nothing short of remarkable. What originally set out to be a social media love connection actually gave air to a life-long friendship. From the first phone conversation, we knew we had stumbled upon one of those rare soul attractions you hear about in the movies or read about in novels.
Owning the idea that our connection was more suitable for a friendship, we watched each other clumsily fumble through relationships, always finding solace in one another when those unions posed a threat to our sanity. We desperately relied on one another through dark times, knowing that no other human being in the world understood us the way we understood one another.
Guiding each other through tough times landed us precisely where we were destined to be: together. Emotionally superseding any relationship I have ever been in, I began to question why this union in comparison to others, has proven to be so much more fulfilling. I’ve come to the realization that a relationship established on the foundation of genuine friendship is the key to long lasting love.
You argue differently.
When you establish a friendship before you enter into a relationship, you argue with your significant other differently. Similar to your best friends, you are especially selective about what you say and how you say it.
Over the years, I have come to know that my partner can be a very analytical man. Prone to taking things to the heart, and always trying to process communication for a deeper meaning, I am not afforded the luxury of loose lips. I understand that if I allow my frustration to dictate the conversation, I risk damaging his spirits, and ultimately poking holes in our bond.
On the contrary, my emotions have to be pried out. A suddenly rigid exterior, pursed lips, and cold silence are the surest indicators I have gone off course emotionally. He has mastered the art of extracting the truth from me. If not for his gentleness and patience, I would hold tight to my feelings.
Our friendship pauses potential arguments before they begin. Caring deeply for one another’s feelings prevents us from speaking harshly to one another, even in moments where heat can be high. Instead, we
talk to each other like friends, are quick to resolve our issues, and even quicker to forgive.
You have a deeper level of trust.
Relationships get difficult. Over time, tension builds and tolerance gets low. It becomes extremely challenging to see past your partner’s flaws and things that were once annoying are now completely disturbing to your peace. People cheat in relationships, they lie, and their own personal gratification becomes the primary focus.
Love alone will never be powerful enough to keep a relationship. I don’t trust my partner not to cheat or disrespect our relationship because he loves me. I do however, trust that he would never hurt me because I am his friend.
While we may both find ourselves enamored by someone’s physical appearance or captivated by the conversations we may have with other people, we will never move on our attraction because we love each other as friends and no one ever intentionally hurts their best friend.
You willingly serve each other’s high self.
We all want what’s best for our friends and we will do whatever it takes to see them happy. This same principle applies when you are dating your best friend. Devoted to the things that bring them joy, you intentionally go out of your way to minimize their interaction with things that deplete their happiness. When you form a relationship with your best friend, you constantly strive to push them to the next level. It’s all about helping your partner transcend.
Self-preservation is key.
When you are in love with your best friend, you encase your relationship in an invisible force field to protect it against external factors. When we are in a relationship, we are open to hearing other people’s opinions about our lover. When it comes to our lovers, we anxiously await the approval of our friends and family. However, our best friends goes without scrutiny.
We introduce them as our best friend, and reject any conversation that paints them in a negative light. The same is true when you are dating your best friend. Instead of waiting for the outside to validate your relationship, you refuse to allow the thoughts of others to penetrate the faith you have in your partner.
It’s deeper than sex.
Relationships built solely on sex will eventually fold. When we rush into intimate acts with people who we have not established an authentic friendship with, we place ourselves in complicated situations. Sex cannot hold a relationship together. If you do not connect with your partner on a deeper level, when faced with obstacles in the relationship, there is little substance that can be absorbed to assist in healing within that relationship.
You get it!
When you spend time building a friendship before a relationship, you diminish some of the awkwardness that comes with dating. You understand each other’s quirks. You know each other’s flaws and shortcomings and accept them for who they are. When you have spent the time necessary to build a relationship, you know what makes your partner laugh, you know what triggers their frustration, and you know how to calm them when stressed.
Jazz Keyes is a community activist, poetess and a nationally certified Life Purpose and Career Coach. Keyes supplies clients with the necessary tools and techniques to awaken their divine energy, heal their open wounds and create an aura of love, compassionate and tranquility. In 2013, Keyes was named “13 People to Watch For” by Rockford Register Star and in honor of Black History Month 2014, Keyes was recently named a“Neighborhood Hero” by ComEd’s Power of One Campaign. Keyes in currently pursuing her Masters in Clinical Psychology and hopes to one day be a best-selling author and motivational speaker. She has devoted a great deal of her time and energy on mastering the art of communication in order to create healthy, dynamic, long-lasting relationships.