At a recent wedding (may I just add it was a Tantric Club success story ;-) I met a number of couples and asked them what they believed to be the key to a successful relationship. Popularly cited was ‘friendship’. So this got me thinking, if friendship is key to a successful marriage, perhaps there’s an untapped source being overlooked by many single people? Let me elaborate. When we think of a conventional relationship, generally we start dating first and the friendship follows suit. So how great would it be to start it the other way round?
I decided to take a closer look at my single male friends. They fell into three categories. The first category were guys that I appreciate & adore as friends but would never in a million years date – otherwise one of us would end up under the patio. Similarly to the second category, these guys were great friends but our differences like age, outlook, priorities etc worked well in a friendship but would not translate well into a romantic relationship. Finally, I was left with a couple of guys who didn’t fall into either of these categories, which I’m going to refer to as the ‘potential source’.
Could I date them? Would they even want to date me? It was an interesting idea but one which required much more consideration and thought on how to pursue the notion...
When you’re single, in some ways a good friend is almost like a substitute partner without the intimacy. You’ve seen each other at your worst and best. You’re familiar with one another’s likes & dislikes and mutually supportive through the good and difficult times. Your personalities are compatible & complementary, as you can spend hours in one another’s company with ease. These friends in the 'potential source' also have similar values & share the same outlook on life, which is why you get along so well. Additionally, you have common interests, which you enjoy partaking in together. When you consciously think about it, it almost sounds like a relationship already. So I guess the litmus test is whether there is any physical attraction & chemistry, as this is what separates a friend from a partner.
Assuming that you now start looking at your friend in a different way and romantic feelings start to grow, it raises a number of questions. Will your change of heart be welcomed and reciprocated? How do you communicate this without ruining your friendship? Well given that they are a really good friend, you probably have a fair idea of what they are looking for in a partner. You will also have some insights into their past relationships and how they have played out. This foresight is of great advantage, as you normally don’t get to learn about these things, until you’ve actually been dating someone for some time. Armed with this knowledge, you need to work out whether this matches what you're looking for in your partner. Will they treat you as you wish to be treated, within a romantic relationship? If this all adds up, the next step is to test the waters.
You need to start flirting, emitting attraction signals and observing their responses. Examples include: prolonging your eye contact – hold their gaze consciously longer than normal, if they do not look away immediately that is a good sign. Observe their body language, is it matching & mirroring yours? Conversely, try to match & mirror them and assess whether they subconsciously copy you. How much ‘unnecessary’ physical contact do you have? Do you sit close together when there is a lot of space around you? How often do your hand & legs accidently brush – this indicates that you’ve entered one another’s personal space. Other signs to look out for are light touches with gestures and blushing. The key here is not to jump to any fast conclusions. The experts recommend that you look for at least 4 positive signs before deducing that someone maybe interested in you.
After testing the waters, if you feel that there is a possibility that they too may be interested, you should consider enlisting the help of a mutually trusted friend, to make some discreet enquiries and drop subtle hints. Based on the outcome of this, you’re now in a better position to decide whether you wish to disclose your feelings, or not.
If despite having feelings, you decide to do nothing, it is probably best to create some time & space away from your friend. Do not cut them off completely. After all, you are doing this as you value your friendship and do not want to give the impression that they have done something wrong, or you’ve turned cold all of a sudden. Be tactful and subtle. If push comes to shove, instigate group meet-ups rather than one-on-one outings. Once you have dealt with your feelings, things should hopefully return back to normal.
Should you decide to take the plunge and disclose your feelings, then you have to be prepared for the possible outcomes. If it is not mutual, it may be awkward. However, if this person is mature and a really a good friend, then together you will probably be able to work through it and put it behind you. On the other hand, if it is reciprocated that’s great! At the risk of putting a downer on a positive scenario, if it does not work out, you could still end up losing a good friend.
So I’ve now given the whole process some consideration; looked at how to approach the situation and considered the pros & cons. Is it really a good idea to perceive your single friends as an untapped source to seek a potential partner? Well, if you’re actively seeking a partner, the reality is that once you find them, a friend of the opposite gender will no longer be required as your ‘substitute partner’. Invariably they will be the first to get less of your time and attention. In some cases the friendship will simply fade away, or continue at a distance – either way that closeness will go. So, if there’s a possibility that a good friend has the potential to be a good partner, by doing something about it are you really risking the loss of a friendship? Or are you simply speeding up the process of the inevitable change in your relationship? If friendship is key to a successful relationship, wouldn’t it be foolish not to consider this avenue? Well it’s certainly got me thinking and pondering on the old adage of "sometimes, the one thing that you are looking for is right under your nose, but you just haven’t realised it..."