NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Relationships: 5 Reasons to Be Friends First Before Dating Someone

Researchers have recently discovered that being friends first before dating someone is beneficial in the long run for a successful romantic relationship (see my article: Dating: Taking the Time to Get to Know Each Other).

In a study called "Love at First Sight or Friends First?" Barelds and Barelds-Dijkstra looked at 137 couples who were either married or living together and discovered that being friends first offered couples greater emotional stability and relationship success than "love at first sight" (see my article: Confusing Sexual Attraction For Love).

Being Friends First Before Dating Offers More Emotional Stability in a Relationship

They discovered that, although "love at first sight" developed into a romantic relationship more quickly, these relationships exhibited more dissimilarity in terms of personalty characteristics and compatibility.

5 Reasons to Be Friends First Before Dating Someone
  • You have gotten to know someone first instead of wondering about this person based only on sexual attraction so you can assess if the two of you are compatible.
  • You are more likely to share similar interests than a "love at first sight" relationship.
  • You have gotten to know your friend in different circumstances, both positive and negative, over time rather than falling head over heels and projecting what you want onto the other person.
  • You and your friend are more likely to have been more emotionally supportive of one another over time so you get to see if this person will be there for you when times are rough.
  • You are more likely to form a more emotionally intimate and committed relationship with someone you have been friends with first.

Take the Time to Get to Know Someone First
The researchers concluded that people who take the time to get to know someone first have more similar personality traits than people who immediately jump into a relationship.  

In the long run, taking the time to get to know a potential romantic partner provides an opportunity to form a stronger emotional foundation than relationships based "love at first sight." 

You can form a friendship that turns into relationship based on being drawn to each other and enjoying each other's company. Over time you become familiar with your friend's life and you also get to see this person's quirks.

In addition, when you get to know someone over time you learn whether you can trust them, which is the bedrock of any successful romantic relationship.

Sometimes people raise the objection that they don't think they can transition from being friends to forming a romantic relationship because they don't feel that love at first sight feeling. But relationships that start as friendships often have an element of sexual attraction to them even in the friendship phase (see my article: The 5 Stages of Love).

Romantic relationships that start as friendships are often more successful in the long run than relationships that form based on sexual attraction only.

A friends first relationship offers an opportunity to assess compatibility, trustworthiness and commitment.

About Me
I am a NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist (see my article: The Therapeutic Benefits of Integrative Psychotherapy).

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.