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Commentary Opinion

Love, love me do (but let us be friends first, too)

Graphic by Liv Klassen | Photo Editor

A few months ago, a friend of mine and I started getting weekly coffee (or in their case a lemonade) and catching up. The topics of conversation have varied and sometimes have gotten quite deep. 

We’ve discussed everything from our love lives to personal drama to controversial political opinions we don’t 100% see eye to eye on, and everything in between. 

This friend who I simply knew from a single class last year, I now feel a lot closer to because we’ve been able to have these completely open and honest conversations. I’ve been able to see a new side of them that I don’t typically see with even my other friends. 

These discussions have become a highlight of my week, though that’s not entirely what this commentary is about. 

Yes, having these discussions is very beneficial and I encourage everyone to have them –  however this article is about a specific topic we talked about that they encouraged me to write about.

The weekly meetings began because we wanted to fill each other in on the rollercoaster of our love lives. This is how we came to a common consensus on how romance should be:

The key to a perfect romantic relationship starts with friendship. 

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I was honestly surprised at how many people just live by the classic “hook-up culture” and think they’ll find the love of their life from Tinder.

Don’t get me wrong, if that’s what you do, no judgment, live your life however you want. My point is my hopeless romantic self could never do that. I rely on more connection and emotion. 

In other words, I live for the classic “friends-to-lovers” trope. I guess I’m a bit of an expert in that field for better or worse; any romantic relationship or “situationship” I’ve been in, I was friends with the girl first. 

It was nice to hear my friend had similar beliefs, so I had someone who could relate and talk about this with (and occasionally stay up till 1 a.m. crying over cheesy romance movies, as one does.)

Friendship is the most basic yet important foundation. It establishes if the two individuals are even compatible at the most basic level.

I cannot describe the feeling I feel when I see couples who ultimately don’t work out because they got to dating right away without even getting to know each other. Then, low and behold, they get to know each other and boom! They ain’t feeling it.

And it all started because they saw someone cute in the bar and asked them out and jumped head first without establishing anything. How can you be lovers if you can’t even be friends?

I’ve tried going on dates with girls I didn’t know before and as you could probably guess, it just didn’t feel right for me. I need to know her first. It just feels weird when it’s a stranger.

Obviously, not all friends become lovers, but as your friendship grows, you’ll know what you’re more compatible with. Sometimes if you plant the seeds of romance and they don’t sprout into anything, move on, don’t let it ruin a perfectly good friendship.

This also doesn’t mean you should hit on all your friends. Don’t be weird. Read the room.

It’s important to note platonic relationships are just as important, if not more important than romantic ones. 

The way I see it, while romantic relationships do get the added benefits of things like sex and/or any form of physical intimacy/affection comfortable and consensual with both parties, they still also require what I’d call ‘mental intimacy.’ Something you technically only get from friendship.

Enjoying each other’s presence, having happy thoughts about each other, etc constitute a friendship. Although it may seem weird to think about at first, these are some basics of friendship, not romance. 

Think of your best friend. Do you enjoy each other’s presence? Does thinking of them make you happy? Boom! The only difference between this and romance is in a romantic relationship the feelings are heightened…or in other words, the seeds of romance were planted and actually sprouted!

However, my point still stands: at the foundation of every romantic relationship is friendship. Hopefully, you’re able to follow along, I know I’ve been spurting lots of words. In my head this all made sense.

This is all why I’ll never understand hook-up culture. I guess I’m old-fashioned because I simply like to get to know someone and connect with them before romance is considered.

Anyways, that’s all. I don’t know how else to end this; my point was made. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

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