Seven factors on how to build a relationship: #1 Friendship

by Tayo Fasuan

Friendship should be the basis of any relationship. I once asked a lady that if I can’t be your friend, what’s then the need for dating you? I intentionally used this topic as the first topic because it looks like the foundational word that encompasses all other topics in the long run. And by the time we reach the end of this series, it would be clear that it is.

In a relationship, the first thing that people usually clamour for is love. “Oh, I love him”. “Yes, I love her”. While this is important, we need to understand that love has to stand on some foundations, and one of these foundations is friendship. Friendship has to do with ‘like’. Do you like the person you want to go into a relationship with? Can you stand his or her attitudes? Can you easily forgive him or her? We shouldn’t forget that in simple definition, friends are people who are together despite being different in behaviours or habits. Friends are those who ‘understand’ you and accept you for who you are.

A lot of people are of the opinion that friendship lasts longer because there are no personal feelings being over-expressed as seen between lovers. This is also true. Love relationship brings out all forms of emotions and feelings that one should be wary of. One does not stand the risk of this in platonic friendship. In fact, a lot of people tend to overlook the faults and mistakes of their friends faster than the faults and mistakes of their lovers. And it is this specific characteristic of friendship that made me include this topic as the number one topic.

It seems ironic that people easily forgive their friends and move on than to forgive their lovers. This is understandable, but still ironic. No one can hurt you except those you hold close to your heart. However, in any relationship, there is bound to be times when that love will grow cold for any reason. There will be times when you feel empty and you crave to be alone without the emotional turbulence associated with lover’s relationship. It is in these times, which will be actually numerous in your relationship, that you need your friend.

Friedrich Nietzsche said that it is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. Love is transient, and it will be feeble if the friendship between two lovers is not solid. It is friendship that will make you two survive those trying times as lovers. At those moments, you need someone to unwind with, to talk to, to share a laugh with, to prank around with, to relief yourself with. You need someone to hold you down and take your mind off your worries. At those moments you need your friend, and who is in a better position to be your friend than someone who you obviously want to spend a lifetime with?

One thing I’ve always been hammering for a while is this: Guys and ladies, you need to marry your friend. I don’t care how you do it, but that is the best. If it’s already late and all your ‘good’ friends are already taken, then you need to properly befriend that person you are dating now or you will later date.

My mum always uses that word ‘befriend’ when she talks about herself and my dad. It’s a very old word that seems to have lost its importance. It was the word used by our fathers and mothers in those days to indicate when they were courting/dating. But now, ordinary ‘dating’ is the word in vogue. We need to evoke the meaning of that word again and add spices to our relationships. Befriend that person you want to settle down with or that you’ve already settled down with.

When I look back at my life and all those I’ve dated, I realized why I wasn’t a serial womanizer. For me to date you back then or have any form of relationship with you, you would have to be my friend first: someone I could be comfortable around, talk to about any other stuff apart from our relationship. That’s why all my exes are still my friends to this day. The transition was easy.

So go get that your beautiful or handsome friend today (I didn’t say snatch!), and discover the beauty in being friend with your lover. Because I’ve learnt that beauty, sex and even love sometimes will all fade away, but rock-solid friendships will last ages.

People believe that the transition from friends to lovers is difficult, and that there is a risk of ruining a beautiful friendship if you want to introduce romance into the budding friendship. In fact, people believe that there is a form of stigma associated with the scenario when you and your friend start dating. Both fears are right. But when you think about the risk involved in settling down with someone who obviously doesn’t really know, like and understand you, you won’t mind the risk.

As Franz Schubert once quipped “Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his partner.”

Cheers.

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