Originally Posted: March 9, 2010
The most important element to a relationship is friendship. There is an old saying that you should “marry your best friend.” The friendship is going to sustain you through the “for worse” times that you talked about in your vows. So how do you build a friendship and how do you nurture the friendship that already exists?
1.Avoid sex/physical contact for as long as possible to truly get to know someone. (There is no magic number for this. However long you decide to wait is between you & your partner, but physical intimacy complicates things). You can truly get into the mind and heart of a person if you avoid the missile attack on your emotions/judgment that sex brings.
2.Ask lots of questions. It’s easy to ramble on and on about your past and your future, but to truly build a friendship you have to “put on your listening ears.” Ask simple questions (How as your day), ask tough questions (Do you believe in God?), and listen to the response you get.
3.Conduct the “ride or die” test. No one is worthy of being called your friend unless they will ride and/or die for you. If you call your “friend” at 3:30 a.m. and need to be picked up because your car died, will he/she come? If you had a tough day at work and need to vent about your crazy co-workers, will the listen, or are you on the ignore button list? If you get a terminal illness like cancer and go bald, will your friend be there by your side holding your hand, or go to the wig store to help you pick out your new “do” after losing your hair to chemo? A true friend is going to be there for you, and you have to do the RDT (Ride OR Die Test) at some point.
4.Bring them into the walk-in closet of your skeletons and introduce them. True friends love you unconditionally. Now the thing about unconditional love is it doesn’t mean that you can’t address behavior or choices that you deem wrong or problematic. It just means that even in the worst situation, they still love you and have your best interest at heart. You should never be afraid of your friends finding out anything, because you know that they won’t use that information to harm you.
5.Spend time together doing different types of activities. Do new things together for the first time. Take that road trip. Go to that lecture. Create memories together that will last a life time.
The thing that I am most thankful for in my relationship is the friendship that we have. I can tell my partner anything and he can tell me anything without fear of rejection or embarrassment. We can talk about everything from politics to religion, from black people to aliens, I know that we have a solid friendship. When we can both admit our mistakes or poor judgment and move on, I know that we’re on the right track. I know that if I text or call him in an emergency, he’ll be there. The key to a good solid friendship is that it requires consistent time and effort. It doesn’t just happen effortlessly and that solid friendship is key to building a long lasting relationship.