To-Date-or-Not-to-Date-300x200Last week we discussed the five stages a friendship moves through as it progresses into a relationship. This week I would like to take that knowledge and apply it to the decision to date or remain as friends. When determining whether to enter into a relationship, there are several things to consider. I will highlight a few of these and give some suggestions to assist with this decision.

3-month rule
This is my personal opinion, but I think that you should get to know someone for at least 3 months before dating him or her. It gives you time to go through the stages of getting to know someone and also allows you to have time to think objectively and to approach the relationship in a rational way.

Think objectively
When you consider dating someone you really have to look past how that person makes you feel and analyze his or her character. To think objectively means to put your emotions aside and weigh the pros and cons of being with this person. Do they have integrity? Are they able to communicate effectively? Do they have a personality that is compatible with yours? These are questions that many people overlook when they blindly jump into a relationship. If you ask these questions from the get go, you could save a lot of conflict and heartache.

Be self-aware
Before considering dating it is important that you know yourself. You need to know your likes and dislikes, your personality, your strengths and your weaknesses. It is important to have a measure of self-awareness in a relationship because your words and actions will not only affect yourself but will also impact your relationship.

We all know the common expression that there is a time and a place for everything. This is especially true when it comes to dating. Many people are led by their emotions when deciding the appropriate time to enter into a relationship. It might just be a coincidence that you fall in love with someone right before moving away for university or right before you taking the career of your dreams that requires relocation. The reality is that when your heart gets attached to someone while you are in a season of transition you could compromise your goals and future without even realizing it. It is very important to be aware of the season that you are in and whether it is an important time of growth and change. Are you in transition? Are you in a season in your life that requires focus and hard work to lay a foundation for your career? Are you at a time in your personal development where you are still discovering who you are? If so, then you need to be cautious of the person you select to date and when. If you are not aware, you are at risk of short-circuiting your own potential.

Next week we will discuss some of the personality and character qualities that I believe are crucial for a relationship to be successful. It is good to review these characteristics and keep them in mind when looking for a potential partner.

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