Why Be Friends First?
If you date someone you have only known a short time, you do not really know how he or she will act. You know whether friends drink or smoke, if they are fun to be with and that they will have your best interests at heart. Therefore, it is generally safer to go on a date with friends than with someone you barely know.
Relationships are hard to build and they take time to nourish them. If you already have a friendship with someone, it is easier to build a romantic relationship on top of that, because you already have a relationship based on mutual respect and love.
As Dear Abby alluded to in her column, friendship is a kind of love and romantic love is just friendship with a spark of romantic interest. If more people adhered to Abby’s ideas about what love is, the divorce rate might be much lower than it is today.
Friends share common interests. For example, if your daughter is in band at school, she will likely already have friends who share her passion for music within the group. This gives her a common bond with friends, some of which could be good dating partners later.
Teach your teen that not everyone has his or her best interests at heart. Random acquaintances may be more careless in terms of their safety than a friend would. A friend would never ask them to do anything that would be harmful in any way, such as engage in reckless driving, drinking or other self-destructive behaviors.