It is something we all hear: “we were friends first, and then we started dating”. The question I always ask is: friends for how long? Although some people would like to admit it and some wouldn’t, the fact of the matter is that time truly matters. How long you have known a person is crucial because it can change the relationship, and also your future.

Now people who meet each other, and after a few days or weeks, decide to start dating each other, take a huge risk. There is very little you can find out about a person’s personality, habits and character, just from having known them for a short period of time. True, you may have a very good idea of the type of person they are, but what you have witnessed or seen or heard, could simply be the person they pretend to be around you, not their true self. For instance, people who have problems with anger management: when they like someone and want to date them, obviously they are not going to get mad. So the other person could easily think that you wouldn’t hurt a fly when you have the sort of temper that is something no one has ever witnessed.

Many people also do not do enough “research” about potential partners. Their past does matter, because it tells you what sort of a person they are and what you can expect from them. If you like a girl and you don’t really ask her how many boys she has gone out with, and after you start dating her you find out that she’s dated half the guys in her school, you really would regret not having asked her before-hand.

So my advice is: talk, talk, talk! And when u can’t talk anymore, talk some more. Talking is important because it allows you to find out more and more about the person you are interested in, and as you get to know them better, you will find out if they are the sort of person you would like to end up with. However, time is the most crucial issue. Don’t ever make the mistake of dating someone you have known for a very short period of time, because the person who you think you are dating could be the complete opposite of the person who you are actually dating. So my advice is to hold off on dating until you know the person well enough. Also allow them to know more about you; it will help you grow closer. A fun way of knowing whether or not you know each other really well is making a little “quiz”. Make up questions and then ask him/her. If they are able to answer 8 out of 10 correctly, you know each other well enough to date. Of course, this option is for those who have a sense of humour; those with a more serious personality, all you have to do is look for hints. You know the person well enough when you know about their family, their hobbies, their friends, their activities, and not just that, you know little details about him/her which you wouldn’t know if you hadn’t known him/her for a while.

It may seem silly to some to hold off on dating someone who you are obviously attracted too, but what one should always remember is: looks can be deceiving. The only way you can know for sure if a person is genuine is by knowing and observing their personality for a period of time: then deciding if they are right for you.