How to Date Successfully

Navigate Dating. Your Questions Answered Here

As you navigate the dating scene, you may have more questions than answers.  We are here to help you make sense of it all. From how to start a dating relationship to what role your friends should play, we’ve got you covered.

How do you get to know someone of the opposite sex?

I believe there’s great value to relationships with the opposite sex, even if you’re simply friends without any of the romantic drama. But there can be things that hold you back from starting these relationships.

Sarah asked: How do you get to know someone of the opposite sex?

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Fear is a powerful emotion. Fear can paralyze you and keep you from going after what you want the most. It can convince you something horrible will happen if you go after what is in your heart. Now, fear that keeps you from the edge of a cliff, or from changing lanes in busy traffic without looking, is a good thing. But fear that keeps you from living the life you desire is not a good thing.

Fear often keeps people from taking the risk of reaching out to become friends with someone of the opposite sex. The core of the issue is often a fear of rejection, thinking once you open up and are vulnerable to any person, then they have the power to either accept or reject you.

Overcoming Fear

To overcome this fear, you need to start from a position of confidence. Not cockiness, but a feeling of confidence in who you are as a person. Many people try to start a relationship with someone because they think it will complete them. It’s not good to think another person will fill in the emptiness inside their heart.

It’s important to know and believe you are worthy of love. And you are! You are loved completely by God. Most people are more deeply loved than they ever realize.

A confident person, who stands up against the fear of rejection, who is willing to reach out to others, will always have plenty of friends of either sex.

Once the Fear is gone…

Once you understand that you are loved and are worthy of love, you can be relaxed around people of the opposite sex because you have nothing to lose. Even if the person you want to get to know rejects you, you can remain confident in knowing you have value!

Once the fear is gone it’s simply a matter of taking an interest in things the other person is interested in, sharing pieces of your life with them, making an effort through kindness to show you are thinking about them, and most importantly, letting time develop the relationship naturally.

Should Friends Control Your Relationships?

This is an important question…do you let your heart, or your friends determine the decisions you make?

John asked: I’m going out with a girl right now, but I like another girl. My girlfriend suspects me, and everyone says that a lot of people will get mad with me if I break up with her. What do I do?

It sounds like you are trying to deal with your true feelings, and not let others tell you what to do. That’s good. Honesty is also very important. So here are some things to consider.

Check your friends’ motives

Sometimes friends are able to see if you’re doing something stupid like getting rid of what they think is a really good girlfriend. Other times, they have their own selfish reasons for you to stay in a certain relationship. It’s good to listen to and weigh the advice of other people but find out why they want you to stay together with your girlfriend. They might have really good reasons, or they might not.

You might feel like you’re trapped in your current relationship, and you’re wondering if there’s a reason to hold on. You should communicate with your current girlfriend about what you’re feeling. Don’t ignore her or just drop her while you fantasize about this new girl. Honesty is always the best policy.

Beware of the Reputation You are Building

It’s also important to consider what kind of reputation you could develop if you start going from one girl to the next. You’ll soon find most girls won’t trust you because you can’t commit because you always jump to the next best thing. A huge part of being in a dating relationship is commitment.

Communicate with your current girlfriend, talk to friends you can trust, and strive to be the most committed, trustworthy boyfriend you can possibly be.

After you’ve made your decision, hold your head high. Only you can answer for you.

How Do You Balance Time with Friends, Family and Dating?

It is always healthy to have many healthy relationships in your life. You never want to focus solely on your dating relationship. But what if your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t quite understand your desire to spend time with others?

Sarah asked: I’ve been going out with my boyfriend for almost a year, and I know I love him but at times he just doesn’t seem to understand that I want time for friends and family.

It is a struggle to find a balance between time with the person you love and the other important people in your life. Hopefully, you’ve tried to explain to your boyfriend the importance of having many friends. Your boyfriend needs to understand that it’s easy to suffocate a relationship by demanding the other person always be there just for you. Remember love is not selfish or demanding.

That being said, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself about this issue.

Include Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend in Your Other Relationships

Have you included him in some of these other relationships? Do you ever invite him along when you spend time with family or friends? Or do you want to keep him separate from your interactions with friends and family?

If you aren’t including him, he might feel like you’re embarrassed or ashamed of your relationship. There’s also a possibility that he doesn’t truly know how you feel about him, and he’s trying to get clues from you, based on how you spend your time. If you do generally include him, but just need some “girl” time, he should respect that.

Be Honest with Yourself

Or perhaps you actually don’t want him to be involved in these other relationships. If that’s the case, you need to ask yourself why that is.  If you are seeking to know your boyfriend more fully, and possibly moving toward a much deeper relationship, your friends and family will play an important role in helping you see more clearly if he’s the right guy for you.

But don’t string him along. If you want to keep your relationship with him private, I’d tell him, and explain to him why you feel the way you do. He deserves to know at least that much. Just remember, whoever you choose to spend your life with, you will always face the challenge of giving each other the kind of time, together and apart, each partner needs and deserves.


As you start to develop relationships with the opposite sex, issues will undoubtedly come up. But don’t lose heart, all relationships require a bit of effort and it’s well worth it. Honesty and open communication will go a long way.

And most importantly always remember that a boyfriend or girlfriend will not define you or give you your worth. You are valuable just as you are. A loved child of God.

Friendships are one of life's greatest joys, but what if you find yourself falling in love with your best friend? Here's what you should do.

TheHopeLine Team
For over 30 years, TheHopeLine has been helping students and young adults in crisis. Our team is made up of writers and mental health professionals who care deeply about helping others.
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