about friendship and dating

The Friendship-First Approach to Dating. How a small shift in perspective can completely transform our dating lives. Setting the scene… Last year, I met a girl named Jessica on OkCupid and we agreed to meet up and go on an adventure date throughout Seattle. We explored new neighborhoods, meandered through parks, and people-watched out of a coffee shop’s balcony. The next week, I hosted a board game night and invited her so she could meet some of my friends. Over the course of our time together, we talked about plenty of our romantic and sexual preferences, but neither of us pressed for anything physical. We kept things friendly and fun rather than expecting things to turn romantic or physical right away. By not overtly expecting sex, commitment, or even compatibility upfront, and instead focusing on just creating a series of fun, memorable experiences, we had implicitly set the precedent for a friendship-first approach to dating. This friendship-first approach has fundamentally changed my understanding of dating and relationships. Enter: The Friendship-First Approach to Dating. The Power of Friendship-First. A year after meeting Jessica, I needed to travel to a new city for work and I realized that I had no place to stay there. I mentioned my predicament to Jessica, and she excitedly revealed that her good friend had just moved to the city I was visiting. She quickly connected us via Facebook, where her friend and I immediately hit it off and subsequently spent the whole weekend together. Jessica later introduced me to yet another awesome friend in San Francisco, and once again, her friend and I ended up having amazing chemistry. Jessica and I met up as friends, without any overt attempts at wooing, courting, or sleeping with one another. We created a space for mutual support and growth. She came to understand my background story and my relationship goals and preferences (friends talk about these things all the time), and I learned about hers. Using these insights, we both began introducing each other to awesome people within our respective friend groups, and have been doing so for years. That one OkCupid date with Jessica translated into 1000+ potential introductions to amazing people. How Does It Work? The friendship-first approach centers around sharing fun and memorable experiences with the people we meet, and seeking to learn their stories and their preferences, free of any overtly sexual or romantic expectations. Sex and romance can definitely still happen in the context of friendship-first dating, but they are never assumed or expected, and the top priority is always to understand and validate someone’s existing preferences and goals rather than imposing your own goals and expectations upon them. Not the “Friend Zone” The concept of being “friendzoned” depends on an implicit expectation of sex, because it posits friendship as a suboptimal outcome instead of being a worthy end in and of itself. plaining about being “friendzoned” is incredibly harmful to our relationships and can cripple our capacity for both healthy friendships and healthy relationships. Why the Friendship-First Approach to Dating Works. Friends Open Doors. Our existing friends have always been our best source of referrals. Consider when a friend invites you to a trivia night and you meet one of their other friends there and hit it off, or when you go to a friend’s birthday party and bump into someone new. Unfortunately, our friends typically share similar social networks as us, so it’s a bit harder for them to introduce us to new people. The rise of online dating allows us to quickly meet people outside our social networks. Interestingly, though, online dating itself has been steadily integrating itself into our existing social networks. New dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, and CoffeeMeetsBagel make us log in with Facebook, and they display the mutual friends we share with users on the app, which generates feelings of credibility and trust. The worlds of dating and social networking are on a path toward convergence, and friendship is the driving force. The Rise of Friendship. According to PEW Research, the #1 most commonly cited reason people use online dating sites nowadays is to find someone with similar interests and hobbies. The dating site HowAboutWe has been doing this for years. Meeting someone to participate in an activity you mutually enjoy sets you up for a successful friendship, which can either convert into a relationship later, or lead to that person referring you to one of their friends to date. Consequently, that one person who previously would’ve been a single “yes/no” one-off date with no followup instead becomes not just a friend, but a fantastic advocate in our quest to build future friendships and relationships. The most effective strategy for finding a good relationship is thus to optimize dating sites for finding friendship first. Friends understand our needs, become invested in our story, and enthusiastically introduce us to more of their friends. Looking at the Numbers. Friendship Drives Success. As an online dating consultant and matchmaker, I’m a strong believer in the power of these referral networks. After going on over 150 dates, trying out over 100 dating websites, and advising hundreds of individuals at all levels of dating experience, one thing consistently stands out to me: friendship is the primary driver of dating success. Using dating sites to find love is inefficient and prone to failure. We typically set the stakes too high, and centuries worth of societal tropes and expectations can cripple the authenticity of our interactions. Finding a Romantic Match Is Hard. Despite the romantic promise of most dating sites, the likelihood of discovering that your internet date is truly compatible with you across all major dimensions of compatibility is quite low. According to PEW research, as of last year, only 11% of US adults have used online dating sites, and of those, only 23% have actually entered into a relationship with someone they met there. That means that only 2.5% of Americans are getting into relationships with people they met on dating sites. Finding Friends Is More Effective. Using dating sites to meet new friends who can refer you to future love interests is a far more effective approach. The underlying logic is quite simple: the more friends you have who know you and are invested in helping you connect with awesome, compatible people, the better your chances are of actually meeting those awesome, compatible people. If you can steadily make friends via dating sites, your dating and romantic life will almost necessarily improve. There’s a reason why some of the most popular and effective dating apps today rely heavily upon your mutual friends. Both online and offline, friends provide instant validation and accountability. It’s why wing[wo]men are so amazing to have around. It’s why people are far more likely to connect with you on dating apps when you have friends in common. Never underestimate the power of friendship. Why Friendship Matters. We need to remember that friendship is never a means to an end. Genuine friendships drive human happiness, and when we want the best for the people we meet and strive to help them excel in the things they value, we are deepening our capacity for quality friendships. The most influential line I ever read about cultivating friendships & relationships actually came from a nondescript Geocities page that I stumbled across in 2003. It’s been a guiding influence every day of my life: “When you keep your mind pure, full of love and compassion, the peace and harmony that is generated within permeates the atmosphere around you. Anyone who comes in contact with you at that time starts experiencing peace and harmony. You are distributing something good that you have. You have peace, you have harmony, you have real happiness, and you are distributing this to others. This is Dharma, the art of living.” Now it’s time to implement this friendship-first approach! In order to do so, we’ll have to first get past the most obvious stumbling blocks… Potential Stumbling Blocks of the Friendship-First Approach to Dating. 1. Behavioral Tropes. Creating genuine friendships is not easy, and it oftentimes needs to start from a position of selfless interest in another. It’s critical to be aware of how painfully obvious it can be when we fail at this. Consciously or not, people constantly exhibit the tropes of “commitment-seeking behavior.” These include pressure to formally define “what we are,” requests for increased intimacy, hints of jealousy/control, and many more. Your prospective partners will pick up on these very quickly. There’s a world of difference between being able to calmly and confidently talk about the things you’re looking for, versus presenting yourself as a walking basket of unmet needs who’s desperately looking to others for validation. Avoid putting this pressure on the people you’re dating. Instead, invite them to candidly share their life priorities, their preferred relationship styles, and their past experiences so that you can gain a fuller sense of whether their goals actually align with yours in the first place. If your prospective partner feels like you’re trying to impose your own idea of a relationship upon them, they’ll likely feel totally alienated and disrespected. 2. Sexual Norms. For better or worse, on most dating sites, the implicit behavior patterns tend to skew flirty/romantic/sexual in nature. After all, many people go on the very same dating sites in search of everything from easy, no-strings-attached sex to intense lifelong romance. But if you want your dates to emphasize and foster friendship, you’ll need to adjust your behavior a bit. First, you will need to be very upfront about your intentions. Make it clear (ideally in your dating profile) that you want to go explore or experience something fun, and that your endgame is not necessarily romance, marriage, etc., but rather lasting friendships and fun people you can invite to future events and game nights. 3. Creativity. Next, and importantly, strive to be generative !

Focus on creating memorable experiences, asking insightful questions, and planning fun events. Make sure that all of these are the same types of things you’d want to do with platonic friends. This will direct attention away from romantic/sexual bonding and more toward long term camaraderie. If your date suggestion consists of going to a bar at 11pm on a Friday night, you’ll likely encounter many sexual scripts and connotations. On the other hand, if you plan a Saturday morning date where you explore a new park and a street fair, you can ensure that the person sees you as a fun, exciting, and interesting person to be around, rather than just as someone they can sleep with on a random night of the week. Doing side-by-side walk and talks on a date gives you ample opportunity to inquire more about their past relationships, their ideal relationships, their future trajectories, etc. After all, friends talk about these sorts of things all the time. 4. Honesty & Full Disclosure. Notably, being honest and upfront doesn’t preclude the possibility of being physically affectionate and even sexually intimate, if that’s what you both want. What’s essential, though, is that you maintain honest intentionality and full disclosure so that your date is on the exact same page that you are every step of the way. You’re building memories together that will constitute the foundation of a potentially lifelong friendship. Throughout these experiences, you can get to know more and more about your date’s life perspective, their personal and professional goals, and their intended future trajectory. Doing this will let you develop friendship, trust, and a mutual commitment toward helping one another live the best, most fulfilled lives possible. If it turns out that you’re both also compatible physically and romantically, more power to you. Three Ways to Implement The Friendship-First Approach Today. 1. Optimize your online dating profiles for friendship. On all of your online dating profiles, go add the line, “In your first message to me, mention a [park/cafe/neighborhood/activity] you’ve been meaning to [try out explore].” This will cut through all the “Hi/Hey/You’re cute” bullshit and ensure that your first point of interaction with every new person is tied to useful, novel, actionable content that will ultimately set not just the place of your first date, but also the tone of your prospective friendship. Read The One Line You Need to Add to Your Tinder Profile Right Now. Remember that if you’re going to ask these kinds of questions, you should definitely be able to give your own answers!

Seeking and discovering all the awesome and beautiful spots around your city, and being excited to explore new ones, is a fantastic way to create and maintain friendships. 2. Learn to communicate your story and your trajectory. It’s essential that you learn enough about yourself and your story to be able to convey your life and motivations to another person. After all, how can you expect someone to opt into a friendship or relationship with you if you have no clue what that entails and cannot communicate to them what they’re about to get themselves into?

How can they recommend you to a friend if they don’t know how to properly describe you?

Be sure to inquire about your future partners’ stories as well. Friendship is a two-way street, so it’s always wise to learn about your partners’ relationship goals, intentions, and motivations in order to approach your friendship or relationship on common ground. For a fantastic list of questions you can use to spark authenticity and disclosure, check this out. 3. Use Excel to map out and truly understand what your relationships (and friendships) should look like. Excel relationships just work better. You get to analyze compatibility factors, identify red flags, and plan ideal ways of responding to conflict. Even the mere act having open, honest, and highly-nuanced relationship conversations with your prospective partner(s) already puts you leaps and bounds beyond most traditional approaches to dating. Here’s a link to a quick post I created that map out your own relationship needs. 18 Ways To Know Whether Your Friendship Is Turning Into Romance. We've all been there: falling in love with a best friend. Rejection sucks, but learning to tell these signs for what they really are — that friendship is becoming more — is sure to save you from much heartache, especially when you know the difference between a friendship and relationship. If you're a man lusting for a woman, but she's your best friend, make sure the lust is not fleeting. If it turns into a friends with benefits type of situation, it might lead to more or it might explode. In either case, it's difficult to recover. At best, your friendship will never be the same. If you feel an emotional bond with your best friend, and you feel that it's mutual and has potential to last "forever," be prepared to face rejection and possibly lose him or her. However, if it's really that strong of a connection, it'll be reciprocated, which might make it all worth it. Sometimes, this is your only choice. Because if you're crazy about someone who was once just a best friend, you won't want to be in the friend-zone. If you feel that it's not mutual and you value having the person in your life, don't act on it and wait it out. Maybe you just have a strong emotional bond, but it doesn't mean that you're in love with the person. If it does become a relationship, prepare for the dynamics of the relationship to change entirely. It likely won't be as laid-back as the friendship; jealousy might come into the mix, and if either or both of you are dramatic or very sensitive, prepare to face the music. If you choose to cross this proverbial line, you have to be smart enough to weigh all the possibilities, both negative and positive. Be honest and upfront with yourself. Don't ignore any potential red flags you see pop up during your friendship. If you notice small problems now, they will become bigger problems later with the emotional baggage added in. So, to make sure you're not riding that (really thin) line, and understand the real difference between a friendship and relationship, here are 18 signs to keep you on the straight and narrow: A man's girlfriend will not be offended by the phone call if she truly knows you're his best friend. But if she feels like you're hiding your feelings behind your "best friend" title and it later comes out, she will feel betrayed by you. So get ready to be on the next episode of Jerry Springer because that's the road you're headed down by crossing that imaginary line, without being upfront and honest with all parties involved. Obviously, if you're his best friend-turned-girlfriend, he will not feel as comfortable about you knowing about or hanging around with other women he may find or has found attractive. This will undoubtedly create uneasiness in your relationship. Should he proceed or not? Telling his girlfriend about other women he likes may not work so well, unless you have an open relationship, or these are women you both would not mind getting to know mentally and physically. It's not quite that simple if the person is a girlfriend, especially if you live together. Every decision you make becomes critical, and one you have to face because of the physical and mental connection. A man can't run away or dismiss himself from a woman he's in love with. He loves his best friend, but he's in love with his girlfriend. So, whether he likes it or not, he will have to deal with a "mouthy" girlfriend, which takes the tension to a whole new level. This should be no problem at all if you two are strictly friends. It will not be easy, however, for his girlfriend to just waltz out of town with her girlfriends or male friends, without a fully documented explanation. For example, a man might be reminiscing by looking at an old photo album of an ex that he just happened to leave open while he was rushing out to go to the airport. A best friend would just look and say, "I remember her," and close the book. A girlfriend, on the other hand, may want to know "who, what, when, where, and how?" She may even draw the conclusion that his business trip is really a rendezvous with this old fling. Oftentimes with a girlfriend, there may be some stories in his past he may never feel comfortable telling her about. Don't take it personally. Some men may be just too embarrassed. A best friend would just laugh it off, but the same stories may destroy his girlfriend's perfect image of him — e.g., "That's what you used to do?" She might not be able to handle stories from his past, not truly taking into account that his past experiences, good or bad, helped make him into the man he is today, the man she currently loves. A man who is in a committed relationship obviously has certain expectations to live up to, and if he fails, it's often fatal and filled with emotional trauma. Are you prepared to take the place of the girlfriend in the life of the object of your affection, also known as your best friend?

Ready to take the gamble and either lose it or gain it all? A female best friend may not like this idea so much, because it can put her in an awkward position, especially if she's tight with his girlfriend. But in an emergency situation, she would rather not see their relationship fail because of a stupid mistake he made. For obvious reasons, it's a lot harder for a man to use his girlfriend as a scapegoat, although some men have used reverse psychology to find a way. 10. A man enjoys listening to his best friend; he has no choice but to listen to his girlfriend if he wants his relationship to last. Best friends truly listen; girlfriends often hear the words that are coming out of his mouth, but fail to listen. Girlfriends tend to listen when they are happy, but not when they are upset. Perhaps they had always painted a picture in their mind of the perfect relationship, or perhaps they took a scene from their favorite romance, and filled in the blank spaces with his name and picture. Subscribe to our newsletter. A BFF will not be as intensely jealous as his girlfriend, because there is no sexual component to their relationship that brings on feelings of jealousy and possessiveness–weapons of mass relationship destruction. It doesn't matter what a man’s best friend looks like, but men always desire the most attractive girlfriend they can find. Body type, look and feel all matter as much as inner beauty when choosing a girlfriend. The more the emotional investment in the relationship, the harder the whiplash. Love has an equal but opposite energy, often witnessed in failed relationships: hate. A best friend is not physically and emotionally attached to the relationship in the same way, so the whiplash, if any, is minimal. Friends usually say something negative and a man will respect her opinion (but not always agree), because it usually comes from a place of pure love and without her personal bias. How many times have you heard a woman say to a man, “You don't make me happy”? It's more of a mutual exchange of energy between her and her best friend. A girlfriend relies on her man to bring and be her happiness. Ladies, for the record, that's a lot of pressure to put on any relationship. Happiness comes from within yourself and compliments the happiness you hope to find in another person. A woman who is upset with a man, nine times out of 10, will make a wrong and unfair decision, and justify it based on how she feels, and not how she would want to be treated if the shoe were on the other foot. 3 Principles of Friendship in Dating. Friendship and dating. Sometimes these two things seem contrary to each other. After all, dating often takes the form of going out with people you recently met or don’t know very well. In modern America, people often start going out simply because they find each other physically attractive. And when you add in the powerful romantic feelings that often accompany dating relationships, you can get a recipe for couples whose relationship is made of nothing more substantial than sexual and emotional attraction. These hazards have caused some Christians to feel that you can’t build friendships through dating and should avoid dating altogether. But I would say wisdom reveals that it really is possible to build healthy, uplifting friendships through dating, as long as we pay attention to several important principles. #1 – Friendship is essential for any long-term romantic relationship. The first thing we need to understand is that friendship isn’t something we can brush aside if we hope to build a long-term relationship that can last a life time. Romantic feelings often run high in the beginning of a relationship. They can be so intense that you might believe they’ll last forever, fueling your love for your honey. The truth is that romantic feelings are like superglue. They bond quickly, but they’re not a good choice for a bond that lasts for years. That’s because the natural purpose of romantic emotions are to draw two people together. But once the lives of two people are united, their feelings tend to naturally calm down somewhat. In his book Finding The Love of Your Life, Dr. Neil Warren describes how the initial feelings of passionate love in a relationship usually grow into companionate love as the relationship matures. That’s where friendship comes in. Friendship is the foundational relationship that marks this sort of companionate love. In the grind of daily life, romantic feelings aren’t what play the biggest role in you and your spouse being united. The truth is friendship between you and your spouse is what primarily supports your commitment to be together through the day-to-day. That’s why it’s sometimes said that “you should marry your best friend.” Think of the camaraderie and enjoyment you share with your best friends. You stick together because you genuinely enjoy each other, support each other in difficulty, and share the deepest parts of yourselves with each other. This characteristic of friendship is essential in a lifelong relationship. While romantic feelings might be like superglue, friendship is like concrete. It takes longer to fully set, but once it does it can last for years and years. So if we want to enter a healthy, fulfilling marriage one day, it starts with learning to develop friendship in our dating today. #2 – Dating provides opportunity for building friendship…if you use it right. I remember when I once took a casual friend on a date. She and I had been acquaintances beforehand, but I hadn’t spent much time with her and didn’t know too much about her. But from what I knew of her she seemed to be a wonderful person, so I asked her out. We spent several hours together over the course of the date, talking about everything from what we studied, to what we hoped for the future, to current events, to favorite movies. I remember after the date having a deep sense that we had become deeper friends by the end of the date than we were before it started. To this day we remain good friends, and I fully believe that date had a lot to do with it. Dating provides opportunity for building friendship because it provides two people an opportunity to spend time together and get to know each other. At its core, that’s what dating is supposed to be. Dating is supposed to allow two people to intentionally spend time together so they can discover if the preliminary interest they have in each other has the potential to go deeper. Sadly, modern dating in America has drifted from this good purpose and become corrupted with people using dating for self-service and emotional and sexual gratification. That’s why dating provides opportunity for building friendship if you use it right. If your focus when you go on dates is to get to know the other person, you can build healthy friendship. But if you only want emotional or sexual gratification, then your relationship with the other person will degrade into something temporary and shallow. One awesome thing I’ve come to understand about dating is that, even when a casual dating relationship doesn’t become a long-term romantic relationship, the friendship you began building with the other person can remain. Two people can realize that they aren’t right for each other as romantic partners but can still be friends. I’ve already experienced this result with a couple casual dating relationships. #3 – Friendship needs to grow at an even pace with the other elements of a romantic relationship. So we know that dating can allow space for two people to become friends. But what about the reality that people who are dating typically have feelings beyond friendship for each other?

We may know that we need to build a friendship with a romantic partner, but what do we do with all the powerful feelings of attraction and romance that can cloud a relationship? The first thing we should recognize is that those feelings of romantic attraction aren’t bad or wrong. We definitely want to feel passion for someone who might become our spouse. The key is that all the components of a healthy romantic relationship including, friendship and romantic attraction, should grow together at a healthy pace. See, it’s not that you should experience only friendship or only romantic feelings in a dating relationship. It’s that you want both your friendship with the person you’re dating and your romantic feelings for him or her grow together as the relationship matures. A romance with no friendship becomes a hollow fling. A friendship without romance becomes…well…a friendship. That’s a good thing, but it’s not the kind of relationship you want to have with your spouse. A romance and a friendship that have grown to maturity together becomes the type of relationship you want to enjoy for a lifetime! So take care to make sure that healthy friendship is growing in any romantic relationship you pursue. As romance and friendship grow together, you may find the joy of one day marrying your best friend. What do you think? What have you experienced when it comes to building friendship through dating? Please share your thoughts in the comments! 3 Comments. Hi!

I discovered your blog through truelovedates.com. I enjoyed reading your guest post. From what I can see, I don’t believe that there’s a plethora of Christian male bloggers so it’s awesome what you are doing on your site. Keep it up and God bless! Friendships and Dating. The Program. The Friendships & Dating Program teaches teens and adults, 16 years old and older, with intellectual and related developmental disabilities, and youth with serious emotional disturbance (SED) how to develop and maintain healthy relationships and prevent interpersonal violence. Friendships & Dating is a train-the-trainer program; community agency personnel facilitate the program to groups of teens and adults in agency and community settings. Friendships & Dating is a 10-week long program made up of 20 sessions. Sessions are held twice a week and last approximately 1.5 hours each. The first session of each week focuses on participants learning new skills. The second session centers on applying these new skills in a community setting. Over the 10-weeks participants learn about: Facilitator Training. UAA Center for Human Development trains staff working in community agencies across Alaska to implement the Friendships & Dating Program. Staff attend a 2-day facilitator workshop in person or using distance technology to learn how to deliver program content. Once trained, facilitators return to their home community, and commit to recruiting a group of 6-10 coed participants, and delivering the Friendships & Dating Program. Facilitators receive The Friendships & Dating Manual with detailed materials organized to easily conduct sessions. The manual delineates learning and behavioral objectives, materials needed, session activities, scripts for teaching each concept and skill, and experiential community activities. Facilitators receive a CD with all session materials and additional resources such as DVDs, slides, posters, and games. Find a Facilitator. If you are interested in participating in the Friendships & Dating Program contact your local provider to inquire if they have trained facilitators. If they don’t, tell them about the program and how they can get involved. The Center for Human Development has been training agencies across Alaska since 2009. Below is a list of agencies that have been trained to use the Friendships & Dating Program: Pass your Speaking. This blog is aimed at students who want to pass their Speaking Exam in EOI from Spain (level B2) TOPIC 7: FRIENDSHIP AND DATING. How have the ways of staying in touch with people and dating changed during the last years? Which way of staying in touch with your friends do you prefer?

What are the advantages or disadvantages of each of these options? Nowadays, the way of meeting people has changed a lot. With the impact of social networks, online methods to meet new people have increased and got much more fashionable than other traditional ways as meeting people in a bar or at work. Having a social life is very important in people’s lives because it can make you be happier. Either friendship or between partners, we are generally attracted to people who are similar to us, fairly similar in education, intelligence and what we think matters in life. Besides, Couples usually share religious and beliefs and are about the same age. Sometimes, starting to make friends and as a result the couple’s relationship gets stronger. So that, you can feel attracted to each other, and begin to go out. Today, the internet is one of the most popular ways for people to get dates. Social networks are a helpful tool to meet new people. There are a lot of relationships that have started online. It is a easy way, because you can speak with unknown people at home, you can express your feelings more easily online and get to know each other more quickly. On the other hand, you can lie more easily, and you can read people’s misleading profiles in a dating site. You should be aware of having reasonable expectations when you chat to speak though social networks. On the other hand, there are a wide range of posibilities of meet people, for example, in blind dates, speed dates…. Finding a partner has always been complicated proceess. In recent years speed dating has become popular all around the world. It means that a single person have exactly 3 minutes to decide if the person they are talking to, could be your perfect people. Everything involves in a quick conversation. Internet is a good option for people that can’t have a social life. The traditional offline methods are much more effective because you talk to other person face to face, and it is much more trustful. The most important thing in a relationship is Trust and you can be available in awful situations. Keeping in touch with your friends is very necessary, even when your friend live far away from you. You should be supportive when your friends feel upset or get down. So that, it’s very likely to have a lot of friends. Having a good social life is very necessary in our life. If you tend o be self-sufficient and not need many friends, you can end up alone and that is not a good option for your life. (Nota: El topic en general es muy extenso, no están abarcados todos los puntos en la redacción del speaking. Por eso, en el brainstorming (glogs/imagen) hay más ideas no tratadas en la respuesta, que se nombran con el fin de dar más ideas y no quedarse en blanco) Friendships and Dating. The Program. The Friendships & Dating Program teaches teens and adults, 16 years old and older, with intellectual and related developmental disabilities, and youth with serious emotional disturbance (SED) how to develop and maintain healthy relationships and prevent interpersonal violence. Friendships & Dating is a train-the-trainer program; community agency personnel facilitate the program to groups of teens and adults in agency and community settings. Friendships & Dating is a 10-week long program made up of 20 sessions. Sessions are held twice a week and last approximately 1.5 hours each. The first session of each week focuses on participants learning new skills. The second session centers on applying these new skills in a community setting. Over the 10-weeks participants learn about: Facilitator Training. UAA Center for Human Development trains staff working in community agencies across Alaska to implement the Friendships & Dating Program. Staff attend a 2-day facilitator workshop in person or using distance technology to learn how to deliver program content. Once trained, facilitators return to their home community, and commit to recruiting a group of 6-10 coed participants, and delivering the Friendships & Dating Program. Facilitators receive The Friendships & Dating Manual with detailed materials organized to easily conduct sessions. The manual delineates learning and behavioral objectives, materials needed, session activities, scripts for teaching each concept and skill, and experiential community activities. Facilitators receive a CD with all session materials and additional resources such as DVDs, slides, posters, and games. Find a Facilitator. If you are interested in participating in the Friendships & Dating Program contact your local provider to inquire if they have trained facilitators. If they don’t, tell them about the program and how they can get involved. The Center for Human Development has been training agencies across Alaska since 2009. Below is a list of agencies that have been trained to use the Friendships & Dating Program: For Valentine’s Day, 5 facts on relationships and dating in the U.S. Valentine’s Day this year will be unlike any in recent memory as coronavirus-related restrictions continue to limit what Americans can do to celebrate. But many Americans may still find special ways to mark the holiday with their loved ones or hop on a dating website or app to meet someone new. Here are five facts about relationships and dating in the United States, based mostly on Pew Research Center surveys and analyses conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic. Pew Research Center conducted these studies as part of its continuing research on marriage and families, personal experiences with and attitudes toward dating and relationships, and the coronavirus outbreak. Most of the findings are based on a survey conducted Oct. 16-28, 2019, among 4,860 U.S. adults. This includes those who took part as members of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses, as well as respondents from the Ipsos KnowledgePanel who indicated that they identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). The finding on relationship satisfaction in 2020 compared with 2019 is based on two surveys: one conducted Oct. 13-19, 2020, among 10,332 U.S. adults and another conducted June 25-July 8, 2019, among 9,834 U.S. adults. All participants were members of the American Trends Panel. Recruiting ATP panelists by phone or mail ensures that nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. This gives us confidence that any sample can represent the whole U.S. adult population (see our Methods 101 explainer on random sampling). To further ensure that each ATP survey reflects a balanced cross-section of the nation, the data are weighted to match the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Married and cohabiting adults are just as satisfied with their relationships as they were before the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has reshaped many aspects of American life, and the relationship and dating landscape is no exception. Still, as of October 2020, adults who were married or living with a partner were just as likely to say they are satisfied with their relationship as they had been before the outbreak. Despite stay-at-home orders and other pandemic-related restrictions that might have put a strain on many relationships, 53% of married or cohabiting adults said things in their marriage or relationship were going very well in 2020 – virtually unchanged from 54% in 2019. Three-in-ten Americans had used a dating site or app as of 2019, and most said their experiences were positive. Some 30% of Americans said in October 2019 that they had ever used a dating site or app, though it remains to be seen if and how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted these figures. There are some demographic differences in who uses online dating websites or apps, especially along age, sexual orientation and educational lines, according to the 2019 survey. About half (48%) of adults ages 18 to 29 said they had ever used a dating site or app, followed by 38% of adults ages 30 to 49. The shares were substantially smaller for older adults: 19% of adults 50 to 64 and 13% of those 65 and older said they had ever used a dating site or app. When it comes to sexual orientation, lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults were about twice as likely as straight adults to say they had used a dating site or app (55% vs. 28%). About six-in-ten online daters said their experience using these sites or apps had been very or somewhat positive, while 42% described their experiences as very or somewhat negative. Majorities of online dating users said it was at least somewhat easy to find people who they were physically attracted to (71%); shared their hobbies and interests (64%); seemed like someone they wanted to meet in person (64%); and were looking for the same kind of relationship (61%). Single Americans said in 2019 that they were generally open to dating people from a variety of backgrounds, but some characteristics would give them pause. In the 2019 survey, about half of single adults who were looking for a relationship said they would definitely or probably not consider seriously dating someone who lived far away (51%), had a significant amount of debt (49%) or had voted for Donald Trump in 2016 (47%). Other items on the list of potential relationship deal-breakers included dating someone who was 10 years older (38%) or someone who was raising children from another relationship (36%). But majorities of single adults looking for a relationship were still open to dating someone with these characteristics. Meanwhile, a significant majority of single adults who were looking for a relationship said they would definitely or probably date someone who was a different race or ethnicity (85%) or a different religion (77%) from them. Most Americans said in 2019 that premarital and casual sex were at least sometimes acceptable, but sex on a first date and open relationships were seen as more taboo. Around two-thirds of adults (65%) said sex between unmarried adults in a committed relationship is sometimes or always acceptable, while a slightly smaller share (62%) said the same about casual sex between consenting adults. Open relationships – that is, committed relationships where both people agree that it is acceptable to date or have sex with other people – were viewed as the least acceptable behavior of those asked about in the survey, with 68% of adults saying this type of arrangement is rarely or never acceptable. Views on the exchange of explicit images between consenting adults were more evenly divided. There were differences by sexual orientation in views of these relationship arrangements and behaviors. LGB adults, for example, were significantly more likely than straight adults (61% vs. 29%) to say that having an open relationship is always or sometimes acceptable. They were also more likely than their straight counterparts (74% vs. 47%) to say it is at least sometimes acceptable for two consenting adults to exchange explicit images of themselves. And while majorities of both LGB and straight adults said premarital and casual sex are acceptable, LGB adults were significantly more likely to say this. When it comes to premarital sex, 77% of LGB adults said it was acceptable, compared with 64% of straight adults, and the differences between these groups only increase for casual sex: 86% of LGB adults said it was acceptable, compared with 60% of straight adults. As of 2019, single Americans ages 65 and older were less likely to be looking to date, but around a quarter had still tried online dating. Three-quarters of singles 65 and older said in 2019 that they were not looking for a date or a committed relationship. These older singles – the vast majority of whom were widowed or divorced – also were less likely than their younger counterparts to say they felt pressure to find a partner. Roughly two-in-ten said they felt pressure from society to be in a relationship (vs. 53% of 18- to 29-year-olds) or pressure from family members (vs. 47% of 18- to 29-year-olds). Around a quarter (27%) of single Americans ages 65 and up said they had tried online dating at some point. Yet among all partnered adults, only 5% of those 65 and older said they found their spouse or partner online, compared with 21% of partnered adults 18 to 29. It was more common for partnered adults 65 and older to have met their spouse or partner in an offline setting, such as through family or friends (30%), work (20%) or school (15%). Overall, 36% of Americans ages 65 and older were single in 2019, and among this group, women were much more likely than men to be single (49% vs. 21%). Note: Here are the questions used, along with responses, and the methodology for the October 2019 survey, and the questions used, along with responses, and the methodology for the October 2020 survey.


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