Hi buzz Readers,

I’m Laura Hettiger, and I’m your new relationship columnist. I’m a junior at the University study-ing Journalism and this is my first column. I am very excited to write “Save the Date” because I feel I have dated a variety of guys and have had a variety of experiences. After spending my summer in New York, I realized how different dating in college is compared to dating in the “real world.” So, through this bi-monthly column, I plan to let you in on my personal dating life. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me, lhettig2@uiuc.edu. I hope you enjoy these columns, because I know I’ve enjoyed the experiences they are all based on.

BFF! Best Friends Forever! Growing up I had a special guy friend who claimed to be my true “BFF.” When I was around this boy, I never felt pressured to impress him, and I loved feeling so comfortable with someone. After years of friendship and countless hours spent together, he decided to come forward with a secret he had been hiding since the day we met: he liked me. Once he revealed his secret, nothing was the same. He had feelings for me – I didn’t have any for him. This experience made me realize I could not date someone I had previously been friends with. If I was someone’s friend, obviously there was not an initial connection to him. If there was no connection at the start, how would one develop over more time? Through my college experience thus far I have learned there are two types of guys: the kind you can date and the kind you can only be friends with. I try my hardest not to blur the lines between these two different types. But just like with my good friend from home, I have recently been faced with the same fate from one of my self-proclaimed best guy friends here in Champaign. He began our friendship with the intentions of being more, and again, I never saw it coming. On one hand, dating a friend means you already know a lot about the person, and he/she already knows a lot about you, too. You feel comfortable together and can trust each other, respect each other’s values and support the each other’s dreams and aspirations. On the other hand, dating a friend means you already know a lot about the person, and he/she already knows a lot about you, too. Where is the fun? Where is the spark that keeps all new couples ignited both emotionally and physically? To me, it is always easier to lose a short-lived crush than it is to lose a long time best friend. And unless you really want all of your other mutual friends to become involved (and possibly make them choose sides if an argument or fight arises), you really need to figure out the positives and negatives of a friendship-turned-romance. To put it bluntly, why mess with a good thing? I know I am not at the point in my life where I want to mix my friends and lovers, so why even flirt with the possibility?

In my case, I know my guy friend was hurt when I did not return his affection, and looking back maybe we would have been a great couple – but maybe not. However, if we would have dated, would I have met the great guy friends and great dates Champaign has given me? I don’t know, but I do know that my next Mr. Right will probably also be Mr. Right Now.

After all, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were never friends and look where they are.

Until next week . I’ll date around, so you don’t have to.

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