How to Build a Foundation for Love
by Briana Johnson-Sims



January 23, 2020


7 Minute Read


How to Build a Foundation for Love

Courtesy of @marquez.fotos

I recently wrote about how to approach a woman, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dating. Dating is tiered with phases ranging from “getting to know you” to “that’s my person” to “put a ring on it already.”

Let’s talk “getting to know you.” This stage is where you don’t quite know a person, but you’re learning more about them to decide whether they’re relationship, or even friend, material. I tend to go easy on men approaching me for the first time, but this stage, this is the one where I’m quick to pump the brakes.

I’m super careful about what energy I let into my life, so no matter the initial attraction, I will cut a guy off when things start to go sideways. A guy once got my number and then bragged that he had “a car, a job, and no kids.” Well, I’m here to broadcast this message: It takes more than a nice face and a bank account to gain a woman’s interest, attention, and affection! It takes respect, communication, and chemistry. From that comes love.

It takes more than a nice face and a bank account to gain a woman’s interest, attention, and affection

Allow me to spell it out.

Respect has a couple of definitions. On one hand, Oxford Dictionaries defines it as “regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.” For me this means: Don’t make a habit of texting me between 9 pm and 8 am; date me, as in, take me places without expecting intimacy as a reward; show up, listen, and stay off your phone; if I say I don’t like something, like a pet name you just made up, don’t repeat it; make appointments to FaceTime me. That last one is super serious.

Courtesy of @waityouneedthis

On the other hand, respect is also defined as “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” What I want to know early on is that the guy I’m dating appreciates me for who I am. You can’t show me that by constantly asking “how are you” and inviting me over your place. You’ve got to work. You’ve got to get to know me. You’ve got to learn who I am and then show me you respect my interests and like the way my mind works. That’s where communication comes in.

Many potential and actual relationships of mine have been doomed by poor communication. Good communication doesn’t just mean you churn out a reply to every message I send. It’s about ditching cookie-cutter messages, asking good questions, and replying with more than three characters. It’s about not sending “GM beautiful” texts on a daily basis.

Allow me to sidebar a bit: There are so many things wrong with “GM beautiful” messages. 1) They’re lazy. How many people did you send that to? 2) Beautiful is not my name. After the third time I read that, it starts to feel like I’m a face and not a person. 3) They make me feel like I’m supposed to start my day with you in mind. I might grow to like you that much, but in the interim, having that type of constant communication with someone I’ve just met is jarring.

Instead, use my name, make me laugh, make a recommendation, share something about yourself, or bring up something, anything  that makes it easy for the conversation to grow legs.

I realize I’m thinking of text, which makes sense, because a lot of our early communication is through social media, online dating platforms, and, of course, texts. But don’t get me wrong; I do appreciate an occasional phone call. Phone calls help avoid miscommunication and add a layer of intimacy – instead of deciphering an “LOL,” I can hear you laugh and learn the tone of your voice. I know my own writing voice and actual voice sometimes send different messages.

But still, respect and communication aren’t everything. Having chemistry with someone is the difference between having a great friend and having a potential beau. It’s feeling an easy comfort with someone. It’s spending time with them and then wishing that time would stop. It’s wondering what it would be like to get closer to them. Not having chemistry early on doesn’t mean it can’t arrive later, but it does mean that it will be harder to get beyond this phase.

Once I build a strong foundation with someone – of fun, understanding, appreciation, “sparks” – then, I know I’m willing to put in the work, and relationships are work. But moving to that next phase excites me, because despite the effort they require, I know that I’m pouring my energy into someone who is well worth it.

As for the next phase, the relationship phase, there’s more to learn. Look out for my next article to get a few tips on “How to Keep a Good Woman.”