The Best Boundary that You Can Have in Your Dating Life

Boundaries in DatingRomance is great. Sexuality is great. Attraction is great. But here is the key: If all of those are not built upon lasting friendship and respect for the person’s character, something is wrong.

A real and lasting relationship must be built upon friendship first. You are going to spend a lot of time with that person. As one friend of mine said about picking her mate: “He was someone I knew I could grow old with. I liked spending time with him. And he made me laugh.” She also shared deep spiritual values and other commonalties with him as well, as she would with any other friend. They have been married for nearly thirty years.

The best boundary that you can have in your dating life is to begin every relationship with an eye toward friendship. Do not rush into any kind of romance. Keep your boundaries, physically, emotionally, and otherwise. But, how do you do this?

Spend time getting to know someone in nonromantic ways. For example:

  • Spend time with that person in groups of other friends.
  • How well does he or she fit in? How well do you fit in with his or her friends?
  • Does he or she even have friends?
    (If they do not have long-term friendships, that is a bad sign.)

If you do not allow yourself to rush into falling for someone that you have not become friends with first, you will be more sure when you let yourself go to the next step. Certainly you might find yourself having all sorts of feelings. Enjoy them. But do not believe them. Only believe your experience of getting to know a person and seeing if you can share at a deep level.


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See if you find that he or she is a person of the kind of character you would trust as a friend. And as important as all of that, see if that person is a person that you would like spending time with if there were no romance at all. That is the one true measure of a friend, a person with whom you like to spend time, having no regard to how you are spending it. “Hanging out” is fulfilling in and of itself. And that, long-term, requires character, and in the deepest of friendships, shared values as well. You would want your best friends to be honest, faithful, deep, spiritual, responsible, connecting, growing, loving, and the like. Make sure that those qualities are also present in the person you are falling in love with.

Keep your boundaries. We guarantee that being lovers with someone you would not want to be friends with is no good thing at all.


Get more helpful advice to build the best dating relationship and find the love of your life in Boundaries in Dating by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud.

➡ Get The 10 Laws of Boundaries eBook when you subscribe to the Boundaries Weekly email newsletter. Learn More


  1. says

    An important part of this dating, friendship and boundaries process is making sure you have a good support network around to do your bonding with. Without this, you can become overly dependent on this friendship or romance and turn the person into one of your parents. Adults who have never left mom and or dad emotionally, cognitively, financially or spiritually are still in the stuck in childhood or early adolescence. The child inside is running the show and still giving too much power to their parents or parent. As a counselor I will sometimes hear the belief, “You fill all of my needs” or “I can fill all your needs.” Both statements are regression wishes in the end. Very young children get fixated on a parent (usually mom) and, hopefully, slowly learn to love and be loved by more than one person at a time. Real romance is for adults. Make sure you “leave and cleave” in all aspects.

  2. Mary My Kendry says

    I am and have never met anyone I could have as a close male friend. I would like to meet someone. I have been to University and have been a school teacher. Have been to U.S.A twice. Also have been in Churches . Maybe I am too hard to please.

  3. Ernie Durham says

    No doubt, friendship is the first step to an open and meaningful relationship, on any level. It is also very important to pray for and about the person you are considering. If God has opened the door for a relationship, what kind of fellowship does He desire? Brother, sister, acquaintance, casual, close or intimate? The kind of fellowship determines the level of investment, trust and empowerment on your behalf. With males and females the level of trust can widely vary; however, the Lord has a plan and purpose for each of us and will lead and guide us and give us wisdom in pursuing healthy and meaningful relationships.

  4. Gail Flory says

    This was an interesting and good read but also discouraging when I read that it’s a bad sign if a person doesn’t have any feiends, and specifically long term friends. I have had such a hard time making and keeping good riends in my life. At age 32, everyone I meet that I want to become friends with seems to already have enough friends in their life to fit one more. I admit I have had triouble being a good friend to others because I worry so much about myself and just trying to figure life out in general. However at the same time, I don’t feel like I have ever had anyone be a good friend to me. I desire a couple close friends so much that I’ve had to check myself on whether I was desiring this more than God. Now I feel as though my relationship with God needs to come before my desire for friends. I’ve spent so much time focusing on trying to win friends that I have decided to stop trying and just pursue God, praying He will a couple my way soon.

  5. Peggy says

    I am 55 years old. I was raised that you need to pick your friends wisely. I have MANY acquiescent but as for friends- I have only 3 very close, reliable and truthful friends. I too do not agree with the statement, “bad sign if the person doesn’t have any friends..”
    Friends are suppose to be truthful, uplifting and loyal, in my opinion. Not to many fit those qualifications. Gail, I believe you are on the right track. God is in control of everything and just keep perusing Him and be friendly to every one that you come near to and He will do the rest. I will pray for you also.

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