Regardless of whether you’re in a much- term relationship or dating somebody new, building a robust groundwork of companionship is important for sustaining your love life. Often overlooked, friendship is the fertilizer that can grow a healthy romance and heavy connection. According to distinguished marriage researcher and author Dr. John Gottman, a effectively- developed friendship can help to reduce conflict and strife within a dyad and strengthen communication.

Friendship provides a deeper understanding of one another’s ideals, battles and objectives. It also cultivates loyalty, a trait that obviously extends into a romantic relationship and is important to a solid connection that you resist the inevitable ups and downs of life.

While it may seem obvious, establishing a solid foundation of friendship is easier said than done. Getting to know someone over coffee or dinner is n’t enough, nor is just texting and calling. To truly know someone, you need to spend time together doing activities and having meaningful conversations that focus on multiple areas of your lives. For example, if you’re thinking about pursuing something more serious with someone you met at work, try meeting them outside of the office for a coffee date or even taking a yoga class together to see how comfortable you are discussing topics other than your jobs.

In addition, being open and honest is key to a friendship- based foundation. It is not only dishonest to conceal your feelings, but it will eat away at the trust that you have built. Ultimately, being able to express your affection for a friend is an indication of your genuine care for them.