The Subtle Art of Romance: The Difference Between Courtship and Friendship

It's an aged conversation that repeats itself with every generation—dating.

How do you navigate it? What are the pros and cons? How do you avoid wasting your time?

A lot of the answers to these questions come by application only and with a host of dating experts and gurus, it's safe to say most of this shit is subjective cause we all don't think the same or have the same beliefs. What may be a deal-breaker for some, may be a requirement for others.

For example, I prefer texting while the majority of the world loathes it. I've had to take a step back and ask myself why I despise being on the phone and it's because most people don't know how to hold a conversation. While I've had to get used to awkward silence with some people, the flow of conversation isn't a thing for most. So, instead of interrupting my TV time or creative musing, I'd rather receive a text or send a voice note and hold space for people to respond when they can.

Avoid the awkwardness and maintain the frequency of my day.

Shockingly enough, most men hate texting and rather sit on the phone and listen to you breathe while you're watching TV on the opposite end of the receiver.

Weird, I know.

But aside from the small details with interaction dynamics, what about dating makes most women cringe? I believe it's the uncertainty of it all. Finding balance with whether to open up or follow Divine timing is a challenge. We're such emotional and nurturing creatures who desire pleasure and to be wanted from a potential partner who tickles our fantasy.

We want to feel swooned and what babe doesn't?

In the midst of that though, most of us women and femmes find ourselves lost in the desire and felt delusion from an asshole who can't decide whether its boxers or briefs. Go through the motions of feeling someone out, only to later find they were numb and cold while we were reveling with passion.

Sounds quite lackluster, so I asked the community what is dating and what qualifies as a date, and in the midst of the answers, one common denominator appeared—romance. Romantic interest with intent separates the friendly dates from the ones that include courtship.

There's a subtle art to romance.

I enjoy context, so I looked up romance and pulled these keywords:

  • court

  • woo

  • ardor

Ardor stood out for me, so I took it a step further and even more, descriptors came into play:

  • fervor

  • burning heat

  • enthusiasm

  • zest

  • intense devotion/eagerness

  • warm feeling

If romance is all of these things that spark passion and pleasure, then dating someone who is simply a friend wouldn't have these nuances; however, if the person you're dating is seeking a relationship and these clear descriptors are lacking, is it courtship or are you just fucking and flowing.

Cause truth be told, friends fuck.

Not too many people want to admit they fuck their friends but they do—regardless how they identify.

Passion isn't necessary to have sex because, at best, it's an energy release and when you fuck with a friend, it's safe. It's a low tier level of vulnerability, but when you open yourself up to someone who doesn't know you intimately and takes the time to do so, that's different.

That's courtship.

There are details in romance—attunement. The person who is trying to court you pays attention to the details. Seeks out to understand your energy and hop on your frequency with the hope that you'll do the same. Where romance gets fucked is in the fiction. The other dictionary definition of romance is a literary genre and that pretty princess, Cinderella shit has us all disillusioned.

Romance isn't always like your favorite rom-com, though it gives way to great conversation. The HEA (happily ever after) keeps so many of us hopeless in romance and we'll never get what we want being hopeless. Spoon-fed romance has acts of heroism and pageantry, all while "falling" in love.

And we wonder why we're never left unscathed.

Romance isn't always about the extraordinary though, in some cases, it helps. The subtle art of romance is more nuanced—thoughtfulness. There's intent in true romance with an open heart to boot.

And while I'm sure most people can say, duh...I knew romance was the difference.

What I took from the community conversation is that romance is the bridge, not the end all be all. To go from friendship to courtship we have to cross the bridge of romance and walk down the path of passion and pleasure, then deepen the connection. Romance is also a spectrum and if you adopt a healthy addiction, you may find yourself trying to outdo yourself because you'd be your only competition.

The subtle art of romance is just that—subtlety and when we connect with what subtlety means to us, I believe dating won't be so tedious and strenuous, but rather another challenge to conquer in how we can be our best self the one want and choose to love.

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