After a flurry of furious typing about relationships by my friends, I've decided it's time for me to add my two cents worth. Perhaps some of my friends are seemingly infected by the "Oh no, I'm over 21 and still single" syndrome (which I have been acquainted with myself). I think the Bible is the best place to start:
1 Tim 5:2 - The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
I think the sisters part is relevant here (I suppose girls would treat guys like brothers). "All purity" - in thought, action, word or motivation. Sure, easier said than done. I think we should treat others only as friends (unless they are you're boyfriend or girlfriend, of course), and expect that to be the culture of Christian circles... No - to make that the culture of Christian circles. We could definately loose the 'thing' (worry, gossip and pensive unspoken questioning) in some Christian circles, which is probably just the result of angsty single Christians getting more desperate. =) Man, friends are so valuable - and yet we let stupid preconceived ideas and poor thinking get in the way of really good friendships. We should start looking past our stupid ways of thinking and see the real heart of friendship.
You'll probably first develop a natural friendship with the person you end up marrying anyway - so there's no use worrying about it or trying to force something that shouldn't happen. Friendship is the best foundation for a romantic relationship. Thank God (quite literally), that the relationships I wanted back in my younger days (of course) didn't happen, because they weren't based on friendship first - they would have been huge mistakes. Unless we know them as a friend - we're likely to form a relationship based on illusion rather than reality, finally discover who they really are and break up not only the relationship but pieces of our hearts too.
Now beyond friendship, and to the imminent question of how to move from friendship to something more, I am hardly qualified to comment on. But what I do know is this: honesty, trust, and open communication are very important in any close relationship. But here's the crux of romantic relationships in my opinion - they should only be based on true love for the other person, not on the desire to fulfill our own wants.
If it's better for the other person not to get involved with them, you don't get involved - at the sacrifice of your selfishness. How many times have we wanted a relationship with someone when it wouldn't be good for them? Maybe they aren't ready, maybe we aren't ready, maybe it's just not the right time - there are heaps of reasons. But if you do get involved - your primary focus in the relationship should be doing the best thing for the other person - not on yourself. If a relationship doesn't help point both people toward God - in contrast to each other - perhaps it's not the best idea.
If our motivation for a relationship is not in line with the above, I'd have serious hesitation about getting into a relationship with an individual - let alone even thinking about it.
In fact, of late I've decided the whole romantic relationships really is best left up to God. He knows best, anyway, and He hasn't let me down yet. So, I decided many moons ago (OK, so maybe not that many) to trust God about the whole thing - COMPLETELY. Now don't get me wrong, that's not to say we don't need to take action when it's appropriate. What I mean is this; I decided that if God wanted me to be single, forever, I am willing to do that for His sake. That's a hard decision to make, and even harder to stand by, but I think it's made the world of difference to me. Of course, I hope and pray God hasn't given me the 'gift of singleness' on a permanent basis... but I will trust His judgement with my life - even if it goes completely against what I'd like for myself. And to further clarify; if I meet someone I want to marry then I'm certainly going to hassle God about it... but I know that He loves me. I know he guides the steps of the righteous. I know he gives the righteous the desires of their hearts - and so my focus is more on walking in the Ways of the Lord, because then I know that if I become interested in someone - it's a lot more likely to be of God.
So, following that decision to trust God, I don't seem to be writing nearly as many angsty songs about girls and I have a lot more energy to pour into the things that matter - like God and friendship - rather than things like worry and gossip and pensive unspoken questioning. After all, you only marry one person - but you can have many close friends.