As I note below, friendship should be the building block for potential growth in romance later on, since dating relationships face the ongoing temptation of physical and emotional intimacy.
Furthermore, if entering and breaking exclusive relationships becomes a pattern during adolescence, it can be emotionally poor preparation for marriage—in addition to increasing sexual temptation.
The other, more common extreme is to plunge into a physically involved, romantic relationship.
As most couples in our culture won’t take the arranged-marriage approach, dating—or something approximating it—is the system they are left with.
And while dating itself isn’t morally wrong, it has its pitfalls, as we have seen.
Maybe they’ll call each other “BFFs” and watch movies or have dinner together, but they do so in a detached way—as though their sexual identity doesn’t matter.
All the while, lines of propriety get blurred, resulting in unhealthy and often unintended emotional attachments.
Dating, however, isn’t mentioned in the Bible, and we shouldn’t try to find a “biblical basis” for dating, lest we superimpose our Western categories onto Scripture.