First of all, I really appreciate your maturity that you would ask counsel before you begin dating.  I am afraid that I cannot give you a definitive answer, though.  In different homes and families, different countries, and different cultures, there are many different thoughts concerning when a person should begin dating. 

You are a 17-year-old girl and a Christian.  What a good start!  I assume you still live with your parents, so I encourage you to talk to them about your desire to date someone.  Perhaps they will think you are ready to begin a courtship with a boy.  Perhaps they may think you are too young, too immature, or they do not approve of the boy you want to date.  As you are quickly approaching adulthood, I think your parents would enjoy talking with you about this and I trust you are able to talk to them intelligently about your desire.  Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”  To honor the Lord, you should obey your parents, even if they do not feel you are ready to begin dating.  Listen to their counsel and obey their instructions.

My wife and I have five grown daughters and we had definite rules regarding their dating lives.  We began by allowing them to go on group dates with their friends.  After they proved themselves responsible, we allowed them to date a boy if we knew him.  If not, they would have to bring the boys to our home for a date so that we could meet them and get to know them a little.  We encouraged our girls to bring their boyfriends to our home often. 

2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”  A believer should not marry an unbeliever…for any reason!  Since they are not to marry, neither should they date.  Dates often lead to marriage so there is no need for you (or any believer) to become romantically involved with someone who is not a Christian. 

It is so important that you develop scriptural, mature standards for your dating life.  Make sure that you do not put yourself in a position where you might be tempted to do something that you should not.  1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”  Make sure that whatever you do on your date, you can do it to the glory of God. 

These are just a few suggestions about what you should do now that you desire to start dating.  I do strongly encourage you to talk to your parents and seek their advice about what you should to.  Hopefully, they are also Christians and will lead you with loving, caring, Christian principles.  (429.2)