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What does "Friends First" mean to you?


tf987

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I've dated a lot in my life, and been married twice, but have never really found the perfect match (if that exists). A few times I've tried a "friends first" approach to dating, but I have the impression that the women I've tried that with have become frustrated with me and moved on.

 

I tried it because I'm starting to feel that having sex too soon, or even making out a lot too soon, hasn't been a good way for me to find a quality LTR.

 

Anyway, what do other people mean when they say Friends First? To me, it would be amazing to get to know a women for a few months, or even longer, know them really well in fact, before becoming physically intimate. But I get the sense that many/most women don't want this... my first wife in fact told me on an early date that I better kiss her soon or she is gone... what's the rush?

 

I was seeing another women a couple of years ago whom I could tell wanted me to kiss her good night - and I refrained - because I wasn't ready. She soon moved on too.

 

Are there women that want things to go slow? ...and how do you identify them?

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I'm friends with guys first as I have a friendly relationship with them. Typically, they are friends of friends. However, I've never dated a guy from my circle of friends. People who are labeled friends are friends and nothing more. I don't see friends as being guys. They are just friends.

 

I'd assume this wasn't going anywhere after a months of friendly relations, we didn't take it to the next level. I don't want to have sex within the first few months. But, I expect kissing and being in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

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"Friends First" means self-delusion to me.

 

I have friends. I didn't have to say we were being "friends first." If you have to use the phrase, it means you're thinking about whether you're interested in each other sexually, and pretending it's not about a romantic relationship in the meantime.

 

A real "friends first" relationship only arises when you become interested in a friend you genuinely did not think of that way.

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The problem is that adults are sexual beings and waiting a really long time (lots of months or years) before sex can lead to problems in itself. You could really form a close friendship bond, but then when you do have sex, the spark just isn't there and it doesn't go anywhere because of that.

 

Lots of people also place sexual attraction/compatibility high on their list of important things to have in a partner, so they don't want to invest a huge amount of time in someone when they haven't seen if the sexual spark is there.

 

I know myself, i dated a guy who i thought was great, but in bed he turned out to be a big cuddler, giggler etc., where the sexual passion just wasn't there for me. So i think you have to find a balance where you don't delay it so long that you invest too much time in someone who you turn out to have no sexual compatability with.

 

I think if you want to know the answer to the question about 'going slow' with any particular woman (since we are all different), you need to ask them up front what their views on when is a good time to get intimate (a few dates, a month, a few months, only when you know you'll marry first?). Then you can talk about that and negotiate waiting a while, and if they don't want to wait too long, you have to decide to either compromise or don't waste more time with them if you insist on waiting.

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If I was attracted to a man I would not need to wait months to see if we clicked 'as friends'. What's the point? You find out about each other as you date anyway. You're not irreversibly tied to someone just because you go out with them - this sounds like just a way of not having to break up with someone if you decide you're not such a great match after all.

 

If someone isn't ready to date then they shouldn't be dating at all, not pseudo-dating under the guise of friendship. It's not fair to the other people involved.

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Okay... here is my situation then, or why I'm motivated to try this approach. And by the way, I've never actually used the phrase Friends First, but I've seen people use the term and so I'm curious what it means to them.

 

Anyway, my history has always been to date monogamously and has typically involved a very physical relationship starting early in the relationship - yeah I like sex.

 

However, I just don't think this is working for me in terms of finding the ideal LTR. I think it would be better for me to spend time with a number of women at the same time, which for me, precludes being physical with any of them... and keeping things on a friend level with them all, until I realize that mentally - she is the one.

 

I think in my case, the physical side of things - if it is really good - tends to cause me to not reflect on the mental side - and in the long run - I think the mental side is more important.

 

I've had relationships where the sex was great, but the rest of it wasn't - and I stayed in it too long just for the sex.

 

I'm looking for a different approach and so I'm interested in what people mean by Friends First. I realize it isn't a common approach - but I'm not a common person

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Then you don't need THEM to adapt by giving up sex with you, you need to adapt and recognize that you let sexual attraction override your common sense.

 

You can start by making objective lists of what you want in a person, and if the person deviates from it, then you know you need to end it. By that i mean, do you want someone who is financially responsible, where you don't fight very much, etc. Usually if you are only in it for the sex, there are lots of red flags about other problems, so just don't ignore any red flags from now on while enjoying the sexual attraction.

 

You might be able to find women who are happy with being just friends for a long time, but you'll find that most people who are adults want to be in a relationship, and do want sex. So while you're busy being friends, she may be going off and dating other guys and not be available when you decide you want more.

 

so i think you need to shift your attitude from 'Friends First', to 'Friends Also', as in making sure that you ensure the woman is a friend also and not just a sexual attraction, with no red flags, before you make a major commitment to her. The ideal relationship is where you are best friends AND lovers, so strive for that rather than trying to deny the sexual aspects of a relationship.

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Almost every marriage I know started off as friends first. There's nothing wrong with this, and in fact it's better getting to know each other (and spending time doing things) before rushing into sex. Once you rush into sex, then sex becomes the most important thing.

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I think balancing your approach between quick intimacy and getting to know people is a very good thing - but the key word for me is balance. It's easy to go too far in artificially restricting your actions and reactions to someone, just as it's easy to go straight for the sex and let mental considerations take a back seat.

 

Keep in mind, though, that each situation merits its own balance. If you meet someone chatting online, you can start with a lot more mental contact, as you won't have any pheremones to judge the physical chemistry with. Face-to-face dating gives you a chance to experience the person's scent (aka physical chemistry), their interaction style, and the chemistry of your personalities, which if it clicks quickly can lead you to jump into bed too soon.

 

Don't get too stuck in only one approach or in the definitions of how things "should" work. Sometimes if you're too hesitant you might miss something great; other times jumping too quickly will just end in an empty heart even though the physical side works. Of course, it also helps to know what you really want, not just out of a specific relationship, but out of relationships in general, so take the time to examine what your feelings and motivations are.

 

The big key in my experience is communication. By all means tell your dates that you're not a fast mover, but don't forget to tell them how much you enjoy their company, their smile, and their wit, or whatever (though just make sure it's actually true!) and pay attention to their reactions. As things progress, offer physical contact - a touch of hands, a gentle hand on the arm as you hold open a door - so long as this seems welcome. Be aware of how being near someone makes you feel, and try to sense how they feel; this takes practice but makes a huge difference. Ask them gentle questions about how they are doing, and tell them when you're having fun. Relax, be yourself, and don't play head games; be genuine about your motivations, needs, and desires.

 

In short: communicate! Pay attention, listen, be willing to talk honestly, and don't let a preconceived idea of what "should" happen dictate your choices. Act with compassion.

 

I wish you luck in finding a good person to be with, and the peace of mind it can take to be genuine with them once you do.

 

Light and laughter,

SongCoyote

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I think that lines like "friend's first" is a diversionary tactic that people use to buy time. I think that if you want to end up in a long term relationship then you have to adjust your characteristics to exclude women that just want something for the moment and find women who are looking for something long term.

 

Being friends with them first isnt going to establish that they are looking for a long term relationship instead it only means that they are willing to be your friend while you make up your mind about what it is that you want.

 

Stick to girls that are set on getting into a relationship and you wont have to restrict the physical side of the relationship.

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I met this guy almost a year ago. We just started talking slowly and e-mailing eachother. As we got to know one another slowly we became more supportive of eachother and we divulged more about one another. This has to be one of the greatest friendships that I have ever had. I can tell him anything and he doesn't judge me. We communicate almost every day. We have never met and live far away so we have had all this time to establish a great friendship. This is what friends first means to me.

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"A few times I've tried a "friends first" approach to dating, but I have the impression that the women I've tried that with have become frustrated with me and moved on."

You are lucky that these women stuck around for whatever period of time and gave you a chance. I have ruthlessly closed matches on EH when the guy used the phrase, "Lets be friends and see where it goes" or "Lets hang out as friends" Even in person I've cut dates short when guys said that to me. Friendship is the basis of this relationship, agreed, but I'm out there looking for a man who considers me as a good person AND is attracted to me. I don't tolerate this friendship nonsense. If I hear a guy use that word, what I hear is "May be I'll upgrade you to be my GF someday, but for now, I don't find you that attractive. OR I currently have another interest, but you seem too good for me to lose you, so I'm just gonna keep you on ice here for a while until I figure things out with the other girl, if it goes good, I told you I want you only as a friend. If it goes bad, I can say hey we have been friends and I think I have feelings for you." Its all just lies. I don't buy that.

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There's a third choice, one I'm dealing with. I have a guy friend and both of us find each other attractive. Right now though he's dealing with issues and doesn't want a serious relationship. Right now I can't deal with a serious relationship either. There's no one else in either of our lives, we just aren't ready yet. However, this is a rare exception and we aren't sleeping together either. Now if we were and were "friends" that would disturb me. In this case we were friends already.

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There's a third choice, one I'm dealing with. I have a guy friend and both of us find each other attractive. Right now though he's dealing with issues and doesn't want a serious relationship. Right now I can't deal with a serious relationship either. There's no one else in either of our lives, we just aren't ready yet. However, this is a rare exception and we aren't sleeping together either. Now if we were and were "friends" that would disturb me. In this case we were friends already.

 

I think it comes down to what you're willing to believe/put up with. I hope this comes accross right because I'm not trying to knock your choice, just say what it would mean to me. If a guy said to me - you're a great friend but I'm not ready for something serious right now, I would take that as - I don't feel serious about YOU right now.

 

Equally, if I met a guy but didn't feel ready to be with him romantically, that would say to me that I didn't really like him that much. For me, I've always found if I liked someone that much then I'm ready to be with them, no matter what the circumstances. Anything less would make me think there was going to be no passion or deep emotion, just... liking.

 

But then, different strokes for different folks - it's interesting from my perspective to see someone else who is making that situation work, because I would never expect it to.

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Normally I'd think so too, but in this case the guy friend is dealing with certain issues in his life (namely a terrible previous relationship and his mother pressuring him). Plus right now I am unemployed and I know that scares him too. I know he's interested (he told me that), it's just right now these issues have to go away. Not to say it'll work or won't, I don't know.

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newwave, Yes, I was gonna mention the 3rd case which you have mentioned. Umm... well, I get what you are saying. Yes, you may not be in a relationship, but you are waiting to see how a person grows from/out of this situation. There is an interest, but you are not dating/sleeping together, etc. So, now "I get that we are friends only" part, but that doesn't mean that I justify it. I would not like someone doing that to me. Its like they are telling me "I'll wait to see how I see you grow/change as a person and if you don't I will just move on. I'm going to continue dating/pursuing/thinking about others as potential romatic interests during this time while still keeping your hopes up. I'm going to get mad if you decide to date someone else during this time. Thus I'm going to keep you around and call you a friend, but really you are a friend with potential to become more."

Like other posted said, if you are okay with it, go for it. I'm normally not okay with something like this, so I'd move on to be in a real relationship with someone (with all my messed up thinking and issues) or take a break from dating and work on my issues and find a real relationship at that point.

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To me friends first means either that the person assumes that casual dating has to involve sex or that the person is not willing to put in the effort to go on dates and plan dates in advance, preferring instead to hang out and perhaps flirt/hook up but in the guise of "friends first" so there are no strings or potential strings attached.

 

In the first situation, I found that to be often a bit jaded/resulting from baggage "I jump into bed too soon so this time, friends first" and since I wasn't jaded/didn't have baggage (yes, even well into my 30s) that person likely wouldn't be compatible with me. What I responded was that I was happy to get to know the person as a friend, but I wouldn't be making plans for weekend nights "date nights" because I was looking for someone to date with potential for a long term relationship. If it was someone I'd never met before (on line) I usually declined because I had plenty of friends and wrote that if he wanted to go on dates and get to know each other, to get in touch.

 

I absolutely believed in developing a friendship with a man I saw romantic potential with. I did that by going on dates with him, doing various activities, some ordinary like dinner/movie, others more adventurous (physicaly or socially or both - hiking, theater, events, cooking together, museums, etc etc). I never had casual sex and usually waited at least a few months and waited until we were exclusive and in love. Worked well for me.

 

I do think it's nice when you know the person you start dating through friends or as a friend - but that's different than artificially stalling "dating" so you can be "friends first"

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I hate dating. I think it's awkward and too formal. There's too many rules and as said by BATYA, there's a certain expectation, certain codes to abide by.

 

Being a casual type of person who don't really take myself seriously, I want a similar type of relationship, casual. I'd rather befriend a guy I like and then see how it goes from there. The term "Friend" is used loosely. Of course, we're not going to be just friends for like a year. That's stupid and indicative of lack of interest. I guess what I'm saying is, we'd be dating but in a casual way. We can have last minute plans and I wouldn't take it the wrong way. I also would like to make last minute plans myself and have him not take it the wrong way.

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We still go out, just taking it slow. Right now I'm dealing with issues too so this is fine. We were friends for years so it's a little different than having met a guy on a dating site. However, once my issues get resolved and I am ready for a serious relationship, and he still feels the same way I'll move on. He has no interest in anyone else or dating anyone else so that's a little different too.

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I hate dating. I think it's awkward and too formal. There's too many rules and as said by BATYA, there's a certain expectation, certain codes to abide by.

 

Being a casual type of person who don't really take myself seriously, I want a similar type of relationship, casual. I'd rather befriend a guy I like and then see how it goes from there. The term "Friend" is used loosely. Of course, we're not going to be just friends for like a year. That's stupid and indicative of lack of interest. I guess what I'm saying is, we'd be dating but in a casual way. We can have last minute plans and I wouldn't take it the wrong way. I also would like to make last minute plans myself and have him not take it the wrong way.

 

I didn't take myself too seriously but I did have serious goals - to be married and to have a family, and also to have a career. That left little time for a social life so the time I did have for dating, I did not want to squander on some vague "friendship" where we could make last minute plans and where there were no discussed intentions about the future, general or specific. I almost always had advance plans on the weekend (usually dates but not always) so for me it would not have worked at all. Once we were serious and knew that at least we'd be spending weekends together, the need for advance plans was a lot less of course.

 

I also didn't have a year - or 6 months - or three months - to spend hanging out with some guy who might decide to step up to the plate and actually start dating me. I usually knew by the second or third date at the latest whether the guy's general goals were marriage and family (and roughly when) and within the first two months, usually sooner, whether he wanted us to be exclusive. That worked for me as far as timing. Mr. Last Minute Plans "I'm your friend but really a date" would have been left behind in favor of a man who wanted to spend time dating me consistently to see if we should get serious in the not too distant future.

 

That's not knocking your approach - I think it works great for someone who's not looking to get married or start a family in the next year or two - it sounds like fun, too, to have "friends" you also flirt with and hang out with with no strings attached. I found dating with a purpose to be fun and often exciting and I never took myself too seriously while on a date (and didn't want to date anyone who did). I woul

 

d have found your approach too anxiety- provoking, wondering too much about where it was going, what his intentions were, his goals, whether I should be looking to date others, etc. I couldnt' have relaxed and had fun, the way more structured dating allowed.

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I hate dating. I think it's awkward and too formal. There's too many rules and as said by BATYA, there's a certain expectation, certain codes to abide by.

 

Being a casual type of person who don't really take myself seriously, I want a similar type of relationship, casual. I'd rather befriend a guy I like and then see how it goes from there. The term "Friend" is used loosely. Of course, we're not going to be just friends for like a year. That's stupid and indicative of lack of interest. I guess what I'm saying is, we'd be dating but in a casual way. We can have last minute plans and I wouldn't take it the wrong way. I also would like to make last minute plans myself and have him not take it the wrong way.

 

I know others disagree, but I happen to agree with you. I think some people are of the type that formal dating needs to happen for someone to get married. I strongly disagree because "friends first" really means nothing. The guy I want and I aren't strictly platonic friends. We enjoy each other and there's attraction (we've kissed and he has called me his girlfriend and referred to himself as my boyfriend). We just happen to be long time friends who just re found each other. I'm not saying I'm going to go out with him for years with nothing happening, just it's early now. My brother and sister in law often called themselves "just friends" for many years. Also, if one is dating but not sleeping together, to me that would mostly be "friends". I am strictly a go with the flow type of person and hate all these rules with regards to dating. When there are too many rules, dating becomes this idea of "I just have to have a husband within so many years". Too many people rush into marriage and I'd rather develop a backbone to a relationship than rush things, and realize it's the wrong person.

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I don't think dating or being engaged has to include sex in order to be different from "friends". It does need to include physical attraction and some kind of physical affection.

 

I don't think of dating as "formal" - it's simply two people deciding to do activities together where there is romantic interest as well as platonic interest. To me the structure of dating allows people to be more comfortable and free because the structure lets them know where they stand more than if it's a "let's hang out and hook up when we feel like it and see where things go". I also think there's a balance between a too rigid "I must get married in __ years" and "I won't make any plans or set any goals of getting married or having children because it should just happen naturally". Well, if a woman wants biological children, and wants to be married first, then she probably should get married by the time she is 40 or so.

 

Since my husband and I were long distance for a few years, it was very important to us to discuss and know each others' intentions for the relationship from the beginning - we each spent lots of time and money making sure we saw each other as often as possible and a casual "let's hang out and hook up and see where it goes" wouldn't have worked for either of us.

 

We each had many friends already and our goal was to see if we should get married and start a family in the not too distant future. No way would I have squandered my limited time on someone who wasn't willing to have that discussion and be serious about his intentions.

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Well, in my case it's an either or situation. Meaning that if I don't end up with him in a serious relationship by the Fall or so, I am tying my tubes. Extreme? Perhaps, but I'll make sure no loser guy will do that to me. I figure if I want a child I can always adopt but not having a child with some guy I don't want. This guy is the only one I considered having kids with so if not him, not anyone.

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Well, in my case it's an either or situation. Meaning that if I don't end up with him in a serious relationship by the Fall or so, I am tying my tubes. Extreme? Perhaps, but I'll make sure no loser guy will do that to me. I figure if I want a child I can always adopt but not having a child with some guy I don't want. This guy is the only one I considered having kids with so if not him, not anyone.

 

Wow. And you can't imagine ever meeting anyone ever again who would be up to your standards as a father for a potential child? Yes, I agree that is very extreme and I hope you see at least one, very good, counselor who specializes in these types of decisions or similar doctor/professional before you consider this. True, I guess I got the last great daddy on this planet (joke!!!) but still.....

 

And of course there's always birth control or abstinence if you're that concerned. The guy in question from what you have written already expressed concern that you would trap him into fatherhood -- at least to me, trust is essential if two people are going to successfully and happily parent a child - there are so many decisions from the very beginning, sometimes minute to minute, where you have to trust the other parent to have good judgment and to act in the child and the family's best interest. I knew that before I was a parent, as you likely do, but when you live it, it's different, in my opinion.

 

With this guy, sounds like you're starting out with him not wanting a committed relationship with you (for whatever reason - whether he's been burned before, because of how you sneeze, whatever), and being suspicious of your motives. That's such good potential that he's the best you can do, otherwise you'll get your tubes tied? Really?

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