Friends Before Dating: What Could go Wrong?

So, you're out with some friends, you see a girl that you've been introduced to months prior.

She's with some friends of hers, you've had conversations before, they've gone well, there's obviously chemistry between the two of you, and you both get those Junior High smiles when you look at each other.

So you cut away from your friends, sit down next to her with her friends, get into conversation, and ask if she will get together with you in the next few days. She agrees, and the two of you make plans.

The day comes, you hang out, everything goes great. You make plans again.

The next time around, she asks what you are thinking about the two of you. You say, "I'm liking how this is going, and I am definitely interested in you."

She says, "You're pretty cool, but do you want to date?"

And you respond, "I think we could definitely make that work."

To which she concludes, "It's tempting, but we needs to be friends first."

Ah yes, another example of young ladies thinking that have discovered some full-proof system that allows them to deflect pretenders from contenders.

Am I blaming young ladies for this one? Yes, yes I am. You may disagree, but I'll point out why I do as the article unfolds.

First let's talk about "Friends Before Dating" as a concept.

The way it works is as follows:

Two people hang out, much like the article described in the beginning. They agree to become friends. Then at some point in the future, they agree to date.

In most of the FBD's I've witnessed, the level of interaction between the two people never changes from that "friend" status to "dating" status.

The relationship dynamic remains friend-like, and eventually whatever feelings may have developed in the initial stage, have worn off so bad that neither person feels anything for the other person, including feelings that you would have for a friend.

Inevitably, the two people have to separate and stop communication for several months at a minimum before they can resume their friendship.

FBD (I'm giving you all a new acronym, I know) is a failure! The quicker everyone accepts this, the better. This concept is creeping into all facets of relationships and ruining people's ability to date, and create meaningful, loving relationships, including those that are based in friendship.

Here's why I put the blame of this concept onto young ladies.

Young ladies (Age 15-18 and 19-24) are some of the most insecure people I have ever met as a whole. As a whole, what these two groups actually understand about the formation of relationships, bonding, etc, can be summed up in a high-gloss magazine.

Those magazines are well known for having inaccurate information, and slanted polls. Yet, for some reason these young ladies believe it. And you want to know why? Because they aren't doing their own research.

Now, before I go further, I do know of, and realize this is not true of all ladies in these age ranges. There are ladies in this group that more or less have their life together, and are able to be productive.

This is not an indictment of all young ladies. This is an indictment of the amount of group think that members of these age ranges allow.

FBD for these ladies is way, they think, to protect themselves from the "evil" guy that just wants to have sex. He's lurking around every corner, according to their friends, according to their parents (who are only saying it because they don't want their young daughter to have a child), heck, even teachers and support staff at their schools go around saying it.

First off, in the way of 'stranger danger,' it accounts for less than one percent of all crimes committed against women.

It doesn't make stranger danger right, but if that is one of the many things that young ladies feel compelled to put all their guard up against, why would you go around making friends with lots of guys, when sexually-based crimes committed by "friends" account for nearly 88 percent?

The other part that apparently goes into the thinking that brings up FBD, is the idea that if you're friends with a guy, you should be more comfortable with him if you were to date.

That's not accurate. It's a good academic premise, but it's not at all accurate.

Part of the excitement of dating someone is being able to carry on a connection while discovering the person. This includes their hobbies, their hopes, their goals, their values, their form of logic, their lack of math skills, etc.

If you spend six months figuring all this out, then commit to dating, you just spoiled a ton of the fun in actual dating.

Once you start dating a person in this situation, the only thing you have left to fuel the relationship are the intimate feelings the two of you have.

And we all know that feelings of intimacy are not enough to keep a relationship going.

By entering into FBD, you are killing any and all chances of the relationship being successful, period.

No matter how much you attempt to make the relationship work, it won't.

Young ladies are trying to protect themselves from a lot of stuff. And their reaction is very logical. We continue to tell them that there a men out there that want to victimize them in so many ways, and that statement alone is true.

The problem is, it can't stand alone. It has to be prefaced with a lot of stuff. And it's not. The people who are placed in charge of education young ladies, who ultimately influence more than educate, generalize in their communication, and that is dangerous (and a topic for another day).

FBD does nothing in the way of protecting young ladies from a guy that wants to hurt you. If he wants to hurt you, he will. The determined brain can not be defeated.

Just like men who are killed by other men. If someone is determined to do something, they will.

Again, I reference that most sexually-based crimes committed against girls in this age range are by their close guy friends.

If you've ever heard these guys discuss why they did what they did openly, you'll find that most of them believe the girl played games with them. She kept acting like there was a chance they would date, and then all of sudden some other guy came into the picture, and after investing that much of themselves into a relationship, and her acting dismissive of him, he acted out.

It does excuse the behavior, but I think if you consider the chain of events that stem from these crimes, I think you can begin to see why FBD is actually more dangerous than simply going on a few dates with someone, and then making a conclusion about how to proceed.

Young ladies tend to be insecure, and don't want to make people mad, to the point that telling someone no can be troublesome. But you have to. You have to be willing to say no and mean it. If they walk away hurt, at least they walk away.

You can't be friends with everyone, and you can't expect equal amounts of attention from all. If someone doesn't interest you, then say so, don't attempt FBD, it's not productive, it's just prolonging the inevitable.

Need a woman's perspective? One of the best confessionals about FBD, from a writer at Marie Claire. And with that, enjoy life, and date more.
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What Girls Said 6

  • Interesting article. I'm def "that girl". FBD helps us ladies decide if it's somebody worth the emotional investment, and helps us get a general feel of their character. It doesn't mean we want to know every single thing about them and meet their family and discuss childhood memories with them! Beside, how can you date somebody you know nothing about & it helps weed out the players who will sweet talk their way into our beds (;

    What's wrong with being casual and flirty then serious & loveydovey.

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  • Interesting take, but I don't agree. In many cases, jumping into dating/relationships before knowing the person causes a relationship to fail as well. Whether you're friends first or date immediately feelings can change in any relationship, both FBDs and couples will ultimately reach a breaking point. Regardless of titles, feelings shift in either situation, friends mutually agree to take the next step or not, people who are dating/in relationships do the same except with a title.

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    • 3mo

      Honestly if u can't have a romantic relationship without being his "friend" first then u must have some pretty poor character judgement... which really isn't the guy's shortfall... but your own. Not trusting yourself with a guy that i have to label him a friend first, and basically waste his time.. speaks about yourself. If u are so afraid of jerks than maybe u need to look in the mirror as to why u are attracted to them to begin with.

  • "The relationship dynamic remains friend-like, eventually.. feelings may have developed in initial stage, have worn off so bad that neither person feels anything for the other person, including feelings that you would have for a friend."

    Not my experience at all. Being friends first,allows me to gain interest without extraneous pressure.

    I don't date at all. I am friends with a guy,and if we click romantically, it progresses to a relationship-Fu*k dating- useless, stressful, waste of my time.

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  • Intentionally being friends with the goal of dating later probably won't go anywhere.

    Being friends first just because you're friends, and then starting a relationship later isn't really a problem at all.

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  • I always end up dating my guy friends. Always. I cannot possibly go on and date someone without being sure that they're worth the emotional roller coaster that is a relationship. I take dating very seriously, since day one and I'm just not comfortable with the whole "casual dating" scene.

    I've had 2 long term relationships and I still talk to my two exes like I did before we dated. I like having that bond with someone I loved/still care for. My current boyfriend is also my best friend.

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  • i know a few guys that could benefit from reading this article, too bad they won't even if I asked them too, it's not always the girl who wants to be FBD, sometimes it's the guy

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What Guys Said 10

  • You don't have to be serious to date, but as my article states, intentionally being friends with the ultimate goal of dating, be it in both person's minds or not, is not a successful venture.

    I broke down the issues, and gave relevant examples.

    If you want to date casually, that's entirely different from what this is.

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  • It's truly the best thing you can do. Glad to hear you're not buying into the nonsense.

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  • Very well written, I wish women would have the boldness to say no, and not waste a person's time. so many women have this problem. they will say let's be friends on something that won't work. and when the guy makes a move they will get p*ssed because they think the guy is trying to get in their pants

    i agree on the part you can't be friends with everyone. that's why I delete girls (I want) contact when I see it won't go anywhere

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  • Actually, my indictment of FBD, is when people intentionally set out to be friends with the goal of dating.

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  • While it is true that finding things out about people is part of the experience, you're also working under the assumption that I know everything about my friends. The first relationship I was in lasted a solid 2 years (which is pretty long for a high school relationship), and we had been friends for about 5 months prior to dating. Being friends doesn't necessarily kill the chances of a relationship, but playing games with it and stringing each other along does.

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  • "Interesting take, but I don't agree. In many cases, jumping into dating/relationships before knowing the person causes a relationship to fail as well."

    If that was the case, neither you or I would not be born. True relationships fail, but that's part of the whole experience of dating. Sometimes things don' work out, that's how you learn about yourself and what it is you really need. Planning a "friendship" with someone will not do that at all.

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  • Interesting that you dislike dating so much you have to think of it as useless and stressful.

    Do you have problems interacting in public settings with strangers?

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  • i agree with this...women: ever heard of Ladder Theory...laddertheory.org

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  • As a commitment to my article, here's an addition: I'm engaged, and have been for over year for now. We had encountered on another at some events during our undergrad years, but I was always dating someone else.

    There was mutual interest from the start, but we didn't talk. Literally, didn't talk. And then we did have a chance conversation that did turn into a date offer. Eight months after that, I proposed on a sea-level floating dock on Puget Sound.

    From me, with love!

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  • At first, she wasn't a friend -- she was a girl you knew. You approached her, asked to get together -- and you hung out 1-on-1. Unless something is said prior to establish it as Platonic given the circumstances that you were in -- it's a date (informal).

    2nd date she asked about stuff, and you said you were interested. She then inquired if you wanted to date, then said you'd have to be friends first. FREEZE FRAME.

    At this point, you ARE Friends (albeit new). Red flag for game-playing. :)

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