What exactly does it mean when a guy wants to be friends first?

Met guy on Tinder. We've been out a couple times and are planning to hang out tonight. He talks about the future a lot (we should travel, check out new movies/concerts, etc). He's pretty cool, and there's definitely attraction between us, but I don't feel like he's super hot for me. In other words, he stays in touch frequently but it doesn't feel like he's actively pursuing me. I did tell him at one point that I'm not interested in hook ups, and he told me that he feels its better to be friends first. Now if he never said that, I would definitely have doubts about dating him. But instead I feel more at ease and relaxed about our situation. Putting "friends first" in my mind releases any stress that I was feeling before, makes me feel better and makes our time together more enjoyable.

Why do guys say this? Do they truly want to be friends first? Do they say this because they've been burned before, or because they have several other options in terms of women?

Thoughts are appreciated.


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