Ladies only: Does one have to be friends first before dating/courtship?


In another thread it was suggested that the best way for a guy to court/date a girl is to be friends first for a period of time.

I would like to ask all the ladies here if that is what you think. Also does age factor into this? I am 40 and would the same apply for someone at my age compared to a guy in his 20s?


I have no male friends. In the community where I live males and females are NEVER friends, and if you dare to have a male or female friend the community tends to gossip and assume the worst.

Ideally I'd love to have male friends, and I love the idea of knowing a fellow as a friend before dating but that just doesn't happen in this community... :shrug:

That probably sounds pretty odd to a lot of you but small rural town mentality works differently then when you live in large centers. And what people think DOES matter because rumors spread fast and hard and next thing you know your reputation is **** and no one will take you seriously.

So... in my case clearly I don't think friends first is a must. Unfortunately I am stuck dating strangers and/or relative strangers (people I've seen around but don't know very well). And honestly I don't think there's anything wrong with that but it's definitely not my ideal situation.


Good question. I'm 48, btw. Never married. Dating, what little I've done, has always been mysterious and frustrating!:mad:

But if I start venting about that, I'll hijack the thread so I will restrain myself!:o

I think it's good to at least be acquaintances. That way you can scope out the security issues, run an FBI background check ;) if you feel you want to (LOL - but I do know some cases where it might've been a good idea...:eek:) Seriously, you would know enough about the fellow hopefully to feel reasonably comfortable being out on a date with him.

Also it would be helpful to bypass some of the awkwardness of, say, blind dates.

I wouldn't say it is always necessary to be close friends. In fact, some friendships with guys would be ruined by trying to turn them into dating and courtships. You'd just have to know if you wanted to gamble with a particular guy or not. Best case scenario you could find a great husband, so then the gamble would pay off.


Absolutely, unequivocally NO.

That doesn't even make sense.

It's like saying, if a man wants to go out with you he must first find you sexually unattractive and then, somehow have some magic switch get flipped where he then DOES find you sexually attractive and decide that he wants to work towards becoming more intimate with you AKA date you.

What part of that scenario takes place in reality?

If a man is attracted to you he shouldn't pretend to be "friends". It's a deception and a farce from beginning to end. A real man should let you know his intentions up front.

Now, does that mean you can't be "friends" with a man you're dating? I certainly hope not.


I voted no, because my husband and I were not friends prior to him asking me out. Obviously, him asking me out right after being introduced to me worked out just fine. :)


I think this is a great question :)

The conclusion I've made (and I'm still fairly young, so it may change down the track!) is that I would prefer to be friends with him first. The reason being: I'm less likely to be hurt if the relationship doesn't work out and I find more out about him by the way he acts around my/his friends and family. Often within dating, you focus on what he is like around you, and you alone, so you don't end up with a fair knowledge of how they act around other people or in certain situations.

If a guy did ask me out and I didn't know him that well, I would at this stage, ask if we could keep being friends for a little longer, even just a couple of months to see if it would even work out. If he doesn't want to do this then I guess he doesn't really have the respect for me worth a relationship anyway.

These are just my thoughts really, honestly I know that this doesn't apply to all situations, and I love it when people are just able to date without needing the whole friendship thing prior :)

Most important thing to remember when starting out in any relationship, whether it be friendship or dating, is prayer. Keep strong in your prayer life and Christ will work through the rest. Remember Mother Mary as well, she is the perfect example for any woman going into a relationship. :)

God Bless! :)


I didn't vote because all three situations apply at some time or other. Truthfully, I feel the most enjoyment comes when you and your date are friends first. You're not so on guard expecting him to be aggressive. You know his character; he knows yours, and nobody is surprised or disappointed. You enjoy the same things, and can express your feelings without unintentionally hurting his because you are unaware of his past. If this sounds bland, well if we're on a high for a while with a new acquaintance, we will likely hit a low as we get to know him better. This can be avoided if we first know someone before dating.


how about "marry without dating" option?

our scenario is 22 years (so far) of marriage based on a really wonderful, non-flirtatious friendship. we never dated. after about 2 years of friendship, i had sensed he and i were beginning to have deeper feelings for each other (far beyond, but not excluding, a sexual attraction) and during that time, a wonderfful piece of good fortune had befallen me. i said to him, "so, hey! are you going to ask me to go out and celebrate?"

and he said, "no."

i was so embarrassed that i had misread him so bad.

then he said, "I'm not going to ask you on a date. i'm going to ask you to marry me."

i said, "you're not $#@!$& funny." (i cussed a lot back then.)

he said, "I'm not $#@!$& kidding."

i married him. friendship worked for us. i recommend it.


The problem is that often you get stuck permanently in the "friends zone".


[quote="Norseman82, post:9, topic:219524"]
The problem is that often you get stuck permanently in the "friends zone".


From a guy's perspective, I agree somewhat. Sorry for putting in my 2cents, having additional appendages and all. ;)
Truly the answer to your question for 99.9% of the women out there, if you're the right guy, they'll start dating you without being friends first. If they won't, well, you're not the kind of guy that can pull that off. It takes a certain level of suavity so to speak. :thumbsup:


Define "friend." Do I want to know the fellow well enough to know what kind of company he keeps before dating him, to see how he treats people that he is not trying to impress? In retrospect, yes, absolutely, that is the ideal. I had nothing but bad luck by trusting what some guy said about himself in the "best foot forward" stage. Still, I'd consent to a blind date set up by someone who I felt competent to assess that. I would not trust the word of anyone who just had some need to see me paired off, but I have friends that I could trust to have my best interest in mind.

Do I have to know him well enough to confide in him? No. Actually, that would give me some pause. Why? Because a failed romance would ruin the friendship, too. It is kind of like not dating the guys you work with. It isn't an ironclad rule, but it gives one a little pause. Still, it is not as if really good men are so easy to find that you'd not date a great guy because you don't want to ruin the friendship. You'll never make an omelette if you can't bear to break any eggs. You have to be willing to get close before you're going to get close enough to consider marriage. (There are many people who do not like that prospect, however. They want to find a mate without ever getting hurt. It's a nice scenario, if it works that way, but there are no guarantees.)

I was very leery of guys who seemed too much in a hurry to find a wife or a girlfriend. People who are desparate are not as honest about things that could cause problems. They make irresponsible pretenses. If you hit it off with someone who is a bit picky and takes their time to warm up, you know you're getting a honest acceptance that is likely to have staying power. That is a much better foundation for the process of deciding whether you'd make good spouses for each other.

IMHO. :rolleyes:


No, but I would highly recommend it.


[quote="canadianguy1143, post:1, topic:219524"]
In another thread it was suggested that the best way for a guy to court/date a girl is to be friends first for a period of time.

I would like to ask all the ladies here if that is what you think. Also does age factor into this? I am 40 and would the same apply for someone at my age compared to a guy in his 20s?


We didn't know each other prior to dating, we didn't wait very long after our first date to know we wanted to be exclusive (two weeks), and we didn't wait long to get engaged (5 months after we met). We've been married now for a little over 12 years.

What I did know though when I met him was what to look for in what I wanted in a husband and I wasn't going to stick around long if he didn't show a good bit of the qualities I wanted in a spouse. It wasn't a list, but I didn't want to play at games. He had to show he said what he meant and backed it up with his actions. He had integrity from the first date. I wasn't afraid to cut bait if I had to.


No, I never dated a friend. You get to know the person by going on dates and if you get along, you form a relationship and it progresses from there. There is no need to be friends with a person first before dating.


Hey canadianguy, I think the main lesson to take from the replies so far is that it depends on the lady! Some are ok with being in the dating mindset from the outset, some would prefer to be friends first. And, of course, everyone has a slightly different definition of “dating” and “friends”, and have a different answer to the ages-old question of whether men and women even can be friends in the first place.

So I answered “it depends”. I should also point out that some people think of dating as being “friends plus something”, and could never date someone they couldn’t also be friends with. I’m like that, personally. Others take it a step further and think of the ideal marriage as one where you “marry your best friend”. I wouldn’t take it that far, I don’t think your spouse has to be your BFF. I think that to some people, a BFF relationship would make any romantic relationship feel almost incestous, and actually prefer some emotional distance, especially in the discernment process for a potential marriage partner.

So, I totally agree with EasterJoy here. As I mentioned already, I don’t have to be BFF with a guy before dating, but I would not feel comfortable in a dating situation with a guy I hardly knew. It seems that many people approach dating like it is a job interview, and will try to market themselves to their dates, not be themselves. I’ve also met men who seemed to be attracted to me based on some idealized vision of me, not how I really was. I didn’t see much point in dating men like that, since it seemed almost guaranteed that the relationship would collapse when he found what I was really like. Some women like being put on a pedestal and wined and dined, though.

I was very leery of guys who seemed too much in a hurry to find a wife or a girlfriend. People who are desparate are not as honest about things that could cause problems. They make irresponsible pretenses.

I agree with this, and also, having known guys like that, I never got a sense from them that they actually liked me for me, but rather that they just wanted someone to fill the position of “wife” or “girlfriend”. I’m sure there are women out there who are like this too, especially older women who can “feel their biological clock ticking” and are looking more for a baby-daddy candidate than a guy they can truly spend the rest of their lives with. I can understand why older people would be more desperate, but desperation really is not attractive at all.

Also, some men seem to expect a woman to submit to them even before marriage and just go along with what the man decides as to, say, what restaurant to go to. That kind of controlling tendency would make me want to run far away in the opposite direction, and can often lead to abuse, but even if it doesn’t, a man like that would again make me doubt that he actually liked me for me. In worse cases, of course, some men expect women to submit to their sexual advances – I haven’t personally experienced this, but I know women who have.

Unfortunately, I think the risk of sexual assault is definitely a major reason many women prefer to be “friends first”. This, again, doesn’t mean the man has to be their BFF. Many women would prefer to first get to know the man through group situations before trusting him in a one-on-one dating situation. Such an issue really isn’t present for a man, though some women are sexually aggressive the average man really isn’t at risk for actually being sexually assaulted by a woman. (I know it’s not unheard of, though). Especially on our current culture where many men think they are “owed” some kind of sexual favor as part of a date. Again, getting to know a man in a non-dating context first would help weed out some men with that mentality.


I am wondering (and I don't mean to derail the thread here in anyway) but could we be possibly talking about a difference between dating as in "romantically involved without being friends beforehand" and courtship which tends to be defined as "getting to know someone within the context of friendship, with no direct romantic involvement but there is still interest."

Most people are comfortable with dating from what I can tell. People usually from very traditional Protestant circles advocate courtship. At least, from what I understand.


Hey spunjalebi, I actually was thinking along the same lines. Though "courtship" seems to have many different versions. Some versions seem pretty close to arranged marriage, with girls especially not being "allowed" to be courted by any man who hasn't been pre-approved by the father first, and the couple always being expected to have a chaperone, and depend more on what their parents think about the match than their personal preference. Advocates of this model often depict all one-on-one dating as a "near occasion of sin", recommend not getting overly emotionally involved until at least the engagement, and of course are against any physical contact at all, not even a peck on the lips.

The idea seems to be to restrict not only sexual expression but any romance at all to an engagement or marriage context...I've even heard the remark that the couple is expected to behave as "brother and sister" until engagement or marriage...and this seems to refer not only to physical contact, but to an actual mindset. To me, this model is quite extreme and not much different than arranged marriages where you're supposed to "only fall in love after you get married", as an Indian (as in, South Asian, not Native American) friend has told me. This girl sincerely believes in actual arranged marriage, though she's studying to be a physician and is not planning in staying home barefoot and pregnant. I respect that belief, but I don't think it would be a fit for me. It also seems that this model would be difficult to apply to older singles who are often living hundreds of miles away from their parents (such as, hmm, me!)

Now, for others, the only difference between dating and courting is that dating is meant to be "just for fun" and any marriage relationship is just a bonus, while in courting you are expected to be evaluating every candidate as a possible spouse, and making decisions with that foremost in mind. So a courtship wouldn't look much different to a casual observer, than a dating relationship, the difference would be more what goes on inside the heart. However, this model would still require someone to get to know the person first in a non-dating context, before actually going on a one-on-one date.

Hmm, I think that when some women say they want to be "friends first" it doesn't mean they have no attraction to the man they're referring to, it's that they want to guard their heart for a while, and going on a date to a romantic candlelit restaurant, or even seeing a "date movie" in a darkened theater, would put them at risk of letting their guard down too soon, and becoming attached to a man who really isn't suited for them in the long run.

And, of course, there are women who say this just to let the man down "gently". Or, at least to give them time to warm up to the man without the pressures of a dating situation.


I know what you are speaking of Toeinthewater, as I am from that background where some of my relatives married that way.

But it does beg the question, can't you also discern while dating and having fun? Sometimes I think people are afraid of the phrase "having fun" because if it's not debauchery it must not be fun. But fun while dating can be harmless, clean, and respectful. All while discerning as well. After all, if you meet someone who can't let loose just a tad what does that say about a future together? No one wants to be married to a stuffy, serious-all-the-time bore:p

I would think one reason why some women prefer to be friends before is to understand the type of person they could potentially be involved with. Let's be honest, most people are impressing each other while dating and true colors don't emerge until engagement or even after marriage. And even if you aren't entirely impressing each other, you're holding back a lot of things about yourself or doing things to please the other person. For some people that's not something they want to get into, and I can understand. I can also understand the costs of becoming friends with a guy who is interested in you and after a few months, what happens? Can you really "let someone down gently"?

I believe in guarding your heart, and I think you can easily do that while dating. I think there is a way to reveal oneself in a healthy and appropriate manner. Most people who have this problem tend to be the ones who are convinced they are head-over-heels in love after a few days or weeks.


Call me crazy...but from my uh, personal experience, any single guy, who's hanging out with a single girl, generally likes her beyond that of a "friend." I know I know...many girls or women can be friends with guys - I believe that! But I don't believe the reverse. Call me biased, but I just don't believe it. :shrug: Not for single men. No way. I used to believe it though...oh how I used to! LOL! But I have lived and seen much of this world...and let me tell you, 9 times out of 10, it's not the case. ;)

Now I'm sure there will be discussion over what constitutes a friend. To me, a "friend" means they have zero interest in you (romantic that is)...and I mean zero. Where all their thoughts, desires, or whatever else enters their mind, is strictly of a platonic nature. That their intent is for friendship and nothing more. Ever. That to me is a friend. So let me just clarify that point. :)

I suppose in the context of this question, what you consider a friend, I would consider a courtship phase. I do believe a courtship phase is necessary, yes. But friends, no...I'm not buying the "friends" thing. :D


Well, let's not get When Harry Met Sally philosophy here:D

Yes, a true friend has no sexual/romantic desire for you, period. And it's possible to just have friends of the opposite sex. But it progresses to something more when one of those people has feelings which are not platonic. I think we understand that.

I've had guy friends who were single and never made a pass at me:shrug:

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