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

#21

[quote="spunjalebi, post:20, topic:219524"]
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:

[/quote]

A true friend has no sexual/romantic desire for you, period? You speak as if desire is something that can be turned off and on. It does not work that way. Rather, a person isn't ready for dating and courtship (or the seminary, for that matter) until they have the self-mastery to maintain whatever distance is necessary to keep the relationship platonic, in spite of natural human desires that might arise in either oneself or in the other person, when the relationship needs to be platonic.

That distance will include a margin for error, if you are at all wise, because desire is not a static entity. It rises and ebbs outside of marriage, just as it does inside of it. It can remain dormant for years, and then take off. Never ever ever take this "we are just friends, we have zero desire for each other" thing for granted. Oh, have people gotten some rude surprises with that myth! The surprises can be very nice, though, when everyone is in control of themselves.

After all, once you are married and/or ordained (married men who are ordained may not remarry after their wife dies), you can meet some person you did not imagine existed, and a freight train of desire can hit you. That calls for self-mastery, because simply "not having" the desire is not an immediate option. If you believe in self-mastery, you won't let yourself fall for this interior "but we fell in love" nonsense. Rather, you tell yourself "I fell in love with this wonderful person, but I'm married/ordained, so I need to keep a greater distance. I'm going to have to find my happiness in the life I've chosen, not the one that came along later." If you fall for a friend while you are both unmarried, though, you can say, "Hmm. What have we here? I never saw this coming, but this could turn out to be quite a blessing. S/he has self-control, I have self-control, we are grown-up enough to cope if it doesn't work out, we could look into this."

You can't say that a friend who falls in love with you is not a "true friend", though. That just isn't fair.

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#22

I was responding to BlueSprite's comments. I would think that if a friend of the opposite sex had interest that went beyond friends, that would mean they were no longer "just a friend"?

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#23

[quote="spunjalebi, post:22, topic:219524"]
I was responding to BlueSprite's comments. I would think that if a friend of the opposite sex had interest that went beyond friends, that would mean they were no longer "just a friend"?

[/quote]

Don't let "just a friend" ever be taken to mean "could not possibly develop a sexual interest in me" nor "I could never see him that way". That is just not a good idea. Your desires could change, and so could his, and without prior notice. Be ready for this possibility as a realistic possibility.

All that "just a friend" means is "by mutual consent, no move towards courtship is currently on the horizon between us." Oh, but you say, I am married, of course nothing is on the horizon. And what if you become a widow? These things can change very fast. Don't be blindsided by that.

Also be ready for the possibility that one of you could go through a mid-life crisis and temporarily become an idiot. It is kind of like getting a really nasty disease that you don't want to catch. You don't blame them, necessarily, you don't have to think your friend is a terrible person or anything, but there needs to be a quarantine until the condition passes. If you expect this, you can handle it with grace and just put that distance in. I think the day will come when he will come to his senses and thank you. If not, well, the distance is there, you didn't freak out, you headed off the problem, that is the main thing.

If you're going to have opposite sex friends, you both need to think that way. Otherwise, run as fast as you can away from that.

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#24

In a way, you're saying that men and women can't ever be friends??

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#25

Hmm, I tend to agree with you, but unfortunately the “courtship phase” language seems to only be understood in certain circles, and so many women (as well as men) label this phase a “friendship” phase because they don’t know what else to call it. Now, in my experience the percentage of single men being completely platonic 100% friends with single women would be a little higher, more like 8 out of 10. However, even if a man is single as in not dating or courting anyone, it seems that usually they have at least one girl “friend” or acquaintance who they are considering dating, and in that way he’s not single as in completely free from all romantic attachment. In that state, a man can certainly be platonic friends with other girls, but obviously not the specific girl he sees as “more than a friend, though less than a lover”.

Also, it seems many men are at least physically attracted to many women at once, but that doesn’t mean he actually wants to date all those women. I’ve seen a number of posts here by men who admit to becoming physically aroused when hugging a girl in a friendly context, yet will still call the girl a “friend” even though obviously his feelings are not 100% platonic. I guess it depends on the man if he only calls women friends if he’s not attracted to them at all, or will call women friends who he is attracted to, if he has no plans to date them. While I don’t want to generalize, it seems many men will only have 100% platonic feelings for women who they actually find ugly, or close to it. While many women will see men as not ugly, but not cute either, and it does seem more common for a woman to have 100% platonic feelings for a man, than the other way around.

I guess I should also mention the “friends with benefits” idea where a man and woman could actually be having sex and still call themselves “friends” because they have no intention of dating or getting married. I’ve also heard of a case where a woman asked her best guy friend to take her virginity as a favor, and he obliged and called the occasion “an honor”. Totally un-Catholic and sinful, of course, but it just goes to show that many people do not define a friend as someone they have 100% platonic feelings for.

Now, some people think the adage from “When Harry Met Sally” applies to all men including married ones, and say that a man’s only female friend should be his wife. That a man should never be alone with an unrelated woman, ever, unless it’s his wife. So a man should never, for example, give a single female colleague a ride home from work. I used to scoff at that, but after my own experiences with pining for my married friend (who has indeed given me rides in his car, just me and him), I am certainly re-evaluating that. I think he may have as well, since after a while he started referring me to other people who could give me a ride, instead.

Yeah, I’m learning more as I get older, too.

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#26

[quote="spunjalebi, post:24, topic:219524"]
In a way, you're saying that men and women can't ever be friends??

[/quote]

No. I'm saying that men and women cannot take their self-control for granted. You have to have some boundaries that are not based on how you feel or your sense of things, but on common sense.

Now, of course you wouldn't try to be "just friends" with some guy who was just wild about you and only sees you as a possible girlfriend. You can't put a saddle on a zebra. But do realize, like the people who handle wildlife for movies, that you must respect the forces of nature. There are some who won't mess with it at all, this isn't wrong. Still, it can be done. It should never be done by those who simply chooses to ignore the dangers.

I go out to lunch with priests who are twenty or thirty years my senior, and I don't take it for granted that they are incapable of developing feelings for me. I'm not talking about playing with fire in a gas station! That takes an idiot. I mean that when you are around flammable materials, you use common sense, that's all.

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#27

Haha @ spunjalebi! You made me laugh! I did get "When Harry Met Sally" on here didn't I? :D Sorry...don't mean to rock the boat. And I agree with everything you say EasterJoy regarding self-mastery or control, etc..

However...(you knew this was coming right? Haha)...I still firmly believe that if a single man, is hanging out with a single woman, chances are, he's not just looking to be "friends." Because if the desire wasn't there, why would he hang out with her? Doesn't he have enough friends already? And honestly, what would they do together? Go shopping? Go to the movies? I truly don't believe any single man who hangs out with a single woman has only friendship in mind. I think he's always hoping...for something more. Now that's not to say he can't have self-control and act as a friend - that I'm sure and would expect, most men to do. But again, I feel (and this is just my opinion here)...that any single man who spends his free time with a single woman...is hoping...down the line...something more will develop.

Now if either of the parties is married or in a relationship already than the whole playing field changes and things are entirely different and I'd need another thread to discuss my philosophies on that one. That's a whole 'nuther ball of wax. But I'm strictly speaking of single men and women here.

Huh...I suppose I'm in Harry's camp with this ideology, no? :D Have to watch that movie again...:)

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#28

[quote="BlueSprite, post:27, topic:219524"]
I truly don't believe any single man who hangs out with a single woman has only friendship in mind. I think he's always hoping...for something more. Now that's not to say he can't have self-control and act as a friend - that I'm sure and would expect, most men to do. But again, I feel (and this is just my opinion here)...that any single man who spends his free time with a single woman...is hoping...down the line...something more will develop.

[/quote]

Then how do you explain the fact that I would hang out with a guy friend back when we were both single, and nothing ever happened? We'd have dinner together, go to movies, even went to the arcade:D And nothing ever happened.

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#29

Because he had self control...but I bet you dollars to donuts he liked you more than you may have thought! ;) Haha!

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#30

That is very extremely hands-down absolutely unlikely. Especially with all those blondes running around.

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#31

I tend to agree with BlueSprite.

Single men are usually actively looking for women they may be interested in. Thus, when they spend time (especially alone) with single women, there is usually some kind of tension there that results from the single man either already having feelings for the woman or trying to determine his 'romantic opinion' of her. This, I believe, does not really apply when there is a lack of physical attraction. But when a young single man is attracted to a young single woman, he tends to try to get to know her better and try to determine whether or not she is what he considers to be 'girlfriend material.'

This is not to say that men and women cannot be just friends. However, it is difficult for single people to be just friends when there is physical attraction on the part of one person in a friendship. When young men and women are single and in the same general vicinity, there are usually feelings developing one way or the other. Genuine friendship is possible, but it is probably the exception to the rule.

I'll have to go over to the other thread to rant about trying to start flirting/dating.

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#32

No. I'm saying that men and women cannot take their self-control for granted. You have to have some boundaries that are not based on how you feel or your sense of things, but on common sense.

I totally agree with this. There was a time when I didn't, but experience has indeed been a good teacher on that. Not just in terms of boundaries with married men. I once had what I thought was a friendship with a man who wasn't married, but had a girlfriend. However, then he and his girlfriend broke up. One day, me and him were just "hanging out" and we ran into his ex-girlfriend. Later that day, he made a very obvious pass at me. I was shocked and offended and that was the last time we "hung out", indeed we wound up not even talking to each other.

Now, thinking back, I think he very well may have been attracted to me even when he had a girlfriend, but held back for obvious reasons. And he probably figured after his break-up with his girlfriend that he was now free to pursue his attraction to me. This was completely different from my understanding that we started as friends and would always be friends.

Spunjalebi, I totally get what you're saying about your particular male friend. However, I wonder, was he crushing on another girl or have other female friends? Since that's really the only situation where I've seen a man be "just friends" with a woman, if he already has romantic prospects elsewhere. On the other hand, if a man has only one close female friend and "hangs out" with her all the time...well, I would seriously question if his feelings are 100% platonic.

I actually have a guy friend who I guess I'm "intermediate" with in terms of closeness, and who I have "hung out" with. However, he has another female friend who he is very close to, and he depends on her for emotional support, feels a need to tell her "everything", etc. However, she has a boyfriend. My friend recently met this boyfriend, and said he really didn't like the guy and wasn't sure why, since there wasn't anything he could pick out as "wrong" with him. To me the answer was obvious but I didn't tell him. BTW, I actually had some attraction to this guy years ago, but he's agnostic, so I knew a relationship would never work out. For some reason, any attraction I had for him has long since faded away, and I can honestly my feelings now are 100% platonic. Hmm, I wonder if that's more common for women than men?

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#33

Oh, he had tons of other female friends and guy friends. I wasn't the only person he hung out with. He also seemed very attuned to women, since all of his younger siblings are all girls:)

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#34

I haven't read all the post so perhaps someone has all ready written this. But here is my opinion.

I think being friends first is a bit of a terminology issue. At first, (and this is before the talk and agreeing to exclusivity), I don't care if we call it friends first or dating as long as it is low pressure.

For example, some men think the first date has to be nice so they ask the woman to an expensive restaurant. That is something that makes me run for the hills. I do not like to be in high class places where I am suppose to instinctively know the etiquette and be on my best manners. I would much prefer the first date be he give me a lift to do my groceries and they we go for coffee. And yes, age does have something to do with it because when I was younger I was a worse housekeeper and I would have skipped the grocery part and went straight to the coffee shop:D

However, after we had the talk and are officially exclusive then I want to be treated to a nice restaurant because if I agreed to exclusivity, I am comfortable with him and a nice restaurant will not scare me away

CM

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#35

[quote="BlueSprite, post:27, topic:219524"]

However...(you knew this was coming right? Haha)...I still firmly believe that if a single man, is hanging out with a single woman, chances are, he's not just looking to be "friends." Because if the desire wasn't there, why would he hang out with her? Doesn't he have enough friends already? And honestly, what would they do together? Go shopping? Go to the movies? I truly don't believe any single man who hangs out with a single woman has only friendship in mind. I think he's always hoping...for something more. Now that's not to say he can't have self-control and act as a friend - that I'm sure and would expect, most men to do. But again, I feel (and this is just my opinion here)...that any single man who spends his free time with a single woman...is hoping...down the line...something more will develop.

[/quote]

I can attest (from painful experience) that this is not always true.

But, to get back to the poll question, I voted yes. I do, personally, want to be friends first. (That doesn't mean that during this friendship phase, I'm not "evaluating his spouse potential" at all.......it just means that I want to spend a while with no romantic gestures, no exclusivity, no "pressure to put your best foot forward", etc.)

Besides, I'd feel completely awkward "dating" someone that I didn't even know!! :p

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#36

[quote="cmscms, post:34, topic:219524"]
I haven't read all the post so perhaps someone has all ready written this. But here is my opinion.

I think being friends first is a bit of a terminology issue. At first, (and this is before the talk and agreeing to exclusivity), I don't care if we call it friends first or dating as long as it is low pressure.

For example, some men think the first date has to be nice so they ask the woman to an expensive restaurant. That is something that makes me run for the hills. I do not like to be in high class places where I am suppose to instinctively know the etiquette and be on my best manners. I would much prefer the first date be he give me a lift to do my groceries and they we go for coffee. And yes, age does have something to do with it because when I was younger I was a worse housekeeper and I would have skipped the grocery part and went straight to the coffee shop:D

However, after we had the talk and are officially exclusive then I want to be treated to a nice restaurant because if I agreed to exclusivity, I am comfortable with him and a nice restaurant will not scare me away

CM

[/quote]

I agree, the less pressure on the first date to impress with money or fancy things, the better. Our first date was the fall flower show at the botanical gardens. Still romantic in a way, but very casual. We had something to look at and discuss instead of having to carry the conversation entirely over a meal. We did end up going for dinner afterwards, but that was spontaneous and because we actually found out we were having such a good time at the flower show we didn't want the date to end, but even then it was just a local diner and not a fancy place.

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#37

[quote="InspiritCarol, post:4, topic:219524"]
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.

[/quote]

:eek:...
:eek:

What??

I will have to respectfully completely disagree with you.

If you are attracted to someone, there are many, many many situations in which you should not reveal that. I think we get caught up in the whole "being honest" thing and forget "being prudent" while withholding non-essential information.

My opinion is that absolutely YES you should be friends with a person before you start to date them. If I am attracted to someone and I am not sure that they are attracted to me, I will withhold that information out of respect for my friendship with this person. Can you imagine if your best friend of the opposite gender came and told you they were attracted to you? That would put a tremendous strain on your relationship, if you ask me.

IMO, any respectful man will seek your friendship BEFORE he asks to date you. It is only sensible to get to know someone on that level before you dive into a deeper commitment.

God bless!

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#38

[quote="Koopa, post:37, topic:219524"]
:eek:...
:eek:

What??

I will have to respectfully completely disagree with you.

If you are attracted to someone, there are many, many many situations in which you should not reveal that. I think we get caught up in the whole "being honest" thing and forget "being prudent" while withholding non-essential information.

My opinion is that absolutely YES you should be friends with a person before you start to date them. If I am attracted to someone and I am not sure that they are attracted to me, I will withhold that information out of respect for my friendship with this person. Can you imagine if your best friend of the opposite gender came and told you they were attracted to you? That would put a tremendous strain on your relationship, if you ask me.

IMO, any respectful man will seek your friendship BEFORE he asks to date you. It is only sensible to get to know someone on that level before you dive into a deeper commitment.

God bless!

[/quote]

You can't hide attraction. It leaks out in your body language and all the unconscious communication. Astute observant people usually know if a friend has an attraction to them. Nothing wrong here. So what!

Attraction is not a choice. It is behavior that matters. Even faithfully married people develop crushes sometimes. It is how you deal with this that matters. I expect anybody that has been married for several years has experienced this if they are honest with themselves.

If you meet someone but don't want to date "until you are friends first," how does this happen? What does this mean? You still have to meet and talk to get to know the person better. Is this a date? I don't know. I have heard some call it a "Day 2," because then there is no pressure, no fancy dinner, no intent to impress, no exclusivity. It is just a meeting over coffee or something like that.

If tell a woman that I’d like to get together and she says no then I may not ask again. She will just have to accept the risk of that, if she really did want to meet but was “playing games” by saying no or “playing hard to get.” There is an abundance of women in the world.

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#39

Worked for us, too. We met at 15 years old, and will celebrate 7 years of marriage (and 14 years of friendship) next week. :slight_smile:

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#40

I don't think it matters either way. Yes, I think women tend to want friendship first because we'd rather be perceived and accepted as human beings rather than objects, but I don't believe it's a hard and fast rule. I've had both kinds of relationships - attraction/relationship first followed by friendship and friend first followed by attraction/relationship. Neither was better than the other.

It's going to be different for everyone so to say one is better than the other is ignorant, in my opinion.

Maybe if both men and women stopped making their 12372987 points on their list of what it takes to have an "acceptable" relationship, we might have more marriages instead of frustrated singles.

Keep your list short - you never know who God is going to put in your path.

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