Posted in Dating / Relationships

Friends First – But Do You Really Mean That?

I found this fascinating article on Psychology Today about what frustrates the modern man about dating. It lists a number of double binds and double standards that annoy men the most and what they are doing about it. It’s an interesting read and I think both men and women should read it to understand precisely why it isn’t a walk in the park for us either.

There is one particular thing that exasperates single male friends of mine and I’ve come across this a lot. That is when a woman wants…

Friends First

No problem in itself, but the problem is when it comes with the expectation of exclusivity. At the beginning of the relationship, before it has properly started, some women want to be “friends first” – take it slowly, don’t get too involved, don’t jump into bed too soon. This is perfectly acceptable, sensible and normal as you grow to know each other. But we sometimes find this comes with an extra, unrealistic expectation. Our lady “friend” does not want us to date anybody else while she ponders what she actually wants from the man in question. Perhaps she thinks he should make a romantic gesture to prove that it is her he wants, but ultimately he is taking all the risk for little gain. She holds the cards and that’s exactly how she wants it.

If she ultimately decides no, he’s going to feel angry and frustrated at being led on – especially if she expressly states that she expects him not to see anyone else in the mean time while she figures out what she wants and takes it slowly.

Don’t play that game. By all means go along with their “friends first” approach, but don’t take that to mean anything and continue to see other people. If she has a problem with that then that says one of two things about her:

  • She is not being honest with herself about her feelings
  • She is controlling

You shouldn’t pressure her, of course, because she’ll run the other way. She does need to understand that you have dignity which will trump chivalry every time so while she figures out what she wants, it is not unreasonable that you should see other people.

What do others think about that? Have you been “friends first”? Did you expect exclusivity?



I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

4 thoughts on “Friends First – But Do You Really Mean That?

  1. Nope. I’ve never pulled the “friends first” card. That never made sense to me. I don’t need to incubate a “friendship” to figure out if I want to be romantically involved with a guy. For the most part, I know within the first initial meeting whether or not I want to sleep with him or have a relationship with him. There is no testing the waters for me.

    Now, with that said, if I meet a guy and want to date him, as in have a *relationship* (please keep in mind I have not dated anyone since my divorce January 2012) I will want to take things slow.

    The “let’s be friends first” is bullshit. You either like someone or you don’t. Now mind you, there are exceptions to this — maybe you start off with zero interest in a guy and truly are friends and something inside shifts — but most of the time I think those scenarios are Hollywood fairytales that sell movies.


    One of these days I hope to get around to posting about what happened to me in April. I’ve just been so overwhelmed by it all that I cannot formulate a post.


    1. I’m in agreement here. I sometimes wonder whether people who do that like to keep others dangling. If they have mixed feelings and want to test the water, that’s cool, but they have no right to expect exclusivity in such a situation.

      Hope to see you blogging again soon.

    2. I think it’s bullshit too. Especially since plenty of girls have left comments on my blog essentially saying they don’t need to give guys second chances because they know on the first date whether they’re interested or not.

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