“Friends First” what does that even mean?

“Friends First” what does that even mean?

Lesbian Dating sites and ‘Friends First’

I have been seeing a rash of the term ‘friends first’ on dating sites recently, and I am not even sure what that means. So… a person on a dating site wants to make friends with someone single that they could be attracted to, and then hang out with them steadily for awhile to see if they want to date them…. Isn’t that actually dating?

Or is it that they want to hang out, with someone they think they might be attracted to and want to date for awhile, but take much longer than is typical to decide if they want to sleep with them?

Or do they really want both parties to recognize that this is a single attractive person who is in the dateable ballpark for you, but then completely suppress their sexual interest and file one another into the platonic category, and hang out platonically until you become important to one another as friends, and then at some unpecified time in the future, perhaps years from now, the friends first person will decide they are sexually interested and the other person will then have to jump tracks? And during all this time, neither of you are exploring other romantic options? Or are you?


I was talking with a longtime friend who has recently realized she is demisexual (needing to be emotionally close with someone before you have any clue if you are attracted to them), and that last scenario is actually the one she is going with. Wow. All I’m saying is if one of my platonic friends suddenly has the hots for me, she is going to have to tell me in words, and then court me, because I’ve likely already weighed whether I wanted to date her and said ‘naw’ by the time we have been platonic friends for awhile, unless she’s been in a relationship. I will not even consider being attracted to her at that point, I’ve already thrown the switch to nun/sister/buddy and I’d need something completely overt and compelling to consider switching over.

What is a Friend Anyhow? Extraverts and Introverts have different types of friendships

I think another part of the ‘friends first’ situation is the difference in friendship styles for extraverts and introverts. Extraverts have a lot of what intraverts or ambiverts like me would call ‘aquaintances’. Aquaintances are people who you see around, might hang out with at an event, play sports with, but don’t regularly have a heart to heart with. You likely have never seen the inside of one another’s homes except maybe at a larger party. Extraverts date their aquaintances, and they have a lot more of them, so becoming aquaintances with an extravert before dating her makes sense to me, although I don’t go looking for aquaintances on dating sites, I meet plenty in my regular life.

However, as an ambivert, I have lots of aquaintances I don’t see much, but I invest a lot of time and energy in my actual friends. I have long heart to hearts with them, I see them one on one, I listen to their problems, I exchange favours with them, they become part of my family. My friends of that calibre are often people I have known 20 years or more, and even if I don’t see them frequently, the connection is intense. My friends are often exes, so they know me well. Converting a friendship like that into a romantic relationship bears a similar responsibility and impact to getting married. It’s a big commitment. And there are only 5-10 of them at any one time.

Converting an aquaintance to a dating partner is relatively simple, by contrast. If the relationship fizzles quickly, you will still likely only see them infrequently at events, you haven’t ripped a hole in the fabric of your family of choice. You likely know them well enough to know who their exes are and how that went.

So I think some extraverts who are not demisexual who put ‘friends first’ on their dating profile mean – I totally might want to see you naked, but I want to get to know you a bit, sniff around you first in some group situations, but pretend I am not doing that, so it doesn’t feel awkward. Then if you fit my vibe and my friends, I might make a move or ask you on a formal date at some point, if you are still available. Which seems reasonable from an extravert point of view too.

I kind of get this for people who are already in your life as aquaintances. I’m still stuck on the “we are on a dating site so wouldn’t message and choose to get together if we didn’t think an attraction was possible thing” part. I’ve become aquaintances and even friends with women I’ve met online and gone on a date or two with, but that’s after one or both of us decide we are not going to date. The aquaintance / friend part comes second.

What I don’t get is… You are hanging out with someone you met on a dating site do you really, really, just treat them like an aquaintance you have no interest in seeing naked? Do you ignore them most of the night and dance with other people and maybe have a short conversation at one point? Seems like that would say “I am definitely not attracted to you.” Is that really the situation?

If you are one of these ‘friends first’ people on dating sites, please feel free to comment. Inquiring lesbians want to know….

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash