Monday, June 18, 2007

What does the word Friend mean?

Can Men and Women be Friends?
I hung out with my friend Lisa last week and we got to talking about the topic of men and women being friends. Lisa said "You know, you should really add an option on the scorecards at the speed dating events for a friend category in addition to the yes/no."

I said, nope, been there, done that, and I almost had a riot on my hands. A year or so ago, I had added that option based on several user comments that one of my competitors offered it. After about a month, I removed the option because the men were furious.
At an event, a woman thought a guy was very "nice", but just was not interested in him romantically so she selected the friend option. The guy got his results, saw he matched with the woman as a friend, emailed her, and then got really annoyed that she did not want to go on a date. Guys just don't want to hear that "you are very nice, but just not for me."

That being said, Lisa confused me a little more (when it comes to understanding women, it is not very difficult to confuse me). She said that doesn't know after 5 minutes whether she wants to date someone, and that is why she wanted the friend option.
Wait a minute here! As far as I am concerned, the word friend means that you are very nice, and I think you are a great person, but there is no chance that we are going to date or get into anything romantic. According to Lisa, friend means that I want to get to know you a little better before deciding whether to date your or not.

Semantics issue? What do you think of when you hear the words, I want to be friends? Jay's definition or Lisa's? (Lisa is not your typical woman, she doesn't look at a guys shoes when meeting him and considers me a metrosexual, which is the furthest thing from the truth). So I really need some more opinions here.
By Jay Rosensweig- NYC Singles, Long Island Singles


Anonymous said...

I believe that younger women may be quicker to judge a guy based on the outside. And actually, the first 5 mins. it's hard to look past that...that is, what can one tell from only a 5 minute conversation during a speed-dating event. The first 1-2 minutes you observe facial expressions, body language, and it's all visual. I know it has been confirmed that men are "visual"--but sorry to break the news to some men--women are just as "visual"...initially. Then personality comes to play (for that to occur 2 people need to spend considerable time--at least a good hour of conversation). An older woman will not only be interested in a man based on his appearance, and therefore will not want to make a statement of strong interest (commitment), so we will probably leave the door open by saying we "want to be friends for now"--and see if there is more potential there (even if we are attracted) later on. There is no guarantee that the man will have other redeeming inner qualities, which will make him more attractive, or unfortunately less appealing. This is why I personally don't like to state that I am on a romantic date, but rather with someone I can see being friends with ... with the potential of going further if we connect on various levels...not just physically. There is less pressure this way. "Friend" is better than nothing in my opinion. And as quoted in the movie "Hitch", every man has the opportunity to sweep a woman off her feet...he just needs the right broom! LOL

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about this further...unfortunately, based on my and women CANNOT be friends. ;(
Yes, it's sad...but once a man is interested romantically...and they claim they can be "friends" with you--they will find every motive to be more, or win you over. It would be nice if women and men could be "platonic" friends and not simply friends with benefits. But I have yet to experience that type of acceptance from the opposite sex. It's unfortunate, since there are some men who I have so much in common, yet are not attracted to. However, once a man is open to being friends...and he does respect a woman's wishes...he may have a slight chance in putting his best foot forward (not being too aggressive)--and changing her mind and how she perceives him. Every see "When Harry Met Sally?"! LOL

Anonymous said...

When I am going to a speed dating event I am there to look for a man im attracted to both on an emotional & physical level. Im there in hopes of finding a compatible partner,not just a new friend. There are plenty of other places & events where you can meet people who want just friendship. I vote against the friend column.

Anonymous said...

The Harry Met Sally rule is still in effect. A man can not be friends with a woman LOL! You will have to watch the movie if you do not know it.

Anonymous said...

The word friend is the kiss of death! I understand that sometimes it takes time to know someone before a woman decides if she would be interested in dating a particular man. It has happened to me before. I like to judge a a person for what they have to say to me and the chemistry between us. There are a lot of people who take offense to that word friend when used in a dating context. Better to just say to the other person to take things slowly. From my experience, men and women who started out in a romantic relationship cannot go back to being platonic friends. It is quite difficult to go backwards. If friendship is all that is possible between two people I find it is better to establish that within the first date or two. This way there are no crossed signals and broken hearts. We are all at a speed dating event to date so leaving the friendship category out the card is the right thing to do. Let the two people iron it out later. We should all give it a chance and not make that judgement so fast. It takes longer than a few minutes to figure out if the other person is dating material! We should all open our hearts and give each other a chance.

Anonymous said...

As a female I love having guy friends, but it is hard to make it work. I was friends with a guy first, but then we started dating - things didn't really work out so we went back to being friends, which was fine until the second time around when we decided to date again, became more serious, slept together, then broke it off again - this happended all over a period of one year. Now we do not even talk to each other anymore. I am sad because I lost a good guy friend. I think it is harder to stay friends if sex is involved. Someone is going to end up getting hurt & it will be almost impossible to maintain the friend ship. Also as friends I told my guy friend EVERYTHING so it was kind of weird when we started dating cause he knew all my dating "secrets" & vice-versa.

Anonymous said...

friends usually means, I'll hang out with you until something better shows up. With that said who's to say the two friends won't eventually hook up or help each other out. There is nothing wrong with this but it needs to be understood friends are fiends but where does one draw the line between a friendship and relationship. I guess it all depends on the friendship endures. For me, a friendship is great but if it gets to the point where it interferes with a realtionship, or vice versa, the choice often needs to be made.

Anonymous said...

I believe it's important to be friends first in order to build a relationship. Only when there is total honesty & sharing of one's feelings w/o judgment can a relationship progress to the next level of intimacy.
If that happens, you've found true love.

If it doesn't last or "work out" because of obligations or interferences beyond your control, you should be able to walk away "friends" because there were no falsehoods involved. Total honesty with your partner would allow you to do this. Having known each other inside & out as a result of the experience opens you to a level of total respect for that person.

Friendship is the gift you start with when you meet someone. The journey is where you take it-as friends,lovers or life partners.

Anonymous said...

If a man is set on pursuing something romantic with a woman initially...I agree, it's a major disappiontment to here the "F" work...friend, that is...nothing else! But I don't agree with this statement: "friends usually means, I'll hang out with you until something better shows up." A "true" friend will want to spend time with you regardless of how busy their lives may become...they see qualities in you that make them want to take the initiative to keep contact with you, also a good friend (man or woman) will also want the best for you and won't sabotage a potential or existing relationship simply because they can't have anything serious with you. It takes a lot for a man to be able to be platonic friends with a woman he has had sex with, especially if the woman broke off with him, and he is still interested.

Paul said...

Most of the women I dated and turned into successfull relationships started out as friends firtst and then grew into a romantic relationship. I believe that men and women being friends first can lead a lot of times ( not always) into a romantic relationship.

Anonymous said...

I think this topic shows the basic difference between men and women. That difference is that Men are decisive and are encouraged from the earliest age to be that way. Women on the other hand are not and are encouraged to be compliant to the male. The problem starts in relationships that we men are hard wired that every relationship between men and women who are not related by familial behavioral roles ie:Mom,Aunt,Sister etc... is going to end in sex, period. Women on the other hand are in the position of power because they posess the commodity and the power to grant our wildest dreams and they know how to use this quite well. I believe men and women can be friends in context to dating but I don't think men and women can be friends at the end of a failed relationship, because there is too much emotion there. In the casual meeting of speed dating there isn't much emotion invested so a potential friend isn't a true rejection. Women should be brave enough to meet a man for a better chance to get to know him before blowing him off or not. If a woman is too busy to make the time whats the point of all the lying?

Anonymous said...

I agree its pretty difficult for a guy and a girl to be friends and it only will work (obviously)if there is no romantic attraction on either end. I have girl "friends" like that. We talk about stuff that we have in common and do some things together and visit one another. Much of the conversation has to do with dating the opposite sex, which is always common ground, and you can get good sound and honest advice from a girl friend and you can do the same for her regarding men. There was one girl several years ago that I was not interested in romanically although she was quite attractive. We had a common interest in historic houses and related things and we used to hang out and go places together. After several months of doing things (I never came on to her) she wanted to go to lunch and said she wanted to talk to me, so we did. She explained that she had been with someone for several years and we couldn't be an item because of her ongoing relationship which she apparently didn't want to give up. I just said "fine" and we continued on as we had although we had a falling out over another matter about a year later. It was a little weird though to get shot down from someone I wasn't even interested in dating. Just goes to show your intentions can always be misread. I guess most women think that men are only interested in them in a romantic sense and their probably 98% correct.

Anonymous said...

I recently met a man online whose belief was to start out as friends and take it from there. He was also a great believer in IMing because it was a good way to get to know someone.

I believe in talking first then meeting someone if the interest is there. My questions are: how long do you stay in the IM stage, and once you meet and agree to be "friends," aren't you supposed to hang out and just do things? We've met and haven't done anything yet. I guess "he's just not that into me!" lol

The more I have thought about his philosophy and method of meeting people, the more I think it's weird.
If anyone has an opinion about this, please share!

Liz said...

On a logical note...two people need to be friends first, order to have something more meaningful and long-term (in my view). Relationships that are purely based on romance and attraction (surface) usually die out and collapse when there are bumps on the road. The 5-min. speed dating situation is ALL about visual interest. That's pretty much the truth...and YES - women are just as visual as men are. They know what they find attractive - and personalities do not shine through the very first 5 mins of meeting someone face to face. By the way, it takes a very mature man to be friends with a woman. Most men view women in a certain way..moreso when they are attracted to any degree. Again, I think a smart man that is confident would not view being friends as a negative option...but rather use that as an opportunity--to use the right broom to sweep that woman off her feet...especially if it's coming from an older woman...not some 20 yr old little girl, who bases her decisions solely on what she sees. Looks only take you so far!

GrinOnLI said...

Lots of very different opinions!

Since it seems to be the men who have issue with this "friend" category, I have a question: why are some women worthy enough to date but not worthy enough to have in your life without the romantic connection?

There have been several men that I didn't even know I wanted to date until after I'd gotten to know them a bit. I'm glad we were friends first!

I am a 41 yr old woman who has had a lifetime of male friends. The biggest issue has been when they start dating someone who perceives me to be a threat - a close 14 year PLATONIC friendship once ended because of this.

One last thought: About 10 years ago, I went on 3 dates in 3 nights with a man I met on an internet dating site. We realized immediately that there was no "spark" or chemistry of any kind, but we had to have each other in our lives... He is now my best friend, the Will to my Grace (although we're both heterosexual), and my life has been enriched by having him in it. We have never gone the "friends with benefits" route, and we won't. It's really too bad that so many people will deny themselves a friendship like this one.