Edge of Everywhere

Better Than (My) Friends? No Way!

Posted on: October 7, 2008

Part I – The Accidental Date

Last week, I went on what one of my friends later dubbed “the accidental date.” This particular friend and I originally met on Craigslist, and we have each met several other friends on there. The last person I met had made a post in the m4w section rather than the strictly platonic section, but he sounded like exactly the sort of person I’d like to be friends with, so I wrote to him and said something to that effect. My aforementioned friend claims that regardless, since his post was in the dating section, our meetup was a date. Certain cues I got from him suggest that she may be correct. I’ve never (intentionally) gone on a date and have never understood the idea of putting any kind of pressure on a meeting rather than just becoming friends and seeing what happens. Therefore, I found myself completely out of my element when suddenly forced to navigate the waters of dating etiquette. I refused his offer to pay for me, and when we parted, I didn’t give him a hug or echo his enthusiastic assessment of the evening. When he said what a good time he had had and that we should meet again, I simply replied, “Definitely. Have a good night,” and went home. Before I turned around, though, I’m pretty sure I saw a subtle look of disappointment flicker across his face. I was sincere about my intention to hang out with him again; after all, we have a ton of things in common and he does seem to be, as I originally suspected, someone I would like to be friends with. I think that I make an awesome friend and that people who have lots of things in common with me should be excited about being my friend, as I get excited about being theirs. But in the world of first dates and second dates and instant attraction, I guess that’s not perceived as being enough.

Part II – More Than (My) Friends?

I was kind of surprised to find myself reacting to his disappointment (or what I perceived to be disappointment) with resentment and even something approaching anger. I thought about how much I hate the phrase “more than friends” and how absurd it would be for this almost-stranger to expect, after less than two hours of time spent with me, some sort of confirmation that he was already on his way to becoming something more than a friend—and more specifically, something more than my friends, my amazing friends whom I’ve known for years and who truly understand me and are there for me. I believe that there are many different kinds and levels of friendship, but am insulted by the suggestion that the addition of attraction or of a physical or sexual aspect automatically elevates a relationship to somewhere above friendship, especially considering the fact that many people who get involved aren’t really friends to begin with. I love my friends and deeply appreciate the unique qualities and benefits of each of our relationships. I think it’s possible (although not necessarily useful) to create a relationship hierarchy based on factors like level of closeness, amount of time spent together, and degree of trust shared. While physical and sexual elements may differentiate some relationships from others, I don’t view those aspects as necessarily relevant to the hierarchy. Coming to terms with my asexuality has forced me to reevaluate (and ultimately reject) the belief that the ideal relationship must necessarily involve a combination of close friendship and physical and/or sexual attraction and/or intimacy.

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6 Responses to "Better Than (My) Friends? No Way!"

Oh gosh– I’ve been on an “accidental date” too. It was pretty much the exact same situation as yours, although I’d met the guy 3-4 times before I realized that he thought we were dating. I was mortified that I didn’t say anything earlier, but I was also confused that he had just assumed we were dating without ever getting my input. I was also shocked that he seemed unable to read any signals– or outright pronouncements– that I made regarding our status as potential friends. Was he really that determined to date me? I remember pointing to the giant Castro rainbow flag and saying, “That’s our symbol!”
Ignore me at your peril. 😛

Oh no! It’s crazy that he thought you were actually dating. Guys can be so dense sometimes! Thanks for the warning. Now I’m not even sure if I should hang out with this guy again, just so I don’t have to deal with that kind of thing.

Haha, the “ignore me” was directed towards the guy. 😉 I’d like to think others would be a little more astute.

Haha, oh okay. But hey, it’s my peril too if I neglect to spell it out for someone and end up with an accidental boyfriend!

Ahhh yes. Back in college, my friends actually “tricked me” into a date- the guy must have been beyond dense, because I averted his advances several times… and yet, at the end of the night, he insisted I call to let him know I got home ok. Of course, I didn’t- the request made no sense, and I wasn’t really interested in calling him anyway. But he called… and called… and called… and I started to panic that I had gotten an “accidental boyfriend”.
Ok, sorry for the rant. You’re last comment just reminded me of so many awkward, pseudo-date moments. 🙂

I strongly agree what you wrote about relationship hierarchy.

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