Can We Go On A Friend Date?

Is it just me or is going on a “friend date” more nerve-wracking than going on a date with someone you want to sleep with? First of all, the stakes for rejection are so much higher on a friend date. If I go on a “date” date and the dude’s not into it, I know it’s not entirely personal. He just doesn’t want to see me naked and that’s fine, I can totally respect that. THIS BODY IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, OKAY? But when you go out for drinks with someone you feel like you have a friend connection with and they don’t text you ever again to hang out, the rejection stings like a mother. Because it’s clear that they just didn’t vibe with your personality. THEY JUST DIDN’T LIKE WHO YOU WERE AS A PERSON. THEY HATED YOUR BRAIN.

I’m turning 26 next month, which means that it’s rare that I ever go on a friend date. At this point, my friend group is pretty solid and the likelihood of me meeting a new BFF seems slim. How would I ever, like, actually meet them? At a party? Sometimes I’ll meet someone who I think I really like but I’ll be too shy to make a move on them. I want to give them my card and be like, “Call me and let’s go on a friend date. I feel like we have a special connection and I would love to have an opportunity to explore that more, if you’re interested.” But, um, no. I can’t do that! Can I?!

I guess I actually can. Since I don’t like or care about most of the people I’m introduced to, if I find myself getting along with someone, I usually try not to let them get away without a phone number exchange. Two years ago, I met two of my best friends, Carey and Colette, while they were visiting New York from Β Paris. The three of us got along so well that after the weekend was over, I booked a trip to Paris so we could continue our platonic love affair in the spring. Everyone thought I was crazy for doing this. When I told my friends that I was flying to Paris to hang out with two girls I just met, they were just like, “Um, you’re weird.” But I knew! I knew I would end up having an amazing time and thankfully I was right. Our fling in New York translated perfectly across the pond.

That’s just the kind of lesbian stuff I do for my best friends. Like I said, it’s so rare that I actually connect with someone that when I do, it’s like “YES, I WILL FLY ACROSS THE OCEAN 4 U ON OUR SECOND FRIEND DATE. WHY NOT?” Courting friends can be just as thrilling and crazy as courting a new lover. You want to spend all your time with them and know their histories, their families, and their friends. You’re getting to know and love a whole new person, which is so exciting! I get butterflies just thinking about the possibility of finding a new close friend! As much as I think I’ve closed up shop on my social life, I also know that one can never have enough friends in this world. I hope to never be too old to go on a friend date.Β TC Mark

image – Lady Marmalade

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • Ketsia

    I’ve been wanting to read something you or Gaby would’ve written, all day. And here you are… I’ll sleep happy tonight! :)

  • Andrew


  • Katie

    I think half of the people who read thought catalog would love to go on a friend date with you.

    • Molly


  • Em

    My grandmother, after she got widowed and when many of her friends started passing away, started traveling a lot and going on friend dates all over the world with regularity I’ve never believed possible with adults. It’s really cute, and I’m really happy that she’s not lonely. :)

  • Rachel Alpert (@rachelanyaa)

    this is pretty cute ryan.

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  • guest

    UGH friend dates are the WORST. I’ve gone on a lot of friend dates with work friends, and even thought I know them well, it’s super awk to make the transition to regular friend.

    • Ve

      I don’t trust coworkers enough to legitimately befriend them :-/

  • Drew

    This is the story of my life. I try not to think I have social anxiety, but I get super nervous when I try to ask a new person to hang out… Like the fear of rejection kills me so much that I never make new friends and just deal with the shitty ones I have.

    • Ve

      It is hard, I have a fear of rejection too…it’s worse if you’re somewhere and you’re basically the “new guy/girl” and everyone else knows each other and has no incentive to want to meet new people.

      But yeah…

      Furthermore, for most of us, there’s no real reason why someone would dislike us right off the bat, so this fear of immediate rejection is more-or-less unfounded.

    • W

      With you on that one, Drew,

  • Stephanie

    I’ll go on a friend date with you!

  • Divya

    I’ll go on a friend date with you, Ryan!

  • Francesca

    I love this! Someone took this kind of initiative with me not so long ago and within a couple weeks was clearly one of my closest friends. It’s every bit as wonderful and important as a real date. :)

  • KSB

    I joined OKCupid for this same reason and made a disclaimer I was just looking for friends and fellow adventurers…. met some of the coolest people and had unbelievable friend dates. Other people are looking for the same thing!

    • Dasha

      That’s amazing. Such a great idea!

  • sup3rfluous

    I’d fly all the way from southeast asia just to be on a 1st friend date with you ryan!!!

  • itshergrace

    Oh thank you! I thought I was the only one who would go through preposterous lengths at “love at first sight” friendships.

  • Ellen - University of Manchester

    I love you for writing this

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  • catherine

    you’re one of my favorite writers on here. keep it up!

  • cjmarzan

    Reblogged this on Keeping Times and commented:
    Story of my life!

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