If you’re divorced or widowed and looking to expand your social life, you may find yourself simultaneously dating and seeking new friends. It struck me recently that there are some interesting similarities and differences between these two activities.
Let’s compare and contrast dating and friendships. Some friendship bread is in order. Note: We’re ignoring healthy during the holidays.
Compare and Contrast
- Finding Friends and Dates: Although friends can be found online (see http://bit.ly/1kEYQc0), it is much more common to meet friends in the wild – through other friends, Meetups, work, activities. It is harder to meet men in the wild. I have no problem talking to a female stranger at the gym, in the grocery store line, even a parking lot. But starting up a conversation with a male stranger I’m attracted to requires more balls than I usually have. And none of my women friends know any single men I could date (insert sad face). Rating: Different
- Meeting/Connecting: Pheromones aside, connecting with a new friend and a new date can each bring a rush. It’s great to connect with someone who has compatible energies, interests, and philosophies. Rating: Similar
- Sharing Innermost Thoughts: Hands down, getting to know a woman friend is easier and faster because she will usually share important and confidential life stories right away. A four-minute chat with a friend in a rest room can reveal more substance than what you would typically get from a man you have been dating for four months. Rating: Different
- Presence of Conversational Narcissism (See http://bit.ly/1USqC10): Both women and men can be self absorbed in their conversations. It’s annoying whether you’re dating someone or trying out a new friend. I’ve met some wonderful listeners (both men and women) but I have also encountered a fair number of self-focused folks. Rating: More Similar than Different
- Meeting Family and Friends: This may happen pretty quickly with a friend. It’s another story with a date. You can’t introduce a “match” to friends or family too early in the game. Meeting the family is a big deal when you’re dating someone. It’s less of a biggie to introduce a date to friends but could be awkward if you’re bringing over a new guy every few weeks. Rating: Different
- Taking Care of You: If you need a referral to a medical specialist, a ride to the doctor, a home cooked meal that you don’t have to make, or reassurance about a personal problem, chances are you are going to get the best support from a good female friend. Not that men can’t help with all these things but women friends seem to instinctively know how to best take care of you. Just saying. Rating: Mostly different
- Ghosting: Both women friends (new and long-standing) and men you are dating can ghost you (disappear suddenly without explanation). I think it is more commonly a dating than a friend issue since – sweeping generalization here — women like to talk things out. Rating: Primarily different
- Texting: When you text a friend, you don’t have to worry about timing the way you do with a date. You’re just not thinking, “Will she wonder if I am too available and don’t have a life?” Rating: Different
- Sexting: Not an issue unless you’re bi. Rating: Irrelevant
- Catfishing: Not an issue unless you’re lucky enough to have befriended a criminal. Rating: Mostly Irrelevant
- Revoking (cancelling a first meeting — see http://bit.ly/1mhoG6G ). It would be rare for a new friend to cancel a first meeting but it happens in the online dating world. Rating: Different
- Acceptance of Compliments: It’s pretty easy to accept a compliment from a man you’re dating. If he tells you, “You look hot,” you’re going to smile and bat your lashes. You’re not going to say, “I’m fatter than I should be and it took me 15 minutes to get into my Spanx.” In contrast, it’s hard for many women to accept a compliment from a woman friend. Watch Amy Schumer’s brilliant skit on this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzlvDV3mpZw Rating: Different.
I’d love to hear what you think about this. Write!
Until next week, happy dating or not dating!