Friends First

Sometime around New Years I signed on to a dating site. I took the time to write a very detailed “About Me” section and then, I was overwhelmed by the response. 

So overwhelmed that I didn’t respond to any messages and I shut down the profile. After a long discussion with my (longest) male friend about my experiences over the past year and my expectations moving forward, his advice to me was: “Slut it up, Stephanie”.

It sounds way worse than the intended message, which was that I needed to end my streak of serial monogamy and just go on a TON of dates, embrace my passion for meeting and learning new people, listening to their stories and getting to know them. It is one of my favorite past times and something I set aside as my depression turned me inward. He was absolutely right. I know what I want and need in a man, but not every man can handle me full on. I have learned that the answer is NOT becoming smaller to make him more comfortable, but I wasn’t sure what the answer actually was. 

Then I began to grow curious and inspected my relationship with this man and why it had lasted 25+ years. Yes, we dated in high school, but even denying a marriage proposal didn’t end our friendship. <— THIS IS THE ANSWER. 

Why is it that when we go into dating that we automatically focus on finding love, instead of friendship? Why do we get so anxious about our worth in a complete stranger’s assessment? Why are we waiting for returned calls, texts and affections to determine our relationships fate? When we don’t hear from a friend, why do we reach out and ask if everything’s ok, instead of thinking “They don’t like me. I wonder what I did wrong?”. 

Turns out upon closer inspection, my longest lasting, most fulfilling relationships were with my friends. The ones who love me just as I am and unconditionally. Those friends have become my tribe, my family. I love my friends. 

Shouldn’t love be … friends on fire? 

Just think about the difference that could make in our lives by approaching romantic partners with a friends first philosophy. 

I’ve started trying. 

I reactivated my account and changed my status to “Looking for: Friends”. I weeded a ton out and also saved myself a whole lot of time just by this one simple click. The results amaze me. Ive been on more quality dates with more like-minded individuals in the last two weeks, than I have in my entire adult life. Im making new friends and I love it. 

Perhaps a prospect may indeed start a fire, but in all honesty, I am able to fully enjoy and engage without reservation outside of romance and because Im already certain that I am a friend, accepted just as I am, Im daring greatly without the fear of anything being swept out from under me. 

Friends first. I highly recommend it. 

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