“This is my… (friend?) … Lauren/Patrick…”

Lauren and Patrick are on their 3rd date. They are in the middle of the date. Patrick sees some friends, and introduces Lauren as a “friend.” Lauren is confused.

Ok, so they’re going on their 3rd date now, and they’re spending time doing things like ice skating, bowling, etc. He is still paying for everything, so no sign of the “let’s go dutch” idea. So is there still romantic interest? Or is he trying to break things off by hinting “friends”?

Did he introduce Lauren as a friend because:

1. He’s not interested in anything BUT friendship. But doesn’t know how to express it. So continues, but really is hoping for a way out.

2. He’s not interested in pursuing a relationship, but really appreciates the friendship. He wants to keep her as a friend, and perhaps he’s from the south, where many times men think it’s appropriate for the guy to pay for things, even as friends. (I’ve had many many good guy friends refuse to let me pay, and I’ve seen this happen amongst my parents’ friends, too. Like… it gets worse for older people.)

3. He’s interested in Lauren, but needs more than 3 dates to decide. So doesn’t want to jump the gun, so calls her “friend.” But at the same time, sees the potential and is hoping that this will develop into something more. So using the word “friend” isn’t really accurate, but doesn’t know what else to say. (in the place of  “this is the girl who is kind of like a friend right now, but if all things go well, I really hope she can become my girlfriend, but I’m not sure yet, so that’s where we are right now.”)

4. He’s very interested in Lauren and simply can’t wait to have her as a girlfriend. But is shy, doesn’t know how to ask. In his head, he’s stopping himself to say “girlfriend” so he politely says… “um, friend.” But he doesn’t know how Lauren feels, doesn’t want to rush her or sound desperate. Doesn’t know how the middle ground goes, so says “friend.” (Or he doesn’t want to do the thing that some guys do: introduce the girl as their “girlfriend” and assumes that it automatically counts as them advancing the relationship to another level.)

I will not elaborate on the Ladder Theory here, but basically:
Guys, if you’re even somewhat interested in pursuing something romantic, never let the word “friend” escape your lips. Because that sends the girl into a bit of a confusion. And if you’re unlucky, while you still really like her, she’ll dismiss you as a friend from now on. And any chance you had before? All gone.

So, what do you do in this situation? Very simple. DON’T add a label!

“Hey, guys! Great seeing you! This is Lauren! We’re on our way to dinner! …”
“This is Lauren. And we’re about to head to… xyz …. for the evening.”

Done. You’ve done your due diligence of introducing the person you’re with, but you didn’t have to use a label. You’re safe. Buy yourself some time, whether it be assessing whether or not you want to go into dating relationship or if you’re trying to get the courage to ask them to be in a relationship. Drop the label. Just give their name. 🙂   After all, it’s the name and person that counts the most, right?


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