Ladies, THIS Is What A Man Means When He Wants To Be “Friends Before Dating”


I get a good amount of emails, texts, DM’s and Facebook messages from people asking me to address their specific relationship issues on this blog, and since I use to answer a lot of questions on here back in the day, I figured there is no time like the present to revisit answering relationship questions. Today, we tackle a topic that MANY women often wonder about, yet receive FAR too many mixed messages from men to formulate a clear understanding of what we truly want: How can a woman build a solid relationship with a man built on genuine friendship WITHOUT ending up in the friend zone?

Here’s the email:

Hi Lincoln,

First off, thanks for all the insight into the male mind…you’ve helped put some perspective into many questions and topics I’ve always wondered about…and in an entertaining way too 🙂

I’m wondering if guys actually mean it when they say that they want to be friends with a girl before getting into a relationship?

In theory, for sure I see why anyone would want to know someone on a certain level before getting into a committed, long-term relationship. But then why all the fuss about girls putting guys in the dreaded friend zone??

How long do you think a man and woman need to be “friends” before they’re lovers? If you even agree with this theory. Do you think this really works out for the couple in the end?

I ask this question because I’ve been online dating for a while now and see the “let’s be friends first” line often. I’m not on a dating site to make friends. I’m on there to find someone to date…DUH. So do you think guys genuinely believe in being friends first? Or is it a manipulative tactic for women to think that he is a nice guy off the bat and wouldn’t want to rush you or pressure you into anything. When really their intention is to hit the nani and jet? Or be FWB type of thing.

Another reason is I’ve gone through this before, more than once. The guy says he wants to be friends first, and then I’m the one who gets friend-zoned…which makes me question if I’m gf/wife material or if I’m such a good friend, they wouldn’t want to ruin that. I don’t really believe either of those…

I’d love your insight into the matter. And thanks again for all the insightful reading material!!

Because there’s a lot to unpack, I will address the questions and topics brought up chronologically as they appear in the email. First, please understand that men definitely WANT to have an incredibly strong and genuine friendship with their woman. There’s NOTHING like loving a woman that you can connect with on all levels, combined with the feeling that she will be down for you through thick and thin because your FRIENDSHIP ensures your bond is deeper than a surface level connection. BUT, the truth is that not ALL men believe that true a friendship NEEDS to be established BEFORE entering into a relationship – as long as it’s fostered through the courting stage and strengthened everyday as a couple.

See, the problem with dudes who say they want to be friends first before seriously dating is there’s a TRAP inherently located in that ideology. While there are some AMAZING dudes who will really want to form a strong, sexual pressure-less mental bond with a woman before deciding to date her, there are some dudes who will use the “becoming friends stage” as a way to keep a woman in a dating grey zone where they do EVERYTHING that a couple does (hang out, smash, spend a lot of time together, etc.) WITHOUT actually giving her the title of girlfriend – because he really doesn’t want to give her that title at all – or until he’s finished “having fun”. These guys will beat your nani up, and the second you bring up relationship talks, he will turn around and say “HEY! I told you from the start that we need to cultivate a friendship first! And we’re not done cultivating nigga!”

See, men HATE women’s friend zones because for MOST MEN it’s the END zone. The problem is that men and women both see the ‘Female Friend Zone’ as two completely different things. Women view it as a place where men she’s not currently interested in or actively dating stay, while men view it as purgatory for dudes who are neither relationship or F*^K-buddy material – which means he’s in the same class as her homegirls, family members and gay male friends.

Now when it comes to OUR friend zones and allocating women we may have thought about dating into it, typically there are TWO reasons a woman can find herself trapped there: 1) She’s Ms. Just-Not-Great-Enough or 2) we think you’re cool but we don’t want to date or deal with you in a romantic capacity. Miss Just-Not Great-Enough is fine to F*^K and grab a bite to eat with, but we don’t see anything materializing long-term. We call her friend, but she’s more just the woman we are kicking it with in a non-official capacity until someone better comes along. And then there are just some women we end up not pursuing a relationship with because it feels like a waste of time. Something pops up as being “OFF” and we don’t feel like putting the effort in to creating a relationship with that person and we end up just being cool.

The reality is, most men are open to nurturing a friendship through the early stages of courting as opposed to trying to do it ALL before actually dating because we want to know that we are not wasting our time with a woman who is NOT romantically interested in us (and ending up in the dreaded friend zone). And this is why so many men are reluctant to just JUMP into being committed to a woman, because a dude who values friendship wants to establish it to some point first before deciding to take her completely off the market.

But ladies you need to be able to tell whether he’s building that bond with you, or just keeping you in the grey zone to play the fool – but that’s another post for another day.

This Is Your Conscience

When Lincoln Anthony Blades is not writing for his controversial and critically acclaimed blog, he can be found contributing articles for Uptown Magazine. Lincoln wrote the hilarious and insightful book "You're Not A Victim, You're A Volunteer: How To Stop Letting Love Kick Your Ass". He is also a public speaker who has sat on panels all over North America and the Caribbean.


  1. Lauren

    10/19/2016 at 11:24 PM

    I honestly don’t care what a guy means by he wants to be just friends if I’m in love with him there is no friendship if he wants to be just friends I’m much happier without guys as friends if I’m crushing on them there’s no way I’m going to be his friend if there’s no way I’ll be able to date him so gentleman if a lady says no to friendship she means no not maybe but no so don’t push her to be just your friend she’ll end up resenting you

  2. A unknown girl

    10/26/2016 at 11:20 PM

    Ur so rgt..
    I knew someone can say i love him i was alwz there for him i guess thats wht made me weak and stupid for putting so much time n effort. He just wants to be now frnds like yea he said that but i cant do it anymore..