I’ve admitted this before: I don’t love online dating.
I love the idea of it. I love that it brings people from different social circles and neighborhoods together. And I love that people I know have found relationships online. But for some reason, I can’t last more than two months on OkCupid. The experience always seems to sour.
I’ve had four or five different two-month stints on the site, and despite the (albeit short-lived) enthusiasm I genuinely bring to OkC each time, I have yet to find love there.
During my most recent two-month trial, though, I found something else: friends.
Three of them.
Yes, three separate men have asked me to be their friends. I’m flattered (people want to know me!). And also bit confused (is it really necessary to turn failed attempts at love into friendship?).
First, let me just say that the circumstances in which things ended up in the friend-zone for these three were all very different. Let's get into it:
New Friend #1: Three great dates. He’s fantastic. The dynamic just didn’t feel quite right to me. I would have ended up bulldozing him, so I ended it. He asked me out for coffee and suggested we be friends. I said yes.
New Friend #2: One very long, boozy date. Good conversation. Missing romantic connection. He wrote a nice note saying that he would love for us to be friendly. Sure, why not? After all, we like the same bands. It’s likely that I’ll run into him.
New Friend #3: Eight dates, one per week for eight weeks. The slow train to Nowheresville. Same interests. Physical chemistry. Good on paper, not in life. I ended it; he agreed things weren’t right. He asked if we could keep in touch as friends. Again, I said yes.
I said ‘yes’ because these are great guys, all of whom I did feel some connection with. But still, I find their friend requests a bit odd.
I get that during a real life breakup, you have to say the obligatory “let’s be friends” (even though you really mean “go fuck yourself”), but when it comes to online dating, you don’t actually have to say shit. Hell, most people just disappear.
Of course I would say hello to one of these chaps if we ran into each other at a restaurant or on the street, but is keeping in touch important? Or even a good idea? I don’t know.
What I do know is that having the support of friends while looking for love—and while in love—is essential. So I’m gonna give this a go, and be glad to have more people on my team, cheering me on. And happily do the same.
Beth Cook is a personal coach and writer. Want advice? Have advice? Send her an email.