“I want friends for now but fear getting stuck as ‘just friends’ later. What do I do?”—Q & A

Q—I’m recently divorced and am not ready for a relationship. However, I would like to attend singles events to have fun and meet both male and female friends. How do I send the message that I’m just looking for friends now but want to date in the future? How do I avoid falling into or getting stuck in the just-friends trap?

A—In this regard, my advice for both men and women is similar, with a few differences.

First, read the articles below for specific advice about how to avoid the just-friends and too-nice traps:

Avoid the too-nice trap

7 signs you are too nice

What does it mean to assert my needs?

7 signs he sees you as a PAL not a GAL

How can we become more than friends?

Then go to a singles event where you’re intent on acting confident and feminine (women) or confident and strong (men). Even though you’re not ready for a relationship now, if you fail to act in these ways, you will find it difficult to get others to see you as attractive and desirable later (Read: Confidence matters, Does she like me—How do I know?).

If you successfully act confident while making others feel great (which is also critical) while you are at singles events, you’ll need to be prepared to use this technique to avoid dating until you’re ready (Below is an excerpt from the It’s Not You—It’s Your Technique Manual).

To relieve anxiety, slow things down, or prevent too much pressure (from them or you), tell them you want to have fun and just see where things go. If either of you gets too into each other too quickly, shares too much personal information too soon, fears hurting the other person’s feelings, or stops having as much fun, don’t give up, avoid, or just hope that the relationship will correct itself. The other person will most likely not understand what you are doing and why. So remember: “If in doubt, spell it out.” Take the pressure off by directly facing the situation and saying, “I’ve had a lot of fun getting to know you. I am not ready to date, but I’d love to keep having fun and let you know when I am.” If you use this technique, don’t send mixed messages by kissing. Always keep your affection simple, clean, and respectful, or people will feel used, led-on, or pressured.

When you are ready to date, be sure that you state so clearly by using this technique:

Men—The next time you talk with her, show her how much you appreciate and enjoy her by saying, “I’d really love to take you on a date. When would be a good time?”

Women—The next time he asks you to do something with him, ask, “Is this a date or hanging out?”

If they state that they want to just hang out or remain friends, unapologetically state, “I love spending time with you; however, I really want to move on with a relationship. This means I need to invest in dating, not hanging out, and that I won’t be as available as I used to be, especially on weekends. Let me know if you change your mind.”

Using these steps should help you transition from being friends to dating and in a way that makes you look confident and assured of your worth. It also prevents you from wasting your time in the too-nice, hanging-out, or just-friends traps.

I hope this advice helps.

Good luck and God bless your efforts,

Alisa

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One thought on ““I want friends for now but fear getting stuck as ‘just friends’ later. What do I do?”—Q & A

  • Thank you! That does make a lot of sense, and it’s so simple. I am going to have to practice saying things like that over and over. I am so shy! I imagine myself very well spoken, eloquent, and confident, but then when I get in a real social situation I trip all over what I’m trying to say. I will mentally consider myself as ‘practicing’ so that I don’t get upset if I mess up!

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