THE GAY FRIEND DELUSION 2: “Friends First”

By Nick Delmacy | Posted Jun 6 2012 | 21 Comments  

In the five years that I’ve seriously started meeting gay/bisexual men for more than just casual sex, I’ve discovered one main commonality amongst them. They’ve all, and I mean all of them, had a false sense of what it means to acquire, have and to be a friend.

So now that I have a platform (this website), I will dig into this issue in a series of posts covering its various dynamics and hypocrisies. As always, this is just my opinion. Some of this bullshit I comment on may actually work for some people, more power to you. These posts will just be from the perspective of one guy with tons of common sense.

In the first post of the series, I examined the fallacious concept of Gay men and their ability to be friends with their Ex’s. Controversial to say the least, but I stand by my original opinion. Part Two in the series should be just as polarizing.

Let’s begin.


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FRIENDS FIRST

I blame romantic films like “Love and Basketball” and “The Best Man.”

I blame Diane and Sam from “Cheers”

I blame Dwayne and Whitley from “A Different World”

I blame Tony and Angela from “Who’s The Boss”

I blame Overton and Synclaire from “Living Single”

I blame the entire cast of “Friends” who all eventually hooked up with each other by the series finale…

We see it in the movies all the time: The great girl and the clueless guy who were only platonic friends for years suddenly become The Perfect Match. They finally start dating, then there’s a snag that separates them temporarily but eventually everything turns up roses. Cue music. Fade up credits featuring obligatory Blooper Reel in a tiny box on the screen.


This number of times this scenario has actually worked in real life is little to none. However, gay men all over the world are falling into this trap, declaring that they are only “looking for friends, see where it goes from there.”

Whenever I hear this from someone, I smile, nod my head and say to them, “That’s Bullshit.”

There are two “friends first” scenarios that I have strong objections with…the first is the “let’s be friends first and leave the possibility of dating open for the future” scenario.

This is bullshit.

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The “possibility of dating open for the future” is just the Gay way of saying I want to keep you in my back pocket as I play the field and decide whether or not I want you. Break glass in case of emergency.

I don’t accept that. This may be the very reason that I’m currently single but I’m better than that. If a dude isn’t feeling you in the beginning, why waste weeks, months or years trying to convince him otherwise like you’re selling him a used car?

The opposite applies as well. The odds of knowing someone for years and suddenly falling for them out of the blue are slim.

There’s a reason why you never hear the expression, “It was love at SECOND sight.”


I can honestly say that 100% of situations with guys that I know who have gone on to date and have sexual relationships with platonic friends have all ended badly. They’re now either not as close friends as they were before the relationship started or they are no longer friends at all.

Think about it. The way you interact and converse with a person you’re dating versus a person you are just friends with is completely different. Especially when you are first getting to know each other.  

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I have a brotherly relationship with my friends. I don’t care about impressing them or trying to be perfect around them at all times.

Also, I don’t see my friends in a sexual context at all. No matter how attractive they are, to me that’s like fantasizing about a sibling.

Once I put a person in the proverbial “Friend Zone”, they’re pretty much stuck there permanently. If for some reason they do step out of that zone and we we become more than just friends, there’s no going back (hence the reason I don’t believe in being Friends With Exes).

With people that I’m dating, I try to maintain my best appearance, manners, intelligence and personality traits at all times to get them to like me more. After I have them, then I can let it all loose and be imperfect.

Everyone does this.

This is universal.

As you read this, Men and women all over the world are meeting each other for the possibility of dating and NONE of them are saying “hey, I’m looking for friends, we’ll see where it goes from there.”


When a man meets a woman in a bar/club and they go out for drinks the next day, there is NO QUESTION that it’s a date. When a Gay man meets another and they go out for drinks the next day, that’s NOT a date…they’re just “hanging out.”

What the fuck is “Hanging Out?!”

 
“Nick, you’re getting it wrong. ‘Friends First’ is about getting to know a person before you get into a relationship.”

 

News flash, Brainiac. That’s called DATING.

As Wikipedia states:
“Dating is a stage in a person’s life when he or she is actively pursuing romantic relationships with different people.”

If I’m consistently chilling with a guy who I think is cool and intelligent that I find attractive It will be very clear to both of us that we’re dating. This doesn’t mean that we’re in a full blown relationship and it also DOESN’T mean that we’re monogamously dating each other.

It simply means that I’m getting to know him, as more than just a friend. The time I’m putting in is my investment in the possibility for a romantic/sexual relationship.

ANECDOTAL FACT: 99% of all heterosexual relationships begin this way.

 
“Wait Nick, you can’t keep comparing heterosexual relationships to homosexual relationships, they’re completely different.”
 
More bullshit.

A relationship is a relationship. Whether it’s Straight, Gay or Interracial, a relationship between two people is the pretty much the same. To say that gay relationships can’t be compared to straight relationship is to tear away at the main civil rights argument that gay activists have been using: We’re no different.

 
“But Nick, I just want to see if I like the person before we start dating.”
 
Most people (and by ‘most’ I mean ALL) know if they want to date someone within the first two to five minutes of meeting them. So to say, “let’s see how it goes after we’re just friends for awhile” is disingenuous.

The second “Friends First” scenario that I object to is the “let’s just be friends even though I secretly want to date you” scenario. This is probably the worst of the two. This is friendship under false pretenses.

PictureThis is the type of friendship that causes the most uncomfortable and awkward moments between people.

The “Friend” who’s overly nice to you, always complementing you, always laughing at your jokes…This “friend” is just waiting around and hoping that one day you’ll realize that the perfect person for you has been under your nose the whole time.

Most of us see the writing on the wall and try to nip the unrequited feelings in the bud early. This never resolves the situation.

This “friend” will act surprised and say that it’s all just platonic. But secretly they are waiting for the night you’re both doing shots late night at home, too drunk to drive home so one of you spends the night…


“Hey, don’t sleep on the couch, get in the bed with me, I promise I won’t bite,” he says.

“By the way, I like to sleep in my underwear,” he says.

“Man, I’m so drunk…liquor got me feeling a little horny,” he says.

Hands start reaching underneath the covers and the next thing you know he’s screaming your name.

Yes…I speak from experience. Multiple times experience.

And every time after, the friendship was pretty much never the same after that.

 
“Nick, you’re thinking too hard about it…Its just sex amongst friends.”
I’m all for “Friends with Benefits” arrangements. If that is what it’s stated to be in the beginning then I know how to maneuver that situation. I’m not gonna spend hours on the phone with a “Fuck Buddy.” I’m not gonna share intimate secrets with a “Fuck Buddy.”

No, this type of friendship is erroneous because it’s a friendship built on a lie. It’s a friendship built on one person’s desire to fuck. True, they may actually have some feelings as well, but a one-sided crush does not make for a strong friendship foundation.

 
“But Nick, there’s this one boy that’s so fine…I just had to get to know and be friends with him.”
 
Well then you’re a fake-ass-friend. No, I take that back. You’re not even that, you’re just a groupie.

This is groupie thinking: I just want to know him and for him to know me.

Outside of secretly lusting after the man, these groupie friends can be seen insisting on acquiring pictures from the “friend” so they can add them to their contacts in their phone.

PictureYou can also see them constantly wanting to take pictures with this attractive “friend” so they can post them on Facebook and Twitter announcing that this is their “Bestie” or “Best Friend” (when they actually rarely even see/talk to each other). Or they don’t announce it at all, happily leaving the thought of him being their boyfriend open to misinterpretation by other people.

This is the guy at the house party attached to his hip so that everyone knows they came together.

These groupie friends often give poor dating advice so the object of their affection can conveniently remain single.

Attractive guys need friends too…But they need REAL FRIENDS not FANS PRETENDING TO BE FRIENDS.


 
IN CONCLUSION

I’m not against having friends who I find attractive or a friend who is somewhat interested in me for dating. The problems come with people who can’t curb those feelings when one of us makes it clear that those feelings aren’t mutual.

We can be friends but not some imaginary Film/TV friendship where there’s constant sexual tension throughout and by the Season Four finale we’re getting married.

Same applies to the “Friends First” weirdos. You either want a friend or you want a date. There’s a difference. Trying to blend the two just potentially leads people on and causes a lot of hurt feelings. I’ve been on both sides of this coin so I speak from experience.

The gay dating community already has a big problem with truth and honesty. No one wants to say how they really feel, whether for acceptance or rejection.

Let’s all collectively work to change that by keeping the “Friends First” fantasy in Hollywood Films/Shows where it belongs.

– Nick D

About the Author
Nick Delmacy

Nick is a founder, editor and the pop culture expert at Cypher Avenue. Serving as the designer and webmaster of the site, he is the architect of The Cypher Avenue Matrix.

   
Categorized as :
AdviceCypher Ave OriginalsDating & SexOpinion

21 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. Ocky | July 7th, 2013
    0

    LOL this shit is so true!

    But I apply the “friends first” term a little bit differently for me personally.

    Back in my not so distant dating past, I sometimes used the “friends first” phrase. Now let me say this also came at a time when I was having some sense of growth and maturity…meaning that I was well past my whore phase and understood I needed meaningful relationships in my life whether they were friends or potential partners.

    My logic and thought process was / is it doesn’t make sense for me to want to be romantically involved with a guy if I would not be friends with this guy. Why would I want to be intimate with someone I don’t like or didn’t want to be around and didn’t trust friends or otherwise?

    Would I trust this person to be in my home alone? Could I confide secrets to this person? Can I call this person (if on the slim chance) I get locked up to come and bail me out? If the answer is no…why am I sleeping with them? If you can’t qualify for “friendship” status, you definitely can’t qualify for “boyfriend / partner” status. For someone like me this is how I use the term “friends first”.

    • Prince Amari | July 7th, 2013
      0

      I DEFINITELY agree with this Ocky and it’s the standard I live by. Friends w/benefits clearly have to be some type of friend lol. Fuck buddies…even if you dont fuck you can still be buddies. But I also agree w/Nick that in general gays play games and dont express what they truly want and how they truly feel. But i disagree about the not being able to be friends with exes or not being able to retain friendship after sex happens…I’ve dated people who I really liked but for whatever reason it didn’t work out (distance, timing etc) but we’re still friends. And although feelings may still be there, respect and the ability to make peace with situations is always paramount. I believe that if something is meant to be it will, no matter the road to get there. But I dont believe in that false hope of only being friends with someone BECAUSE you like them…that, like Nick said, is when you start dating to see if it would work. But I do think it’s weird to only see someone as a friend and then all of a sudden start liking them 9 years later. I dont believe that can happen unless there was something there to begin with.

    • Nick D | July 7th, 2013
      0

      If your goal is an intimate romantic relationship with this person then what you are describing is called “Dating.” By adding the word “First” to the phrase it implies there is a second stage (ie: sex, relationship). Let’s eliminate this bogus thinking and just call it what it is: Dating. Then we can get rid of people being led on and/or wasting time.

      Your thought process seems to say: If I deem you good enough of a friend, we can begin dating. You separate the two as if they are not related. My thought process says: In the process of dating, we’ll BOTH determine if we meet the qualifications of friend and lover.

      • Ocky | July 7th, 2013
        0

        First let me say that for the most part and given the personal situations that a lot gay guys put themselves in; I agree with this post and what you are saying and the examples that you have used to express your points.

        I have been that guy that has said “friends first” as it relates to your post but my personal intent for it changed as I grown over time.

        I met a dude online. Chatting online was cool. Talking on the phone was cool. During one of our phone conversations, I said to myself “he seems cool and seems like someone I could be friends with”.

        We linked up for drinks and after we met, I knew he was someone that I did not want to start any type of romantic or sexual relationship with; but guess what? We still remained cool (talked on the phone hang out and all)…no hard feelings on either’s part.

        My priorities and goals changed as I matured. Even though I knew I was looking for companionship, I was also looking for friends first.

        In my mind, any man I meet cannot cross over into the realm of dating unless he is worthy enough for me to call him a friend. I am friends with my current partner. If I could not be friends with him first he would not have crossed over and became my partner.

        If our relationship ended, he still has qualities I would want in a friend and no I don’t expect we could be friend right after our relationship ended but as time passes I would be open to being friends with him.

        I think in this feedback section we are getting caught up on when is it proper to pursue a friendship…before or after you are dating someone.

        • Nick D | July 7th, 2013
          0

          See your last sentence proves youre completely missing my point. Dating and determining friendship is not a separate action. For example, my father courted my mother for her affection and in the process of dating they became best friends…ultimately leading to marriage. He never told her you gotta be my friend first. He was interested in pursuing a romantic relationship while they both got to know each other in the process. There was none of that vague “we’re just hanging out” talk. If it didn’t work out, that was okay, but at least both parties knew the intentions/goals of the other up front.

    • Davon | July 7th, 2013
      0

      Using hetero relationships, your girlfriend is not your homegirl. So why wait till your boyfriend is your homeboy, that doesn’t make sense.

  2. Black Pegasas | July 7th, 2013
    +1

    I’ve always shook my head at the guys I’ve met with these lingering preoccupations with their EXs. In fact, the last guy I met sat on my sofa for 2hrs telling me about his last relationship. He told me of the trips to Nevada, the Mercedes Coupe, the frats, and all of this other superficial shit that didn’t amount to a pile of beans. (btw, he was also a very successful in his own right, but his ego remained attached to his EX because of the success and how it made him look while they were together)

    He also told me of how the guy HURT him in a way no one every had to ability to do. Yet he still had the niggah’s phone number in his cell, and they talked or texted every month.He justified the shit by saying they were now like “brothers” (**rolls eyes**).. I knew this new dude had the capacity to Love and both Feel and give Passion, but I also knew he was comparing everyone to his EX, and he still wasn’t quite over him..

    I just can’t deal with those types any more. And the strange thing is, the hotter the guy is, the more likely he’ll have all of these “ambiguous” gay friendships, with EXs, Frat brothers, Gym partners, and Co-workers..*sigh*

    Being Gay can literally fuck with your mental at times lol..

  3. Tee | July 7th, 2013
    0

    Nick, you are definitely on point with this one. I am currently dating someone based on where we are, I think the problem is how a lot of gay men define “dating.” Age has a lot to do with it, regardless of maturity levels (he’s 31, I’m 25). I asked him once, “What are we?” and he replied, “dating.” Immediately he noticed a change in my body language and then explained to me what dating was and my comfort level was restored.

    I think too many times we correlate dating to serious relationships when it isn’t that. Until he shed light on that, I’ve always had that same mindset. Sometimes knowing we have a way out is all the peace of mind we need, but when we hear “relationship” sometimes all we heard subliminally was “prison”. Now we are in a very good place because we have an understanding of what we are….and I love dating because I get all of the perks of a relationship without the title.

    I’m hoping this doesn’t bite me in the ass at the end because he really is a great guy. I’m beginning to rant….anyway my point is I think men should communicate what dating “is” perse, then that whole “friend” crap goes out the window. Like Nick said, around my friends, I can let my appearance lag a little…I don’t mind them seeing me with Noxema or a masque on; the guy I’m dating, TOTALLY DIFFERENT STORY lol!

    • Ocky | July 7th, 2013
      +1

      “knowing we have a way out is all the peace of mind we need”

      “perks of a relationship with out the title”

      What does all this mean? LOL

      Even though it may not be…reading this makes it seem like you or him is just there until something better comes along.

      • Tee | July 7th, 2013
        0

        The first statement was a general statement as implied by the text surrounding it. What I meant by perks of a relationship is monogamy, hanging out, things that people in a relationship do. We haven’t put a label on it yet and that works for us. We are dating, that does not mean relationship, as I stated. We have an understanding of what we are abs that works for us. We certainly are not playing a game where “play” until the next best thing comes along.

  4. EccentricBlackDude | July 7th, 2013
    0

    After reading this post, my views slope towards Nick, however, I do think that Ocky is saying the same thing as Nick when it relates to the beginning stage of getting to know a person. The friendship stage that Ocky is talking about is the same as what Nick is talking about. It sounds more like nit picking of words. I must say that the friends plus thing can work nicely, but it really really really depends on the two people involved. In fact, any arangement could work, but the people involved is the key. Homesty is defanitly and issue. Everybody is trying to set up things that go their way, and the subconchus way that people try to be the one that has more control over the situation. There are also those who are persuing things that they think they want, but is not what they really want. This takes self awareness.

  5. Anthony | July 7th, 2013
    0

    This subject is so tricky I hate it. I just posted something in the friends with ex’s thing and after reading this…Im not sure if what I wrote is correct. I totally agree with you and I know I say the whole friends fist bit but I only say that because I would like a friend I guess if we dont seem to like each other. I wonder….is it possible to date someone and then after be friends? Im assuming no. I guess its a defense mechanism but I totally agree with leading people on. Being Gay is just so damn complicated. Do straight couples have these problems too? Uhhhhh!!!

  6. dede | July 7th, 2013
    0

    This completely makes sense.. and actually helped eliminate some confusion i had. I was texting this guy i was interested in last week and he gave me the “friends first” line.. and i was totally gung ho for it… But I kept having a hard time trying to talk as if I was just trying to be his friend… because i wasn’t after his friendship. I was after his affection.. this was good.

  7. Davon | July 7th, 2013
    0

    Haha this is a first reading your blog i came across it online. Firstly let me introduce myself, I’m 20 Dl, since that’s what gays call me, Portuguese & Cali. I enjoyed this read, my opinion is that people love to live in the corners of friendship for safety reasons, I’ve never had that experience, a lot of the men i’ve encountered have been sexy educated and suave or extremely street thuggish and very eloquent – charming bad boys. I have never had the drama of pretense from them, they knew what they wanted and they very well actively chased after. However online, I’m used to messages from people always asking to be friends, when clearly I can read through their needs. That idea of friendship is for ugly or lackluster self esteemed individuals who are too scared to admit what they want, too scared to pursue and encounter failure or rejection or extremely lame (regardless of how many tattoos, beef cake body etc) to state what they want. I generally don’t reply stupid asses that send generalized messages like “looking for someone to chill and get to know, whatever happens happens”. Those things include many THINGS and a man without a specific ambition is a pure loser.

  8. SB3000 | July 23rd, 2013
    0

    Nick wins, lol.

    Nah, I get it tho. The terms simply aren’t mutually exclusive. You know when you’re attracted to sum1, and thats the bottom line. So, if ur ‘looking for friends’, the next time that person who’s profile u normally click right out of on __________ (insert site/app here) hits u up, u remember to give him the time of day because he, and the next 10 dudes after him, might make great friends.

    ‘Looking for friends’, is simply a veil that keeps intentions comfortably unclear. Getting to know sum1..aka, dating, will still let you know whether or not it can go sumwhere or if u guys might vibe best as friends.

    THE.WORD.DATE.IS.OK!!! AND.DOING.IT.IS.EVEN.BETTER!!!

  9. Rox808 | October 22nd, 2013
    0

    Really like this article cause I was going through a similar situation not to long ago. The whole “lets be friends first” BS. yup. but eventually I figured that I could do much much MUCH better in terms of a potential mate.

  10. TG Virgo | June 4th, 2014
    0

    I say “friends first” too, but reading this will make me change how I go about relationships in the future. I just need to be more direct and state upfront if I want a platonic friend, f#€K buddy, or a casual/serious relationship.

  11. alton
    NYCforEVER | June 5th, 2014
    0

    I think 90% of Gay Dudes are always “Lookin for the next best thing”. That’s why so few are willing to utter the word “Date”. Like there’s an inherent fear of actually finding ONE person that they might actually fall for (Heaven Forbid). I learned this the hard f#$kin way, and as a result I just fell back and laid off trying to get to know anyone at all. Since I shifted focus away from pursuing anything and just observing, I’ve noticed a “frightening” amount of gay dudes that do actually PREFER the games and clandestine bullshit. Its like dudes are accepting of the fact that THEY don’t want anything serious (which is fine), but they’re too pu$$y to tell the other dude that. Instead they just assume that since they (and their circle of brethren) are like that, then EVERY dude is the same. Maybe I’m just old as fuck, or too old fashioned, or maybe I’m supposed to be str8 (yeah right LOL) but I personally am done with the “Reindeer Games”. Worst thing (for me) is I can’t even say it’s just the young dudes, which I don’t go after anyway. It’s ALL ages. Way of the world, I guess. SMFH So, end point…I’m wit you Nick. it’s bullshit, excuses, fear, and I blame TV/Movies for a lot of it. LMAO

    • ControlledXaos | June 5th, 2014
      0

      I think this is why I have so few friends: Guys will say they are cool with being a friend but the whole time are just waiting to pounce.

      When I have made my intentions clear from the get go, I don’t want you to try to twist them otherwise.

      I’d much rather someone say that “Oh, well I think I like you more than just a friend.” That way I can back away because I do NOT want someone to think that they are being lead on when I tell them “No.” as they try to go for a kiss when I give them a friendly hug. This has actually happened to me. I even told the guy “Hey it’s cool.” on a voicemail the next day. Dude never called or texted me back after that. Ohhhhhhkkkaaaaaaaayy then.

      I think it’s weird that guys won’t just be honest. If you just want to get naked, SAY SO. I can only say “yes” “no” or “maybe later.” But I don’t want to go on with some song and dance of a ‘friendship’ or ‘chilling’ or ‘hanging out’ when you really just want to screw. It’s okay. We all have desires.

      “All of the men in L.A. are a bunch of 10’s looking for an 11” From the Broken Hearts Club.

      This is how I feel about guys. Few are ever really satisfied with what they have and if someone looks a .009% better, they see if they can get with that than being happy with what they already are working on.

      It’s greedy.

      • alton
        NYCforEVER | June 6th, 2014
        0

        I concur wholeheartedly, Bro. I think it is really a game that almost every (gay) dude loves to play, and not give a f#$k about who gets hurt in the process. For me, I know within moments if I’m interested in/intrigued by someone, and if I (have the balls to) actually open my mouth and talk to them, I know within 5 min if their someone I would like to try and pursue something with. I’ve never been one for leadin people on, which is why I don’t have a lot of “fans” (fuck buddys). If I know there’s never gonna be any type of attraction, I cut that shit from jump, makin’ it clear that nothing is ever gonna come outta our interaction.

  12. bjincali . | July 1st, 2014
    0

    Friends first? I have never tried this one. If you become my friend, you’ll never become my lover. Not never. I’m just not built for it. Friends and lovers are so different. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. Not yet. If a friend tried it with me, I’d heave. Back up Billy. And I’d never approach a friend with advances. It just isn’t right. I’m not sure the best words to communicate my disinterest, but its close to incest.




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