Is it OK to not want to "date", but still have an OKCupid profile up?
August 17, 2015 4:08 AM   Subscribe

Is it OK to not want to "date", but still have an OKCupid profile up? How do I go about this?

Basically, I really feel uncomfortable "dating" - I have never dated in the usual sense of the term as I understand it. I get to develop feelings for people over weeks/months/years, and in a low-pressure environment, so usually friends, friends of friends, or colleagues. People grow on me, and I also think I grow on people. I am pretty nice and smart and all that, but I definitely don't show myself to my best advantage when meeting people for the first time.

I really don't like other typical trappings of dating as I see it - you know, things like flirting, and dressing up, and thinking about things like should I reply now or reply after five hours? etc. For me, a "first date" feels like a job interview, and who does job interviews for fun?? I envy people who can do that, but that really isn't me at all.

I have spent many years feeling like a freak about this, but I can only accept it about myself now.

That doesn't mean I want to be single forever, I just want to take my time getting to know people without an agenda. On the advice of friends I have had an OKCupid profile up for a few months, and am currently in conversation with some very nice men, but I don't want to meet them in a datey context as defined above. I would like to meet them, though, and see if we click as friends.

What is the best wording to use to say this to someone without them thinking I am weird, or commitmentphobic, or whatever? I mean both in terms of private messaging and in terms of words to use on my profile.
posted by Ziggy500 to Human Relations (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I actually think your expectations for a OKCupid meetup would be in line with how most people use it. In the past I have been on online dates that felt more date-y than others, but probably 75% of them were just hanging out at a local coffeeshop for an hour or two to see if you click. I think you can control the level of formality implied by asking people to casual-dress locations and most people will catch on to the vibe.

That said, if you have no intention of dating the people you are meeting up with, you should communicate that upfront. Depending on your age, some people have an extremely aggressive relationship schedule and you don't want to string someone along getting to know them as a friend if they think they're meeting a potential spouse.

Note: It's been half a decade since I last did this so I may be out of the loop and/or muttering nonsense.

posted by deathpanels at 4:22 AM on August 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

I'd say something like "I'm not looking for an immediate relationship, but would love to meet as friends and take my time getting to know you".

Are you sure this is the best arena to meet people with that same prerogative though? I know people who have used to make friends and find new social connections, to good effect.
posted by greenish at 4:23 AM on August 17, 2015 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Are you sure this [OKCupid] is the best arena to meet people with that same prerogative though?
posted by greenish at 4:23 AM on August 17

Haha, I am not sure at all! But I like your suggested wording. I have something similar already but I didn't make it as cut and dried as that - I know I should and will change it.
posted by Ziggy500 at 4:30 AM on August 17, 2015

There are many folks just like you on the site, and folks who are into dating but prefer to just make new friends, who write pretty much the same thing you just did! OKCupid has changed itself over recent times and there actually used to be explicit, filterable "looking for" options for just making new friends and activity buddies.

"I get to develop feelings for people over weeks/months/years, and in a low-pressure environment, so usually friends, friends of friends, or colleagues. People grow on me, and I also think I grow on people... I just want to take my time getting to know people without an agenda... I would like to meet them, though, and see if we click as friends."

What you wrote sounds perfect. Some other answers might mention that you may consider working out your "anxiety" or "discomfort" on this, but no worries, I think you're doing great!
posted by pos at 4:30 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I agree, what you wrote here sounds great. I would definitely include this information in your profile, only because some people are going to be using the site very differently. (For example, I would never have met up with someone with your agenda -- nothing personal, just that I was using OkCupid specifically to find a relationship, not to make friends.) I think it's also fine to put it out there that you really don't love traditional dating -- I'm sure there are others out there who feel the same way, and so being upfront about that is the best way to find each other.

I do wonder if OkCupid is going to be the best way for you to accomplish what you want, though. I feel like one-on-one meet-ups with guys is maybe not the most efficient way to foster lots of long-term friendships (which it sounds like is what you want to do). It's not to say it couldn't work, I just think stuff like MeetUps, joining other types of groups, volunteering, etc. and other general ways of expanding your social network might be more likely to yield success. Part of this is just maybe my personality -- I'm not sure I've ever made a friend, of either gender, who was completely separate from my social circle and activities, and we only met up one-on-one. I feel like it's WORK to incorporate a new person into my friend network, so I'm sorta only willing to do it for a romantic partner, not to do that social connection work for lots of random new friends (which is what it sounds like you would be doing here?). But, that could be just me - maybe this is something you would enjoy doing!

Bottom line -- as long as you are completely honest/upfront about your goal of friendship, and not stringing anyone along, I don't think there's anything wrong with using OkCupid to make friends. But, I think it might be a potentially frustrating way to go about it.
posted by rainbowbrite at 4:50 AM on August 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

This is "okay," but you should tell them what you're telling us.

However, I suspect OkCupid isn't your best bet for finding this kind of relationship. People there are generally looking to date, in my experience. If you meet someone who isn't dating you, they might start to date someone else -- and then they likely won't continue to develop this friendship with you that, in a few months, might or might not turn into a romantic/dating relationship.

I'm not saying it can't work. If you're up front about what you're looking for, that gives you your best shot. But I think your better odds would be with joining activity groups or volunteering or something and letting something develop organically.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:32 AM on August 17, 2015

I've seen several guys in my area who state in their profiles that the are looking to be friends first, so perhaps be proactive in searching for guys who seem to be looking for the same thing.

My personal experience with this approach resulted in the same problem as someone else mentioned: it may be hard to incorporate them into a pre-existing friend network, so for me time becomes a factor. I don't have enough free time to consistently hang out with multiple guys on a one-on-one basis. Your results may vary.
posted by seraph9 at 7:45 AM on August 17, 2015

I don't think it's 'not OK' to use OKCupid in the way you describe, I just think it's not useful to use OKCupid in the way you describe. Meeting people one-on-one via OKCupid is going to be awfully interviewy regardless of whether you're interviewing friends or dates.

As greenish suggested, Meetup would be a better choice. A lot of meetup users are single people looking for more friends, whether you're in an interest based group or a singles group. Some singles groups are much more match-makey, 'let's get together and see who wants to go off and date' and people only show up to the occasional event in an attempt to meet someone and others are more 'let's just get together as a bunch of fun people and have fun' where you'll see the same core group of people over and over again. Interest groups tend to have more repeat attendees, as well.

So pick some interests that you have that guys tend to share (like, knitting groups are probably not your destination here, but most meetup groups are pretty solidly mixed gender) and try those out. You'll get to know people over the course of multiple events and you can invite small groups of people to do things outside of the formal events to extend those friendships, as well. Then, you may click with someone and even if you don't, you have great new friends.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:15 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just want to echo what everyone has said above. Yes you can be on OKC and only filter out for friendship but I imagine it will limit the great majority of the people there from meeting you and even those who you meet may have a hidden agenda.

Try meetups and join bigger groups around something that you like. May I suggest dancing? it is a great way to meet people of both genders and in most but not all instances many people do find others to date in that space.
posted by The1andonly at 2:03 PM on August 19, 2015

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