Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

Dear Michele,
Although it is clear in my profile that I choose fellowship and friendship first in developing a relationship, my dates are not understanding it or accepting it. They may start calling me romantic nicknames, or might try to kiss me in a romantic way on the first or second dates. I make a second attempt to make myself clear stating that I would like a friendship first and prefer to move very slowly and it doesn’t seem to register.

I find myself wanting to disengage totally as my boundaries have not been respected. I don’t feel I’m moving too slowly either as this behavior begins on the first dates. Not respecting my boundaries places me on the defensive. Starting any relationship based on a friendship is very important to me and I would like to have your opinion on how I can develop a friendship with a male without him wanting to turn the clock forward.



Dear AC,

Thank you so much for your question. I want to commend you for choosing the path of friendship first. This shows maturity on your side, along with the insight to know that friendship is the basic foundation of any good marriage. By getting to know someone slowly, you have a better chance of seeing a person’s true character. Physical involvement has the propensity to falsely bond a couple together, prior to the relationship being strong enough, and many times ending in heartache.

As far as your dates, it sounds like you are being clear in stating your desire. There will always be “boundary busters” out there, so it’s good that you are identifying those people early. I can understand why you would start to feel defensive, and then I’m sure that complicates the process of getting to know someone better.

A few things to consider. First, some men may have heard the “friends first” story from other women who really did not mean it, or then later changed their mind. So, you may want to be clear about specifically what you are interested in and not. Make eye contact when you state exactly what you mean by “friends.” They may not know that “friends” means that you don’t want to be kissed at the end of the night. Sounds crazy, I know, but communication is always more clear when you are explicit.

I would suggest practicing a few ways of saying this in nice manner. Of course adding that you don’t become sexually or physically involved with dates will help someone understand your perspective. Another suggestion is to try to meet a person out in groups. This is the way dating happened for centuries in the past. This would mean at least 2 other people, both men and women, and not a “double date.” Going out in this way would put some structure behind your request to keep things light to start.

You may also want to try to take a step back and another look at your approach, just to make sure you are not giving out any mixed messages. It’s very normal to “dress up” for a date and spend some time getting ready, but this might be confusing to a man. Are you interacting in any way that might seem flirtatious? Certainly being interested and asking questions is normal, but you might want to purposely avoid topics that are more like romantic partners and less like just friends.

Finally, know that there is a man out there that is just waiting to hear those words from you. Yes, people will try to tell you that you have an issue or you are too afraid. When I chose to be chaste, I had guys running in the opposite direction. When I communicated my boundary to a certain guy on our first date, he later told me “I’ve been waiting my whole life to hear a woman say that.” He’s now my husband. I’m confident that there is that person waiting for you too.

God Bless,

Michele Fleming