The joys of friend dating

Most people know the fear that comes the second before you ask someone on a date. Whether it's via a keyboard, or in person, it can be a nerve-wracking experience. It’s generally made easier by knowing you’re both looking for the same thing, as in, if you’re both dabbling with online dating, however what if you want to spend some one-on-one time with someone but aren’t interested in them romantically?

This is the predicament I have recently found myself in. Without giving too much about myself away, because of course if you knew too much I'd have to kill you, I recently moved across the pond to the other side of the world. While this move has seen many logistical, financial and climatic challenges, it has also left me with very few friends. Cue violins. All is not lost however because I’ve discovered ‘friend-dating’ (Spoiler alert it’s actually similar to regular dating) and if you too have moved or are looking to expand your circle, let me help you to embark on the glorious journey that is making friends as a grown-up. Ask friends if they know people for you to 'friend-date. Much like romantic dating, ask your friends if they know of anyone who is in the same situation as you. This can be anything from fellow new mums to people who have also recently moved like me. More often than not your friends will know people in their circles, close or extended, who may have gone through exactly what you have. You may also be surprised by the generosity of others when it comes to giving their time to meet for coffee to impart what they’ve learnt that could very well help you.

Online dating can help. Go on any “How to meet new people” blog and it’s basically a guarantee that “try online dating” will form part of the listicle. Now if you're coupled up and on the friend hunt, this may make it hard for you, but if you’re looking for both romantic and friend dates, then why not give it a shot? Often if you don’t hit it off romantically, then there may be a path for friendship there, you did match and agree to meet for a reason right?

Just say yes If someone invites you to do something, always, ALWAYS, say yes. God knows you may be tired, don’t want to wash your hair, or are worried you’ll have nothing in common with this person, but when trying to make new friends (much like actual dating) you need to make an effort, otherwise, how do you expect to reap the rewards? So if someone asks you to tag along to an event, to a friend of a friend's birthday party, or to a crime-themed bar in central London (this has happened to me), repeat after me: “Yes, I’d love to come!”

Follow-up Now most of us have had the sentence said to us, or we've said: “Let’s make time to catch-up.” When trying to meet new people, make sure you follow-up on all these invitations, even if you’re not sure how serious they are. You’ll quickly work out who was serious and who wasn’t, but often if you’ve made an effort to show you’re keen the offer becomes a firm one. Also never think you’re bothering someone by following-up. Because if they didn’t want to hear from you, it’s likely they wouldn’t have given you a way to contact them and you also never know, they could be looking for new a friend just like you.

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