Want Love? Don’t Date.

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About Carlo Alcos

Carlo is a Managing Editor at Matador and co-founder of Confronting Love, a forum that explores the evolution of relationships. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.


  1. David Byron says:

    Sounds a bit Tao of Steve-ish.

    Except the bit about becoming friends first. It seems like all you ever hear is that if you become a woman’s friend (the “Friend Zone”) then there’s no chance of a romantic relationship. That always seemed a bit crazy to me, but I don’t have any real experience to speak to it. But then women never seem to say, “That’s crazy!” either, so I figured maybe there was something to it.

    It’s kind of weird that you are opposing this, perhaps the best known rule of dating women ever, and you don’t even mention it in the article. Did that angle just not come to mind in writing the article?

  2. Julie Gillis says:

    My 18 years long relationship started with us as friends. I had a moment one day where I looked at him, after about 6 months of purely friendship, and just “knew.” There were a few bumpy places to get there, but we did.

  3. Recently having ended a dating experience. I am reflecting and thinking this is so right on. Once I open up, I open up a million times. Especially if sex is combined. So for me, it turns into this huge romantic fantasy and it’s hard to just be in limbo land, exploring and being in the moment.

    I also always think of Eat, Pray, Love ( the book) and how she waited and waited to take her connection with Felipe to the intimate level for a long time.

  4. Dating is an expensive, ineffective, and time consuming mating ritual.

  5. Ka Ying N. says:

    I agree with your idea of not dating and letting it happen. It does, however, seem hard to find the right approach. For instance, there may be moments when I meet someone for the first time I find them attractive. It’s a bit difficult not to feel a certain way about them. I’m single and in my 20s. I have so much to do and the best destressor is an intimate partner. I currently don’t date anyone but I do want some sort of stress relief from a partner in that aspect of my mental health.

    My idea of finding a potential partner was really picky. I wanted an idealistic partner and many has come close to it, but one. He was literally how I would want from a man. I cherish that opportunity a bit too much that I made a mistake and end up losing the opportunity I’ve yearn pretty much growing up.
    To resolve my pain and yearning for him, many told me to hang out with my friends, go on a trip, do something for myself-I’ve done all that yet that void of wanting that person persist.

    Currently, I’m just idling the days away. I hope I can take your approach of making friends without intending to start a relationship and hopefully things will come naturally.

    ~Ka Ying N.

  6. I’ve tried this approach but have yet to find a man who is up for hanging without sex. These two are very lucky to have each other. I would love to be a friend first. Build trust and know that the person respects you. Where do you find a guy who is up for this?

    • My answer to this is to just do things you enjoy doing and be around people you enjoy being with…if you’re true to yourself and open and honest with other people you will invite the “right” people into your world.

      • tactition says:

        unless your past times are generally solitary or your industry has a community associated with it and that’s where you spend most of your time. Cus if that happens then you may attract a bunch of cool people but there will be no opportunity for “other stuff”

  7. sweet… really.

  8. I love this one, Carlo. In my opinion, you’ve hit it right on the head here. I was fortunate enough to meet Rachel in this type of manner, where our paths crossed at a time when we were both very intently focusing on our own interests and our own personal development. We took things slow (at my urgency as much as hers) and our romantic interests very naturally developed. What I have found to be one of the greatest ongoing benefits of having met in this fashion, and having allowed our bond to organically evolve in this way, is the level of appreciation and support we have for each other’s individualism. After all, it was originally our very individual selves, doing very individual things, who happened to cross paths and catch the attention and interest of one another. Our bond lies, as it always has, somewhere in the communication of, and learning from, each other’s experiences and interests, despite how different they may seem at times. By supporting each other’s individual growth in this fashion, we have found that we are, in a way, reinforcing our bond.

    With sincerity, I wish you and your new partner the best in your exploration of one another.


  9. Thanks Jim. You really nailed it with this: “After all, it was originally our very individual selves, doing very individual things, who happened to cross paths and catch the attention and interest of one another.” I have a tendency to lose myself in relationships, to get consumed by them…this is a really important point to remember to keep that individualism.

  10. This is what I’ve always preferred to do. I hate “dating” and all the game playing and manipulation that seems to usually go along with it. Every relationship I have been in began as a friendship.

    BUT… it does seem difficult to find guys who like to approach things this way. Most are either attracted to a woman right away and want to have sex with her, or they put you in the “friend” category because they’re not interested in anything further and probably never will be. Maybe it’s because of what you wrote about men seeing friendship with women as being a “failure.” Hard to say.

    In any case, I don’t like to rush into things, and I’m sure there are lots of women and probably a decent amount of men who feel the same way.

  11. “Date yourself. Do things you love to do. When you focus your energy inward you’ll naturally express yourself outward in a more authentic way, and connections with like-minded people will happen on their own. Make friends, get to know people without setting up expectations. Be open. Live your life.”

    I’ve been doing this, and I like your premise. But my voracious hunger for sex leads me to relentlessly chase one night stands and friends with benefits. It’s like a mosquito in my ear, impossible to ignore.

  12. AnonymousDog says:

    Your whole approach assumes that you are going to just ‘accidently’ encounter women with whom you can strike up a friendship ‘first’.

    What’s your advice for the guy who lives, works and plays in a situation where he does not routinely meet unattached women?

  13. Great article, Carlo. I’ve long thought that this is the reason so many people end up dating someone they work with or went to high school with or some how got to know in a no-pressure-to-date situation.

    Although I am not anti-dating altogether, I do find it difficult to find a partner through traditional dating because it feels high-pressure to decide whether or not you’re attracted to that person very early on, perhaps earlier than it’s possible to know for sure.

  14. People gravitate toward each other and “become friends” because they have chemistry. Spend enough time together with an open mind and that will turn into romance. IT’S THE CHEMISTRY, PEOPLE!

  15. I came across this and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been getting a lot attention from college classmates who keep asking me on dates and bringing me flowers and such. I don’t like the attention and feel pressured to go out with them although I barely know them and they are also a few years older. I’m 19, I barely know myself and this whole dating thing seems really scary. I’d rather “date myself” like you said and fall in love with a friend who actually knows me…your article put my mind at ease and has given me a new perspective and confidence! thank you! :)

  16. I’m a 21 year old female and I don’t like dating. It just feels false and too full of expectations. All my relationships have started out as friendships. But because I love the person’s friendship first before I love them as a partner, I end up falling deeply in love with the person and only succeed in getting hurt because I actually love them entirely for who they are. The last relationship I had started as a friendship. We have so much in common, we get along very well and we were also very intimate so attraction was not a problem. The thing is, I find men complain about the friendzone. But when they DO get out the friendzone, they end up not appreciating her enough because some men simply like the chase. They like that feeling of conquest knowing they EARNED the girl through dates and sweet talk because it gives them that feeling of accomplishment. Instead, they don’t appreciate the girl who loves them “just because”.

  17. This does not apply to everyone though. Each person have their own way of connecting or reaching out to other people. this maybe having dates or just going with the flow. Each has his/her own needs in a particular phase in their life.

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