Nearly every unpartnered person gets lonely sometimes. If you long for more social interaction, you will do nearly anything to connect with other human beings. I think it’s why so many people hang out in bars, Starbucks, or the library. (See “What’s your ‘need for affiliation’?“) I didn’t understand why anyone could get any work done in a coffee shop with the loud expresso machines and the constant bustle, but then I realized some people thrive on being near others, even if there’s little interaction.
In dating, however, it can cause you to make some decisions that are not the best. While I encourage you to go to coffee with someone who sounds interesting but may not have a beguiling picture, if you’re doing too many one-time-only coffee dates, you might be making your decision to meet out of loneliness, not out of interest.
Or worse, if you continue to see someone you know isn’t a good match just because it’s better than sitting at home, are you really doing either of you a service? If you are feigning romantic interest just to get out of the house, that is taking advantage of him.
If you tell him you aren’t romantically interested, but would still like to hang out as friends and he agrees, that’s fine. But if he harbors any hope for romance and you’re clear you aren’t into him that way, best to tell him. He may decide it is too difficult to be around you knowing his feelings are unrequited. Or he may decide to let those romantic feelings go and just be pals.
So instead of looking to dating to get your social needs met, try other outlets. Tag along with your pals as they do things they enjoy — exercise, classes, movies, theater. Even if you aren’t as big a fan of the activity, you will get to hang out with them and have a new experience. Who knows, you might end up enjoying the new activity, and perhaps meet someone interesting in the process!