On a sunny, May afternoon in 2018, I was sitting out on a patio downtown having drinks with a few friends. I had ended a long-term relationship just a few months before, and I had mentioned that I felt out of the game when it came to trying to date again.
A friend of mine, who had been consistently single for the past couple of years, told me I should just start a roster. At that time, I had no idea what she was talking about.
No, She Did Not Want Me To Make A Sports Team
So what exactly is a roster?
My friend went on to explain how she manages a “roster” of guys that she’s seeing in a very casual way, and she kind of rotates through them depending on a variety of factors: who is available, what kind of mood she’s in, or simply what kind of activity she’s feeling up to.
She Even Had A Calendar
As the type A person she was, she even kept a schedule of when she saw each guy on her roster to make sure she was not seeing the same ones too often or coming across as “needy.”
Her golden rule when it came to her roster was to always make sure it was clear that she was still seeing other people and cutting things off when it felt like one party was getting emotionally invested.
I Left Feeling A Bit Skeptical
I walked away from that conversation feeling a bit tipsy and skeptical of the whole process. I had always been the type of person who only saw one person at a time after I’d already developed some level of feelings for them.
I’d never really tried dating casually or even been that into attachment-free hookups before, and the whole concept seemed a little bizarre to me.
…But I Gave It A Shot
Committing to trying new things, I decided to give the whole “roster” thing a chance. At the time, I wasn’t in a place where I was truly emotionally available to get into another serious relationship, so I set parameters around the types of guys I was trying to meet.
By mid-July, I had a fully functioning dating roster intact and ready to be managed.
Here’s How It Went
The cool thing about having a roster is that you can manage it however you want—very much like an actual sports team.
I went out to bars, events, and parties where I scouted out a bunch of different potential roster members. I checked out their player stats, put them through some tryout conversations, and then ended up with a starting lineup of five different guys: my own little basketball team.
And Honestly, It Was A Lot Of Fun
I had a guy who I would go out on fun day-dates with, like driving out to the beach or heading to outdoor concerts. I had a guy who I would hit up if I just wanted to cuddle on the couch. I had a guy who I would hit up at 2 a.m. when I was heading home from the bar and he was always down to have me over for an adult sleepover.
It was all casual and I was having fun not worrying about feelings or the future.
The Roster Isn’t Stagnant
Another benefit of running a roster is that there’s no real commitment involved, so it’s easy to filter new “team members” in or put others on the bench for a while.
You get to control who you see and when you see them based on how busy you are. There would be times I put the roster to rest and then would reactivate it a month or two later.
It Has Uses Beyond Just Being Casual
Having a roster also taught me the value of seeing multiple people at once in the early stages of dating.
When I was ready to start dating seriously again, talking to two or three different potential romantic interests at once and going on dates with all of them helped me to keep a wide perspective and not rush into things with one person just because they were the only thing on my mind.
The Roster Doesn’t Last Forever
There came a time in my life where I was ready to cut off the roster. I wasn’t even in a new relationship or at a point where I was really interested in dating seriously, but I also wasn’t all that interested in trying to maintain a roster anymore.
I was at a place where all I wanted was to spend time on my own and focus my free time on myself and my goals. The timing just felt right to break up the team, but I’m not opposed to forming a new one in the future.
So, Should You Try One?
I mean, roster dating definitely isn’t for every person out there, but I definitely would recommend trying it out for a short period of your life for the experience at least.
So long as you’re honest about your intentions with each member of your roster about not being too serious and not leading anyone on, there’s really no harm in giving it a test run. If you’re in a place to try it out, all I have to say is: happy scouting season!