What to call a person with whom you spend time not because you like them but because you haven't found anyone better?

EDIT: I am asking more about a romantic kind of relationship than mere companionship, and about a situation when one person kind of uses another.

  • 2
    Ugh. This question is only mildly repugnant. /s How about victim?
    – Lumberjack
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 13:33
  • Companion? At least for people you meet during travels and travel with them just because they go in the same direction you use this.
    – skymningen
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 13:36
  • 2
    @Lumberjack it's just about vocabulary.
    – Milena
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 13:45
  • 2
    I still think victim is appropriate. Definition 2 as cited above: Victim - "a person who is cheated or fooled by someone else."
    – Lumberjack
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 14:34
  • 1
    @JeffSahol so what?
    – Milena
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 6:07

6 Answers 6


I'll throw down on this one. Let's say that anyone who is dating is looking for "Mr. Right", or "Ms. Right". But they haven't found them yet. The person they date while waiting may be referred to as "Mr. Right Now" (or "Ms. Right Now").


I might suggest that you are friends with (or dating) that person by default:

a selection made usually automatically or without active consideration due to lack of a viable alternative

I'll also point out that Urban Dictionary includes the formulation "default friend", which may be understood by some listeners: it's grammatically sound, although sounds somewhat unusual to my ear. The formulation "boyfriend/girlfriend by default" or "we are friends by default" is likely to be more widely and readily understood.


You might figuratively use the term consolation prize

a prize given to a competitor who just fails to win or who has come last

You also might consider booby prize

a prize given as a joke to the person who is last in a race or competition

This latter choice seems appropriate in light of the definition of booby

a stupid person

Consider the advice of Crosby, Stills, and Nash:

If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with.

The unasked question is what do you call the person who is settling for the second-rate companionship. Perhaps user?

  • what do you mean by "settling for the second-rate companionship"?
    – Milena
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 6:51
  • Second-rate means of a lesser quality, since your speaker finds the current companion and relationship not first-rate, meaning of the highest quality.
    – bib
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 12:02

FWB or Friend With Benefits

From Urban Dictionary, this is the #1 definition:

casual relationship implying no committment, but involving companionship (the friends bit) and some sort of physical element like making out, sex, baseball (the benefits). although rumored to be a myth, absolutely possible.

also from Urban Dictionary, the #2 definition is

When two people aren't officially going out but have sex anyway. Compare with f**k buddy.

I always understood it to be the second definition, but hipper people say otherwise.

  • BFW is more about a situation when both agree on this kind of relationship. i am asking more about a situstion when one person kind of uses another.
    – Milena
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 6:52

The word I would use is "place holder." Someone who is occupying a "place" while you wait for a "real" candidate.

An even less-kind word is "stopgap."


Here are the names I've heard these relationships referred to:

"rebounder" - the next person you date after a break-up with another person

"booty call" - casual, consensual sex, usually at the end of the evening, sometimes after a real date has been dropped off

"F*ck-buddy" - like "booty call" but usually you're also friends with this person

  • It depends on the nature of the relationship. All of these could be used in a romantic/sexual context, but there are other kinds of (quite different) relationships that would still fall under the wide umbrella of the O.P.'s question. For example, I might sit and eat lunch with Sam every day in the company cafeteria, but not so much because I'm very fond of Sam; rather, it's because all my closer associates eat elsewhere, like down the street, or at their desk. (Not meant to be a critique of your answer, but, with the limited information provided, we can interpret the question in several ways.)
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 16:36
  • 1
    P.S. I just noticed the exchange in the comments between @skymninge and the O.P., so I guess my comment doesn't really apply. But I'll leave it here as an exhortation to others: avoid asking questions with skimpy details; also, it's best to clarify with edits, not comments.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 16:40
  • @english_learner - Welcome aboard. No need to say sorry. Also, you probably want to use "I" instead of "i" – this is a friendly bunch, but people take their English very seriously here. :^) Also, there's another Stack Exchange site that might interest you: English Language Learners. (They take English seriously there, too, but that's a good place for those learning English to ask questions. You can read more here.)
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 10:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.