Recently, some friends discussed the difference between actively open and actively seeking with regard to poly relationships. It got to the point where it felt like we were splitting hairs.
Someone pointed out that going to poly meetups to meet potential partners without being upfront about that intention is not healthy, and I have to agree. I do think, however, that there is a difference between going to a poly meetup to meet partners and going to meet potential partners. I do not want to go to a poly meetup and walk away with a phone number for a date. I would, however, like to get more involved in the local poly community and nurture more friendships with other poly people so that eventually, perhaps, a friendship would have the potential to develop into something more. But I'm not actively seeking a partner. I'm actively open to the possibility that a friendship could develop into something more, and actively seeking new friendships in the poly community. Some of them will be clear early on that they are not a possible match for a romantic relationship for me or my partner. Some of them might seem like possible dating material, but I'm in no hurry to figure that out. I'm weird enough, and like my emotional security blankets enough, that I'd rather take my time in friendships and see where it goes.
Maybe I am just making up a distinction that doesn't exist, but it feels different. Going on a "date" with someone I barely know does not sound exciting or fun to me. It sounds difficult and terrifying for this socially awkward nerd. Going on a "date" with someone I already know and trust and love as a friend sounds lovely, heart-opening, and special. That's what I'd prefer. Knowing my partner was going on a date with someone I don't know well would not be a comfortable situation for me. Knowing my partner was going on a date with someone I know already know well and love and trust as a friend fills my heart with love, warmth, joy, and compersion. I don't want to meet a new person to date; I want to meet new people with whom we can become friends. At that point, it'll go one way or the other, and either way is okay.
I guess I'm in part influenced by the relationship I have with my husband, and how it evolved from a close friendship. The funny part is we never really did a lot of "dating." We were close friends and spent a lot of time together. Once we discussed the possibility of dating and decided to give it a go, it was almost instant that we knew we were going to be together long-term. This being the first relationship I've had that was completely and truly healthy, it placed me firmly in the camp that good friends make the best lovers and partners.