How do guys know they’re just friends with a woman if we don’t tell them? I’ve been thinking about this, and all I’ve managed to come up with is that you see me wearing running shoes when I’m not running. I’ve asked my gal friends, and their responses were things like if we mention our boyfriend, you’re out. If we mention a guy we’re crushing on, you’re out. If you catch us wearing sweats, you’re out. One friend said men should be able to read between the lines. Another friend said there is no such thing as men and women being just friends because they all want one thing. Hello, When Harry Met Sally.
I feel a little bad about this since I have a lot of guy friends, but then I stop to wonder if they’re really my friends. Are they all just trying to muster the courage to take it to the next level? As I think about it, I do have more guy friends than gal friends. I’ve always attributed that largely to the fact that most of my gal friends are now soccer moms and are busy picking up kids and dropping them off. I think I’m down to one single gal friend to do things with, and that’s been a little sparse since she started dating a guy last October.
The guy friends that I hang out with are single, but are they only playing tennis with me to get something else? Are they only going to music festivals with me to get something else? Are they only doing my yard work for me to get — well, okay, that one is a given. No one is that friendly. Are any of them hanging out with me because I’m a super cool and fun person?
There are guys that I’m no longer close friends with because, bless their little hearts, they finally got up the courage, usually after a very long time in “the friend zone,” to tell me they want more from me. My first inclination is to say, “Gross,” but I hold that back. I can usually come up with some kind of excuse that hopefully won’t hurt their feelings, yet let them know that there is no way I’d ever want to kiss them. Ever. Not even on the cheek. A high-five is too much touching with them. I think you’re a cool and fun guy to hang out with, but I’m not remotely attracted to you, and the option of mutual nudity will never happen in this lifetime. Ever. Not even in the dark. Not even if you were the last man on Earth and it was super dark.
Then there are the guys that I’ve flat-out told them that I only want to be friends. Some go into denial and keep constantly making suggestive comments. Then I have to say, “Would you tell your friend Tom you want to do that to him?” “Would you touch Tom like that?” “Would you pay for Tom’s dinner?” Often that will drive my point home.
Some guys that I tell I only want to be friends with will back down and sadly disappear from my life. I guess they were never really my friends.
Some guys continue to ask me out, adding my line “as just friends” as if they totally comprehend that. I’ve found that they’re fine with the “just friends” thing as far as me paying my own way. However, when they find out I’m dating someone else, it quickly becomes apparent that they weren’t really seriously asking me out as “just friends.” In retrospect, I feel they had that one coming because I explicitly laid it out to them.
I think the only sure way you can tell a woman likes you as just a friend is to just ask her out on a date. Make it clear it’s a date and not “hanging out.” Schedule something that I can’t wear running shoes to. Pick me up. Bring me flowers. Open doors. Pay for the meal. Walk me to the door at the end of the date. If you don’t do these things and just meet me somewhere to “hang out,” let me pay my own way, and let me leave with a quick, “Catch you later” thrown over your shoulder while you stay and party on with your amigos, I will think we are just friends. You’ve lost your moment. Carpe diem, baby. Carpe diem.
If you haven’t checked out my books Nine Days In Greece and Risking The Nine Days, the links are below.