Point/Counterpoint: “You’ve been friended”

So, I decided to try a little something new on the ol’ blog. I seem to have been talking a lot about relationships lately, and I thought it would be interesting to get a male perspective on the world of dating. However, I didn’t expect to get quite the response that I got.

When I asked Josh to write a guest post for my blog because I wanted a male perspective, he was excited. We were discussing the possibilities and decided on the idea of a guy trying to date a girl and ending up in the “friend zone.” How do you get there? Why do you get there? What do you have to do to avoid getting “friended?”

His post came back a little aggressive for my taste, so I’ve taken his post word for word, and turned this into a little point/counterpoint. Hope you enjoy!

First let me thank Lauren for the opportunity and challenge to contribute to her blog. Hopefully I can become a semi occasionally guest contributor to balance her blog with a male perspective.

The question: How long to guys have to make their move until a woman sees them as just a friend?  The underlying reason for this question is why guys seem so hesitant to make a move on a girl they like, which is an interesting question. I have some experience with this situation both positive and negative. I have found myself in situations where I played it cool too long or was to aggressive and for various reasons was unsuccessful with my pursuits. However the reasoning behind a guy’s actions is slightly complicated and depends on the situation he finds him-self in and the circumstances that led him to the courtship of a woman.

First let me preface this answer by establishing a few facts:

Keep in mind that these “facts” that Josh speaks of are his opinion. They are in no way deemed factual representations of what all men think or feel or what is right. Carry on.

1. Guys are “female” stupid no matter how educated they are. So, no matter how cute and coy you think you are being and how awesome your subtle signs are, chances are if you have a guy that’s reluctant to make a move, he probably doesn’t know you like him. Again, guys are simple. They don’t pick up on signs and hints very well. They relish the obvious. They like a chase but they need something to chase.

Now, I am not a “game-player.” I don’t like to play hard-to-get and I don’t like to be toyed with. However, I have to agree with Josh on this one. Even if a guy or a girl says they don’t like games, that doesn’t mean that you throw yourself at them. You have to leave a little mystery. Mystery is what intrigues a man or a woman and keeps them interested in you. Don’t toy with someone’s emotions, but just don’t reveal all of yours all at once. However, I feel that games and relationships are somewhat linked. What are games? They entail goals, rules, challenges and interactions. It’s how you play the “game” that will get you the right end result.

2. Guys don’t want girls that are just friends. Guys have a saying that a friend that’s a girl is just someone you haven’t slept with yet. Yes it’s very pigheaded and very ignorant but in a way it’s very true. Guys never enter into a relationship with a girl because they want to be “friends”, it’s just something that results in a failed attempt at something else. Case in point: Two of my best friends are female. I love them both dearly. One was a girl I had long courtship with butwe became just friends and the other never got passed date one but now we are good friends. The point is that I didn’t want to be just friends with either of these women. I wanted to sleep with these girls and form a romantic relationship. In both cases I accepted friendship as a consolation prize in hopes of maybe becoming more (never happens) and eventually just got used to being friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love both dearly and cherish our friendship but my ego is still bruised.

This is kind of a tough one. It’s walking a thin line between really pissing me off and a somewhat valid argument. I do think that women are just as sexually charged as men. But, some of my very best friends are guys. And perhaps, the trick is that women are able to view guys as just friends right off the bat and men are unable to do so. I’d love to hear some other male thoughts on this. And friendship as a consolation prize? That little comment doesn’t even warrant my response.

3. Women control sex, but guys have to be the aggressors. Women know with the first 10 minutes of meeting a guy if the potential for sex exists. Women like to act like they have more class then men but they see men the same way men see women. They know just by looking at the guy, seeing his stature and his presence how sexually virile they are. They want the man to come over and talk to them. They want to be wooed and charmed. Sure, a guy’s interest might be more animalistic but the intent remains the same. Now it is true that a guy can shoot himself in the foot while a woman can’t. Each guy has a different tolerance level for what crosses the line to make a woman unattractive but it’s a hard line to cross. Versus a woman’s line is very easily crossed. One unsmooth move, one bad joke, one inappropriate comment and the guy has struck out. That’s why women control sex. If women thought like men the population would boom while Trojan and Durex would go out of business. It’s a good thing women control sex.

Even though women control sex they remain utterly confused about guys, which is dumbfounding because we are not that hard to understand. Understanding women is an entirely different animal. Even the brightest minds in the world remain completely dumbfounded about women. How any man scores remains a complete mystery. Either it’s by sheer luck of being in the right place at the right time, or the girl has made it easy to be solved. The problem lies in the fact that women say they want one thing but completely fall for the opposite. So it’s a crapshoot and it’s usually the guys that can bullshit the most that have the most success on a very minor scale.

Sex is complicated. Any way you look at sex, it’s complicated. It complicates potential relationships if it occurs “too soon.” It snuffs out potential relationships if it doesn’t occur “soon enough.” One person could expect more than sex while the other just wants to get laid. I agree that it’s a “crapshoot” but that’s what makes communication crucial. So, maybe the problem is that guys spend their time bullshitting as Josh eludes to, instead of actually communicating therefore they don’t have “success.” Hm.

There is no understanding “women” because we are all individuals. Just like some men are hard to understand as well. We are all individual people. No woman wants the same thing. It’s important to spend more time talking to the person of interest getting to know what they want and stop analyzing women as a whole.

This concept of sexual aggression is very dependent on the situation. The situation in which you met the guy and the situations you find yourself in while initially dating the guy. There’s two ways that a guy pursues a women. Either she’s a girl for the night or a girl for the next day. Different girls have different playbooks. Thus aggression levels are going differ depending how the guy sees you.

Playbooks? Games? BAH! Why don’t you materialize girls a little more. Yeah. That’ll get you laid. Not to mention, when you dump women into two categories, you’re limiting yourself and ruling other possibilities out.

A girl for the night is usually a one night stand, booty call, friends with benefits or a fling type of a relationship. Since we were little boys our mothers have been telling us that wives don’t give it up on the first night. It’s not an instant gratification pursuit. It’s a long term investment. Thus a guy decides early on in his pursuit if it’s a quest for the Holy Grail or the quest for the hot jeans. In this first situation aggression is pretty clear. Just like a lion hunting his prey you have to act quick and hard in order to obtain your feast.

Nice. Now women are being equated to prey. This is why dating is so God-damned hard.

Aggression shows confidence and sexual virility and that’s the very essence of man. That’s his ego coming out and showboating. Often times this aggression and forwardness is aided with the help of alcohol or drugs and by the same sense the woman’s guards and standards are lowered by the aid of alcohol and drugs. If you’re a girl that met their mate in this type of situation, chances are the long term viability of the relationship is not good. There’s a chance that it could turn into more, but that’s more because the guy can get comfortable and lazy with you and is that what you REALLY want?

The second situation is the more traditionally preferred way of meeting a man. This is also the most emotionally dangerous for women and the biggest gamble for men. When it’s just about sex, guys are typically more aggressive. When they have to start rationalizing their feelings and have deeper emotional ties with a female, then the gamble becomes bigger because their ego is more at risk. This is why guys seem more hesitant to make a move and their “female” stupidity takes larger effect.

In the first situation a guy basically just brazenly throws his dick on the table to play all his cards, because if his offer is rejected he can just move onto option #2. This situation is a little more risky because your emotions for the girl are going to affect his ego more. He’s not just going to take a risky gamble and get rejected. He needs a clear sign that his advance is going to be openly received. This is where guys fail to see subtle signs and hidden vibes from women. A guy in this situation is going to be reluctant unless he finds himself in a golden opportunity to minimize the collateral damage associate with his ego taking a shot to the chops. A golden opportunity would be a situation where you and him are either alone at home or in a public place without a lot of group interaction. The chances of a guy making a move where he is highly likely to be embarrassed being rejected is very slim. So if you’re waiting for a guy to make a move you need to present him with these golden opportunities for him to take advantage of. Trust me that a guy is going to be as forward and aggressive as you want him to be after that initial move is made. However, if he fails to take advantage of these golden opportunities, than my friends you might have a sissy boy on your hands.

This last paragraph is very insightful. Guys have egos (we all have egos) and I can only imagine the fear of rejection they have when they’re approaching a girl they actually like. But, you have to take into consideration, that with all the other bullshit Josh explained guys pull, it’s just as difficult for a girl to determine whether or not the guy is actually being honest in his pursuit and we’re not just getting tricked into bed. All of this is what makes dating and relationships so complicated. So game-like. Such a gamble with your heart.

I do, however, believe that if we all can get past the immature games, mind-tricks and overanalyzing, the potential for men and women to be in a successful relationship is quite possible. In my opinion, men and women are a lot more similar than they seem. I think women tend to fear letting out their bluntness and their opinions on sex for fear that men will categorize them into an unkind box, which has been proven true above.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

John Doe March 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Josh makes great points but the point is that everyone is different and there are many many factors that keep things a certain way. I stand by the logic that if things are hard and you’re trying to figure each other out and you don’t quite fit together then you shouldn’t be together.

Lately I’ve learned more about myself since I hadn’t dated anyone new in a very long time. Long story short, I realize that I want to make everyone happy and won’t make moves because I don’t want to be rejected and risk losing the person forever. So I just keep things slowly enough that no one ever tells me no and that works for me.

then again, most of the time I’m too slow.

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Liz March 3, 2010 at 4:22 pm

The sexes just see things SOOOO differently! It’s crazy! At least your friend doesn’t mince his words haha.

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Jeremy Orr March 3, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I used to think this way when I was in my early twenties- that there was a chance for me with all of those women that I pined after. I settled for being friends in hopes that one day they would see what a great guy I was and we would live happily ever after. Alas, It doesn’t work like that. Being the guy who suffers in silence isn’t sexy- it’s just lame. And the guy who constantly eludes to it is worse. Womens’ signals, once you learn them, are as blatant as men’s. You can tell from the first conversation if there is potential or not. Just like men, women don’t know off the bat if you are a yes or not. You just have to be yourself and show the girl that you are someone worthy of being with. Date with integrity. Make your mother proud.

This question “How long do guys have to make their move until a woman sees them as just a friend?” is a flawed question. If you like a girl, you pursue her, get to know her, ask her out. If she says no, you either move on or seek a friendship. If you keep coming back around to the question of dating, you are just making yourself seem less attractive. It’s creepy and immature. I can say this because I was there. I did it. I was lame. But I learned from it. And am now a confident guy who is starting to meet some incredible women who like me for me (right off the bat!).

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Pyro Orr March 3, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Part of the reason why I give my brothers a hard time about hetero dating being a lot tougher than it is in the gay world is the mystique you throw onto the other sex. Saying that someone thinks a certain way because they are male or female is like saying they think a certain way because of their astrological sign. Some people are complex and some are easy. Getting to know someone beyond any initial physical attraction is very rewarding if you give it a chance.

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Alex March 4, 2010 at 1:42 am

I think this is a very interesting argument here. What I am unsure of is if “josh’s” original post was posted in whole some place else or not. The context of this post makes it seem like this is your response to a post he posted on his own blog. If this is not the case I think you are doing a dis-service to him by not letting your readers assess his argument in whole without your bias. The fact that you interject into his post throughout gives off the impression that you want to undermine his credibility to your readers. I’m still unclear the need to provide your readers background on yours and his relationship. Its my impression that your desire to do this was in order to sway your readers into interpreting his words the way that you did instead of interpreting them how they see fit.

As far as the article, I think “josh” speaks to the mentality of most guys. Its unclear where he fits into this picture, if he shares a lot of this attributes or if he was speaking in general terms. However I think he was very honest with women readers to tell them how guys think in general terms. I don’t think most guys are that brutally honest with women because they know women have some sort of false romanticized view of the world and don’t like to think that men are this black and white. Most men would secretly agree with “josh” but wouldn’t want to admit it because it would cast them into a bad light. The fact remains that a lot of what “josh” said is spot on. Its curious that you default to a lot of typical cliche feministic rhetoric that isn’t really merited in order to contradict “josh”. It “feels” like you needed to say something because your inner feminist isn’t prepared to rationalize that “josh” just might be right. I think this is why you decided not to publish “josh’s” comments in whole to be digested in whole but rather chopped it up to make it seem less credible. My feeling is that “josh” gave you what you wanted but you weren’t really prepared for the blunt truth but were expecting some romanticized sugar coated version of the truth.

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Jeremy Orr March 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Alex, what Josh had to say was juvenile and chauvinistic. What Lauren did was spot on. She asked a friend to guest post and he gave her something that was contrary to the spirit of her site. Instead of not publishing his work, she has submitted it with comments. I think that is the stand up move here. That is her prerogative, it’s her blog. If you don’t agree, go read Tucker Max.

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Jamie March 4, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Dating is rough regardless of if you are male or female!!! I’m glad Lauren both perspectives in this….and I completely agree with Jeremy that it was entirely appropriate for Lauren to attach her thoughts on his post-It’s HER blog!

I tend to think that men and women are extremely similar when it comes to dating and sex but unfortunately we maintain this “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” idea and I think it has crippled us! Maybe if we stopped analyzing the differences between genders and were direct about what and who we want dating wouldn’t be such a drag.

I understood a lot of Josh’s commentary but had a few thoughts on some of his points-

To Josh’s 1st point: I agree that non-verbal communication can be tricky so if you are confused about a signal just approach the woman. If she’s interested she will appreciate you being brave and making the 1st move and if she isn’t interested…brush it off!

To Josh’s 2nd point: This happens for women too…men aren’t the only ones put in the infamous friend zone! Believe me I’ve wanted more than friendship with a guy but it didn’t go that way and now they are great friends. The only difference is I don’t let it bruise my ego! Rejection is part of life and if I let someone telling me “no” (in all aspects of life) bruise my ego I most likely wouldn’t leave my house!

And lastly to his 3rd point: I think that Josh oversimplifies sex. It is something that is EXTREMELY different to everyone so everyone has control over it! Sure there are women who say they want one thing and go for the other but really why would you want to be with that chick anyways? Be glad you dodged a bullet!

Maybe it’s time we drop the labels and just start having fun with dating!

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Colin March 16, 2010 at 7:41 am

Oh man. Color me unimpressed with Josh’s representation of the male mind and male attitudes on dating. As a man, I recognized very little of myself in his words.

Interestingly, my experience has been more often the opposite, where friendships I have had with women have led to hurt because I wasn’t interested in sex but rather in friendship. Where’s the article on that phenomenon, on the man who is pegged for leading-on simply because he doesn’t return a woman’s interest?

Men are complicated – we too are challenging to read, give mixed signals, and think about many other things besides sex. I think it is actually this crude stereotype that men are one-dimensional sex-fiends that leads to such frustration for a woman when we don’t pursue her sexually.

Josh’s sentiment that a man’s female friends are women he has yet to sleep with is nothing new, but I have to say it doesn’t sound anything like friendship. It sounds manipulative, and it sounds disingenuous. I know I would reconsider a friendship with a woman who has accepted my friendship as a consolation prize. And I would wish for Josh the platonic pleasure of being friends with someone of the opposite sex, someone who sees things so differently, who sees the world through a more emotionally-intuitive lens, and whose unique brain chemistry helps to fill in the rest of the picture on this classic question of how, despite our differences, men and women ever manage to connect in the first place!

Thanks for the post – this is a great site. -C

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