Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Possible, but is it worth it?

My first and last posts have proved to be my most discussed, both on the internet and off. I'm going to say one final word on the topic of "Can boys and girls just be friends?"

And my final comments (until somebody else asks me about it, of course!) consist of the following two sentences:

1) Yes, but it's not always worth it.

2) It's always best to be honest and open with people about your "quirks" or "faults" if you want them to be your friend. Otherwise, all types of confusion can - and probably will - ensue.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A revisitation of my first post, "I know some of the nicest guys, who I would love to be friends with and hang out with, but after a while they always start getting a bit flirty."

For several months, friends have been saying to me, "Hey, I read your advice blog, but I've got a problem with that thing you said about how a girl should fend a guy off by saying that he'll get clingy. That would never work!"

The post that they refer to is my first, which is on the subject of how a woman might turn guy friends who always flirt with her into *actual* friends. And the section that they refer to is this one:

1) Open up and/or lie about how crazy you are and what a bad idea it would be for the two of you to make out.

When a girl says, "I'm sorry, I can't make out with you, I'm just not into you like that," it hurts. But when a girl says, "I'm sorry, I'm a nutjob and you shouldn't make out with me," it hurts much less, because it doesn't insult the guy, it also lowers your sexy aura of mystery a bit, and it makes the guy feel respected.

If you're super brave (or if this is the truth), tell him that you wish you could have just a one-night stand with him, but you know you'll get clingy, so you don't want to risk that.

Basically if you make yourself appear less mysterious and more crazy, it will remind the boy of all the things he doesn't like about getting close to girls. Then he'll appreciate how nice it is to be just friends with you.

My critical friends are right. I really didn't explain this well enough and I used a bad example. But I still do stand by the idea that, if you make yourself appear less mysterious and more crazy, an interested party will truly begin to appreciate you as just a friend.

I'm going to rephrase some of the things I said in that old post and, as I did in that old post, I will invoke the ghost of Say Anything.

Now, let's go through a brief Q&A session on why Lloyd and Corey will not date:

Why does Lloyd not date Corey (aside from the fact that it would make the movie much shorter)?

They are friends.

So? Lots of friends end up dating.

Yeah, but Corey is really crazy. Lloyd would not go for that.

True, Corey is crazy. But so is Diane. She's a repressed, manipulative daddy's girl who is really hard to talk to.

Good point... So, why would Lloyd never date Corey, then?

Because he's already familiar with Corey's craziness. He doesn't truly see Diane's craziness until he's already become attached to her, and, by that point, it only makes him care about her more.

Think of all the things that you hesitate to say to a guy you like when you first meet him. Think about your minor skeletons. Maybe it's that you're on lithium. Maybe it's that you've cheated on former boyfriends. Maybe it's that you once belonged to a cult.  None of those things would truly make a girl any less likely to be a good girlfriend or a great person. But, if an attractive, cool girl who I'd just met were to tell me any of those things, I'd be slightly less likely to want to be involved with her and I'd be slightly more likely to want her around as the type of person I can talk to about un-romantic subjects (like prescription drugs, cheating, or belonging to a cult). In other words, I'd be more likely to want her as a friend.

So that's my revision of my original advice. In my original post, I made it sound like I was advocating merely for saying "If we have sex, I'll get clingy," but that was merely a poor example of a bigger idea, which is that if you tell a guy friend the kinds of things that you would *not* tell a guy you were interested in, he will be less likely to see you as more than a friend

We've all got a good number of things that we wouldn't talk about with somebody we did not yet feel comfortable around. And what is comfort, after all? Comfort is knowing where you stand. Comfort is knowing whether your relationship is romantic or platonic. That's why we often don't open up (about some things) to people we want to have sex with until after we've had sex. The earlier you allow yourself to open up, the earlier you clarify the nature of the relationship. If you really open yourself up early on, it will not make you unattractive, but it will do a lot to clarify that you are friends.

Even if you don't feel like your own "baggage" will necessarily be a deterrent, you can still make it work. For instance, don't say, "I don't know if I'm cut out for relationships, (sigh) I guess I'm just going to turn into a cat lady." That will make him want to comfort you. Say something like, "Oh man, last time I dated a guy, there ended up being so much drama, I don't even know how it happened."

Don't play the cute bird with damaged wings. Play the role of his crazy friend. Play the Corey to his Lloyd. 

This might sound disingenuous, but I really don't think it is. We all play roles whether we mean to or not. Our roles change depending on what we want out of people, but sometimes we fall into such strong habits of interaction that we forget what we really want. Sometimes we get so used to relating to the opposite sex in one way that we forget that it's not in our best interest to relate that way to every member of the opposite sex. 

When I was 15 or so, I went through a phase where I habitually tried (and failed) to be nice and accommodating to nearly every girl I met. This was my habitual, natural role. But I didn't actually want all of those girls to like me. I wasn't actually attracted to most of them nor was I interested in being friends with most of them. What I'm suggesting is this: Recognize the roles you play in your interactions with the opposite sex and take more control over them. You will be more likely to get what you want.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A minor thought that involves tags and baggage claims used as metaphors

I once heard the expression that women should come with a tag that says, "Handle with care." If that's the case, then men should come with a tag that says, "I am a boytoy, boyfriend, surrogate-dad, and a shrink, but I am not a baggage claim attendant."

Friday, July 9, 2010

On How We Figure Out if We REALLY Like Someone

Send me your questions! But until then, I leave you with another original post.

In my never-ending quest to figure out what distinguishes the relationships that end with minimal pain from the relationships that end in volcanic eruptions, I decided to take a look at the time in relationships when the foundations for future battles and reconciliations seem to be set up: the "getting to know you" phase.

In a way, we're always getting to know people and we never know people as well as we think we do. The phase I'm referring to is the early one where we figure out just how much we're capable of actually liking a person, and, whether we stay for that person for two more weeks, two more months, or two more years, our gut feelings about the person, in many ways, do not change all that much beyond that stage.

Let's take a look at an early-stages scenario, the emotions it causes, and the ways we can choose to act on those emotions.

Scenario: After sleeping with your partner, you wake up and drink coffee together. You show them a bizarre music video on YouTube, because that is the sort of thing that amuses you. They respond by saying, "So is this what you do when you're bored?" You say, "Uh... yeah. Actually, I do." There is silence. You feel a void develop between the two of you.

And now, I leave you with a host of Choose Your Own Adventure choices, and I leave you to judge which ones are the best. Because, frankly, I think I know what is the best way to go about it, but I really don't.

A) Break up with them right then, or a few days later, saying, "We don't have enough in common."

B) Recognize that you don't have enough in common, but see where else the relationship can go from that point onward. Assume that you're not going to really fall for this person and don't expect too much from them. Wait to see if you have other things in common that will make you feel that "certain something," but until then, don't commit or allow them to commit.

C) Recognize that they're missing a certain something, but push the person with all your might into being serious about you, and see if you like them then. Get them to do "serious relationship" things that they may have been hesitant to do before. If they fully commit to you and you find that they are still missing something, break up with them.

Something tells me that we all have done something like this; that, unless we've found someone who was perfect and didn't make us go "Hmm..." at any time during the early stages, we've all had to make the choice of "Do I want to stay with this person, and, if I don't know yet, how do I figure it out?" The four choices I've listed are the methods I can think of so far.

Readers: Do you have any you'd like to add? Which "techniques" do you use to make your choice?

Addendum: I originally made four options but then realized that the middle two were the same, so I combined them. B was originally B and C and C was originally D.