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.


Great(ish) Expectations said...

I have to say that I find this slightly offensive as a girl... I mean why do we have to put ourselves down just to avoid damaging a guy's ego? I take pride in the fact that I'm a together sane person, and no guy comes before that.
These techniques may work, but why should it be the girl's responsibility to take on the burden of being embarassed in this situation?

Benny said...

I don't think that you all "have to put yourselves down." I just think that, if you really want someone to be your friend, the best you can do is open up to them the way you'd open up to a friend rather than open up to them in the reserved way that you open up to someone you want to attract.

And goodness, I never felt that a guy should come before being yourself. I honestly think that, in most cases, awkward friendships are just not worth it. I just also think that, if you really, really want to, there are indeed ways to make these friendships less awkward.

I acknowledged in the original post, but not in this addendum, that sometimes guys in particular really are just so dumb, oblivious and horny that no amount of non-reciprocation of interest will get them to stop trying to make a move on you.

They're different. They will never, ever be friends. Hangers-on, maybe. Semi-fun acquaintances, maybe. But not friends.

Great(ish) Expectations said...

Yeah, I know what you're saying... I had a guy friend that I tried to deter with honesty, but to no avail, so I ended up having to cut the friendship loose. I guess its the "When Harry Met Sally" Hypothesis: Men and women can't be friends because the sex thing always gets in the way.

Benny said...

Aww, I wouldn't go that far. From my perspective, I've actually had MORE female friends since I've been more honest with myself about what I want from girls. I've been honest in the sense that, if I know I'd only be friendly with the goal of sex in mind, I won't go out of the way to hang out with the girl, and I'll also hit on her more obviously, so that I'm not "faking friendship." Funny enough, I've never had an awkward transition to friendship with a girl I hit on. But, of course, I've had terrible transitions with girls I crushed on, called friends, and never hit on.
Anyway, my point is, I really don't think it's impossible. I don't think all guys are inherently that unable to see a woman as a friend.
And I really dislike WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. I hate how pessimistic it is about a guy's ability to be friends with a woman, and I hate how optimistic it is about things working out. Just thinking of it makes me feel like I need to purify myself by watching HUSBANDS & WIVES.

Marie said...

I guess my question is: why don't you think a girl just saying, "Because I just want to be friends." is not enough? Shouldn't guys just get used to accepting, "no" for no?

rbliss said...

I have a lot of girl friends who happen to be pretty and nice and guys always want to be more than just friends with them. I find that for girls, it's either we have to come across as crazy or bitchy or else guys will immediately think that we're interested in more than just friendship. It seems nearly impossible to be nice to a guy without sending the wrong message. I think that the best thing that a girl can do is make it clear upfront that she is interested in other guys, has a boyfriend, or isn't interested in dating at all. It can be a hassle but I think it saves a lot of awkwardness and heartache in the end.