Just Friends: A Man's Worst Nightmare
My girl was over and we were talking earlier about how difficult a time it is for a woman to find a quality guy she likes a lot. She spooled off a quick list of men she'd been on dates with who hadn't made the cut: there was the older doctor who lied about his age, and the guy she went to the movies with who had touched her arm and creeped her out. But the one who stood out the most to me was the one she described as her "good friend."
This was a guy who took her out to walk on the ice over a lake in town that had frozen over. There, the guy professed to her that he would satisfy all her needs. At the moment when he said that, she briefly asked herself, "Huh. Could I have sex with this guy?" Her answer was no, it'd be weird. He was her friend.
And then she said something that really stood out:
"I like him as a friend. We can talk about anything. I'm like his guy friend. And he's like my girlfriend."
I felt for this poor fella's misfortune: relegated to the position of, essentially, girlfriend. A sexless, masculinity-devoid excuse of a man, who willingly (though no doubt reluctantly) set his manhood aside to continue spending time with a woman.
She still keeps in touch with him, and (when she has a free night) grabs dinner with him (which of course he pays for), and tells him just about everything. And he still seems to be hoping, despite all this, that there's still a chance.
Meanwhile, my girl comes over here, pays for almost all the food we eat together, cooks for me, helps me clean and do laundry, and this guy's texting her hoping to get somewhere.
What's he doing wrong, and how have I not made the same mistakes?
Ending Up "Just Friends"
We've touched on ending up in the friend zone on here before in a couple of previous posts – in "Can I Help You?," about men who offer to help women out too much, and in "Overproviding Good Feelings," which discusses the danger of doing too many fun things with women. But now we're really going to dive into the subject.
Just how does some poor schmuck end up in the position of being "like a girlfriend;" how's a guy who wants to date some girl, or make her his girlfriend, or take her home and shag her silly end up being just friends?
There are three big determinants of whether a man will end up as no more than a woman's friend. They are as follows:
- Speed – or lack thereof. There's no getting around it – men who move fast with women get more girls, and they even do better with the higher quality girls. How come? Because, generally, the longer a man takes to move things forward with a woman, the less she's going to tell herself she likes him. If a guy "works on" a girl for weeks or months and still doesn't take a girl to bed, she's going to view him as a lot less "man" than she does a man who beds her the day or the night he meets her, or on their first date.
And when she looks back at those scenarios and considers them, she's going to think to herself, "Wow, I went to bed with Tom a lot faster than I went to bed with Sam... I must've found Tom much more attractive than Sam if I went to bed with him so much faster. But poor Sam... he's a nice guy." You should also consider that a woman will tend to view the man who took her to bed the quickest as the most dominant, powerful man she's been with; so, you want to strive to be the fastest to bed a girl usually, particularly if you want to have a long-term relationship with her, because in relationships it's always favorable for you to have the woman viewing you as the strongest, most powerful man of her life.
- How much you invest in her. The Law of Least Effort comes into play here, as the more effort a man puts into getting together with a woman, the less she's going to consider him a valid romantic option. Women are most attracted to men who get them as effortlessly as possible; if a man gets her while visibly expending little effort, she reasons that she must be quite attracted to him to be doing these things with him despite his lack of investment. The reverse is true, as well: men who invest a great deal of time, effort, and energy investing in women tend to get thought of as unattractive men. If he's such a great catch, why does he have to work so hard to get her?
This is the source of the friend zoned-guy's lament: "I've done so much for her, and then she goes and runs into the arms of that guy, who treats her like dirt! I just don't get it!" That guy looking on confusedly from the friends zone can thank the Law of Least Effort – and his failure to apply it with this girl – for his predicament.
- What emotions you show with her. Women are attracted to sexy, mysterious men. They're not, despite what television tells you much of the time, really all that into sensitive men who wear their hearts on their sleeves. You still ought to talk about emotion with women, but that's the thing – you'll be talking about it. Showing it, on the other hand, is something else altogether.
One of the mistakes that men who get friend zoned make is that they often show a great deal of emotion. Whether that's because they're genuinely emotional men, or whether that's because they think they need to be emotionally expressive in order to win women's hearts, it's a turn off to girls. Showing emotion – whether hope or joy or jealousy or anger or concern or sadness or whatever – is bad for seduction.
Think about women: they're nearly universally all emotional people. And emotional people need other emotional people around them about as much as they need a punch in the face. Emotional people, rather, seek out others who are "rock-like" and can be solid and unshakeable for them. Note that doesn't mean cold; cold people are scary, because women feel like they're not really building a real connection with them. You still should be warm, but you also should stick to talking about emotions rather than showing them.
Those are the Big 3 of ending up in the friend zone: moving too slow, investing too much, and showing too much emotion. And, naturally, those are three things that most men default to with any girl they like a lot: they move slow (to make sure they don't mess up), invest a lot (so the girl will like them for all they've done for her), and they show a great deal of emotion (so she'll see how deep they are and realize what good guys they are, or because they just can't control themselves around her and act jealous or hopeful or nervous).
Why You Really Don't Want to Be Her Friend
But hey, being friends ain't all that bad, right? You get to spend more time with a girl; you get to really get to know her; maybe even, with enough time, she starts realizing what a great guy you are, right?
Well... no, it doesn't actually amount to such a rosy deal. A man who's "just a friend" is effectively emasculated to a woman; she no longer considers him a sexual option. His power as a man – his ability to conquer and inseminate women – isn't even something a woman who's friend zoned him thinks about; actually, when I have girls tell me about their guy friends who are "just friends," whenever they talk about one of these guys' love lives they talk about it like it's some cute, funny thing; kind of like, "Oh, how cute, there's actually a girl out there who wants to have sex with my guy friend. Isn't that funny?"
I guess it depends how you take it. To me, this feels like one of the most patronizing, demeaning, disrespectful ways one human being can view another; as being completely devoid of any modicum of sex appeal. It's downright humiliating. Yet, many men sit there and maintain these relationships, because... why? I'm not really sure.
I recently had a girl try to friend zone me. It doesn't happen to me a whole lot, but I can smell it a mile away when it's going on. I mentioned her a week or so ago in "Dating on Your Terms;" she was the one I went on a date with, probably could've closed things out with had I pulled the trigger, but I moved too slow and this is a strong gal. Strong women don't tend to give out second chances all that often, and while I'd guessed she'd get in contact with me when I wrote up that post a week ago, I was right – she called me last Friday. Only thing was, she wasn't trying to meet up with me, per se – she was trying to get me to help her with something a friend needed that related to one of the businesses I'm running. I told her I didn't have the thing she was looking for so couldn't help her out this time. Then I told her to let me know when she was free the next week and we'd grab a bite.
Now, there're two ways this could go: the first would that what she really wanted was to see me again, and this was just her excuse to get in contact with me, in which case she wouldn't really care I didn't have the thing she asked me for and she'd be thrilled to have me ask her to spend time together again just the two of us.
The second way this could go was the way it actually did: she sounded annoyed I didn't have what she wanted, and hesitated to respond when I told her to let me know her schedule and we'd grab a bite, eventually giving me a very neutral, "Yeah, sure."
She wanted me in the friend zone.
Avoiding the Friend Zone
Being "just friends" with a woman is often going to be something that sucks up your time without providing any kind of realistic return on investment. Just like you aren't going to be good friends with every single man in your town, you also don't have the time and bandwidth to be friends with every single woman in your town, as nice as that might be. And just because a woman is someone you'd like to go to bed with, or have as a consort, or even a girlfriend, doesn't necessarily mean she's someone you'd like to have as a friend. In an ideal world, sure, you'd only sleep with top caliber women you'd love to have as pure friends as well, but this isn't an ideal world, it's the real one, and people sleep with people all the time they wouldn't want to be just friends with.
So, the first line of defense against getting friend zoned is knowing just what you do want from a woman you'd consider having as purely a friend. That's going to differ for each person, so here are the traits I look for a girl I'd accept as just my friend to have at least one of:
- Top caliber social skills, contagious energy, and the "know" on where all the good parties and cool people are.
- An ambitious, dynamic, and results-oriented personality, and I learn something from her every time we talk or hang out.
- The tendency to be strongly beneficial toward my life in some other way or is integrating me into some crowd I want to integrate into (e.g., an actress who's pulling me into the acting community, or a girl from a specific local subculture who's bringing me into the fold).
Needless to say, the more valuable a man you turn yourself into, the more women will begin to view you as an outstanding candidate to be friends with... and the more high quality friends you're going to have, and the less time you're going to have to be friends with every woman who comes along. So you must be discriminating.
Once you know where you draw the line at, though – which women qualify as solid friend material, and which women don't meet the cut – you'll know also exactly what you will and won't tolerate from women.
And once you know exactly what you will and won't tolerate from women, you're able to respond appropriately to women who try to banish you to the friend zone. Namely, you won't be going along with the platonic plans of any women who don't measure up with what you look for in your platonic friends.
That's Step 1. What's Step 2?
Step 2 for avoiding the friend zone is doing what you need to be doing – which, as you might suspect, is the opposite of what men who end up getting given the "let's just be friends" speech do:
- Move fast. In your interactions with women, there is no room for timidity. Get girls moving with you, sitting with you, opening up to you, giving you their phone numbers or going home with you quick. Set up dates soon and with speed, and don't dawdle. Timid men dawdle. Sexy men move with urgency.
- Invest little and get much in return. This is a bit of an art, because you want to be warm and accommodating and show that you're investing as well, but you want to do it in such a way that you simultaneously appear to be investing less than she is and conducting yourself and managing the interaction effortlessly. This includes conversation – if she isn't talking 75% of the time, you can do better – and it includes communication over distance – if you're getting into long, inefficient text exchanges, for instance, you might consider reading up a bit on how to text a girl. The more you invest, the "friendlier" you seem; the less you invest, the more sexy and edgy you appear.
- Be calm in your shown emotions. Again, mind the difference between emotions you show, and emotions you discuss. I might be talking to a girl and say, "Yeah, I was really upset," but the way I'll say it will be in an almost bored voice tone. You'll say you were or are an emotion with your words, but you'll communicate strength and stability with your calm, neutral tonality.
What to Do When You're "Just Friends"
You probably won't like this advice a whole lot, but here's the #1 best piece of advice I can give you once you've wound up in the friends zone:
Drop the girl and move on.
Drop her, as in cut her off almost completely. Be gracious about it, and don't tell her you're dropping her, just… disappear. You may find she becomes so intrigued that she begins chasing after you, or you may find that she falls off your radar altogether. Either way, it's good for you.
That girl I mentioned earlier in this post, who called me trying to get something from me and didn't really want to meet up with me? Chances are, I won't ever talk to this girl again, because it's not a worthwhile use of my time. She clearly is trying to use me to benefit her life without doing anything to benefit mine. e.g., if she wants to get together with me and have a good chat and then we go back to my place and get intimate, well, that's something that benefits her and it benefits me. If, on the other hand, she wants to be just friends and use me to help her friends and maybe talk to me or have me as a shoulder to cry on, that benefits her, but all it does for me is suck up time I could be using to build my businesses or meet new women or spend time with friends who benefit my life as much as I benefit theirs.
Think about it like this: with a girl you're just friends with, that you don't really want to be just friends with, you've typically invested a great deal of time and effort and energy. And the more you invest in someone, the more committed to them you become. You can very quickly end up in the unenviable situation of being far more committed to a woman (for having invested far more in her) than she is in you (for having invested far less in you). When you're more committed to a woman than she is to you, seduction is doomed. Positively doomed. Not all the time, but about 98% of the time, it's doom. Doom for the chances of that seduction.
So, dropping a girl you've been obsessing over does a few things for you:
- It ends the cycle of you investing in and becoming ever more committed to a girl who doesn't feel the same way toward you (otherwise, she'd be in your bed by now), and
- It frees up your time and mental energy to begin focusing on new women with whom you are not in the friends zone.
Ultimately, it ties into one of the very core tenets of being a man: a man does not keep people around him who make him feel like less than a man.
What that means, of course, is that if a woman starts viewing you as "like her girlfriend," it's time you forgot her and moved on. For your own sake, it's the healthiest thing you can do. There are a lot more women out there you can find to treat you like the man you are!
Never be afraid to walk away from a bad situation. You always have options – that's what real men realize. And those men – those men unafraid to walk away from bad situations – rest assured, they never end up in the friend zone, because they just won't let women put them in it.
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