Saturday, December 6, 2008

Just Friends?

Disclaimer: This post is more or less directed towards the ladies.

Sometimes it seems like all of our interactions with the opposite sex are governed by one age old question: is there such a thing as a purely platonic relationship?
The responses are mixed. Those of us who say yes are shocked when our “just friends” make a move on us. Those of us who say no are disappointed when our prospective life partners find significant others of their own.
So what gives? Is there not a simple answer?
Of course not.
Granted, we all can agree that platonic relationships have to exist. How else can you explain your male neighbors and classmates? The simple platonic relationships are those that aren’t too close. Past a certain point of familiarity, the boundaries become less defined.
Here’s when it becomes difficult. Is your guy just super-duper nice or does he want to be more than just friends?
Sometimes we over-analyze. We think the pats on the back, the invitation to “do something,” and the nice gifts on our birthdays are signs of something more. And maybe they are. Usually, guys tend to lavish attention in similar manners as girls. Girls love to focus on and flirt with their crushes and guys like to do the same. But if the answer was just that simple, then there wouldn’t be hordes of girls confused about the state of their relationships.
It really depends on the guy. As much as we’d like to think that guys are all just simple-minded creatures who all think in the same, uncomplicated manner, that’s simply not true. Guys, as hard as it is to admit, are each unique in their own ways.
Some guys just seem to pay equal attention to all girls they meet. They are gregarious. They flirt shamelessly with everything female that moves and everyone loves or claims to love them.
Look around you. Is everyone flirting with this guy? Do you have something special that sets you apart from the crowd? Do you guys have inside jokes? Cute nicknames? Secret handshakes, maybe? Are you going to be cool with it if you guys become a couple and he continues his behavior?
If not, grab another pole, it’s time to head back out to sea. This time, try to pull out one who is legitimately interested.
Sometimes, though, you might pull out one who is legitimately interested, only to find that he is absolutely cryptic about his intentions. He is attentive and sweet, but never takes the initiative in advancing the relationship.
If this sounds like your guy, drop a slight hint. Not so much that you scare him away. But realize that the guy might just be a bit dense. He might have no idea of your feelings unless you show them. He might also be too worried about rejection to dive in head first and admit he likes you. Sometimes, you need to prod him along just a bit.
This is not to say that you should take the initiative and start the relationship. NEVER be the one to start the relationship. That would be the easy way out, and the route will usually take you off a cliff.
As sexist as this may sound, guys and girls respond differently to taking risks. There’s scientific evidence that guys are more ready to take risks, due to innate differences in the male and female brains. Since starting a relationship is a huge risk (it’s like diving off a cliff, not knowing where or on what you’ll land), if the man who can more easily take risks doesn’t want to take the chance, then don’t even try to get him.
And then there are those other guys you might pick up who have no problems taking that giant leap. Even if you don’t want him to. These guys seem desperate. They call all the time, want to hang out all the time, and never seem to take a hint. You avoid them at all cost for weeks on end, and they still manage to find you and pretend nothing is wrong. Sound familiar?
If you’ve got a guy you can’t shake, drop hints you only want to be friends. But chances are you’ve already tried this and he just can’t wrap his mind around the fact you don’t think of him in that way. So introduce him to someone else who might be perfect for him. Or you can simply dodge him for the rest of your life.
The best solution is to find a boyfriend of your own.
But if that was so easy, why are you reading this?


Anonymous said...

Very true and a needed wake up call for many girls on campus. Of course we know this in the back of our heads and all of our friends say it but to have it come from an outsider is much needed.

Anonymous said...

"This is not to say that you should take the initiative and start the relationship. NEVER be the one to start the relationship. That would be the easy way out, and the route will usually take you off a cliff."

Anonymous said...

Where's the love for the shy guy?

We all know of at least one thriving couple where the girl aggressively goes after the guy, often in cases where the guy is too shy or self-conscious to jump off the cliff.

While the average guy is YES, more aggressive, you're over-generalizing. Relationships come about in all kinds of ways and it's ill-informed to say that the guy ALWAYS has to be the one to jump.

Anonymous said...

Heh...feminists don't believe in innate differences between the sexes...except when it validates their own behavior.

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