Ask Drew: There’s No Such Thing as “Just Friends”

A friend of mine from college was dumped by his girlfriend to start off the New Year. I never liked her in the first place, so it took some effort to contain my glee on his newly acquired freedom. Once he finished bending my ear, he buttoned his diatribe against her with a line that always makes me laugh: “I mean, she wants to stay friends, so maybe something will happen down the line.”

First of all, she doesn’t want to be friends. That “let’s stay friends” nonsense is as standard as the safety lecture they give before the plane takes off. Unless the relationship has an Ike and Tina ending, most polite individuals think that cushioning the bad news with that line will somehow make everything sting less. So you’re gonna stay friends? Go see a movie together this weekend as “friends” and tell me how enjoyable that is.

As a general rule, guys and girls can’t just be friends. I know what many women are saying reading this. “That’s not true! I have tons of guy friends!” Yeah, you probably do. And you’re probably hot or you give off a flirty vibe.

Unless you’re an exception to the rule (and there are some), the majority of those guys that treat you like royalty are doing so for a reason. I’d like to consider myself an exception to the rule, but the truth is I’m not. A few of my best friends are women, and I’ve hooked up with all of them at one point in time. I’ve never once had a few too many at the bar with any of my guy friends and we ended the night by grinding our jeans together in the back of a cab.

Chances are you’ll never be “just friends” with any guy, but you can at least keep the charade alive for many years by forcing him to repress his urges and locking him in the friend zone with these tips:

Flirt With Other Guys
Yeah, it’s kind of mean, but it sends the appropriate message. If you really want to keep things strictly platonic with your guy friends, you need to focus your sexual attention elsewhere. It might not make the guy feel great, but at least there will be a well-defined line. I’ve been that poor sap in the friend zone before, and it’s absolutely miserable. At the same time though, there wasn’t any confusion about where we stood. Especially when your buddy bursts into your bedroom to borrow the whole box of condoms because he and the girl you’re crazy about are “gonna make a night of it.” Seriously.

Don’t Put Yourself In Risky Situations
What seems fun and innocent to you might be his sexual utopia. Splitting a bottle of wine and watching a movie is probably just like any Tuesday to you, but he’ll interpret that much differently. Unless you’re a farm animal and/or he’s gay, he’s going to think every sip of Merlot is one step closer to shutting off the TV and doing the no-pants dance. I’m not saying you and your guy friend can never spend time together one-on-one, but a situation like that is like dangling a rib-eye in front of an emaciated pit bull. You’re giggling at whatever awful reality show you’ve put on TV, and he’s harder than Chinese algebra.

Playful Flirting Is Flirting
This is very similar to the one above, but it still rings true. I know you probably think it’s cute when you giggle and touch his shoulder, or when you show him something on your phone and let your breasts perch on his forearm. To you, it’s cute. To us, it’s a blatant indicator. And come on, part of you knows what you’re doing. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets an erection and is fired for sexual harassment.

Split the Bill
I’ve said before that it’s usually his job to pay. This isn’t the case when you’re just friends. If he’s interested in you, he might insist that he pick up the check. Insist back. I can’t stress enough how much more irritated he’ll be if you let him pay for drinks and dinners and then give him nothing back in return. “But my friendship is enough!” Not when he wants to take a shower with you, it isn’t.

Hook Him Up With Your Friends
I know this is following the blueprint of every terrible romantic comedy, but you have to do something to take his mind off you. Chances are you have a girlfriend who’s looking for a guy. Kill two birds with one stone. Pair up your girlfriend who’s desperately seeking validation with the guy who may or may not commit a felony to be with you. Even if it doesn’t end in romance, it’ll still be really funny to watch. Plus they might get some sex out of the arrangement. And everything looks better after you’ve been laid.


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Drew is a single guy living in Los Angeles. When he's not bar-hopping with a friend's golden retriever to convince women he has a soft side, he's taking them on short-lived dates. His fickle dating habits and "perspective" almost guarantee he'll die alone. All opinions are his own. Got a question for Drew? Ask away...

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