Thursday, 12 January 2012

Friendgirls

Now THIS is a really good post. Check it out!

25 comments:

Maggie said...

The first thing I do after I invent a time-machine will be to go back and read this to my 18-year-old self and maker her MEMORIZE IT. Ugh.

Irenaeus G. Saintonge said...

Good article. I've seen that happen in my short span of years.
Question for you though: when this happens the other way around, i.e. when a guy finds himself 'friendzoned', do you think the motivation on the lady's side is the same as when a guy leads on a young woman like this article describes?
Honestly, and maybe this is just because I'm a guy, I've seen guys be 'friendzoned' more often than I've seen young woman end up being the 'friendgirl'.

Alexandra said...

Along the same lines, I thought some of you might find this youtube video interesting... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_lh5fR4DMA

Maggie said...
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Maggie said...

So what does an NCG do if she realizes she's been friendgirled? Ought she to make the friendship fade out without saying anything or should she call it to his attention (say, perhaps, by sending him a link to this article)?

Rosemary said...

Ugh - yes, this happened to me. And it WAS heartbreaking. This is a great article. Ladies...stop being so available!!

Not Posting As Myself Today said...

I have been friendgirled so many times it's ridiculous. I've probably enabled it though.

I admit that almost all of the guys I am at all close to are guys I am (or have at some point been) attracted to. They have all let off signals that they are at least somewhat attracted to me, but none of them have done anything about it.

[The few exceptions, the male friends I was not attracted to, nearly all ended up being attracted to me (rather unfortunate situations).]

Right now, being single, having male friends with common interests whose company I enjoy doesn't seem to be an issue...but it does occur to me that this will be awkward friendships to have once I actually am in a relationship with someone...but maybe the relationship will be with one of them?? I suppose that's not likely.

Aw, gee. Should we just not be friends with boys? Lately I've tried not to become friends with guys in a non-dating, non-group setting...trying to just interact with them in groups or on dates. This seems to be better for my heart.

joeTHEguy said...

Maybe it's because I'm a guy ,but I have to agree with Irenaeus G. Saintonge, I have seen way more guys(and I mean way more guys) be friendzoned than I have seen girls be "friendgirled".

That being said, I think many men and women who have done the friend-x-ing truly believe that as long as things weren't formalized and things actually stay on a friend level the it really isn't their fault what the other person thinks, and not to sound cruel but I kind of agree with this rationale, if a person wants to believe in their own fantasies - it really is their own fault (I'm saying this as someone who has never "friendgirled" a girl or experienced the "friendzone").

I also think , that if the person who is doing the friend-x-ing tries to call out the person who believes in their fantasies(as this article implies) and says what they really want is not possible then the deluded people will tend to retreat into the ambiguity that they created for themselves and the people who want to believe in their fantasies will say that they were just trying to be friends, because to admit otherwise would be a loss of face.

Seraphic said...

These are very interesting questions.

Irenaeus and joeTHEguy, one of the truths this excellent article points to is that a friendgirl is reluctant to make any moves, and this leaves her helpless. She hangs around hoping the guy will make the first move, as custom (and nature?) dictates. She's stuck, especially if the guy gives her just enough encouragement to keep her hooked. Poor sweet.

A guy gets friendzoned because he doesn't make any moves. I can just imagine some nice, sweet guy plodding along amiably beside the girl he has a crush on, not daring to say something flirtatious. (And I am very sympathetic to that, since I was terrified of doing that when I was Single. On the other hand, I'm a girl.) But he should. Otherwise, she'll just talk to him as if he's a girl.

And there are so many ways to do it--it's all about underscoring that he is a man, not a fellow woman. He could offer to carry her bag, for example. He could open doors. He could refuse to share his FEELINGS about everything, thus retaining some masculine mystery.

If the girl in question responds positively to flirtation and bag carrying, the guy could eventually try to kiss her. And if she slaps him, he won't be in the friend zone, will he? And if she immediately tells all her friends what happened, this will underscore to them all that he is a man and not a fellow woman.

(If she doesn't, it is a very bad sign because it means she was so icked out, she doesn't want anyone to know. So make sure there does seem to be some kind of spark before you try kissing anyone.)

Of course this kissing stuff sounds very dodgy in the Sexual Harrassment Code world, and I don't know if you boys should be listening to my advice today. That said, B.A. just grabbed me, the brute. And now look.

Maggie, I cannot see the point of sending a guy this article in a passive-aggressive way. I suppose the quickest way to do it is to ask the guy if he considers you his girlfriend. And when/if he says, "No", you say, "Well, paradoxically, I guess that means we have to break up." And then you rush off to buy a bag of sweeties before going home to cry.

Not Posting as Herself, that IS the question, isn't it? Personally, I have no close male buddies. I have colleagues, proteges, pals-from-the-old-days, and friends-who-are-my-husband's friends. I like them all very much and they are part of the caffeine in the cappuccino of life. But the only male pals I have that I would talk to about personal problems are priests.

Anna said...

Oh my gosh...my two favorite blogs meet! I'm so excited :D

leonine said...

"And ultimately, what will hurt more than anything is when your so-called friendship dissolves shortly after you meet the woman you really want."

Indeed.

When I was in college (and shortly thereafter), I was fairly successful at having friends who were men. I got "friendgirled" a few times, and it was very painful twice when the guys in question went after other women and stopped talking to me. In one case, I was hurt because I was falling in love with the guy, in the other I was hurt because I actually really missed the friendship and felt betrayed. However, I still had some really wonderful friendships I prized very much, and I think it's unlikely in the extreme that they were secretly pining for me. So ten years ago, the friendship thing basically worked ok.

But it doesn't seem to work as well now, ten years later. I don't have any friends who are men who are not also my colleagues. I really value the collegial relationships -- and as I'm in a male-dominated field, if I wasn't friendly with male colleagues, I wouldn't really have friends -- but I can't think of a single male friend who's not also a professional colleague. That was certainly not the case ten years ago.

Not posting as myself today either said...

Right now I have the opposite problem in my life. I have a male friend with whom I actually do enjoy a brother-sister relationship, as explicitly stated and desired by both of us. We'll never date, and don't want to, but he is a wonderful, supportive, and close friend. The only problem is that friends keep assuming that we are dating, which is hilarious to us, or telling him not to be so close to me if he's not romantically interested, which is not so hilarious.

The friendgirl phenomenon is much more common and painful for everyone involved, of course. And an indirect consequence is that it makes genuine friendship relationships between men and women much more difficult.

A Reforming Friend-Zoner said...

About girls "friendzoning" guys:

I am one of those girls. I have lots of male friends and acquaintances and often one of them-- being a man, not a woman-- takes a liking to me and asks me out. I get all jumpy and equivocating at this point because I really do like them and they are nice people but I am not sure I want a relationship, but I don't want to hurt them, etc. etc. so I trot out all this talk about "genuinely valuing their friendship" and still wanting to hang out and do everything but decisively accept or decisively cut the cord. In other words, I am indecisive, unkind (though not intentionally), and a wimp.

Or I used to be. The man I am dating now hasn't allowed me to do this, and it's been great for me. We met at a wedding this summer and flirted a little, and I thought it would be one of those ambiguous things I am so okay with. He invited me to a party he was having and I began my usual, "Well, we'll see, I don't know how busy I'll be then.." and he countered with, "I'll tell you two weeks in advance so you can clear your calendar." Yikes! I actually thought this was a little control-freaky at the time (turned out not to be) but that was my first indication I couldn't just walk all over this guy.

A few weeks later we had gone out on a few dates and they had gone very well, but I was getting my usual commitment jumpies. I called him and gave my usual speech about how I wasn't feeling it romantically, and we didn't walk for a few weeks. Then I took to missing him and finally (despicably) called him to ask if we could "hang out." He took me out for a movie and coffee and came over the next day to talk. He sat there looking at me sardonically until I let him kiss me (we had already kissed) and finally said, "So you're 'not feeling this romantically'?" To which I responded--what else could a sensible girl say in the situation?-- "UGH!"

"Ugh?" He said. "I just didn't want this to be all complicated," I explained. His response was irrefutable: "I think this would be a lot less complicated if we would just date." I couldn't argue with this and sat their in stunned, slightly irritated silence. He got up and said he wanted to date me and I could call him when I had made up my mind whether I wanted to date him, and he saw himself out.

It was just the kick in the pants I needed. I realized when he walked out that not only did I like him (I knew that) but now I respected him because I had tried to talk all over him and he hadn't let me. That's super attractive!

Five months later, we're still dating and it's going great. I hate to think I would have missed out on this great relationship if he had let me "friendzone" him like that at the start.

(And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it's done!)

Sitting Pretty said...
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Sitting Pretty said...

(Re-posted to fix some goofy formatting)

Thanks for posting that article! I, too, wish I could send it back in time to my younger self!

As to the guys who have been "put in the friendzone", I've seen that as well. In my experience, though, it usually didn't happen because the guy wouldn't ask the girl out, but because he kept hanging around after she gave him a less-than-definite reply. "Gee, I'm so busy with my new job right now, I can't even think about dating!" or "I'd really rather get to know you as a friend first." Of course, what the girl really meant was "No, I don't want to date you", but she thought that making an excuse would somehow be less hurtful. The poor guy would assume that if he only waited long enough, (and changed the oil in her car, proof-read all her projects, etc.) she would come around eventually. Then Mr. Helpful goes right into the friendzone, and the girl tries to convince herself that he's just being a noble gentleman when he volunteers to drive her to the airport at 4:00am.

Okay… that was a little rant-ish. Sorry. Let's just all make a pledge not to do this to each other.

Rosemary said...

Seraphic: What is the best way to come to a place of forgiveness when you have been used emotionally (or even physically) in such a "relationship"? I try to pray for the man in question every day, and my purist tells me that shows my forgiveness. Just wondered if anyone out there had an idea. Of course, I am cognizant of my own role in being used in the first place.

Rosemary said...

That should say priest not "purist" :)

Seraphic said...

Sitting Pretty, good idea. Let's do that. I mean, you guys do that.

One of the advantages of being married is that there is no ambiguity in relationships with men-not-your-husband (or there had better not be, anyway). Guys are a little more nervous of married ladies crying on their shoulders, I suspect.

Seraphic said...

Rosemary, you just pray that one day you'll be able to forgive yourself and him. And then be gentle with yourself. Forgiveness can take time.

And maybe you shouldn't pray for him so much. (Yes, shockah!) If you regularly pray for a guy, then you regularly think about a guy, and the best place for a guy who has hurt you is down the memory hole. If you must pray for him, why not just pray for him once a week or so, until eventually you forget?

Charming Disarray said...

Great point about the difference between friendgirl and friendzone. I always assumed guys talked about being in the friendzone as a way of dealing with rejection and therefore never really thought of it as a thing. And guys who wait months or possibly even years to make a move shouldn't be surprised if the girl has moved on permanently.

I've never been friendgirled, but I have friends who have and in some cases got very badly burned. They knew they should have avoided the guys but felt too strong of an emotional pull to walk away. Sad all around. I've personally never gotten the concept of close guy friends. Friendly, yes...someone to shop with, no. That's what girls are for. Guys are for arguing with or dating. I think I'm too irritable to put up with them eating all the food and getting their dirty shoes on stuff and breaking things and forgetting to tell people important details about things if there's not some very good reason for it, like being a family member or a boyfriend.

I hope that doesn't sound misandristic. Men are great.

Seraphic said...

No, it sounds sensible. Men are who they are, and they just don't make good girlfriends.

Meredith said...

I haven't friendzoned anyone (that I know of) who was over 18, and never on purpose. Very young men (boys, really) don't know how to make a move yet, and they tend to become your best bud for one semester of high school or college and then write you a heart-felt letter around Christmas, the darlings. I don't think that any man should allow himself to be friendzoned like this after his sophomore year of college.

Active, bellicose friendzoning, of the kind described above (very 500 Days of Summer and not nice) is another story. I can see withholding "I love you" and noises about marriage from a new boyfriend, but if a man makes it clear that he likes you "like that," we should respect that and accept a Date-with-a-D if we like him back.

Anyway, Reforming, your suitor sounds very sparky and slightly Rhett Butler-ish, which is not at all bad in small quantities. No matter how nice and Catholic we are, we NCGs still want our NCBs to swoop in and steal a kiss.

Little Mary said...

I was a friendgirl once, for too long. It ended when I asked for clarification, which I highly reccomend. And really, he was right -- we aren't suited for each other, but due to the clarification, we modified things and remain friends.

I also think that as women it is much more helpful for us (and men) to have confidence in men that they can and will lead rather then thinking we need to make it easier for the shy, sensitive men by hanging out with them all the time, making it so obvious we like them, acting like their girlfriends, etc...

Irenaeus G. Saintonge said...

Thanks Seraphic and Reforming for your excellent responses! I laughed and thought hard about what you said. :)
I'm only three years out of high school (and thank God, I don't miss it a bit), so my perspective on the friendzone and the friendgirls is built on watching (and unfortunately sometimes participating in) rather immature relationships and lots of immature people.

The big trouble now is that I don't think many of my high school friends have grown out of the high school stage yet. Sad story; we'll have to see how it works out for them.

With my fiancee, I managed to do things right... more by accident than anything else. It probably helped a lot that we met online, so our interaction was kind of limited. That made it possible for me to make my move at a fairly early stage in getting to know her. If I'd had a more typical relationship with her, I probably would have been too cowardly to ask her out so quickly, and might have ended up friendzoned.
Although she's very sharp, and maybe she would have seen through me at that point...

MaryBeth said...

Ugghhhh, I was a friendgirl to a NCB who just liked to facebook chat for hours. No real-life contact. (We used to live in the same town). I spent months hoping he was interested. Silly. So, I changed my settings so he can't see when I'm online. Much happier and wasting less time browsing wedding idea blogs.