I have always been one of those women who had a lot of guy friends. Growing up, my male friends far outnumbered the female. It wasn’t intentional by any means, but I suppose I just gravitated towards men because they, by definition, are much simpler than their female counterparts. Men, for the most part, aren’t dramatic, they don’t spend their time analyzing everything, they’re not catty, and there was never this underlying need for competition with them that is prevalent in the girl world. I understand, of course, that men have their own ways of competing with each other, but despite being “one of the guys” I wasn’t ACTUALLY a guy, so I was left out of the competition. From them I got great friendships and, without realizing it, an insight to the way they think and talk.
I also realized that, to a degree, these relationships shaped how I conducted my own: everything from not wanting to put a label on something unless I was “really sure” to avoiding serious emotional talks. I also forgive and let go stupid mistakes without much fanfare. If someone I care about does or says something dumb, rather than make a big production of it, I move on. People are, after all, human. I make mistakes all the time and would hate it if my friends made it a huge deal. The way I look at it is: acknowledge, apologize, move on. Why waste any more time?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve collected more and more female friends, very few of them “typical girls” but rather women like me…who don’t deal in subtext or analytics but rather facts. We tell it like is, avoid drama, and simply enjoy life and want to have fun. We call each other out but forgive mistakes. We laugh at our own stupidity and get slightly uncomfortable when strong emotions are brought into play. It’s not that we don’t like “typical girl” behavior but we just don’t get it.
The main difference I’ve found about my female friends and make friends though, is the approach to turning friendships into romance. While I’ve found that many of my girl friends have inevitabely fallen for a guy in their circle, the men can’t say the same. Sure we’ve seen multiple movies about the perfect best guy friend who has secretly harbored a crush for their adorable girl friend too nervous to act on it, but these are things for movies. In real life this doesn’t exist. If it does, it’s the exception to the rule, and there are VERY FEW exceptions in life.
While women sit around agonizing how to make their feelings known, wondering if it could happen, worried about ruining the friendship, men don’t. If, after much deliberation, a woman makes a move on a guy and he rejects here, she tends to be really embarrassed and wonders “how to deal with it” and “what to do next”... men shake it off and move on. The truth is men, don’t participate in these deliberations, they just act. If they want you, they make it known. They don’t sit around lamenting that it could ruin the friendship because that kind of thinking doesn’t exist for them. They just think it would be cool if it worked out but usually aren’t shattered if it doesn’t. Things like this aren’t a big deal for them.
When a man doesn’t act or react in a way that the woman wants she generally fails to see things for how they really are. She makes excuses. “Well, we have all the same friends, he probably doesn’t want it to be weird.” (No one would think it’s weird) “We work together, he might be worried what the office thinks.” (Unless there is an anti fraternization policy, this isn’t true.) Men don’t think in terms like that. Women weigh options and think of worst case scenarios (“If we break up it’ll be SO AWKWARD") while men act first, and deal with the aftermath as it comes. We women makes these excuses because we need some reason why our object of affection doesn't share our sentiments. We’ll believe anything, as far fetched as it may be, just so we don’t have to deal with the cold hard reality that this guy simply isn’t interested in us romantically.
It has nothing to do with how pretty we are or aren’t. It doesn’t mean that they think we’re boring or stupid. It just comes down to the simple factor of them not being attracted to us. Nothing we do is going to change that (and why would you want to?) I’ve taken part in conversations that include statements such as, “We get along so well, we have so much fun together, he always wants to hang out, everyone thinks we’re so perfect for each other, I just don’t get it.” Um, what is there to get? For arguments sake, let’s look into this from another perspective: Pick a friend, any friend that you’re not attracted to, and think about why it is that you’re friends with them. Chances are: you get along so well, have so much fun together, and want to hang out a lot. These are NORMAL qualifications for a friendship, and guess what, you’re not attracted to THAT friend for the same reason your friend isn’t attracted to you. It just isn’t there. It really is that simple.
One of my favorite books is “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo because it breaks all of this down for women in a straightforward and no excuses way. Not only do I recommend it to every woman I know, but also read it every few years to keep myself in check. Particularly applicable to this blog post is the following quote from the book:
"I hate to tell you, but that whole "I don't want to ruin the friendship" excuse is a racket. It works so well because it seems so wise. Sex could mess up a friendship. Unfortunately, in the entire history of mankind, that excuse has never ever been used by someone who actually means it. If we're really excited about someone, we can't stop ourselves -- we want more. If we're friends with someone and attracted to them, we're going to want to take it further. And please, don't tell me he's just "scared." The only thing he's scared of -- and I say this with a lot of love -- is how not attracted to you he is."-Greg Behrendt, He’s Just Not That Into You
It doesn’t feel good to feel rejected by someone we like, but it feels even worse to live life in limbo, stressing out and reading into things. We inevitably beat ourselves up, wondering what is wrong with us, why they couldn’t like us….we’re a catch, right? Yes. We are a catch, but just not for that particular person and the sooner we can accept that the sooner we make ourselves available for someone who mutually shares our affection.
Things to remember:
1. Men are pretty simple when it comes to women and dating, friends or not. If they want to take things a step further, they will.
2. Men don’t overanalyze and deliberate about whether to make a move. If they want to do it, they will. Act first, think later.
3. If they don’t like you the way that you like them, it doesn’t mean you’re unlovable, unattractive or anything of that kind. It just means you’re not the someone they’re interested in romantically.
4. Men don’t have the kind of “reasons” women find acceptable. While women have long lists as to why or why not, mens are just: Not into it.
5. Men don’t find or make excuses to prevent them from being with someone if they want to be.
Despite the world having changed drastically since the beginning of time, one thing that hasn’t changed is human nature. Men will always be hunters, they will always have an alpha quality to them (even the most “evolved” and “metro”) They will always go for what it is they want in life, whether it professionally, socially or romantically. This will never change so we need to stop pretending like it has.
*thanks to everyone who has every contributed to inspiring this post, most recently NB and AL.