On the topic of guy friends
I’m not a dating expert so much as someone who writes a lot of advice about standing up for yourself and getting the things that you want. I probably can’t tell you how to attract men in the first place, but I have a hell of a lot to say about conducting yourself once you’re in demand. (See Bullish: Picking a Boyfriend Who Doesn’t Hold Back Your Career or Bank Account.)
The idea that you keep dating all these guys who want to stay friends reminded me of something. A few weeks ago at a small networking gathering (see Bullish: The Nerdy, Reflective Person’s Guide to Networking), I met Rebecca Wiegand, co-author of The Gaggle: How the Guys You Know Will Help You Find the Love You Want.
When Rebecca first started explaining “The Gaggle” to me – sure, you don’t have a boyfriend, but you have a gaggle of guys who all like you in various ways, so that’s good – I was horrified. “Wait!” I said. “Some cool, hipster dude all full of literary references wants a piece of you – like sex or emotional support or hanging out plus sex plus emotional support – but doesn’t even want a relationship, much less a grownup relationship? RUN AWAY. You are saying that you should keep talking to those guys?! Time is a zero-sum game! Emotional support is not limitless!”
My whole deal is about cutting the crap. (See Bullish Life: Achieve Goals and Glory by Recreating Like a Total F*cking Badass.) But Rebecca made her point well. Undoubtedly, some of these guys who say that want to be friends are not serious, but some surely are! Maybe they know other guys!
I emailed Rebecca, and she and her co-author Jessica Massa replied with the following:
Dating – or online dating, or post-dating, or non-dating – doesn’t always go exactly the way you expect, that’s for sure. Hearing the “friends speech” must be frustrating every time! But if you want it, you have an opportunity here.
At least some of these men probably genuinely want to be friends with you. You’ll be able to tell who they are because they’ll follow up their speech with actions – they’ll invite you to things, email and text you, make an effort to get to know you better, etc. They’ll work to cultivate a real friendship with you. And when it comes to these guys, if you enjoy their company and attention, let them be in your gaggle! Sounds like they might fit the spot of the Unavailable Guy perfectly.
The beauty of having platonic guy friends who are in relationships (aka Unavailable Guys) is that they’re fun to be around, without all the extra does-he-or-doesn’t-he drama of more ambiguous relationships. You can get a guy’s advice on your other romantic quandaries. You have a front row seat to a man’s side of a relationship. And (this is a big one) you have a guy who will happily be willing to introduce you to his SINGLE guy friends. So if you enjoy any of these guys – and they make the effort – then keep them in your gaggle, don’t consider your dating stint to have been a waste of time, and enjoy all the perks of having these guys in your life while you keep an eye out for a more romantic connection.
- Jessica Massa & Rebecca Wiegand
WTF Is Up With My Love Life?!
So, there. That’s something. You now have a lot of guy friends. They might have older brothers.