Bullish: When Guys Just Want to Be Friends

Weeding out the ones who only want to get laid

I’ve found many, many fewer of these men in real, adult life than I was raised to believe I would find. (See Bullish Life: Let’s All Just Agree on Some Basic Principles of Sexual Ethics.)

That said, I don’t think there’s all that much magic to weeding out these men besides not sleeping with the guy until he’s put in more effort than a person would put in just to get laid. Make sure to ask him where he sees himself in five years. If he’s a total psychopath, none of this will stop him, but if he’s only willing to dissemble so much, you can dissuade a casual-fuck-that’s-no-good-for-you by making it clear that you are assessing him as a good prospect for the future.

Bonus move: Do you have a brother? In town? Ideally, a large older brother, but in a pinch a cousin or sister or tiny brother will do. So: Introducing a guy to your parents before you’ve slept with him is basically insane in our culture, but if you have a family member in your age group, you could certainly arrange a fourth-date group outing (a band everyone likes, a Groupon deal at a restaurant…) that includes you, your date, your brother, and several other people.

It’s harder for a dude (especially one who’s been on 4+ dates with you) to see you as just a piece of ass once he’s met any member of your family (other than another hot girl, in which case such a dude may just see your whole family as a hot-piece-of-ass factory). No man wants to run into another man on the subway and be like, “Oh, you’re that dude I sat next to for two hours at that sushi place. I just wanted to bang your sister and never call her again.”

On the topic of nerds

I am engaged to a man who plays Dungeons and Dragons, which I have discovered is basically code for “I have a close group of friends and we all have impressive vocabularies and know a lot about world mythology.”

Personally, I have been known to ruin people’s parties by doing math tricks, and I don’t want to accidentally commit myself to someone who is going to want to get cable television in our home and then also watch sporting events on it. So I can hardly complain that our wedding ceremony will probably be conducted at least partially in Elvish. Sounds romantic, really. Elves have pretty hair.

A guy who gives a long monologue on Game of Thrones might just be nervous. Since you’ve been kind of writing those guys off anyway, might as well try, “That show looked fun, but it turns out to have kind of a lot of rape in it, which I found … distracting.” (Not to foist my impression of Game of Thrones on you, but that was totally my impression of Game of Thrones.) See where that goes. Either you can truly write the guy off for saying something idiotic, or maybe you’ll end up in a fascinating discussion about why fantasy, as an industry, could use more diverse voices.

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    • Fabel

      I’m not currently dating–or seeking anybody– but I did read this whole column & just wanted to say that I always love what you write about introversion. As an introvert, everything rings so true.

    • Mike

      “I’m pretty sure the problem is with these pathetic cads and not with me”

      First things first, get over the “its not me its them thing” If you’re not in the relationship you want its you, believe me. ( guy or gal) But the good thing once you admit its you then you can do something about it. The truth is though most people in this situation would rather be right than honest. In that case feel free to keep banging your head against the wall while basking in your righteous superiority of how awesome you are.

      Second guys aren’t that complicated. They want fuckable, supportive, nice, reasonably happy partners (where talking long tern here For shorter and shorter relationships eliminate items on that list in reverse order.) Aaaanyway, At no time are we really looking for awesome that’s what your girlfriends admire.

      Yes, It’s very important that my partner be happy and supported in whatever decision she makes: career, personal whatever but you know what those are things I want for her because they make her happy. Personally I could care less if someones a scientist or works in a supermarket or if they’re, cool, trendy, opinionated or particularly smart for that matter. In my personal case I like arty, smart types but simply being nice trumps those other two by a hundred fold.

      Which brings me to my last point. I think the value of simply being a nice person is a vastly under rated quality among women. They value independence, respect, strength and somehow see niceness as a weakness or at the very least as compromise to men. You ever notice your sweetest friends have the least problems getting dates. Its totally admirable to be an intelligent independent person but unless your genuinely sympathetic and nice as a person please don’t wonder why your single

      • Eagle Eye

        Eh, I disagree, as someone who no one would quantify as ‘nice’ or ‘sweet’ in that I’m pretty sure my intensity kinda overpowers the two adjectives above – I don’t think that the OP would really want to be with someone whose looking for a ‘nice girl.’ My boyfriend of 3 years certainly isn’t a ‘nice guy’ he loves and supports me (although certainly not blindly and neither do I simply blindly support him – if I think that he’s making a mistake I tell him, and he does the same). Instead, he thinks that I’m awesome and I think that he’s awesome and together we’re just more awesome. Our mutual intensity compliments one another, whether that means heated political debates or decided to find the perfect recipe for pan seared steak.

        And I don’t think that I’m an outlier here since of my friends in serious relationships, most of them are pretty intense – and few of them would be considered ‘nice.’

      • Sandra
      • Mike

        haha all i did was add some basic guy perspective that was sorely needed to this post. But of course women are natural experts on the subject of guy behavior. That’s why this chick went on 30 dates and doesnt have a boyfriend. Oddly imo not once does she even wonder if its something about her.

    • Daisy

      Where oh where can I get a walrus print dress? Also, “Andie” sounds like a truly awesome person! I do hope she’ll take some of your advice into consideration and lands herself a good man.

    • Mike

      I didn’t mean to suggest you cant get into a good relationship if niceness is not your strong point I’m just saying your drawing from a much smaller pool. I will say as a guy if you took a poll, after sexual compatibility “nice” and “supportive” (being blindly supportive is not really support) would be at the top of the list. Sorta like i imagine employed and not living at home might beat the top of a woman’s list.

    • Faith

      I love this article. Love, love, love it.

    • d

      Somehow I feel if a guy wrote about “When Girls Just Want to be Friends” people would be labeling him a nice guy/creep/loser…

    • Renee

      I’d rather fuck Neil deGrasse Tyson than Channing Tatum…no question.

      • e jerry powell

        And you would be absolutely correct.