Dear Em & Lo: Why Do Guy Friends Keep Falling for Me?

Dear Em & Lo,

How does one gracefully say “Thanks, but no thanks”? It seems to happen a lot to me: I treat the guy like a friend — meaning I don’t make innuendo (no puns please!) nor banter, etc., I just converse fercrissake! — and a few weeks (or months, or hours) later he’s dropping heavy hints and gazing at me with That Look. I then try to avoid any situations that may lead him on; i.e. refusing a drink together, though I wouldn’t mind having a friendly one. Also, I don’t want to lose friends who suddenly want to move it a notch further than I really want. Any ways to let them down gently?

— Unwilling Goddess

Dear U.G.,

This could be happening through no fault of your own — perhaps you’re simply too gorgeous for guys to take you seriously as a drinking buddy. Then again, perhaps you just don’t realize that you’re flirting (or don’t want to admit it to yourself or to us). After all, male friendship can be quite an ego boost. You get to crack him up, enjoy being his “buddy,” punch him playfully in the arm while pounding cans of Bud, feel good about yourself for being able to hang with the guys — and simultaneously know that he can’t help but notice your tight jeans.

Even if you’re not attracted to him, it’s always nice to be noticed…until it turns into That Look. Also, we have a sneaking suspicion that men are hardwired to misread, misinterpret, and overestimate women’s signals–perhaps it’s some weird evo-psych method of increasing the number of women they hit on, and thus the increasing the chances they have of mating.

So the most important thing is to be clear from the get-go that you’re not interested in him sexually. Do this by talking about your love/lust interests, mention past and current boyfriends, seek his advice about someone you’re pursuing, talk about the sex you just had last night (not in salacious detail, just that you had it and you really really really like this guy, blah blah blah). Ask him about his prospects and tell him who you think he should hit on, go out with, fuck — and then throw in the line, “It’s so great to have a guy friend I can talk to about these things without worrying about getting hit on. Thanks, man.”

Be warned, though: More than a handful of men will still manage to interpret this sentence as “It’s so great to have a guy friend I can talk to about these things. Now would be a really good time to hit on me.”

Another thing you can do is befriend more women. Maybe you’ve unknowingly slipped into the habit of encouraging feel-good male friendships at the expense of nurturing female friendships. Again, we get it: when that elusive hottie you’re supposedly seeing hasn’t called since you slept with him, a guy friend telling you “he’s a jerk for not calling” is way more comforting than a girlfriend saying the same thing.

Or maybe you think women are too gossipy or girly or bitchy or cliquey or whatever. If so, then we’d be inclined to suspect that you really are a glutton for attention from men. After all, not all gals are like that. And if you’re looking for a long-term friendship commitment, the ones who don’t think of the occasional roll in the hay as a possible perk of friendship are gonna be your best bet.

— Em & Lo

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9 Comments on "Dear Em & Lo: Why Do Guy Friends Keep Falling for Me?"

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Going to add this one to my collection of examples to support my hypothesis that women exist mostly for the purpose of driving men crazy.

Yea, That would be really great advice from a lesbian’s point of view but total bullshit form a heterosexual male’s point if view. When a woman is pretty and their male friends are handsome and they really never want an occasional ‘roll in the hey’ as you say, they are really not looking for friendship, they are looking for power and feelings of being in control and longed after, provided everything works normally down there. A man’s thinking is,”if you don’t want to fuck, do waste my time!” or yours either for that matter. My best friend has a sister… Read more »
I’m going to be a bit of a contrarian here. It sounds as if the correspondent would find it more convenient if men didn’t grow more romantically attracted to women as they get to know them better, spend more time around them, and just generally appreciate all their qualities, and not just be turned on by the superficialities of their faces, hair, or booties. In actuality, though, a lot of men have exactly those romantic qualities that are more often attributed to stereotypes of women. And looking at the question from yet another angle, surely the correspondent isn’t suggesting that… Read more »
I really don’t see why women should restrict themselves to female friendships – frankly, I can only take so much of the intensity and angst that often besets women friends, and as I mostly work with women I just want some nice laid back male company in my down time. But sometimes there is just nothing that can be done to make a man really believe that you are only interested in friendship with them. If the woman has made it totally clear that there is no hope of anything else, it’s up to the man to decide if he… Read more »

PK has the right idea. All of the women I became attracted to were “buddies” that I hung around with. Of course, once I began to express that higher level of attraction, I found out what kind of “buddies” they really were. Once they discovered my interest, I rarely ever saw them again. And when I did, they were with some thug they claimed to detest. I guess I was only the barrier to separate them from their cavemen interests until they decided to allow that connection.

Dave W
I think both Em&Lo and philipp may be on to something with their sneaking suspicions about biology. My response to this question was first to think that she’s probably very attractive with a good personality; 1+1 equals, like 3 in this case. Second, she mentions “gracefully” and “gently” dashing hopes at the beginning and end of her question, and in between, the one indication of her current technique is to “avoid…situations”. I honestly believe the best way to dash these hopes is to be abundantly clear. Not insultingly, just that you consider him a friend, and you don’t see anything… Read more »
the third way. As someone who’s been on both sides of this, I think guys often become attracted to women that they feel comfortable around. Regardless of what the initial attraction is. I know that both genders do this. I say this only half jokingly, we all date our psychoses. Meaning that if something keeps happening and the common denominator is you. You might want to take a look at yourself. Over 30 of my friends over the years have married people that they either weren’t initially attracted to or really tested their ideas of what they were searching for… Read more »