Just Friends?

In When Harry Met Sally, Harry told Sally that men and women could never be friends because of the “sex part.” The sex part meaning the boy always wants to play hide the salami with the girl.

The other day my recently divorced neighbor asked me out. I think. I had whined to the world via social media that I was feeling blue. He responded, saying he was all ears if I wanted to talk and that he knows a great Italian joint.

Awkward.

Was he just being nice or trying to get in my pants? I mean, if I were him, I’d try to get into my pants. Oh God, what a stuck up little snot I am. Maybe he finds me repulsive and I’m being wayyyy too self-important.

I loitered on the corner of passive and aggressive and did not respond.

But, naturally, when I returned home from work I saw him in the courtyard of our apartment complex. He asked again about dinner. I said thank you so much, but I was busy. The truth is, I had already made reservations for a sumptuous supper of popcorn at Casa de My Couch. It would’ve been rude to cancel last minute.

Then he said maybe another time, no pressure — just as friends.

Oh. Okay. He specifically said that it would be “just as friends.” Cool. In fact, he told me he could use some dating tips. I gave him a hug and said another time would be great.

So why did I still feel awkward?

I posed the quandary to my Twitter followers. All of the male tweeps, much like Harry, said that men don’t ask women to dinner as friends — ever.

Defensive, I argued that surely, somewhere in history, a man has asked a woman to dinner with no ulterior motive. And then remembered how most of my prior male friends had in fact wanted to pork me. And then berated myself for being a self-important, stuck-up snot again.

A few days later, he asked again, but this time I really was busy. Phew.

I Pretty Much Suck

Why am I so averse to sharing a meal with this perfectly nice man? Here’s why. If we develop a friendship and he does try something, I’ll have to decline him and then feel bad about it. We’ll bump into each other at the mailbox and act overly polite but feel totally weird. Ultimately, I’ll avoid leaving the apartment altogether so as not to risk running into him.

And the other thing is, I’m a bitch. I mean, not like a real Shannen Doherty bitch-bitch, but a bitch in that I don’t really want a new friend right now. I have a busy schedule of work, nurturing current friendships, dating, thinking about writing blog posts, surfing the Internet and masturbating. How am I supposed to fit this new person into all of that?

Furthermore, I despise the whole small-talky, fake-positivey attitude one must adopt when interacting with someone new. Even though my blog is like the E! True Hollywood Story of a Big Nobody, in real life I’m a very private person. It takes a long time for me to open up.

[This is where I extend a preemptive BLOW ME to any Mr. or Ms. Sunshine who suggests I be more open to new friends and experiences.]

But the offer is out there. He’s asked — twice. I could suck it up and just go… but that might lead to a proposition of sex, or worse – more friendy-friend activities.

Or I could blow it off forever and be a Shannen Doherty bitch-bitch.

How inconsiderate of him to put me in this difficult position. Bastard.

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Categories: True Story

51 replies

  1. Ha ha too busy nurturing friendships and masturbating! Love it!
    Your so funny! I’m new to your blog and have spent the day reading through everything you’ve wrote. . So am i up to speed? Your still with Tom?

  2. How sad, this mostly deserved distrust of men, both by men themselves &, of course, women. An iconoclast in many ways, I have several women friends, been close for years, we can be bawdy together, get silly, talk serious, cry (not me…), all kinds of good friend stuff. But kissing, touching, etc that way, nope, not going to happen, not a fantasy.

    Guy N Girl friendships are rare, but possible. I wanted to put out at least this one counter-point to the cynics.

    But, right & sadly, most guys can not, should not be trusted on the friends thing. For most, its just a gambit… And probably not a very productive one. Come one guys, if the girl was interested, you wouldn’t have to play her…

  3. What a great post! I dont think your being a bitch in not wanting to go to dinner with this guy. You would actually be an even bigger bitch if u went out to dinner and gave the guy false hope on “becoming friends” when you just dont want to. I think more people should be more honest with themselves and not try to fake certian emotions or actions just because someone is nice to you

  4. Loved the post! An experience that most, if not all, American women have endured. My only comment is a thought I have been processing for a long time. Why are women automatically bitches if we don’t jump at some guys advances? Why do we feel the need to apologize for not wanting to pursue a relationship with a guy, just because he wants pursues one with us? Just sayin’! You’re no bitch, Shannon Doherty bitch-bitch, or otherwise. Being socially maxed out and not excepting anymore friendship invitations is probably the most honest move. One that many others should follow…including myself!

    • I have a problem with guilt. I hate to make other people feel bad, especially nice people. I understand he’s having a very difficult time with his divorce and it was probably hard for him to ask me – whether his intentions were just friendly or otherwise. Blowing him off probably makes him feel rejected when he’s already feeling low. So I feel bad, like a bitch.

      You are right, I shouldn’t feel the need to apologize. But I do. Sucks.

  5. Singlegirlie, I’m disappointed in you.

    You think Jackie there actually thinks men and women can be platonic friends?

    It’s easy to make “galfriends” when you buy them dinners.

  6. Why don’t you just call him on it? I mean, he’s a grown up to ask you out for dinner – why not throw back a ‘from where I’m standing that sounds like a date…’? Why should you be the only to feel awkward, here? That’s exactly what I said to a (married) guy I was working with when he suggested we go out for drinks after work – he at least had the decency to blush… Trying to score a date with you whilst playing the brokenhearted/divorce card is sneaky. And by ignoring your gentle ‘I’m busy’ snubs (like we’re ever too busy for a dinner date), he’s giving you permission to take off those kid gloves.

    • Well, calling him on it might be like calling him a liar. He already said “just friends.” So if I say “are you sure it’s just friends?” I fear I’ll sound accusatory and certainly make it even more awkward, no?

      • Well, not if it’s said with a sweet, playful tone. Besides, isn’t it already a little awkward? At least this way, with a little up front honesty – assuming he can handle it, you may even have the early stages of a bona fide friendship. What’s there to lose?

  7. Gut feeling: men don’t ask women out to dinners just to be friends. That’s too much effort and pressure. It’s more formal that a “just as friends” meeting should be — when you two really aren’t friends in the first place. Going to dinner is trying to escalate your neighborly relationship.

    Other perspective/giving him the benefit of the doubt: maybe he really does need a friend. Being recently divorce may have wiped out some of his old friends due to the separation. He knows you date. He knows you’re a divorcee as well (I’m guessing). Maybe he really does need help on getting back out there in the dating world. Cuz we all know… it sucks.

    • You see, I get that. When I split up from my ex, I didn’t have many single friends to hang out with. That’s why I feel kind of bad for him. I’ve been there and it’s not easy to make new friends in this city.

  8. Just Don’t Do It. Seriously. Save yourself the annoyance and don’t do anything even pseudo romantic with someone who you think might like you because it never, ever, EVER in the history of the world turns out non-awkward.

  9. By the way, When Harry Met Sally is the quintessential primer for all teenage boys as an example of how NOT to think and behave with women. In reality, if he really “grew into” being a catch 20 years after meeting her, he’d choose someone younger and politely let her know that she already had her chance with him eons ago. These films where the sad sack waits around while the love of his life has sex and relationships with other men and then finally “realizes’ he’s the one many many years later…are fantasy. If they come true, it’s not because he’s increased much in value.

    • Did you see the movie? He didn’t wait around or “increase in value” (WTF???) at all. It was about two friends who realized they wanted to be together. Just like William and Kate. Awww.

  10. You can go to dinner, and remind him that it is only as friends. It’ll push him back a bit to get you through dinner. And in your discussions with him keep hinting about the friend part. Say stuff like you have a rule not to date anyone in your building, in passing. Never directed at him though. Or that you are taking a break from dating, again in passing since you are talking to a friend. All this should keep him far away. A

  11. Ol boy is trying to get into your parents. It’s hard having just friend’s relationship with a guy a lot of time it doesn’t work, the guy is going to try to bang your back out.

  12. To me, anyone who goes out of their way (or feels they have to go out of their way) to clarify, “as just friends,” is throwing up red flags left and right….

    But maybe that’s just me.

      • We need more information here. Why are you not attracted to him? Why hasn’t he “connected” in the backyard chats yet? Does he need to hit the gym? Does he need to see a dentist? What’s his financial status? Does he have extra expensive household appliances that he’d just give to friends for the asking? Might he have cute friends? Does he appear safe to be alone with? Has he shown you no ability to get other women of your age and attractiveness? It’s stupid for a man to lower his value by saying “just friends of course”. He should be saying something equally non-committal but a lot more edgy (and humorous) such as “could you and your friends strip for me so I could get over being the nerd I was when married”. You could more proactively help him get over the nerdiness that comes from having been married and outside the social scene too long. Tell him that you will help him meet women at a local club. Be each other’s wingman.

        So far it sounds like you’re being the opposite of a true feminist. You’re taking what some could see as the sexist view that his desire to be friends means he wants a long term relationship with you. I would advise him to at least make it clear that he doesn’t want something long term with you if he wants anything at all. He should be telling you that. That way, you’d have to work for it if you ended up wanting that.

  13. Of all your posts- this one was my favorite. Others have made me laugh more (I spent 3 hours reading your blog from the first post through current)- but this one- every deet down to the bullshit “”friendly” dinner was spot on.

    “Furthermore, I despise the whole small-talky, fake-positivey attitude one must adopt when interacting with someone new. Even though my blog is like the E! True Hollywood Story of a Big Nobody, in real life I’m a very private person. ” TOTALLY.

    • First, wow, thank you for taking the time to read my drivel! Much appreciated.

      Second, really? I thought this post kinda sucked. I’m glad someone liked it. I suppose it is a topic many people can relate to.

      Thanks again!

  14. You know what? If you don’t want to go to dinner and be all fakey friends with this dude, then dont. My opinion is people should do what they want and not have to apologize for it. #justsayin’

  15. It’s the dinner part that makes it suspect to me. If I were offering to meet someone (neighbor, acquaintance, whatever) to just talk about things or share dating tips, it would be something casual like coffee. Meeting up at a coffee shop is something friends do, co-workers do, even business meetings do. My friends are a mix of males and females, and while I’ve met some of the women individually to hang out over coffee before, the idea of asking one of them individually out to dinner would be really weird. (Luckily, although I love them to death, there’s no “hook-ups” in my group.)

    Dinner implies a much more romantic setting. It’s more intimate (lower lighting, lower conversation volume, etc.) environment. Dinner is the stuff of first dates and going out with your mate, not the stuff of discussing dating tips.

    Unless he was talking Taco Bell. In which case all bets are off.

    Of course, now that I’ve written all that, I guess I’ll never be able to ask you to meet up and give me dating tips, eh? LOL

    • But… friends share meals together, no? I go out to dinner with my girlfriends and gay bfs all the time! I mean, we both have to eat! I’m playing devil’s advocate, of course.

      • I would say that ranks as an acquaintance more than a friend, in which case my (ever so humble) opinion is that going out for coffee would be more appropriate. I suppose it depends on the frequency, depth, etc. of your chats.

        If you enjoy the chats, and want to get to know him better, I would say grab coffee with the guy. You can tell from a sit-down conversation which direction things are going in, but coffee is still non-committal. I guess I just can’t get around the idea that when a guy asks a girl out to dinner, there’s usually more than “friendship” as the intention.

  16. I think one party always has a “more than friends” attraction to the other… it all depends if they can keep it under wraps. If they can, a friendship can work… if not they get drunk one night and boom start talking about their feelings.

  17. Well first, if you don’t go for dinner with him it will probably become just as awkward running into him as it would be if you did go.

    And second, I have two very close male friends. One isn’t really the “let’s go to dinner” type, though we have gone out to eat and drink and watch hockey games on occasion. The second, I’ve known for years- through multiple relationships on both parts as well as a marriage-baby-divorce on his part- and he ALWAYS asks me out to dinner (always has). He’s a social kind of guy, and he adores me. He hugs me, tells me he misses me, asks me to dinner, but never–ever—puts a move on me. It’s just not like that. So, I think there’s always an exception to the rule.

    Then again, most guys who want to go out “just as friends” don’t typically feel the need to tell you it’s “just as friends”.

    • You’re right, it’s lose-lose now, since it’s already out there. Sigh.

      I know it must be possible to just be friends. But so many men say it’s not. Maybe it’s just THOSE men, hmm?

      • Some guys are big enough pussies that they’ll indefinitely hide their attraction for you, wishing deep inside that they could make a move. I guess this qualifies as “friendship”?

  18. I have plenty of female friends. If we feel like having dinner, we do, and it’s no biggie. If you’re ever in NYC, let me know: dinner’s on me.

    Jacks

    • Woo hoo! Scored a free dinner! 😉 So far you’re the only guy who has said men and women can be platonic friends. What’s with these other dudes? Thanks, Jackie Jack.

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