I am truly surprised by the number of men who are interested in engaging women romantically without actually going through the bother of dating them. This confuses me. To whom may I speak to determine when exactly this became appropriate? I’m not sure how or why men have been able to slide right past the dating/courtship phase into express boo status, but it behooves me to inform all who care to listen that you certainly cannot date me without first dating me. That’s right, there will be no exclusivity, giving of titles, nor partaking in any activities that lovers do without real tangible dates. No. Exceptions.
Let me provide some context. While I absolutely adore my chick clique, I really enjoy forging friendships with men. I like to keep a tight circle of both male and female companions with whom I can both enjoy life and commiserate over its disappointments. Unlike most men, not every relationship I start with the opposite sex begins with the notion that I am attracted to a man and want to “see what’s up.” The vast majority of the time, I’m simply thinking he seems cool, I’d like to hang out, might be fun—very similarly to when I meet a woman who seems interesting. I will say though that there are times when friendship is absolutely what I’m pursuing but I’m also slightly open to the possibility of something romantic.
When the latter is true, and I haven’t quite decided whether I’m more interested in a platonic or romantic endeavor, what a guy says and does is essential. Listen, if we agree to meet for coffee and a guy doesn’t attempt to pay, if he doesn’t call or text in a manner that leaves no doubt that he wants me to consider him an option, and if he doesn’t actually make plans to see me or find ways to be in my presence, I assume he wants to be a friend…not a romantic interest. There is therefore no more thought on my part about whether he might be an interesting romantic option; I follow his lead and place him in the friend zone.
Just like there are things that a woman can do that men often interpret as indicators that she is not giving them a green light and that she instead wants to make them her new BFF, there are things that a man can do that communicate the same thing to women.
Can we all agree that there are just things that men do when they are truly interested in women? When a man wants a woman, he doesn’t want to do the things that friends do; he makes it crystal clear that he wants to be her man. When a woman manages to disrupt the cool of a man and capture his attention, he wants to SEE hear; he wants to HEAR her voice; he wants to IMPRESS her and he will gladly spend both his time and money. If a man sends random text messages but doesn’t call, if he doesn’t make plans, if he lets a woman pay their first time out, she should assume that he wants to be friends—because that’s not what men who don’t want to be friends do, in my experience at least.
Men, realize that if you are interested in a woman at any level and are doing any of the above, you are sending out friend vibes. If you don’t want to be friends, stop this now. And women, if there is a man that you are interested in who is doing any of the above, friend zone him immediately!
There’s this come over and chill pandemic that is sweeping the nation. Somehow men are finding a way to finagle this scenario into faux romances, and sometimes full-blown relationships…and women are letting them. This must stop. I’ll come over and chill with you, no doubt. Sometimes I just want to lay back and watch the game, but if you are just getting to know me and all you want to do is chill…you’re the homie, not an option. If you’ve been doing all the things that pals do and none of the things that men who want to be set apart from the masses do, your actions cement you in the “friend” zone and keep you from advancing to “put me in, coach” territory.
I have literally shaken my head at my “friends,” who after doing nothing but friendly things start to look at me romantically, increase the length of their hugs, want to cuddle when we’re chilling, inquire about the men I’m dating, and send me late night messages about how I should “swing through.” Nah son. I don’t do those things with my friends and in order to be more than my friend, you’ve got to properly date me.
You can’t just fall into relationship. It’s been my experience that women fare much better in relationships when the man of the relationship is slightly more into the woman than she is into him. And, men seem to be all around more excited about women that they had to actually expend effort to win over. It’s just wise for women to require men to actually take the time to date them before settling into relationship. Sheez, in the words of Kanye “make it more harder, make [him] put some work in.”
This moving folks from the friend lane directly to HOV boo express lanes without properly traversing those lanes of traffic that separate the two is bound to cause accidents. I cannot support.
What say you? Where do you stand on the issue?
Sheena Bryant is a writer and blogger in Chicago. Follow her on twitter at @song_of_herself.