Pull Into The Friend Zone: We’re Not Dating If We Don’t Go On Dates!

October 13, 2012  |  


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.

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  • chanela

    this guy i knew would only call me at like 11pm-1am asking “wanna come over and chill” and when this fool called it a date then he had the nerve to call me childish and immature and said ” you’re acting like such a little girl! what do you mean that’s too late?” SMH

  • csmorton

    This is the truth!!! Very well written!! Wish I could scream at work!

  • msgeegee

    Judging by all the thumbs up she received, its clear that someone does care. You chose to comment so obviously, you care as well. Random rudeness.. go somewhere with at.

  • SSNY

    I finally find another woman that agrees with me. I always say blockbuster nights are for relationships and that’s just once in a while. I have more than one friend that has fell for this game and when the guy acts like he’s you friend then they act shock. When a man is in to you he makes every effort possible to make you feel as special as you are. That does not mean spending the whole pay check, times are hard but it does mean putting the time and effort forth to actually date the woman he is interested in.

  • Good article, and I like the conversation it started between the sexes which is very overdue.

  • Trae

    Woman are and have been manipulated and brainwashed by male dominance for many years. So much to the point that they truly believe that THE MAN has to take the lead. And it just so happens that once THE MAN takes the lead, they’re the first once to cry about patronizing (you put him in a patronizing position). In my opinion, women just need to start seeing themselves as leaders also. I have no problem taking a woman out and spending quality time with her, I would just feel much better if she also did as such. So to sum it all up I believe that the man needs to be more assertive and the women needs to be the leader she is rather than waiting on THE MAN to take the lead.
    This is all my personal opinion so please don’t take it as an attack. It isn’t.

  • lovely

    OMG PREEEAAACCHHH!!!! I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE OUT HERE GOING THROUGH THIS HOT MESS! ladies, we need to truly band together on this one. The men are getting out of hand with this notion that only “texting me a few times and now i can come over and chill” thing is ok. Stop allowing them to feel that this is ok, some kind of way they met women in there past that allowed them to do this craziness! We will always steer the boat and we need to always remember that. This is not cool and im so glad that this article was written. Get it together MEN and ladies please check them because there out of pocket!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Lol

    • Blackhawk

      I think you’re being a little extreme. I think men are just not feeling the arrogance of women who act as if we need to do all these tricks just to impress her.. HOPING that we can be “chosen”. She should be more concerned about learning me… then how I’m going to entertain her. That is the woman that wins with me, and i have no problem doing special things with a lady with the right mindset.

      • Well isn’t that the whole point? Women having the right mind set that she doesn’t want to be his convenient cut buddy so she only chooses to interact with men who show a genuine interest in getting to know her? Could be wrong but I thought that was the point of the article.

  • There was somebody I was interested in, and he said he was interested in me. But whenever he would make plans, he would break them. Or he just wanted to call and meet up at the last minute, not considering that I would have plans already. Eventually communication fell off. Later, I see this person and he says, why did we never get together! If a guy cannot make plans and keep them, I have to assume they are not interested. They should not be surprised if I don’t want to waste my time waiting on them.

    • You were his back up plan

      • I peeped his game. Its funny how they wanna keep it goin’ talkin bout ‘Why did we never get together.’ Boy bye

  • Blackchild

    The author could offer to take the man out and show him a nice time to express her interest as well. It is 2012 and I know you ladies hate equality when it doesn’t favor you but try something different and maybe you would get different results.

  • do what works 4 u


    • No Disrespect

      I agree with you, but WHY are you YELLING? Caps are not necessary to make a point. It actually detracts from what you are saying because it’s unattractive to read.

      • do what works 4 u

        wasnt trying to yell..my caps was on n didnt wanna write it over actually

      • Observing

        Thank you! I started to read mess but then gave up on the 2nd sentence.

  • FromUR2UB

    She’s right. He either wants to be the man in a woman’s life, or like a stray cat that comes around only as long as it gets fed…leaves at will. A one-sided relationship.

  • What is happening to US

    GIRL you ain’t said nothin but a couple paragraphs!!! This is happening to me at this very moment. While I subtly let him know that I am interested, and if he decides to pursue he will not be rejected. But this guy doesn’t even know where to begin, doing the exact same things you mentioned in the article i.e “can I spend the nite”. I’m like we haven’t even went out!!! Then I think because it’s not easy for them or you don’t give in to that foolery, they take that as your not interested or it’s too much work.smdh. It really is a sign of the times, Christ must be coming back soon cuz I can’t deal. Our culture and music and entertainment play a huge role in this. Our Black men are being inundated with images and songs that say black women are easy, just sexual, and not worth putting anything in to them. It’s really sad what our women, and young girls have been taught to succeed to. #prayn me one with that old school cut from good cloth MAN!!!

    • Nope

      “While I subtly let him know that I am interested”

      Are you in high school??

      “Our Black men are being inundated with images and songs that say black women are easy, just sexual, and not worth putting anything in to them.”

      Here we go again, blaming BET and radio for the downfall of Black culture as is those are the only things that exist on the planet. SMH,

      • What is happening to US

        No far from it! Meaning I let him no I was interested without chasing him. The man is supposed to chase, I don’t believe in Women putting themselves out there without the man taking the lead. No those are only some mediums used and some of the most popular means of programming that is used. There are by far much more but that is for a thesis not this article.

        • Nope

          Men do ‘chase’…. chase multiple women and not just one which is the real problem women have: He’s not chasing just YOU. Most ‘dating’ and ‘relationships’ are just in the woman’s head anyway.

        • He’s not chasing because he’s not interested. . . .

    • Nope

      Just sound like you like him more than he likes you. Deal with it. Maybe you’re not his type or don’t meet his standards. Women don’t have a monopoly on those things you know.

      • What is happening to US

        Person bye! How do u give feedback on a situation you only read a snippet of and have no foundation of information. You have no clue on what you’re talking about, just really foolish! You sound like you want to be a relationship expert without the “expert”. Why do people respond to others comments that are addressed to author? Really annoying! I see why I never comment! Ugh

      • What has happened to US

        Person Bye! How do you respond to a stranger’s comment that you only read a snippet of and have no foundation of information. You seem like you want to be a relationship expert without the “expert”! You have no clue as to what your talking about and it’s really foolish! Why do people respond to the comments of others that are intended for the author? This is why I never comment, kooks like this! Smh

      • What has happened to US

        Women do have a monopoly “on these things” because we can choose what we will and will not accept, whom we give our time, bodies, and commitment to. That sounds like the monopoly to me!

        • Nope

          And men chose who they give their time to, spend their money on, settle down with, and actually give a ring to. I don’t hear too many men frustrated about not being in a relationship or not being married. Like I said, women don’t have a monopoly, it’s a two way street.

      • I know your opinion isn’t popular but this is true.

    • No. He doesn’t see you as girlfriend material but he wants to get some from you and since you guys are “Friends” he thinks he has an in into your panties. You deserve better, demand better. He’s already showed you that he wants to get it when its convenient for him.

  • fadaz

    I think what irritates me is, most of the chillin is done on MY couch! Why can’t the guys then invite me over to their homes and we can watch their movies eat their pop corn and drink their wine! I don’t have a problem with spending time at home as long as once in a while we can go out, there are many inexpensive date ideas, but why does it always have to be my couch! PS. You can tell this is personal right lol

    • Mahni

      because they live with their actual girlfriends… ijs

  • bluekissess

    I agree. My question is why are women allowing this to happen? I wouldn’t even put him in the friend zone. He could kick rocks with an open toe shoe

  • Nope

    I think a lot of women view THEMSELVES as being a romantic option, and he doesn’t think of you that way. If a man likes you and wants you, you’ll know because he acts accordingly. Articles like this are perfect examples of women interpreting a ‘No’ as a ‘Yes’. In other words, men like this DON’T want you romantically and you’re probably just in serious denial about it. Don’t confuse what’s going on in your head with reality.

    • Janay

      Yes!!!! When a man likes you a yes is not dressed up as maybe, possibly, or a no. A man is a hunter, a man, a pursuer, a seeker. When his yes is a yes he will make it crystal clear. If your man’s yes is dressed up as maybe, perhaps you should seek another one.

  • Blackhawk

    That old type of dating game is over.. things have changed. I really don’t go on expensive dates until i know she’s down or she’s wifey material. when a woman tell me what type of date to take her on.. its turns me off. And believe me i’m actually one of the good guys and i’m definitely not broke.

    • Guest

      How will you know she’s wifey material or down if you don’t take her out on a nice date? Nice date doesn’t necessarily mean expensive by the way. You have to be willing to make a real investment into getting to know someone.

      • Blackhawk

        I don’t get it, what does going out on nice dates have to do with getting to know someone.

        • Mia

          A nice date shows effort, that the guy is trying to make the lady feel special. It shows he wants to be “chosen”. It doesn’t mean “expensive” btw.
          Its like guys nowadays don’t take pride in anything, even how they court a woman.

          • Blackhawk

            I know its hard for women to see things from a different perspective. Truth is men today are not thinking as if I hope she chooses me, its more so why should I choose her. Only guys that I know that try to impress women going on nice dates when they don’t even know anything about her.. are the insecure men. She needs to show me that she’s special for me to want to take things to another level (nice dates). What I’m saying times are/ have change and the old way is gone.

            • Mia

              No I see where you are coming from, I’m not retarded, I just don’t agree with you. If a guy takes the step to initiate contact with a woman by getting her number, etc. Isn’t ( to some extent) that his way of choosing her? From that point on if he wants to get to know this woman he should plan a nice date for her, after all, the introduction never would have happen had he not initiated it.
              Now if a woman initiates an introduction with a man (getting his phone number etc.) then what you have is a “role reversal” and that man would be perfectly justified if he felt that the ball was in the womans court as far as impressing HIM.
              As a woman I’m not jumping through any hoops for a lazy unimaginative BOY who asked for MY number.

              • Blackhawk

                Its fine to disagree. I can speak for myself.. I’m the type of man that loves to meet and talk to women, so naturally i get a lot of phone numbers. But the last thing in my mind when I first talk to a young lady is.. man i really need to plan the perfect date so I can impress her. All that i give in the beginning pretty much is good conversation, respect, and a good laugh.
                My favorite ex- girlfriend we pretty much just hung out at first but nothing special. It wasn’t until after all the late nite conversations, sharing intimate things about ourselves and family then I knew that she was special to me. After that I progress the relationship, which progressed our dates. It wasn’t anything i wouldn’t do for her, because i knew she really cared for me.
                I do meet a lot of women with a “man better impress with nice dates mindset for me to choose him” I just choose not to associate myself with them. No harm, no foul.

                • Mia

                  Great laughs, stimulating conversation. That’s great in the friend zone! Question: Since you use your approach to get to know the worth of a female, Are you trying to get a nice comfy spot on her couch and her bed during this stage? If you are not trying to do any of those things in your pursuit to finding out her worth then I’d say your approach is fine. But it seems to me that most men who employ your technique are not so concerned about the woman’s worth or her intentions when they are trying to become her bed mate by doing so little in return.

                  • Blackhawk

                    @Mia i’m totally truthful with u.. women bring up sex in the conversation before i do. If she says we have unbelievable chemistry and wants to get intimate, I wont lie.. I may oblige, but it wasn’t my intentions in the beginning.

                    • Mia

                      I’m mean no disrespect so please don’t take it that way. But considering that these women accept so little during the courting phase, I’m truly not surprised that they are so brazen when it comes to giving up the goods. I’ve heard similar stories from my male associates.

                  • I agree. Sounds nice on the face of things. Its funny that she’s an ex now. . .

          • Trae

            do you take pride in how you cook like your mother did? im sure you dont even know what temperature a babys bottle should be at when hes fed. But I know all these things and my father didn’t. This is just to tell you that times have changed. Women were at home and men were working. Women knew the affairs of the home life and the men brought home the bacon.

            • Mia

              I do know how to speak English properly, something you don’t which instantly excludes you as mate material. And yes I’m actually a very good cook, and I enjoy preparing a nice meal and catering to a GENTLEMAN who shows me how much he appreciates me. The times have changed but again, If a man initiates the introduction, it should be his duty to impress her. As a man he shouldn’t have it any other way.
              Most men today (or should I say boys?) lack something; Class, charm and pride!

              • Nope

                Maybe just the ones that you attract. There are good men out there, just not with the women complaining about there whereabouts…

                • Big Mike

                  This is the part women miss. The REAL men are somewhere dodging the complaining, miserable, self-entitled wenches of the world. This is all Blackhawk is saying, really.

                  And just as Mrs. Mia wouldn’t date someone who doesn’t know how to speak English properly, there are a lot of men who don’t date complaining, miserable, self-entitled wenches.

    • Janay

      You think higher of yourself than you should. Believe me your not one of the good guys. Youre actually just like the other guys if this is your way of dealing with women. A woman who is worth it should be taken on a date.

      • BW1615

        How is he not a good guy? When I hear “nice” I read expensive….because a “nice”picnic,walk, museum/ art show,festival, fair, church event are dates more in line with a lady. He is looking for a quality woman who will be counting the compliments he pays more than the bill on the table.

        • Nope

          A lot of women ‘date’ to go to nice places and places they don’t want to come up out of their own pocket for.

          • killa shoe game

            why are you still here?????? Mr. married man….SMH! go talk to you wife or something since you have so much to say.

        • Dr. Dubya

          Exactly an expensive restaurant shouldn’t make her like you any more than a local jerk chicken joint that you love. Women need to see if they really like the man, as Chris Rock said, ” You gotta love the crust of a MFer, not just the good parts but that hard crusty piece”.

      • Blackhawk

        That was exactly my point, I don’t know a woman well enough when I first meet her to take her on “nice” dates. Once I get to know you and actually like you, then we can start going on the nice dates. Its just like when a woman wants to get to know a guy and his intentions before she gets intimate with him, that’s the same way I am with the nice dates. I keep my cookie(nice dates) in the cookie jar until I deem the woman worthy lol.

        • Janay

          Ok I understand cause I know there are some trifling women. I just don’t think a date is that big a deal. Not like you’re taking her shopping. If a guy is interested in a woman he should be interested enough to spend 15 bucks at a cheap restaurant.

          • Mia

            Thank you! You can’t tell these primadonna girly males nothing! lol
            Its like DUH! You asked for her number and you can’t take her out? wtf?

            • Blackhawk

              Mia.. don’t be like that.. i bet your very beautiful. Let me get your # so we can talk. Now i’m not going to take your @ss out anywhere, but we can be good all day lol

              • Mia

                LOOOL! Now see, that comment shows that you are a charming guy with a great sense of humor, imagine how you would have the ladies eating out of your hand if you showed them a little effort. In my city the museum is free on certain days, and I’m a college student- I get in free any day! lol, a walk through a beautiful park, seeing a free classic film at an art house theater. Great dates do not require MONEY. Just effort and creativity! Women like me aren’t trying to be in man’s pocket ( I have my own and will have even more when I complete my degree) just show a little effort.

          • Blackhawk

            Lovely I’m not sure where you’re from.. but a lot a women here will laugh at a dude who offer to take them to a cheap 15 dollar restaurant on a first date lol. That’s why i love small town girls, they usually just enjoy the simple things.

            • Kisses

              Wait….this whole time I’ve been reading and wondering: what’s a “nice” date? Aint nothing wrong with a few drinks and 2 for $20 at Applebees! Isn’t the whole point of a date to vibe with the person you’re with? Granted, you’re not going to get away with taking me to McDonalds, but you shouldn’t feel the need to blind me with your Black card either. This may be a regional difference, but still. It shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg for a good time.

  • Kellz

    Usually the ones that dont wanna actually go on dates are the brokest….

    • Janay

      Well the brokest ones need to have several…a real man should not dare bring a woman into his poverty. She can do bad by herself.

    • Nope

      Or they spend their money on their FAMILY and not meal hustlers.

  • Yeppers

    I fully agree… Men will TRY as many women as they can until u stop them. It’s a game. They want to see how many hos they can amass without committing to one… And if ALL THESE women have no problem sLeeping with them without commitment they have no problem with it… U as a woman have to raise your standards and tell dudes that try to put u in harems u not about that life and they will either shape up if they EVER wanted to date u for real or take they a** on somewhere… And like my mom always said if they leave cus of that u ain’t lost NOTHING!

    • Janay

      YES its ALLLL a game to them. It is in their dna to push and push just to see how much shyt you ill deal with. If a man does not take you on dates He is not into you. Unless he is broke and if he is broke he should be alone anyway.

    • Nope

      The only women that complain are the ones not getting picked.

      • Kellz

        You sound foolish….and single

        • Nope

          No, married actually. Why would married people, men or women, have to complain about not getting chosen?

          • yeppers

            This article is CLEARLY for SINGLE MEN and WOMEN….its pretty ignorant for a married A** PERSON to waltz into a single dating post and complain about the post and single peoples problems…Why are you worried about it????….DONT YOU HAVE A WIFE TO BE TALKING TO??? How CHILDISH of a supposed married person!!! Reading is fundamental….

    • Yes. This is true. Not all men are hunting the cut all the time. But, if he needs some and you’re his “friend” who he doesn’t see as relationship material he will try to get some without going through the motions of dating a woman he doesn’t like in that way.

    • Natural

      I think its the natural way things happen, going back our animal instincts. Dating rules are just that, rules. They are social creations. A women will chase a man if she likes him. A man could have multiple women doing this, each women will try to figure out how to lock him down into a relationship. Only one women will win.

  • L-Boogie

    This makes sense only idiots would think they are dating someone without actually dating.

    • Nope

      Exactly!! A lot of men didn’t even know they were ‘dating’ these women. I’m convinced that 85% of relationships and ‘relationships’ soley take place inside of a woman’s head.

      • Nope

        I can almost guarantee that I have more ‘exes’ than I was ever even aware of, or ‘cheated’ on women I was never even with. SMH.

        • yeppers

          Whatever….If men would stop doing RELATIONSHIP THINGS with women who arent thier girlfriend or WIFE then maybe women wouldnt get that from it….