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Girl likes boy. Boy likes girl. Boy and girl spend time together. Boy thinks girl is awesome, but only sees her as a friend. Girl thinks boy is awesome and wants boy to be her boyfriend. Girl drops hints. Boy notices the hint but ignores because he doesn’t like girl. Girl gets more brazen in her attempts until she finally asks boy why he doesn’t want to be her boyfriend. Boy says “I think you’re awesome but I don’t want to ruin our friendship.”

Stop me if you’ve heard this or been a victim of this scenario.

When approached by women with this scenario I get asked the same types of question. “Is it actually about the friendship or is it that he just doesn’t want me?” While I’m always hesitant to speak for all men in general, this situation is one I’m willing to take a stand on. If a man tells a woman “I don’t want to ruin the friendship” then nine times out of ten, it’s his polite way of telling a woman he’s not interested. In that last one out of ten, he’s not interested enough in risking the friendship to pursue a relationship.

Growing up, I’ve been told women know within the first five to ten seconds of meeting a man whether they’re going to sleep with him. Likewise, men have a pretty good idea early on of what category a woman fits into. She’s either girlfriend material, “jumpoff” material, or friend material. In about 95% of the cases, once a man has placed a woman in a category, she’s stuck there. It’s not based on anything scientific, like a list of things she does and doesn’t do or some random point system either. Men meet women and categorically place them in their heads.

If a woman wants to find out what category she’s in, all she has to do is ask. The answer will be there, even if it isn’t explicitly said.  If a woman asks a man about a relationship and his answer is anything other than “yes,” there’s your answer. He’s not worried about the consequences and ramifications of a failed relationship. It isn’t in his mind. If a man has been secretly crushing on a woman and she presents an opportunity to take the next step, he’s going to jump at the chance. If you’ve been placed in something other than the girlfriend category, you’re going to get something other than “yes.” It’s really that simple.

Now there’s a chance, however slim, a man might feel the friendship is far more important than having a relationship. From my observation, this is when both the man and woman have been friends for an extremely long time. “Extremely long time” is relative, as all things, but I’m defining it as a period not shorter than five to seven years of friendship.

Friendships can start out one way and go through various transformations the longer two people know each other. The comfort of having a person who’s been down with you for years is something that cannot be taken lightly. As such, risking that type of friendship for a relationship might not seem like it’s worth the risk to a man at all. I’m sure that sounds weird with conventional wisdom saying, “what better person to risk ruining everything for, than the person you’ve already been through everything with?”

I’m not sure the answer can be fully fleshed out via text. Just know that there are friendships in existence between two people that are so powerful, so in tune, have weathered so many bumps and bruises that, to him, they’re not worth the risk of crossing over into a relationship. Men like this think trying to maintain a relationship with someone they know and who knows them so well is really more trouble than it’s worth. Also, getting to know someone in a relationship capacity may make that woman less appealing and have an inadvertent effect of lessening the friendship. After all, just because you make good friends with someone doesn’t mean they’re a good fit for a relationship.

The bottom line is, nine times out of ten if a man tells a woman “I don’t want to ruin a friendship” when pressed about dating said woman, he’s just not that into her. That ten percent that’s left over, marks the special case where some men don’t feel comfortable risking the strength of a great friendship over something as unstable as a relationship. Whether it’s because the friendship is just so important to him he doesn’t want to risk it or he feels as if she just isn’t a good fit for him because of the nature of their friendship, choosing the friendship over the relationship does happen for men.

It just doesn’t happen that often.


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