In "That's What S(He) Said," CB Editor Alison Henry and fellow relationship writer Ryan Austin go head-to-head on life's tougher topics. Or at least the ones they're concerned about.
Today, Alison and Ryan wonder: Do women consider their guy friends potential boyfriends?
After sucking it up and asking one of my female friends out on a date, and after reassuring her that I was not joking, I learned something very important: Girls don’t consider their friends to be dating options, but men do.
We are never not looking for a female, even if we say otherwise. Our primal hunter instinct is ordered to endlessly search for a woman. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, whomever we’re with. Which is actually kind of romantic.
Females don’t exactly march all their male friends across their mind and give a thumbs up or down to each one. But it’s not like we’re agonizing over the prospect of our girl buddies either. Nine times out of 10, all it takes is a few seconds to think, “Hmm, what about Amy? Nah.” But there inevitably comes that moment when we run the numbers and decide that maybe our friend Kate could be more than our friend Kate. Then we take that blind leap and make a move, or perhaps suggest a date. What we’re not prepared for is the deer-in-headlights look that you’ll give because it’s never occurred to us that we never occurred to you.
After bringing up the topic with several women, I found that they feel betrayed when a guy friend wants to shed that role in favor of something romantic. “Here’s a guy,” they claim, “that we finally don’t have to worry about hitting on us. We can be comfortable. We can relax.” And rather than risk losing that, girls seem to be very content without taking it further. But we guys are all about risk, and we’ll take that gamble like it’s free Jäger bomb night in Vegas.
So ladies, don’t freak out – just be prepared. Be open to the idea. Don’t you want to be in a romantic relationship with someone who is also your best friend?
Oh, Ryan. Girls most definitely think of their guy friends as possible boyfriends. At least I do. See that glass box over there with the words, “Break in Case of Emergency”?
I think of virtually all of my guy friends as potential lovers-to-be. Some for mere seconds, others for agonizingly longer periods of time, but all of you – yes, all of you – are paraded past the Possibility Checkpoint at some point.
It hasn’t always been this way. Back in the days when all my friends were of the male variety, my boys were like brothers to me. The thought of crossing the line with any of them was one that rarely crossed my mind – and, like your girl friends, I was astounded to find that it most definitely crossed theirs. But I was much younger then, and I think eventually you start to realize that the best relationships are born out of friendship. After all, aren’t we all really just looking to settle down with a best friend?
In general, I do think that friendships should be friendships, but you can’t always help being attracted to a friend who is, well, attractive. And even if you may not have been attracted to this person when you first met, camaraderie and personality have a funny way of making someone incredibly irresistible – even when you least expect it.
Crossing the line of course has its downsides, as I’ve definitely lost my fair share of friends in friend-turned-boyfriend breakups gone wrong. But that is the risk you take. Love in and of itself is a risk, but one that reaps some serious rewards when you’re lucky. And far be it from me to deny a chance at epic, everlasting love out of the fear of losing a few friends.
But, I did say love. While I may save a select few in the in-case-of-emergency box, the only thing really strong enough to break the glass is just that – love (or the serious potential for it). Because although you may be curious, you absolutely cannot casually date your friends. There is no greater recipe for disaster than taking a trip around the block with your buddy, only to find that you were wrong. Oh so very wrong…