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The problem of that thirsty guy pretending to be your friend

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It’s a situation every girl is familiar with.

You’re acquainted with a male. A guy you met at a party, at a job, in a seminar two years ago. And every couple of months, you can count on a casual message from them. Even if you’ve ignored the last five. (NB: this frequency will increase in direct relation to any selfie-posting.) It’s a message you’ll receive regardless of your relationship status, a message to remind you that hey! they're still there, and they like you just as a friend.

Unless you’re into something more, of course.

You reply, the messages become more frequent and you befriend the guy. You chat, you banter, it’s all chill. Maybe there’s an awkward comment here and there, but never enough that you know they’re interested. You're their confidante, their buddy, one of the lads – except that you're their best *female* friend, and that distinction is never forgotten.

You hang out. It’s not a date, you tell yourself when they cook you dinner with homemade pesto and their housemate smiles and says some version of “I’ll leave you to it”. We’re friends, you whisper to yourself as they offer to buy your pint, singling you out in a group. Before you know it, they're cuddling up to you on the sofa while you watch a film.

You keep dismissing the thoughts. It would be arrogant to presume that someone fancies you, right? Probably you’ve even agreed that neither sees the other in that way. But instinctively, you know that something in this friendship feels… slimy.

Eventually, the messages will stop. You’ll have confronted them, they’ll categorically deny any ‘feelings’ and then without explanation drop off the face of the earth. Or they’ll get into a relationship and stop talking to you, even delete or block you.

You come to realise you were never their friend. Instead, they genuinely believed they were laying groundwork, that you were ‘on their hook’. Which feels more than a little insulting if you considered them a mate.

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everything will feel slimy

Months will pass before a familiar face drops into your inbox. “Hey stranger, how are you?” You ignore it.

The issue is that this occurrence is not rare, and furthermore, there was nothing to prevent its happening.

If you’d been upfront, all ‘by the way, I’m not interested in you’ from the start, it wouldn’t have changed anything because this guy has zero respect for your opinion. Of course your mind can be changed. You’re only a walking vagina, after all. And if you make something explicitly clear in action, you’re friendzoning the poor guy.

Seemingly the only way to avoid escalating these situations is to ignore all messages from male acquaintances that slide into your inbox. Just in case. Unfortunately, this also serves to validate the whole practice as some kind of ‘play’: if you’re into it, you reply, and if you’re not, you ignore it.

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a beautiful friendship… or something more sinister?

And so it is that presumption is necessitated, and the male-female friendship becomes ever more elusive, with the onus invariably on the woman to worry about giving the wrong impression. Moreover, men are reduced once again to their ‘uncontrollable’, testosterone-fuelled sexual needs.

It’s a vicious circle of thirst, and it can only be resolved if the guilty parties (read: thirsty males) do the following: 1) respect women 2) get better at flirting.

But on a serious note: if, reading this, you’ve realised that you’re guilty of this ‘play’, I have a message for you. Have a little self-respect. Treat a gal like a person, like other friends (side note: this has a bonus of making you MUCH hotter to women). If you like someone, tell them, or make it obvious from the start that you’re not looking for friendship. And if you do want to be their friend, then be a fucking friend.

{Disclaimer: the opinions in this article do not claim to comment on all guy-girl friendships. Just the slimy ones.}