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"I love spending time with you."
"You're always fun to hang out with."
"You make me laugh."
"I'm having too much fun with you."
"You're so easy to talk to."
Over the years I've had some really amazing pseudo-platonic friendships with men. We had fun, got drunk, bantered, laughed. We had long conversations that weren't just surface or superficial. We truly got to know each other.
And sometimes we hooked up.
Hooking up aside, I believed my guy friends truly enjoyed my company. They were always saying so in different ways. So as the years went on and our friendships remained (pseudo) platonic I started to question what was going on with these guys, some of who'd been in and out of relationships while maintaining contact with me. I started to overanalyze and dissect the meaning behind those compliments.
"You're so easy to talk to."
To which a little voice in my head would reply, "So why aren't we together?"
Soon these throwaway phrases began to feel less and less complimentary. A wall of resentment slowly built inside me and I started to feel like these friendships weren't as authentic or deep as I'd thought.
"You're so easy to talk to," started to feel like an insult. A backward compliment. In my head I started to hear, "You're easy to talk to...but too ugly to fuck," and that really messed me up.
The truth is I didn't necessarily want a relationship with these guys.
But I took umbrage at being friend zoned by someone who still managed to occupy a good chunk of my time. I started to feel like I was some sort of placeholder for the girl or prototype they hoped would eventually come along.
And that made me angry. Because I was so much more than a placeholder.
It's taken me a long time to be able to admit this but it was my ego that lead me to feel this way.
I just kept wondering, "If I'm so awesome why don't you want to be with me?"
It didn't matter that I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to be with them. It was the idea of not being wanted or desired that messed with me. Some women can't stand not being wanted or desired - I was one of those women. After reading the play, "Fleabag" and later writing my own play called, "Daddy Issues," I'm finally in a place where I can admit I got off on male attention.
Looking back, none of those guys would've been a good match for me relationship-wise. So it's a relief they knew that and didn't waste my time. But as I still get guys telling me how easy I am to talk to and these guys are involved with other women, I find myself still wondering - what does that mean?
Why am I easy to talk to but not easy to date? Are your girlfriends difficult to talk to? If so, why date them?
I came up with a short list of questions and sent them to a group of men I know. A handful actually had some very well thought out responses. Of course, there were some typical responses but for the most part, these guys really gave me some valuable insight.
So I would like to share some of these responses with you.
1. Do you have female friends?
"Yes I have female friends."
"Yes, I definitely have female friends."
"Yes, I've been
cursed Blessed, with an abundance of Female Friends throughout my Life."
2. Do you think your female friends are easy to talk to?
"You would think growing up in a Household with 3 Generations of Women would make speaking to Women easier... but nah."
"I'd say the ones who are classified as friends are easy to talk to. Because they're attentive, enjoy conversation, the majority have a sense of warmth about them."
"Overall, my female friends are easy to talk to. Primarily because we are likeminded and we've had years of friendship grounding that connection. Our similar interests make for easy discussions."
3. Are they easier to talk to than your male friends or girlfriends? Why/Why Not?
"Depending on the topic, the friend can be easier to talk to. I often find it easier to talk to a friend about my relationship because I don't have to worry about my partner getting her feelings hurt. The friend is likely to be less judgemental."
"Not necessarily easier. There are some circumstances when speaking to your female friend feels better because it's an escapism, plus they might offer a different warmth (vibe/energy/comfort) than the person you're dating. There are fewer layers to deal with. I wouldn't say easier, just different."
"No. Definitely not easier than the person I date."
"Women be Crazy! Just when you think you have them figured out, you get thrown that omnipresent loop!"
4. Are you or have you been attracted to your female friends?
"Ummm, yeah. Haha."
"It depends on your definition of "attracted to"...lol. No really though. I mean it could mean different things to different people. My female friends are hot though."
"Yes, I've had female friends I've been attracted to. On a few occasions, I eventually dated them. It almost always ended the friendship. Today I avoid being too friendly with anyone I'm attracted to because I know I'll be tempted to cross the line and it's almost never worth potentially ruining the friendship."
"Yes I've been attracted to my female friends and I think it affects [the friendship] negatively. It can cause confusion. Jealousy. More drama than it's worth."
"Yes. 99.9% of them are Gorgeous, the other .1% are attractive as Fuck!"
6. Do you think the level of attraction affects your ability to talk to your female friend? (affects = impedes or enhances)
"It never affects my ability to communicate. I'm still a dude, lol, but I'm not gonna stop my form of communication over your hotness."
"Ha, I have a habit of putting my foot in my mouth sometimes whenever the line between friendship and the potential relationship gets blurred. And have also missed out on creating lasting friendships with a few by limiting my level of investment."
"It's definitely easier to talk to a female when I'm not attracted to her. I'm not guarded or self-conscious and I'm not trying to impress her so everything just flows easier. I can be myself. But yeah, I'm still attracted to some of my female friends. He he."
6. What does "easy to talk to" mean to you?
"It means I know I can talk with her and not feel judged. It's a healthy, supportive environment."
"Easy to talk to means No Judgement."
"Someone who's a good listener, someone who reciprocates, someone who has an understanding, someone who has a perspective you appreciate. Just a generally cool person."
"Effortless. When conversation just flows naturally and you're not consistently fishing for topics. It's having an open dialogue without fear of offending the other person."
To keep this blog post from turning into a George RR Martin book, I had to combine some answers and also cut out some of my questions. A few of these discussions went on for hours, guys, and let me tell you - it was therapeutic!
I feel like the clouds of confusion surrounding some of my most complicated pseudo-platonic friendships have finally parted and I just feel good, you know? Like, that is a part of my life I can finally put to bed.
I know what I got from these discussions - clarity and (for the most part) transparency. Guys don't want to be judged - they can be sensitive, they have moments of insecurity that they don't necessarily want their partners to see. After learning that, I totally get why they keep female friends around and confide in them about personal things.
It gets tricky when lines get blurred and there's an attraction. If I could go back and tell my younger self not to hook up with my guy friends I totally would.
But that's another blog post.
The fact that these guy friends felt comfortable enough to give me honest answers knowing that they would be (anonymously) quoted in my blog post is a testament to some of the benefits that come from being "easy to talk to" and actually having "male friends."
You get an inside view of how they think, sometimes you get to know their feelings and see them in a vulnerable state. It warmed my heart to have these personal chats with these guys I've known for a long while now. It renewed my appreciation for them and it made me want to continue to get to know them.
Big thanks to all the guys who participated.
What do you think, guys? Feel free to add your two cents - answer any of the questions or simply weigh in on the discussion.
Ciao for now,
That Former Sidekick Girl x