How to do deal with "lets just be friends" when you want more?
October 13, 2004 9:46 AM   Subscribe

"I think of you.. more as a friend." A girl I really, really (seriously) 'like' sprung that one on me yesterday. Her explanation was rather strange in general: apparently I'd make a great boyfriend, but she'd make a lousy girlfriend, and she's saving me from myself. Is this low self-esteem, or plain lies, or what? And what the heck should I do about the whole thing?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (55 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
She's trying to spare your feelings. She knows you're a great guy, but for whatever reason, you don't ring her bell. Rather than tell you to your face that you don't turn her on, she's putting the "blame" on herself. As to what you should do about the whole thing? Believe her. She doesn't like you like that- move on.
posted by headspace at 9:50 AM on October 13, 2004 [1 favorite]

headspace is dead-on: it's a means of sparing your feelings. she's neither lying nor suffering from low self esteem; she's simply not excited by dating you, even though she really does enjoy your company and found you attractive before she was in a postition to date you. give up, move on. stay friends if you like, but if you bring this up with her again, be prepared to make her really uncomfortable or angry.

(IME, "you're a better boyfriend for someone else" means the sex is really bad.)
posted by crush-onastick at 9:58 AM on October 13, 2004

There's nothing you can do. Accept her just as a friend, and move on.

If you think you're likely to develop some kind of obsession over this rejection, find *any* kind of gf relationship as quickly as you can. Having someone new in your life will make you care a lot less about the rejection.

I'm serious. There's nothing you can do.
posted by aramaic at 10:00 AM on October 13, 2004

lies, well-meaning lies. sorry. I've seen this a lot--she isn't interested in you romantically, but really does value your friendship. She doesn't want to hurt you by telling you that you're not her type, so she's inadvertently driving you crazy by speaking in what she feels is the most soft language possible.

Just value her friendship, and become her drinking buddy in the hopes that some intoxication may lower her standards (or defeat her verbal censors at least).
posted by plexiwatt at 10:00 AM on October 13, 2004

Accept her as a friend and enlist her help in locating potential partners. "You'd make a good boyfriend." should be followed up by "Cool, any ideas?" once the initial sting of softened rejection fades.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:04 AM on October 13, 2004

Seconding what everyone else said. Another variation on "It's not you, it's me." "I love you, but I'm not in love with you." Etc.

You may be stuck on this chick, but try to remember that what you are really stuck on is your perception of this chick, not who she really is. The two are not the same.
posted by adamrice at 10:06 AM on October 13, 2004 [1 favorite]

I essentially agree, except that I would say there is a sliiight chance she might feel differently about you in the future. But not if you push for it. Keep her as a friend. Live your own life, take some chances, meet new people, do things you don't expect from yourself. Down the road she may see new things in you, but you can't have that as a goal.
posted by edlundart at 10:06 AM on October 13, 2004 [3 favorites]

I've been in this situation plenty of times. Apparently I am the brother many girls have never had. Go with what aramaic says, get someone new in your life so you won't stew about it. Doesn't have to be a romantic interest, just new. Worked for me. Good Luck.
posted by sciurus at 10:07 AM on October 13, 2004

All of you are all wrong...

What she really wants is for you stand in her driveway with a ghetto blaster held above your head playing "In Your Eyes". Thats really your best bet.
posted by cadastral at 10:12 AM on October 13, 2004

Stop hanging out with her. She doesn't want you as a boyfriend, and you want her as a girlfriend. Continuing to hang with her will bring you pain.

She's already lying to you to spare your feelings, which you can look at as considerate - if you like being lied to.

It's likely that depriving her of your company will not only help you avoid picking the scab, but it might make her re-evaluate her position. Yes, this advice is for the more manipulative sort.
posted by rocketman at 10:13 AM on October 13, 2004

I forgot: try to see it from her probable perspective too, at least a little. It's not a fun conversation to have, and she's probably been agonizing over it for a long time.

One more thing: I've noticed that (some) women have a definite tendency to try to be "nice" to a guy in these situations -- they'll still hold hands, they'll still make out every now & then, etc. The guy sees this as a clue that he can still win her over, when in reality she's just trying not to be completely heartless and doesn't see it as a big deal. She's not necessarily trying to torture you, she's not necessarily trying to lead you on, she's just taking the path of least resistance.
posted by aramaic at 10:13 AM on October 13, 2004

aramaic: women who act like that are being a tease. Which is emotionally cruel, and they know it.

To the poster: if this person you are interested in engages in this "I'll make out with you, but I don't want to be your girlfriend" kind of behavior, drop her like a crack addiction. You deserve much better than this kind of treatment.
posted by rocketman at 10:17 AM on October 13, 2004

cadastral will Say Anything for a laugh, apparently...
posted by benzo8 at 10:21 AM on October 13, 2004

Lies. Sorry. She sounds like a nice girl who is sparing your feelings, and probably can sense how much you like her, so she is letting you down easy. If you haven't hooked-up yet, most likely, she's not physically attracted to you, especially if she knows you're a good guy/good boyfriend material and STILL can't commit. I think it's better for her to do this rather than lead you on, and give you hope that one day you'll be her boyfriend.

There is nothing you can do about it. It's chemistry, it's out of your control. If you force it, you risk losing her friendship even. If she's made it clear she wants to be friends, and you keep vying, it is such a turn-off. Just be her friend, but also anticipate having a friendship with her if/when she starts dating someone else. That might suck. A lot.
posted by naxosaxur at 10:25 AM on October 13, 2004

I agree with most people here (accept/move on), but these three statements bother me:

1) If you think you're likely to develop some kind of obsession over this rejection, find *any* kind of gf relationship as quickly as you can. Having someone new in your life will make you care a lot less about the rejection.

I DO think you should move on (i.e. give up, at least for now, on this girl romantically). But I cringe at the idea of you using someone else as "rebound." I've been used that way. It hurts. Remember, other people have feelings.

2) what you are really stuck on is your perception of this chick, not who she really is. The two are not the same.

Okay, this is literally true. But then we can NEVER escape our perceptions. (I can't SEE what the flower "really" looks like; I can just see my perception of it.) It's possible anonymous knows this girl really well. So his "perceptions" might be very astute perceptions.

3) women who act like that are being a tease. Which is emotionally cruel, and they know it.

And your evidence for this is...? There isn't a creature called "women." Each woman is an individual person. Sure, SOME act this way as a power game. Others are just trying to be kind (maybe in a misguided way). For many, they probably do this for mixed reasons.

One thing I do know: it almost NEVER works to chase after someone who has rejected you (though most of us do this anyway, unfortunately). If someone rejects you, there IS a chance that they'll change their mind in the future. But chasing after them is almost a guarantee that they'll reject you permanantly. If you think you really can be her friend without making her feel guilty about rejecting you romantically, go for it. But don't let her associate you with guilt. That's the death knoll.

If you think you're likely to chase her or do passive agressive things around her to show her how upset her decision made you, leave her alone. You're more likely to win her over that way.
posted by grumblebee at 10:32 AM on October 13, 2004 [2 favorites]

Just be her friend, but also anticipate having a friendship with her if/when she starts dating someone else. That might suck. A lot. does suck. Enormously. That's why you have to get it in gear and get a relationship before she does. I'm serious. I know it sounds freaky-petty, but you'll thank me when she starts dating someone -- because you won't care, having found someone of your own.

Incidentally, if she changes her tune (and starts coming on to you) once you start dating someone else, she's a monster and you need to stay the hell away from her. Maybe permanently.
posted by aramaic at 10:32 AM on October 13, 2004

...and I'm not talking about some cheap & hurtful "rebound" relationship (cuz grumblebee is right).

I'm talking about motivating yourself to really start looking for people that interest you. You've probably "been on hold" for this woman for a while now, so it's time to get back into things. Just keep a dash of urgency in mind. Even if you don't have anyone by the time she starts dating, at least you'll be out there & active socially, which in itself helps a lot.
posted by aramaic at 10:35 AM on October 13, 2004

By the way, most women are in a romantic bind, because they want to be with a nice guy -- but they also want him to be exciting. Many of us nice guys (I'm in that camp) are not very dynamic. Many of the really adventurous guys are assholes. So a lot of women have the asshole boyfriend and the nice guy that they complain to about the asshole boyfriend. And, inevatably, the nice guy falls for the girl and wonders why she stays with the exciting asshole.

So the trick for us nice guys is to show that we have some character! It's not enough to just be nice. We need to take some risks, make some choices -- DO SOMETHING.

Most women respond really well to confidence. So it's great to be "a good listener," but make sure that you also show up on her doorstep and surprise her by taking her to an exotic restaurant. (Or, if she's more adventurous, take her bunjee jumping.) Be active. Be assertive. And still stay nice. Make her think "Wow, there are actually nice guys who are also fun and spontaneous and exciting." Many women think they will never find anyone like this, so they settle for the asshole, because at least there's some chemestry there.

Some come up with a plan that involves a fun, exciting surprise once a week.

Also, guys have a HUGE advantage that they seldom make use of. For a girl to be attractive to a man, she generally has to be really good looking. But even a plain (or ugly) guy can be attractive to many women if he's exciting and DRESSES WELL. Dress well and groom yourself. This projects confidence.
posted by grumblebee at 10:40 AM on October 13, 2004 [1 favorite]

When I was single I had to have that conversation with some guys...the thing is you can like someone fine, they can be fun to be with, they can be cute, etc-but the chemistry isn't there. And there is not much one can do about that...once, I tried to get past that in a relationship, but it just didn't work at all. I still loved the guy like a brother, we got on really well, and in so many ways would have been perfect for each other-but there was NO CHEMISTRY.

So, don't let it affect your self esteem. Indeed, if so inclined, let her help you find someone else.
posted by konolia at 10:47 AM on October 13, 2004

It's never going to happen with this girl. I'm sorry if it hurts to hear that and I'm sorry if you think I'm a jerk for being so blunt but seriously, you need to realize that. Get over it, stop thinking about it. Continue to be a good friend to her if you want, but only if you want to be her friend, not because you hope she'll come around. Seriously, stop thinking about her that way. If you cannot just be her friend and still are thinking about her like that, then make some space, take some time, then come back and see if you can be friends.

It sounds like you really value this girl's friendship. If you want to keep it, then you need to realize it isn't going to happen and move on with the friendship. Good luck.

posted by pwb503 at 10:55 AM on October 13, 2004

She's just not that into you...

(I'm thinking there really needs to be a version of that book for guys)

I've been there before. The best thing you can do for your mental health is distance yourself from her for a while. You need to be able to think of her as someone you are completely not attracted to before you can be her friend.
posted by drezdn at 11:00 AM on October 13, 2004

Stop hanging out with her? Sure, if you're either so in love with her you can't handle seeing her - or if you think women are only good for sex. She's not romantically interested in you, right now anyway, but being friends with someone whose personal qualities attracted you to her in the first place isn't the worst thing in the world.

There was this guy I was very interested in, and he asked me out for coffee. He mentioned something about a long-distance girlfriend, but I didn't think it was going to last. Well, I was wrong. He wasn't interested in me as anything more than a friend. I was upset at first, but I acted like a grown-up and become good friends with him. He helped me out a lot in my career, introduced me to a lot of his friends, became my roommate and generally made my life a lot more fun. And he was good for romantic advice too.
posted by transona5 at 11:07 AM on October 13, 2004

"I think of you.. more as a friend."

Yup, that's the "no chemistry" alert. I've had that conversation before and it's always a tough one to have, because you think you've got this really great friendship going but once it becomes clear that it's "just" a friendship, many guys look elsewhere. I sympathize with you, it's not fun on either side.

If she's spent a lot of time with you, she probably thinks you're excellent, but you don't float her boat, either in the "want to make out with you" way or, if she's been making out with you, in the "want a long term relationship" way. I don't know about other women, but chemistry for me is sort of an ON/OFF switch and more trying on the guy's part only makes it worse. If you'd still like her as a friend, say so. If you think that would be too painful, esp if she starts dating someone else, say that as well. My advice would be to not get into any weird metaphysical talks with her along the lines of "how can you say I'd be a great boyfriend if you don't want to be my girlfriend...?" because it won't go anywhere and will make you both frustrated. If, as aramaic says, you've "been on hold" being interested in this girl, try to move on, even if the two of you stay on friendly terms. I have several close friends who I either gave or got the "let's be friends" lecture, so you can move through it, you just need to not think of her as a potential one-and-only.
posted by jessamyn at 11:09 AM on October 13, 2004

Be her friend. Find someone else to adore. Once you find someone else, tell her all about it, and then revoke all of her friendship privileges. Put your energy into this new person. Reappear after awhile, and be completely ambiguous about everything. Feign a 'take it or leave it' attitude. If she doesn't see the light after this, leave her alone forever and stick with your new romance. You will never be able to look at her as just a friend. Yes, I know, this is completely devious.
posted by jasondigitized at 11:27 AM on October 13, 2004

I agree with the analysis of what she said. But as for what you should do about it:

Walk away. Seriously. All the advice that doesn't amount to that isn't realistic. Staying friends seems like a nice compromise, but it will be a lot more agita then it's worth. Especially when she gets a boyfriend that she's going to be a "lousy girlfriend" for. And she will.

Picture that episode of The Simpsons where Laura Powers reaches into Bart's chest, rips out his heart and says "I guess you won't be needing this!" Seriously. Distance is your only protection.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:31 AM on October 13, 2004

This is so common that there's an acronym for it. You've been LJBF'd (Let's Just Be Friends).

Don't do anything about it - it's all been done for you.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:34 AM on October 13, 2004

I guess I shouldn't be surprised anymore, but I just don't understand the attittude that women who "just want to be friends" are either being manipulative and insincere, or aren't worth being friends with, maybe because women just aren't that interesting to hang out with when there isn't sex involved. For ont thing, it's a real barrier to women's participation in the workplace - you meet a "nice guy" you think just wants to be friends, he abruptly gives you the silent treatment after realizing you're not romantically interested. It happens a couple times and you're at a real disadvantage for anything that involves networking.

If she's worth being friends with and you can deal with it, be friends with her. And like someone upthread said, maybe she'll introduce you to some of her friends who wouldn't be such bad girlfriends.
posted by transona5 at 11:44 AM on October 13, 2004 [1 favorite]

I think Ask MeFi is becoming more interesting to read every day than the main Metafilter page. :)
posted by madman at 11:59 AM on October 13, 2004

transona5, I don't think anyone's saying that (I hope no one's saying that). I have female friends who I assume just want to be friends with me and with whom I just want to be friends. No problem! It's when they just want to be friends with me, and I don't want to be [just] friends with them that I'd rather just not be around them at all, because then it's just No Fun.
posted by kenko at 12:07 PM on October 13, 2004

Don't discount Robocop's advice! If it's really a case of her liking you as a person, but not feeling that "magic" with you, then she should be more than willing to hook you up with her single friends. If she's not setting you up within a couple months, forget her.
posted by Eamon at 12:23 PM on October 13, 2004

As drezdn says, she's just not that into you.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:24 PM on October 13, 2004

I don't think it's lies, and I find it disturbing that so many people seem to think it is. Unless you have reason to think otherwise, why not take what she said at face value? She sees qualities in you which she thinks are good qualities in a boyfriend, but for one reason or another (chemistry or otherwise) she doesn't think she'd be a good girlfriend (and this doesn't have to be related to self esteem, it could just be that she knows herself well enough to know what kinds of guys she's good with). IME, "chemistry" can be either an "on/off" switch or it can be entirely different. It's not impossible that her feelings might change down the road, stranger things have happened, but for now, be her friend, and be a good one.
posted by biscotti at 12:34 PM on October 13, 2004

or aren't worth being friends with

Agreeing with kenko, it's not that they're not worth being friends with. It's more of a realization that being around the object of your unrequited affection will only bring pain. Ending contact here is pretty much a defensive move. And like kenko, I've had plenty of female friends that I didn't want anything more than a friendship with, and when someone I'm not interested in keeps pressing on me, it does get creepy.
posted by LionIndex at 12:35 PM on October 13, 2004

Another vote here for "she's just not that into you". I know it sucks, but move on.

However, if you're a nice guy and you're wondering why, grumblebee has it EXACTLY RIGHT. We women really do want a nice guy (or gal), but we also want someone who will really sweep us off our feet. And yes, those of us with a brain sweep the guy (or gal) off his feet too - it should be a mutual thing.
posted by widdershins at 1:09 PM on October 13, 2004

I am of two minds on this issue. As a younger man, I met and instantly fell for a woman was both taken and out of my social circle. Through no design of my own we met in class. We struck up what fast became a rich friendship. Over the course of our friendship, I let slip my obvious, though unspoken feelings for her. She responded with, "I know". A short "this would never work" conversation ensued. To my surprise, the relationship became instantly more pleasurable and rewarding. Yet the only thing that changed was the dialogue. With a week to go before college would separate the two of us permanently, we had a short lived, regretable fling.

Between disclosure and the college, the "we can only be friends" meme played itself out regularly. It was heart wrenching.

What age and the experience has taught me is that she had the upper hand the entire time. She knew she could ask me to do the craziest of things and I'd not blink before following through. I was her fallback guy, but when she wasn't falling, my infatuation with her was an irritant. The experience did not settle with me until much later in life when those same heartstrings were tugged on like a lifeless marrionette. It wasn't until the malice took concrete shape and had real affects on my life that I finally understood the relationship as I do today.

In short, by saying that she knew, she was simply admitting she was taking advantage of me. She abused this knowlege on and off, mostly off, for over a decade. For the most part, I enjoyed what abuse I did take. In the end, understanding the relationship in a new light freed me of certain demons that had effected all of my other romantic relationships. There's healthy admiration and there is the creation of false gods and such.

If you're a romantic, watch Cinema Paridiso for some advice on how to win the heart of a woman who only wishes to be friends. (I'm joking. If you attempted to wait outside of a woman's window in modern times, you'd likely be arrested on a host of charges, possibly ending up with a charge that brands you as a sexual offender.) On a less romantic, but less likely to get you arrested, note you can try some of those rules that have been suggested to work. I'm not suggesting that there is any validity to the rules, but a change in your behavior in an unexpected direction may help you, her or whatever connection there is between the two of you.

On the other hand, the realist in me wants to shake you a bit. (I'd more like to shake my young self, but you'll do just fine.) The bases have been pretty well covered by other posters. Best of luck to you however you decide to handle the relationship.
posted by sequential at 1:14 PM on October 13, 2004 [1 favorite]

oh and i feel compelled (as a woman) to disagree emphatically with the "women want a nice guy but are only excited by the bad guy" crap. in fact, i'm almost inspired to use profanity in rejecting that postulate. i'm reminded of the orange-haired civil servant of the afterlife in beetlejuice snapping at the baldwin and geena davis: "no, this is what happens when you die. that is what happens when he dies and that is what happens when they die."

what i happen to want and what i happen to be excited by doen't jibe with that nice guy/asshole dichotomy at all. i'm certain i'm not alone in that. and i certainly wouldn't impute that motive to anonymous' unknown girl.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:34 PM on October 13, 2004

She doesn't like you. Move on.
posted by angry modem at 1:58 PM on October 13, 2004

grumblebee has it EXACTLY RIGHT

Not being female, I can't speak the accuracy of the assessment.

But I don't think it represents a very solid plan of action. Suppose you manage to successfully attract Desired Female through displays of confidence and impressions of being exciting. I don't know whether it will happen in the short, medium, or long term, but I *assure* you that you will not be able to keep it up if it isn't who you are. Eventually, or quickly, the real, less exciting you is going to shine through, and if that's not what she wants, it's not what she wants. Better to be rejected in advance than to have to pick up the pieces of a relationship that's gone blooey.

Better to just be you, and let the chips fall where they may. Don't try to change your fundamental self to better match what you think women want, and don't adopt the outward appearances of someone fundamentally different from yourself. If you're nice but not dynamic, fine, be that. You'll stumble into someone right eventually.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:06 PM on October 13, 2004

so, seriously, what's this "chemistry" thing?

it's frustrating to have some inexplicable kind of "it" that determines whether someone is willing to have a relationship with you.

it confuses the heck out of me, because I don't work that way.

sure, I've had instances where I haven't been attracted to someone who was interested in me, but the reasons for that were all nameable attributes (though they weren't necessarily nice).

Still, I'd rather have someone say to me "you're ugly", or "your laugh is stupid", then "we really just don't connect" (leading of course to, "well how do we connect?", which comes back with the "i don't know, we just would if we had it").

is "chemistry" nameable for you?
posted by fishfucker at 2:32 PM on October 13, 2004

Look out, kids, AJ Ayer's on the case.
posted by kenko at 2:37 PM on October 13, 2004

Er, I meant to put up this "just not that into you" link, not my userpage. But I think basically the same analysis applies to men and women here.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:51 PM on October 13, 2004

is "chemistry" nameable for you?

Calling it "chemistry" I think accurately describes how it's a mixture of a bunch of things and not any one thing that makes a relationship a no go. With me, sometimes it's something as picky as "you have weird looking fingers" added to "you don't fill out a pair of blue jeans in a way that appeals" or it could be "I don't like the way you treat your dog" coupled with "you snore." I can't speak for other women, but I'll often not want to spell out exactly what my specific issues are because

1) I'm not totally sure why I'm not attracted to someone, it's an absence of a feeling, not a presence of a negative feeling, trying to pick reasons seems false
2) enumerating reasons "why not" has sometimes turned into an even uglier "but I can change THOSE things" discussion which is much more frustrating than the "let's be friends" discussions.

Having to argue with someone about why you don't want to sleep with them or date them when, at some level, the answer is "because I just don't feel that way about you" is a bad situation to be in [leading to the "it's not you, it's me" answer that anonymous gets, it's a way to avoid that talk and she probably also means it]. I'm also with crush: the nice guy/asshole thing bears no resemblance to my actual life, not since high school anyhow.
posted by jessamyn at 3:02 PM on October 13, 2004 [2 favorites]

ROU, in no way did I (or, if I may be so bold as to presume, grumblebee) mean that nice guys have to pretend to be someone other than who they are in order to 'get the girl'. Nobody wants to be lied to. It's just a matter of making yourself the best YOU you can be.

And wouldn't you want to do that anyway?
posted by widdershins at 3:03 PM on October 13, 2004

I actually agree with Rou (even though I'm grumblebee and I have it EXACTLY RIGHT). You have to be yourself. You can't have a lasting relationship based on a persona.

But hopefully you -- like most of us -- are a complex person. For years, I got the "nice guy" treatment, and that's still pretty much who I am. But the truth is that I played up being Mr. Nice Guy Good Listener Feminist because I though that's what women would like. I played down the more aggressive sides of my personality, because I wanted to show that I was different from the asshole boyfriends. Then I was shocked when the asshole boyfriends got picked and I didn't.

It was really easy for me to draw the conclusion from this that girls only like assholes. But I ignored the fact that asshole boyfriend was more than just an asshole. Yes, he was mean to her, but he was also exciting and fun and dynamic and unpredicatable.

I have those qualities too (maybe not as much as some people, but I have them), and my guess is you do too. We tend to oversimplfy ourselves and assume we can't show all the different parts of our personalities.

Also, one can't totally override one's nature, but one CAN tweak it. In fact, when you're in a marriage or a longterm relationship, you kind of have to. There are plenty of people out there who say, "hey baby, that's just the way I am and I'm not changing for anybody." Those are the people who keep getting divorced. The key is to figure out what parts of yourself you can push and what parts you can pull.

And the dress/grooming thing you really CAN change. And it really IS important. I'm not a great looking guy, and I once assumed that meant it wasn't worth bothering with nice clothes (if you dress up a pig, it's still a pig). Those of us who weren't born looking like Brad Pitt often decide that physical appearance isn't important and that anyone who cares about it is shallow, so we purposefully don't invest time and energy into making ourselves look better. It's worth the time and energy. An average-looking guy who dresses well, works out and grooms himself sends a message of "I care about myself! I'm proud of myself! I'm confident." Confidence is really important. Confidence is not the same as cockiness. But if a girl can't find a nice, confident guy, she'll likely settle for a cocky guy.

One thing guys rarely reckon on is women's relationship with other women. Women can be really hard on each other, and many women feel that they are constantly being judged and watched by other women. Added to this, women tend to be more social than men. So they will generally care more about the opinion of other women than I will care about the opinions of other men. And many women assume that if a girl lets her boyfriend or husband dress badly, SHE doesn't have any fashion sense. And in our culture, fashion sense is to women what athletic prowess is to men. So if she can't feel comfortable with other women seeing you, chances are she's not going to be comfortable dating you.

(Many women are embarrassed that they care about this. They've been taught that it's superficial. It's actually much more complicated than that. It's wrapped up in a huge amount of cultural baggage. Still, many women feel some shame that they care about this stuff. )

I once had the experience of being romantically interested in a girl who just "wanted to be friends". Then, I started dressing better and she said, "wow, I never thought you cared about yourself before." And we started dating. I could call her shallow, but the truth is that she wasn't. Maybe that part of her had shallow aspects to it. But she was actually a smart, talented person. But clothing was the deal-breaker.

For every guy who has cried out, "why don't girls ever like nice guys like me?" there's a girl who has cried out, "why can't I ever fall for a nice guy?" Many girls really whip themselves for NOT falling for guys like us. They really wish they COULD. But (as Woody Allen says), the heart wants what it wants.
posted by grumblebee at 3:10 PM on October 13, 2004 [3 favorites]

Give up, move on. Don't try to win her back, under any circumstances. Hope you guys never talk to each other again. Seriously, if you see her again you'll still cling to hope -- the most devestating emotion of all.

And down to the bone, after talking to girls about this -- if she likes you as a friend and doesn't want to get it on it means she does not find you attractive.
posted by geoff. at 3:10 PM on October 13, 2004

Oh and I'm seeing about the dressing nice thing. If you dress too nice, depending on your social circle, you will get rejected. You'll get a lot of compliments but many people will be put off, offended if you show up in a $200 D&G shirt. It's the way life is. Don't dress like a slob but if you want to really look nice (and boy do those expensive clothes really improve you) don't be upset if you alienate those in your currect socio-economic circle.
posted by geoff. at 3:12 PM on October 13, 2004

so, seriously, what's this "chemistry" thing?

um, it's chemistry, I think. It's random chemical nonsense that you can't choose to turn off or on. You feel it or you don't, and generally it's under the feeling or lack thereof that you assess other things - that's why what seems irritating in one person seems cute in another, or what seems ugly in one seems somehow distinctive or interesting in another... Yes, actions and experiences can alter this to certain degrees, ie, someone can suddenly seem much more attractive after you hear their brilliant ideas, etc, but at the same time I think there's a some basic grounding of "clicking" that isn't really in anyone's control.

I mean, no one decides to feel nervous or excited by someone. We all have people in our lives who we are not attracted to - family; for heteros or homos one entire sex; people out of a certain age range perhaps; etc. Sometimes you're going to fall into someone's arbitrary "non-attractive" pool, and it's not because of some action or unlikability. It's because there's no chemistry, like how you might have to tell your gay roommate, sorry man, we can only be friends.
posted by mdn at 3:20 PM on October 13, 2004

Lies. Polite, well-meant lies, but lies nonetheless. Run!

I don't subscribe to Ladder Theory but it sounds like she does.
posted by majick at 3:35 PM on October 13, 2004

In response to the one comment above, be careful though. no matter how capable you may be of dealing with it staying on a friendship level, you never know when the girl will go completely out of bounds, get mad at you for not telling her the truth sooner (even when you tell her days after realizing yourself), start standing you up and lying to you about it, eventually ruining a great friendship for basically misinterpreting the whole thing and never simply asking.

posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:47 PM on October 13, 2004

sequential: were you being abused, or did you volunteer? If some nice man does stuff for you, perhaps excessively so for a supposedly platonic relationship, that can be hard to refuse gracefully. "It's very nice of you, but are you sure you're not doing this because you have a crush on me?"

I don't think malice need be involved for the the object of your unrequited love to exploit you. Perhaps in your case, but by no means is it a rule. Most men (and I say this with myself in mind) are perfectly capable of behaving stupidly, excessively and embarassingly cheesily on their own.

Oh yeah, that question: she's sparing your feelings. Move on. Stay nice to her, maybe she has cute friends and will put in a good word. If you think you can handle it, maybe a beautiful friendship will grow, but don't push it if you can't.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:02 PM on October 13, 2004

Rejection sucks, but I think that she was being nice by lying to you. She didn't want to hurt your feelings. Are you good friends now? If so, continue along with your friendship. If not, I wouldn't push the friendship-thing because she'll think that you want to hang out with her more just to change her mind about dating.

Please don't let this one experience make you hesitate to ask another girl out. Trust me, there are lots of fishies in the sea, many of them waiting for you.
posted by Juicylicious at 7:31 PM on October 13, 2004

All of this sound quite mechanistic to me. My personal experience indicates that feelings are quite autonomous. When my feelings weren't quite intense, I'd change direction, but when I knew that she was it, when her magnetism was irresistable to me, all my ingenuity, sense of humor, and drive shaped and propelled me to fulfill my intuition, and I'm happy to say that in the one instance where it really mattered I persevered, and it did work out.
posted by semmi at 3:39 PM on October 14, 2004

grumblebee - the nice guy thing just doesn't hold. The only reason I could think that non-nice guys get more dates is that they are more likely to ask a girl out. So a confident jerk asks out 10 women a night, maybe gets one nibble. The nice guy doesn't ask any out, and still doesn't know that the girl in his math class is failing because she's staring at him. Everyone does like sometimes a little spontenaity in their lives, but that pales next to someone with similar interests and personality.

To the original question - definately not interested. It could be a lack of chemistry - Chemistry is ineffable. Sometimes it can grow where you thought you had little - my advice to people accepting the approach is always to go with any possibility and give it time. But other times it doesn't - There are very good looking people whom I have never really found attractive. Sometimes it is literally chemistry - just the way they smell.
posted by jb at 1:15 AM on October 17, 2004

grumblebee, I say the above about to marry a guy who at age 19 wore a tweed jacket and a pocket protector. Trust me, a seriously nice guy. But I had to ask him out.
posted by jb at 1:18 AM on October 17, 2004

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