“So then she said to me, ‘I just want to be friends,’” my friend James relayed to me over the phone. “What do you think she means by that?”
“Um…She just wants to be friends,” I replied.
“Yes, really. Move on.” I advised.
I have said these same words to many men in my life. It’s never easy. We never want to hurt your feelings but we also never want to lead you on.
We might do it gently at first, without much conviction or power behind our voices, because we desperately don’t want to hurt you. And we definitely don’t want to come across as rude or mean. We’ve been on the receiving end of these very same words ourselves and we know how they can sting.
But when you don’t hear us and keep pushing us for more, we will start to get frustrated. We will begin to feel hesitant about hanging out with you at all because we aren’t sure if you’re going to try to make a move on us again or make yet another suggestive comment that makes us uncomfortable.
And we’re getting tired of feeling uncomfortable.
We’ll give you a second and even a third chance when you once again cross our boundaries; we’re supposed to be friends after all, and we don’t want to make you feel worse. We understand that we’re hurting your ego by not giving in to what you want.
But we have to honor ourselves and what our own hearts are telling us. And that is: we simply want to be friends. Nothing more.
We don’t want you to continuously try to hook up with us. We don’t want you to keep telling us why the guys we’re interested in are all wrong and why you’re still and will always be the perfect guy for us, hoping that eventually, we’ll see that.
We don’t want you to keep waiting around for us to change our minds or come to our senses. And we don’t want to dread yet another uncomfortable conversation with you when you ask again why we won’t give you a chance.
We’ve already said that we just want to be friends. Please hear us when we say this.
Contrary to what you may believe, it’s not because we don’t know what we want. And it’s not because we just don’t yet get what we’re missing by not being with you.
It’s because we know ourselves and we know that we don’t feel the romantic spark we need to feel anything more for you. It’s because maybe we’re not attracted to you and you deserve a woman who desires you physically, mentally and spiritually—we all deserve that.
So when you repeatedly try to touch us, make inappropriate comments about our bodies, tell us that we don’t know how good we’d have it if we just gave you a chance or get pouty when we mention another guy’s name in front of you, we’re eventually going to have to say something else besides, “I just want to be friends.”
And that’s, “I can’t be around you anymore.”
When you keep pushing your agenda, we lose respect for you. We don’t feel seen and we don’t feel heard and if I’m perfectly honest, those are the two biggest things every woman is looking for in a relationship with a man. But more importantly, we want a man who respects himself. And you’re not respecting yourself when you keep asking us for something we’ve told you we aren’t willing to give.
The truth is, you would want the very same for yourself if the tables were turned. And you deserve someone who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with her.
So when a woman says, “I just want to be friends,” hear her, believe her and respect her wishes and boundaries.
Author: Dina Strada
Image: Simone Artibani – FCC/Flickr
Editor: Catherine Monkman