Ask a Dude: Ding Dong Ditched

Dear Dude,
I’ve got a bit of a dilemma on my hands.  I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’ve come close, but no guy ever wanted to be more than a fling or something other than a friend. I have, not unlike a recent post to you, been perpetually pushed into the friend zone. Something of a specialty of mine.  I suppose in compliment to me, most guys I’ve hooked up with (I mean PG level hookup only..I’m not the type to go all the way without a relationship) in the past have always wanted to maintain an active friendship with me and are usually making the bigger effort. All the while making it clear they want nothing else.
This has been fine and it’s nice to have guys as close friends I can rely on, and feel wanted by in a respected way.  What becomes a problem is my position as not only a friend, but I tend to become a pseudo-girlfriend without any of the actual benefits or titles thereof.  Time and time again I will befriend a guy, we’ll be close and I somehow become the one he calls every Friday or Saturday night to chat. At one point, one of my best guy friends and I were around each other so much most people assumed we were dating.  Normally I’m happy to have close friendships like this; after all it gives me company too and I appreciate the friendship that’s there.
But every time without fail, no matter how long we’ve been friends, as soon as another girl enters the picture as a potential love interest or relationship everything drops off the map. A guy friend I talked to every week or for ages, all of a sudden I don’t hear from for months. No explanation, no real responses to my messages/texts, nothing. At least two of these cases it’s only me that the guy seems to be ignoring more, not his guy friends.
Maybe I’m a pushover, I shouldn’t be talking to them that much in the first place. I guess I cave when I’m a bit lonely too..but more often because I genuinely enjoy the friendships I have while it’s happening.  In some of these cases I guess I’m holding out hope he’ll eventually want something more with me or even if not, I’ll have a good guy friend I can rely on when we’re both in other relationships.  That never happens and the few times I’ve made the leap to make the first move, the guys have made it clear that they didn’t like me that way.
The worst part is, while I’m in these pseudo-relationships I can’t actually be on my way to finding a real one, because the talking the hangouts happen with every guy and I have no idea how I’m supposed to know the difference between the ones I should and shouldn’t waste my time on… I’m out of angles!
Very stuck here, dude and no idea how to get out of it.  Would appreciate anything you have to offer on this.
Sincerely,
The Temporary Replacement
Dear The Temporary Replacement,
Trust me when I tell you, there’s a flipside of the coin for guys who are in your situation as well.
They’re called The Surrogate Boyfriend.
This is the guy used for company, attention, affection, and to provide a comfort zone as well the almighty ego boost for a single gal. Usually, this gal has just gotten out of a relationship. Does the gal ever want to or think about dating her surrogate? Nope. Does the surrogate usually end up in this position because he has feelings of the non-platonic type for the gal? Yup. Then, the next Mr. Wrong comes into her life and the surrogate is abandoned until another girl needs a “pick me up”. I understand EXACTLY where you’re coming from. And I think I can help you get unstuck from the surrogate station…
First of all, I want to applaud you for doing what most surrogates are almost never able to do: make a move. Most people end up in the friend zone because of fear, wanting to people please, wanting to impress the other person while not having to risk anything and a host of other protective reasons. Well, that passive aggressive approach gets you trapped in the role of BFF. Meanwhile, the bitch who can barely walk from too many tequila shots but has the balls to let him know she wants to f*ck him usually bypasses the months of signals you’ve been dropping and brownie points you’ve been earning by “being there” for him. One need look no further for evidence that the world does not spin on fairness but on action, timing, opportunity, and luck. The hitch in your giddy-up is that you say you have made the move in the past and been turned away. Which I imagine only makes it harder to put yourself out there next time. My advice, make your intentions clear right out of the gate.
Look, there comes a point where we aren’t looking for any more friends. Yeah, don’t burn bridges, everyone deserves a chance, always be civil, blah, blah, blah. That’s not what we’re talking about here. You’re not looking for a friend. You’re looking for something else. Well, then it’s time to break your pattern. DON’T BE HIS FRIEND.
If you meet a guy, let him know you’re interested. Make it clear, make it bold, do whatever you have to do (within common sense and common law) to let the guy know that you’re not just there to keep him company and heal his ego.
If you let it get to the point where he only sees you as a friend, it’s in part because you’ve only presented yourself as a friend. Then you cross the boundaries of friendship but by that time he sees you in only the one way. You’ve got to nip it in the bud from the first time you hang out with a guy.
If he just wants to be friends, then you’ve got to take the risk and say “no.” It’s not closing the door on a guy forever. It’s called “letting him know where you stand.” Which is not in the friend zone. You can still be civil and friendly if you run into each other, or ask him out at a later date but at least he knows you’re not the emotional doormat he can wipe his break-up hang-ups on.
Right now, these guys are using you and you’re using them. Each for different reasons. If you want to be treated differently then you’ve got to act like you want to be treated and you have to treat them differently, too. It takes two to get into this type of relationship. Don’t let yourself be one of them anymore.
You’re not a surrogate. It’s not a position you have to fill to make your CV look more credible. You’ve got wants and needs other than friendship. Make sure the next guy you’re into knows that up front and that that’s what you are looking for. I guarantee you won’t be left hung out to dry three months later.
Acting as your friend,
The Surrogate Dude
[Don’t you just love him? Wish you could get more? You can! Check out The Dude’s other insights into the male mind right here.]
 

Celebrity Endorsements That Would Actually Make Sense
Celebrity Endorsements That Would Actually Make Sense
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