Men Want Just Friends

Women's Dating

Why Men Want to Be Just Friends

Elizabeth Cole

Written by: Elizabeth Cole

Elizabeth Cole

Elizabeth is an interventional radiology technician with more than a dozen years working with doctors in hospitals and other clinical settings. Her ongoing connection with top surgeons, radiologists and internal medicine physicians provided her with a wealth of insight into men and their dating practices. Her passion for The Man Experience was peaked by questions from male colleagues in the medical profession. Their stories taught her the differences between men and women — differences that, when not understood, frequently lead to dating mishaps. To follow up on what she had learned from men, Elizabeth embarked on a quest to study as many men as she could over the course of a year, eventually interviewing hundreds.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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I’m an introvert, but I’m so curious that I can’t help but go out of my comfort zone to ask questions.

In my latest guy interviews, I needed to find out why men want to stay friends. I pushed myself to go outside of my box to get the answer and interviewed guys aged 25 to 35.

In total, I talked to about 10 guys.

After I realized they were all saying pretty much the same thing, I decided I could stop.

The night of my first interview, I told my friend Yovhane what I was planning. We were having dinner at Gallo Blanco at The Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix. A guy sat down at the bar next to us. “Ask him,” she said.

“Oh my god, I can’t. That’s scary!” I said.

“Just tell him you’re a blogger and you’re writing an article about dating,” Yovhane said.

My palms felt sweaty and I could feel tension in my body at the thought. I knew if I didn’t breathe, my voice would emit fear and crackles, giving away my nervousness.

I looked over and he smiled at me. “Whew, I can do this,” I thought.

I took a deep breath. “Hi, there. I’m Elizabeth, and I am writing an article for a dating blog. Would you be open to talking to me?

“Sure!” he said.

Home-free, the conversation was then effortless, and after that initial approach, my interviews seemed to be a piece of cake. My questioning skills became more natural and comfortable after that.

I said to these guys, “So the question I want to know is why do guys tell girls they just want to be friends?”

Here are their answers:

  • “He isn’t interested!”
  • “I think because the guy just isn’t interested.”
  • “It’s a guy’s rejection.”
  • “Probably because he got what he wanted and is not interested in commitment, but he still wants a booty call!”
  • “She’s probably not attractive, and he’s not into her.”

This was the same response every time. Yes, it’s that simple!

But I had to take it further. My next question was, “Do you believe a man and woman can even be friends?”

“Only time will reveal

what’s really happening.

They almost all said no because…

  • “One of the parties is always going to like the other person more than friends.”
  • “I’ve had women friends before, but I always wanted to have sex with them!”
  • “Friendship, for the opposite sex, is a way of one of the two people holding on!”
  • “I have girls as friends. I consider some of the girls I work with friends.”
  • “Girls and guys can’t be just friends! Period!”

I recently told a guy I wanted to be friends because I thought it would be a great way to see how things go with him and take the pressure off to see if there’s an authentic connection there.

When I had an anticipation that he might be into a relationship, I was not able to be authentically me, but I still really wanted to connect with him.

Unfortunately, I haven’t heard from him since. Based on what these guys said, perhaps he took it as a flat-out rejection.

When I told one of the guys at the bar my take above on putting the guy in the friend zone to take the pressure off, they looked at me astounded.

“Men and women, we are wired differently.”

One of them said.

“Men are like these little boxes. They file things in their box, and it’s very simple and straightforward. If I am irritated with my girlfriend in the evening, I’ll put it away in one of my boxes and be fine the next day. It doesn’t work that way for women. They’re like a big bowl of emotional spaghetti!”

I couldn’t help but laugh, “So did you get that metaphor from a book, or did you come up with it yourself?”

“I just came up with it now!” he said.

So the one reason a man tells a woman he just wants to be friends is pretty simple: He’s not interested. Therefore, it’s time to move on and find a man who is.

On the other hand, if a woman tells a man she wants to be friends, it could be counterintuitive because we like to test the waters.

For men, the only way to figure this one out is to see if her actions and her words coincide.

If she still wants to spend close, personal time with you, then she could putting you in the friendship category to take pressure off the connection and see how it evolves.

If she’s keeping a little distance, hanging out from time to time but not getting physically close, she probably isn’t interested.

Only time will reveal what’s happening in that big bowl of emotional spaghetti.

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