“Does He Want to Be My Friend or My FWB?”

My dating life has been horrific, to say the least. From one of my male friends trying to bring a knife into my apartment, getting huffy that I wouldn’t allow it, and then trying to get in my pants, to a guy who had to choose between me and his love for the PoTUS (he did not work in government), it’s lucky that I have a sense of humor about it and plan to write a book about these experiences. However, the last guy I was involved with — “Jeff” — has left me rather confused, for lack of a better word.

Jeff and I met before as we worked at the same company, and he gave me his phone number a few months later when I saw him again at our company meeting. We casually texted back and forth for a while and dated casually here and there. He’d gotten out of a three year relationship prior to giving me his number, and I was still going through the merry-go-round of hellish dates, but I liked him, we had a lot in common, and seemed to have a good time.

Things were going well for almost three months, and then they came to a halt. The time between texts was almost two weeks, I suddenly felt like I’d been the one arranging all our dates, and now he had disappeared. I tried one last time, inviting him over for sex, and he stood me up with no explanation, so I wrote him off for good. He sent me a text about a week later that said he didn’t mean to avoid me. Since then, I’ve gotten random texts from him here and there, like one that asked if my power was on after a massive storm (I ignored it, as I wasn’t even in the area at the time), and one asking how I was doing and mentioning one of the common interests we shared.

I’ve been known to be a doormat in the past, and my friends think I’m desperate because I’ve never really had a boyfriend (just tons of bad dates I can laugh at now), but that’s not the case here. The question is: is he trying to be friends because we did have a lot in common and got along well? Or is he trying to weasel his way back into having sex with me? These texts occur at random intervals, and he’s not dangerous. I just think that he wasn’t ready to see anyone in any context, from casually to a real relationship. I could possibly accept being friends, as I do have several male friends and am able to respect the line between friendship and something more, but it’s the fact that his behavior went from being a really nice guy to being nonexistent that gives me pause. — Bad Luck Dater

I get questions like this a lot — almost always from women — who want to know whether a guy’s behavior indicates that he wants a friendship with her, just sex, or something more. And just like in your letter, what is almost always missing from the context is what the woman wants. Do you want a friendship with this guy? Just sex? Something more? Figure out exactly what it is you want — not what you’ll settle for or tolerate, but what you want — and then decide whether the guy’s behavior supports fostering that. Again, don’t analyze what his behavior means; decide what you want with him and whether his behavior is what you’re looking for in a friend/ boyfriend/ casual sex partner.

The reason why it’s important to pay attention only to the behavior and not what you think might be the motivation behind the behavior is because you can’t change the way a person behaves. So many women get it in their head that if a guy likes them — really, truly likes them — then with time, they can get them to behave in a way that supports a healthy relationship. Wrong! You have to START with good behavior and build from there. If a guy is already behaving with disinterest and disrespect, why would you want a friendship with him, let alone a relationship? Even if a casual sex partner is all you’re after — and I doubt that’s the case — a man who stands you up for sex is probably not the best candidate for that, you know?

In other words: MOA. Whether you want a friend, a boyfriend or a FWB, this guy’s behavior does not indicate that he will be good at any of those roles. And in the future, if you want to avoid terrible dates, then avoid men who behave terribly. It really is that simply. Unless you’re still looking for fodder for your book, in which case, carry on.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter and ‘like’ me on Facebook.


  1. artsygirl says:

    Seriously if a guy drops off the face of the earth and completely ignores you without a good explanation (say kidnapped by a cult) why would you want to be with him in the first place? I imagine that his behavior seems fairly tame in comparison to your other dates so you are willing to forgive, but honestly rudeness is not acceptable. It would have been easy for him to send you a quick “hey I am having an crisis or life/work is crazy right now and I will talk to you in (insert time frame).” Forget about him and try to find someone who is better boyfriend material.

    1. 6napkinburger says:

      This is so funny, because I had a guy do this to me — we date for about a month when it went long distance; it wasn’t a committed relationship but we saw each other on breaks… we had one conversation about making plans in advance and that we were something that was more than just friends and made a date for two days later. I get a call 2 hours before the date with an excuse I had reason to believe was a lie, and after that— boom — he fell off the planet. Like, I called him 1 month later and left a voicemail and called again 2 months after that to talk, because I felt like I was over him and we were going to work together, so I wanted to be on ok terms. It was a 3 min awkward convo. And he had been one of the nicest guys I had ever met — a little dorky but I liked him. I call it being “stealth dumped” and I make all current dating partners promise that if they want to break up with me, they MUST tell me.

      Circumstances were such that I wound up working with him a year or so later, and we got to be work friends. A year or so later, he was leaving the company and we had a little heart to heart. I asked him, WFT happened back then? Why did you just disappear? It turned out that HE thought I disappeared and stopped calling, and I basically believe him, as he still is the nicest guy. Talk about a weird miscommunication. So I really don’t just think people should up and say “that’s it, he’s done” immediately and MOA without some sort of confirmation that it isn’t some misunderstanding. I know this doesn’t help most people who look for excuses to believe that there is some underlying mitigating factor, when the truth is he’s either a jerk or just not interested. but it does exist, so just doublecheck.

    2. I actually had a college boyfriend (legit boyfriend, exclusive and everything) who disappeared and stopped contacting me for two weeks when we had been dating for about… 5 months? To be fair, I didn’t try to look for him either. We were obviously perfect for each other.

  2. Wendy, you are wonderful. Sometimes the simplest answers are the ones that escape me most. I really needed to hear this advice, because I’ve spent so much time spinning my wheels trying to figure out what a guy wants from me/relationship with me that I’m usually left dizzy and confused. This is a perfectly simple solution – just ask yourslf what “you” want and see if his actions follow that. Simple. Easy. Perfect. I have to say, they usually don’t, because if you have to ask yourself what he wants, he’s already made it clear, you just have to open your eyes to see it.

    Thank you so much Wendy, I really needed that.

    1. I definitely could have used this advice as well, probably from the time I was 18 til 24.

      1. Me too… If I had figured this out when I was 18, I would have avoided YEARS of heartbreak all caused by the same guy. (But really caused by me, because I was a moron).

    2. ” Figure out exactly what it is you want — not what you’ll settle for or tolerate, but what you want — and then decide whether the guy’s behavior supports fostering that. ”

      This should be required reading, once a year, for, well, everyone.

  3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    Loved Wendy’s reply! This was my favorite part: “don’t analyze what his behavior means; decide what you want with him and whether his behavior is what you’re looking for in a friend/ boyfriend/ casual sex partner.” I forget that part a lot!

    Also, let’s make a new rule: if texting/texts play a feature role in the plot, move on – automatically, just go, next. I mean I can’t think of a problem relationship wherein texting/texts are heavily featured that you’d want to try to salvage. Unless you just want a casual/FWB relationship or whatnot, but in that case you probably wouldn’t write in to Wendy about it. I counted five “texts” in this letter. So, new rule, if the word “text” is used, say, 3 times or more when you’re describing the relationship issue, it means you have to automatically move on, without thinking about it. It could help fast-forward life a bit.

    1. Iwannatalktosampson says:

      Ugh yes on the texting. I have no statistical evidence to back this up so I’m just going to make shit up – but (I’m pretty sure) texting within the first 3 months of knowing someone kills 70% of all relationships that would have otherwise survived. And that’s a fact!

      1. My husband and I texted OCCASIONALLY when we were dating- but only at times when we really couldn’t talk, or just had to say something quick to each other. When the texting is your primary method of communication, and you’re not 14, I can’t really see anything good coming out of that.

      2. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Yes! I tried not to bring it up because if you give people an inch they’ll take a mile – but the only acceptable uses for texting is “hey I’m running 5 minutes late – sorry! :)”. Or “we said we were meeting at 6 or 6:30”. I hated when guys would try to get to know me over text. So outrageous.

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        That sounds really obnoxious. I’m a texter, and I would not be able to handle that. Texting is not meant for full blown conversations unless you absolutely have to.

        I also like to use texts to send funny little anecdotes to my friends and family if I don’t have time to get caught up in a long conversation with them. Sometimes it’s easy to get so busy that you don’t have time for everyone anymore, and in those cases, I really appreciate getting texts that let me know someone was thinking of me.

      4. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Yeah – and I get it with friends/family/guys you’ve been dating for a long time. But when you first meet? It’s so tempting just to text. There’s less rejection involved. But I think it spoils a lot of relationships at the beginning. Once you know your significant other – like really know them – all the quirks and flaws and good stuff like that – then I think it’s okay – because you’ve established a secure foundation. But I just can’t handle it early on.

        The other ones that used to bug me were a text at the end of the day saying, “how was your day?” – ummmm why don’t you call me if you want to chat? This is the dumbest conversation. Because then I would say, “good how was yours” – and I felt my insides exploding with annoyance. I just think it’s a time waster. I actually think texting sucks up more time than a phone chat. And I just love the sound of a guy’s voice at the beginning of a relationship. I think it’s so cute. You’re infatuated and want to know everything about them.

      5. 6napkinburger says:

        Agree, but there are extremes. My friend was dating a guy who did not text. Period. And he was an observant jew so he he was out of commission from Friday night to saturday night. His refusals to texts ever seriously hindered her ability to see him in real life — you can send a text inviting someone when a phone call doesn’t work, or text to figure out where exactly to meet, etc. If you have to call each and every time, that gets really really old. That is the ideal purpose of texts.

      6. Addie Pray says:

        Ok, I love texting for purposes of giving addresses or times or other info like. Then I prefer texting b/c then I can send the text or look at it when I’m ready to without the other person needing to be available for a call. It’s just the long conversations via text that are annoying.

      7. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Confession – I have never once in my dating or married life to Ethan texted him.

      8. ele4phant says:

        Wow, that’s impressive!

        I definitely love texting for the “We need more milk. Please get it.” sorts of requests, where I’m busy and don’t have the time/desire to chat.

      9. WOW!! That IS impressive! I can’t imagine NOT texting someone I’m dating, so kudos to you!

      10. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

        Especially when you are first getting to know someone it is so hard to read a tone in the texts. It makes actually getting to know them so difficult

      11. Testimonial: IWTTS, Addie Pray. MLee and a handful of other girls gave me this advice about not texting when I FIRST started talking to Zee. And now, I get texts that ask if I have a spare few min to TALK and Me and Le Boy spend 30 min (that feel like 5!) on the phone almost every day 😉

        Listen to them people. They produce awesome results!

      12. Avatar photo theattack says:

        is that THE boy, Lili?

      13. Yep! After an epic date Sun-and plans mid week for another, he got a dw name. Zee.

      14. 6napkinburger says:

        Totally agree.

    2. Especially texts that don’t lead to anything. I am fine with texting, but if you spends weeks texting but never seeing each other, then it’s already over.

    3. but i haaaaaate talking on the phone.

      1. lazy little thing

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        oh i hate it too. unless i’m driving or taking a long walk and bored. i’m fine with texting things here and there but i hate – H A T E – having conversations via text. pick up the phone already, geez. this could be a generational thing. i mean, i didn’t get my first cell phone until after college and even then it didn’t have texting – i didn’t get that until like 4 years ago. so, basically, i just don’t get it (texting).

      3. I don’t mind conversing via text for short periods of time…like a series of quick exchanges over 15 minutes…but constantly exchanging is really annoying.

      4. Just thinking of texting for 15 minutes exhausts me…

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        me too…

      6. Talking on the phone for more than 5 minutes makes me want to blow my brains out.

      7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        But why do you have to do one or the other? I hate both. Can’t we just meet in person? I mean, send your lil flirty texts throughout the day, fine, but save your conversations for after work over two bottles of wine.

      8. that is the ideal situation.

        and you’re buying.

      9. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Deal. Wow, that was easy. Only took 1+ years of dearwendying to finalize our first date.

      10. SweetPeaG says:

        Just throwing it out there… I HATE talking on the phone. I am not a fan of texting back and forth either. I guess I just hate phones in general? E-mail me or call/text to make plans to meet up so we can chat.

      11. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Fine, Budj, if you insist on texting me all day long, I will let you. … The things I do for lurve. Sigh.

      12. As a reward I will send you funny dick pix every 3 messages.

      13. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Can you send me a picture with a red cape on it? You could title it Super Dick!

        And in return I vow to not share them with anyone until we break up. (Is that how sexting works?) Wait, I mean never share them with anyone, ever. Ok, send away.

      14. zombeyonce says:

        I also hate talking on the phone, always have. My husband and I text each other a lot (I’ve probably spoken to him on the phone less than 20 times in our entire relationship) and did when we were dating, too, and our relationship is fantastic. Then again, we’re both a bit introverted and have an easier time getting out what we need to say in writing. I can write on and on, but I’m not the most articulate when I speak.

        I just wanted to give another side to the texting thing. That whole text-randomly-because-he-thought-of-her-and-probably-just-wants-sex thing, though? That’s crap. If he wants to date, he’ll ask you on a date. Even my shy husband managed that plenty of times.

      15. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        That makes sense. But I think my rule still works. It only applies when you’re having a relationship problem. Like, no problems in the relationship + texting = keep on keep on. But relationship whoas (waaa, does he like me? does this mean he wants babies with me?) + texting = move on. Eh, it’s not an exact science.

      16. zombeyonce says:

        I agree that texting isn’t perfect for every kind of conversation; far from it. You could also substitute texting for any sort of passive-agressive talk (even in person, maybe especially in person!) in your rules. It seems like a lot of people have trouble communicating in any format when there are problems. Too much whining and undermining and pretending things are okay or don’t bother you when they do.

      17. Will.i.am says:

        I really hate talking on the phone too. I have my own little rules about texting. If the text remain fairly long and drawn out, like a phone conversation, I keep it up. If the text become one word phrases or very short sentences, than I just stop. There’s no fun reading “Ha” “LOL” “Ok” and so on repeatedly. I like to talk on the phone if it’s short, if there’s something we need to work out and we can’t see each other face to face. My phone calls usually are short or clearing up miscommunication.

        I rather get rid of texting and talking on the phone and seeing each other face to face, if possible. I’m usually always doing something, so a phone call literally leaves me sitting and being unproductive for however long the phonecall takes. You have a 30 minute phonecall everyday, you spend 3.5 hours a week doing absolutely nothing. I could be texting 20 minutes of that time, while I’m washing dishes or folding laundry.

      18. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

        how is talking on the phone doing nothing. You’re helping to build a strong foundation to a relationship

      19. Perfectly Said! The reason texts get short is because its hard to keep engaged when its just words on the screen. Hearing another person’s voice is a form of connecting and reading tone, enthusiasm and wit is so much easier over the phone than over texting. Meeting face to face isn’t easy to do as often early on (or even do able every day) but connecting to check in and see how one’s day is when a meeting can’t be had is sweet. People can talk while walking the dog, walking around the house, tidying up etc.

      20. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        See this is the thing – I schedule phone chats. Like while walking the dog – or while folding laundry – or while cleaning the kitchen – so I’m never just sitting down talking on the phone. I’m being really productive. I just hate texting early in a relationship because so much can be misconstrued through text. It is anxiety inducing. OMG he didn’t send a smiley face after that sarcastic comment. Wait was he being sarcastic? Is he an asshole? Is he annoyed that I’m texting him? Or is he just busy at work? Shit. I should just break up with him now and save myself the heartache. Clearly he hates me.

      21. Will.i.am says:

        The phone is just not my thing and usually when I’m on the phone, I give it all my attention. I’m easily distracted, so if I’m talking on the phone and staring at the television, someone is going to get short changed. So, I naturally sit in my bedroom and take the call or mute my television in my living room. I can’t try and truly listen to someone and do another activity at the same time. With texting I can, since I can use short burst of time to articulate then go back to what I’m doing. Also, a text can sit and wait, where a phonecall can’t always.

      22. I totally agree with you. I also find it really hard to understand people over the phone, so any tiny distraction means a litany of “what?”s. I think it’s admirable that people can do productive things while taking a phone call, but I have to do the same thing you do (focus completely in a quiet room). Texts just let me do so much more, without ever having to put someone on hold.

      23. 6napkinburger says:

        Skype is so much clearer than phones — i had no idea until this weekend about the difference between cell to cell and skype cell to skype comp. And video skype really is the best — you can see their face and read their lips too.

      24. Caitiebug says:


        My boyfriend and I spent so long getting annoyed at each other while talking on the phone because one of us couldn’t hear well, someone was walking through a noisy area, etc. Facetime/skype is a godsend. I actually read lips and I hadn’t thought of that being a contributor as to why I like it so much

      25. zombeyonce says:

        I agree. I hate having to try and focus on the phone when I get so easily distracted. Then I feel like a bad kid (it’s generally one of my parents that I actually talk to on the phone). Knowing I have to make a phone call gives me the squishy insides. It’s so much simpler and straightforward for me to text rather than talk on the phone. Especially since I can’t stand small talk and I always want to get to the point, which isn’t what the people on the other end of the line usually want.

      26. Will.i.am says:

        If he’s busy he should say so or it will be in how he responds. Stop reading so much into the text and things will get easier. I used to have the same problem. It made my life that much more miserable. When I get a tinge of that anxiety coming and just stop and take a few seconds to breath and it passes.

        Maybe I’m just better at texting, since it’s the form of communication I use at work. I don’t text as much as I used to a couple of years ago, but it’s how I communicate with more these days. I’m also single, so I use that avenue to communicate with a lot of my friends, who are or are not single. With a lady friend I would use the phone more, but I just don’t like talking on the phone for hours. I’ve done it a couple of times, and really enjoyed the conversation, but it’s something I don’t want to make routine. Like I said, I get easily distracted.

      27. Ah see you hit the nail on the head. With a phone call, I KNOW i’m getting a guy’s attention at the ‘expense’ of all the other women/people he COULD be texting as well if we’re just texting back and forth with intervals. I like feeling special, and knowing that he’s carving time to give to ME, and only (well mostly-the world still spins around us I guess lol) Me just makes me get a silly grin on my face.

      28. Put your phone on speaker and do chores while you talk!

    4. quixoticbeatnik says:

      There are always exceptions to every rule! I want to be the exception. My boyfriend and I (we have been dating for 2 1/2 years) do all of our talking through text and facebook messages when we don’t see each other in person. And that’s because I have such a hard time understanding people when I use a telephone, UNLESS it’s someone I know really well. But my boyfriend is the exception to that rule because he is impossible to understand when we’re talking on the phone for some reason. So we don’t.

      I think the rule should be – always have more face-to-face conversations instead of talking on the phone, or texting, or emailing or whatever. FTF is always the best.

  4. I wish she would have given more details about the guy who had to choose between her an d the President, that sounds like a more interesting story!

    1. tbrucemom says:

      I agree. That sounds so odd. I’m also curious about the guy bringing a knife into her apartment. Was it a pocket knife, which a lot of guys carry as a tool, or a “Crocodile Dundee” knife, lol.

      1. yea that is the question. I know a lot of guys that carry knives around…I mean leatherman’s have a 4″ blade on them and they are for utility… I think it’s weird she was so adamant about it (if you don’t know a guy well enough to trust him with a knife, don’t invite him in?) but at the same time he shouldn’t have made a big deal about it if it made her uncomfortable.

      2. I don’t think she was being unreasonable. I’ve thrown out 2 guys on separate occasions for having knives. A leatherman in your pocket? totally fine. But unless I asked you to chop down a small tree for me theres no reason I should know you have one. Flashing it around like an 18 year old is not going to get you any snaps from me.

      3. I never said unreasonable…I said it’s weird…and I also said he shouldn’t have made a big deal about it if it made her uncomfortable.

      4. alrighty then..just trying to give her actions some possible context.

      5. My question is how did she know to begin with? I sometimes carry a small knife for protection (because knives with a < 4 inch blade are legal in more places than concealed carrying a pistol) but I doubt anyone I've ever been with even knew I had it.

      6. ele4phant says:

        Knowing a guy has a leatherman would bother you? Your comfort zone is your comfort zone and I can’t dispute that, but they knowing a guy has one would not bother me at all. Maybe its the environment I grew up in (everybody has one), and yes, sometimes guys (or women) would flip them out and play with them absentmindedly. Maybe not the blade per-say, but there’s a bunch of gadgets in there you can fiddle with.

        Now, if a guy were acting aggressively, or was acting incredibly unsafe, waving it around indiscriminately, I would be concerned.

        But just knowing its there, or seeing it and watching a guy fiddle with it, that wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.

        I think if a guy had a machete or something, I could understand asking him to not bring it in, but if it was a legal blade and wasn’t unaccompanied by worrying behavior, I don’t really understand the issue.

      7. SweetPeaG says:

        I guess I tend to run with an outdoorsy crowd. I have at least three friends that have those handy dandy swiss army or leatherman knives for camping and whatnot. I really hope that she didn’t have an overdramatic reaction to something like that…

        I am dying to know the context. Damn it. I am going to end up buying this girl’s book.

      8. SweetsAndBeats says:

        I live in Arizona and maybe it’s just the people I hang out with, but many of my guy friends carry around knives that warrant their own sheaths on the guy’s belt. It’s not a big fucking deal… It’s not like I’m worried that they’re going to stab me.

        If she was genuinely not trusting of the guy, I can understand refusing the knife inside. Otherwise, I just don’t understand why she’d go all cuckoo over it.

    2. It will be in her book.

    3. Yes! That was going to be my comment as well… so weird. LW, please fill us in on that when you provide your update!

  5. Iwannatalktosampson says:

    Your friends think you’re desperate because you’re acting desperate. I’m assuming you want this to turn into a relationship – otherwise why write in to an advice site – so I’m confused about why you would invite him over for sex. And he turned you down! Scrape your dignity off the floor, do some self-esteem building, and lay off the dating for a while. Focus on yourself. Make yourself a good candidate for a girlfriend and you will become a girlfriend. Create the life you want – and since it’s pretty obvious you want to have a relationship – stop asking for sex only!

    1. tbrucemom says:

      Agree here too! She actually invited him over for sex and he refused. Honestly, he is so not into her even for that. I’m not trying to be so harsh, but let’s face it, most guys would jump at the opportunity for casual sex. There’s a reason he didn’t come over, most likely because he sensed her desperation, especially when added to the whole “texting” conversation. He does sound like he gets lonely and reaches out to her as a friend which is why she’s confused, along with her obvious lack of self esteem. I really think she needs to consider counseling if she can’t see why she’s attracting such unsuitable men.

      1. I don’t think most guys would jump at casual sex unless that has already been established, and if that isn’t what they were doing before than he definitely thought she was being desperate when she offered, and maybe thought she was trying to turn it into a FWB situation. It also seems like she sends out mixed signals, she said she didn’t return one of his texts, because she wasn’t in the area of where he was asking the question about. Why not just answer, and say “I wish I knew, I’m not home now to check :o(” instead she chose to ignore him altogether, and I bet she was doing that before he turned her down for the free romp.

    2. ele4phant says:

      I agree. I don’t mean to harp on this girl (lord knows I’ve been in her shoes), but I think she needs to take a more critical look at her dating behavior and decisions in regards to guys.

      I mean, we’ve all gotten blindsided by crazy that seemingly came out of nowhere, but usually there are some red flags or stories that can tip you off to the kind of clusterfuck you are about to enter. If she has enough such experiences to fill a book, well, the common denominator is her. Either she herself is crazy, or she’s not really taking the time to evaluate whether or not the guys she’s dating are worthwhile.

      LW – I am not trying to criticize you, but I hope you take the time to really articulate what it is you want for yourself, and what kind of person can fulfill that for you. Once you’ve figured out what you want and what kind of person you want to be with, don’t date guys that don’t fill that mold. Maybe spend some time not dating at all, to gain some perspective. Best of luck!

    3. AndreaMarie says:

      I cringed at that. She invited him over for sex and he cancelled without any explaination. If a man really wanted to have sex with you and something came up he would be calling you every 5 minutes to appologize and make sure you are not angry/turned off and will offer it up again when he is available. He’s not interested in sex and he’s clearly not interested in a relationship. He would text to make plans and keep things going. I don’t know how he could make it any cleary to the LW than when he didn’t text for awhile and when he finally decides to reach out its to ask if her power is on.

  6. With such folk, there is only one answer: sex. It is figuring out the question that is sometime tough.

    In this case, my guess is that he was playing Jeopardy with someone(s) else during your previous encounters, but no longer.

    Additionally, some individuals (you may be one) either “emit” availability or some sort of sensuality cues that even partners in committed relationships “detect” but do not pursue at the time, but do not forget. Later, should the relationship end, memories of those previous encounters re-surface and may be followed-up.

    I do not denigrate anyone who “emits” like that, in either gender. (It may be an involuntary aspect of who they are!) Being in the presence of someone like that is invigorating. For some, like Marilyn Monroe, it is awe inspiring even in old black-and-white movies. Jimmy Dean and (young) Paul Newman are two other examples.

    1. Um. If she invited him over for sex and he refused but she still texts him – I think the vibe she is giving off is less subtle sex siren and more of a desperate for a relationship but will settle for sex vibe. People pick up on that no problem too.

  7. I wish there was a way to make every single person read and fully understand this:
    “Figure out exactly what it is you want — not what you’ll settle for or tolerate, but what you want — and then decide whether the guy’s behavior supports fostering that. Again, don’t analyze what his behavior means; decide what you want with him and whether his behavior is what you’re looking for in a friend/ boyfriend/ casual sex partner.”


  8. SweetPeaG says:

    Since you’ve never had a real relationship, I bet your self-esteem isn’t necessarily the best. I can empathize with that. I was very shy growing up. I had very strict and not the most social of parents. I can honestly say I didn’t know how to relate to my peers. As I result, I barely dated until I was in my early twenties. I didn’t have a “boyfriend” until 24. For a while, I was convinced that I was unattractive and had to really just accept what I could get. I know now that these things aren’t true. But, I accepted a lot of crap along the way.

    It looks like that is what you’re doing, LW… accepting what you can get. You make a lot of little jokes in your letter. I did the same thing. Making fun of your dating life probably covers up a lot of frustration and pain. But, please keep your head up. I am not saying this guy is a bad guy. However, for whatever reason, he’s just not behaving like someone that is interested. Sure, he sends you the odd text… but there is nothing of any substance. He doesn’t appear to be pursuing ANYTHING- friendship, dating, or FWB. So… you’re going to have to let this one go.

    I suggest you do try online dating. Decide what it is you want (as Wendy said) and go for it with all you’ve got. Pamper yourself and do things that make you happy. Make yourself the best and most attractive you that you can. If someone gives you the run around, move on. As cheesy as it is to say… there are PLENTY of fish in the sea. And don’t let your lack of relationship or (good) dating history get in your way. You are just as worthy as anyone else out there.

  9. Wendy said it perfectly.

    Don’t be a doormat! You may not be aware that you’re not being decisive in what you want, but it’s pretty obvious that you’re looking for more than a FWB. Sure, it’s true that when a guy wants to be your boyfriend, he will act like it–but I think you also have to act your part. And that’s where your self-esteem comes into play. Work on yourself and your confidence. It’s not just about avoiding the guys that don’t have good behavior to start with. It’s also about changing your own behavior to attract what you want.

  10. Trixy Minx says:

    This is going to be short.
    It sucks to learn that some people will only keep you around in your life because they are bored. They know that you would easily say yes to anything do they send random texts just to keep you around till the next tinge they want to use you for something.

  11. WWS. And if I had to speculate, I’d say this guy seems to have written you off in his mind, without actually informing you, & now he probably just thinks of you as “that girl I dated for a little while.”

    Other than that, I’d just like to point out a couple odd things in your letter– “These texts occur at random intervals, and he’s not dangerous.” What? This is a non-sequitur. Unless it was edited out, nothing in your description of this man would necessitate you reassuring us that he’s “not dangerous.”

    You also mention (early on in your letter) that you prevented a “male friend” from bringing a knife into your apartment– was he brandishing a knife or did you like, pat him down? I mean, did anyone else find this weird, or just me? Many guys carry knives on them for the hell of it, you know.

    Also, to get back on topic: “…my friends think I’m desperate because I’ve never really had a boyfriend (just tons of bad dates I can laugh at now), but that’s not the case here” O RLY. Then why are you asking whether or not to allow a guy you only dated “casually” for a few months back into your life after he stood you up? And is showing absolutely NO real signs of interest, other than a few intermittent, stale texts?

    “I could possibly accept being friends…” Your hesitation here makes it seem like you’d RATHER have more, so then why would you settle for only friendship? (which, by the way, this guy isn’t even offering you.) I know dating is hard– but if you really can see the humor in it all, try to laugh this fool off & move on.

    1. SweetPeaG says:

      Yea… the knife thing… I think we can all agree that was bizarre. I think she is giving us teasers so we’ll all buy her book.

    2. Yes, I also found the knife thing really weird. Now I’m picturing a guy dressed as a pirate, waving a knife around like a crazy person.

      1. Doesn’t she realize she only had to say “parlay!?”

      2. That rhymed too!

    3. 6napkinburger says:

      When something with a new guy doesn’t go especially well (a bad date, not calling when he said he will, etc.) and I’ve had a glass or two of wine, my first inclination is to text or call a past “guy I’ve dated”, especially the ones that never really had a definite ending. It’s some sort of self-soothing that I’m sexy/wanted/something. It’s always sporatic and really weird timing and rarely purely sexual. It’s usually checking in, or telling him something about some shared interest.

      Chances are, it’s something like that.

  12. As I read the letter I just thought – he isn’t anything – not a friend, not a FWB, not a romantic interest – nothing except random texts. I hate to be flip but randoms texts are what I get from my cell phone carrier. It doesn’t a relationship make. Set your bar higher. Let someone live up to your expectations instead of settling for whatever they decide to dish out.

  13. This letter hurt my head. WWS! If you read all of that out loud, it rhymes.

  14. So, what do you want with this guy? Where you looking for a relationship? If that is what you want, well I don;t think you’ll get it. Hes already ignored you for 2 weeks and only sends you random texts messages when he is bored.

    Also, is text the only way you ever communicated? Did you have an actual dates with him? Or was it just sex? Why did you invite him over for sex after he had already been ignoring you?

    1. “Why did you invite him over for sex after he had already been ignoring you?”

      I would love to know what her thought process was because I was baffled when I read that part. Did she text “Hey, I haven’t seen you in a while. Want to come over for sex?”

      1. kerrycontrary says:

        I think (sadly) a lot of women think that a guy having sex with them will make them like them. Or they can convince the guy he likes her.

      2. Sadly, I think you’re right. It just cracks me up when I think about it and how the messaging went down. I lol’d. Literally.

      3. 6napkinburger says:

        I’ve done something like that before. It’s usually either after going out and seeing all couples or something that makes me especially lonely. It might be a guy who clearly things were pettering out with, but I don’t want to be alone tonight. I dont’ think its desperate — I’m not trying to force anything, other than not being alone at this moment. And guys are not always going to jump at the chance for sex with someone they’ve slept with a bunch of times before — they just aren’t. They really do have meetings and other plans or pass out or are going to other booty calls. Just because a guy is busy once when you offer what is clearly a booty call doesn’t mean he’s not at all interested in sleeping with you ever again. I’m not suggesting this is the healthiest or most flattering situation, but it is true. I know people who are not sleeping with other people other than their “booty call” but are just really tired/stressed who turn down such options sometimes, because going over there and having to go home before work,e tc. is just too much work.

        FYI: A non-show-upper probably offered the excuse that he fell asleep/passed out. When they tell you that, you convince yourself that it wasn’t personal and it wasn’t a conscious choice, so you don’t have to refuse to hold on to your self-respect.

      4. Will.i.am says:

        When I was sleeping around I would turn down some girls for sex, unless I was lonely and had an itch that needed to be scratched. Some sex was good and some sex was bad, but they all served a purpose depending on how I felt.

        There was one girl I was sleeping with a couple years ago that would only want to fool around when she was incredibly intoxicated. It was fine the first two or three times, but then it just got too over the top for me. She got backburned and when all else failed, she would get a text from me. She was usually intoxicated, since it was a weekend, I would pick her up, do my thing, then take her home.

        I feel bad for what I did back then, but in order to earn respect you have to give it. Neither of us respected one another, so they poor treatment continued. At the time, I didn’t care, because I was still getting what I wanted.

  15. kerrycontrary says:

    Ugh. I mean why does the LW even want to spend time being friends with this guy? As I get older (and I’m not that old) I realize more and more that you need to wisely choose who you spend your time with and who are your friends. I’m so busy with work, family, and my insane dachshund that I have limited time to spend with friends. I don’t like to waste that time with someone I KIND OF enjoy the company of.

    1. YES. I feel the same way. The free time that I have that overlaps with my real friends is so small, why would I want to spend that time with someone that isn’t really a friend?

  16. Bingo. Wendy’s right. It doesn’t matter what he wants. He’s not worth your time in any capacity, so why waste time wondering about it?

  17. Sue Jones says:

    Yep, it often comes down to knowing what you want and finding someone who fits that criteria and who also wants what you want (and with you) and with whom you share some common interests and building a future and a relationship from there. Forget seeing someone from across the room and looking in their eyes and knowing that they are your soulmate. That only happens in movies.

    And BTW I climbed my first 14k peak yesterday! Woo hoo!

    1. zombeyonce says:

      Congratulations! That is seriously impressive. I climbed a few stairs yesterday…that’s about my limit.

    2. Good job Sue! I lived in Colorado for 6 years and never did it. I’m not so great with altitude.

  18. Laura Hope says:

    May I say something extremely controversial? I suspect the reason the women who write in with this question don’t say what they want is because it’s understood. By nature, women want to be loved, cherished and to be the only one.Women do not want to have multiple sex partners–we are not wired that way. And with few exceptions (yes, there are rare exceptions), women do not really want to be friends with benefits. Sex is too emotional for us (we have something like 70% more attachment hormones than men).We’re living in a time when women want to be more like men (it makes us feel more powerful and in control), and can convince ourselves that we are, but it’s really not who we are. Ouch.

      1. Sue Jones says:

        Oxytocin to be specific.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      Um…I enjoyed having multiple sex partners in the past. It was awesome. I also enjoy having one sex partner. And I’ve had very successful FWBs and successful long-term relationships. Not everyone wants to be a serial monogomist.

      1. spark_plug says:

        However, I’d wager to say if the LW needs to write in a letter to Wendy because she’s confused about a guy who doesn’t even text her on a regular basis, much less have sex or treat her a somewhat respectable human being… she’s probably not the FWB type of girl.

      2. Me too!

    2. I think the difference is that women who only want sex are less likely to write in about this because it matters less to them whether a guy wants them or not. Being rejected when all you wanted was sex is a lot less painful than when you wanted something more from them.

    3. zombeyonce says:

      I must be one of the rare exceptions; I enjoy having multiple sex partners. But it’s also easy for me to be happy with that when I already have someone that loves and cherishes me, so I’ve got the “girly” stuff covered and enjoy being “more like men.”

      I’ll take you up on that controversy. I believe that the majority of people (not just women) want to be cherished and loved by someone. I also think that the majority of people want to have really good sex and not feel guilty about that fact (even if they may enjoy sex with more than one person).

  19. spark_plug says:

    So I think that most dating books are really stupid and counterproductive for the average person looking for love, once in a while you get someone that is so out of it that they actually help. I was that person in my late teens and early 20s LW, so I can tell you that there is no shame in picking up ‘the rules’ or ‘he’s not that into you’.

    As I said, I don’t believe that these lead to a healthy relationship in the long term, but having a rule such a guy has to CALL me to be able to see me a minimum of at least two days before (gasp!!) might help the LW fake some self respect until she start to develop in on her own.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      I LOVE “He’s just not that into you”. I don’t follow dating rules to a T, but that literally changed my perspective on dating. I stopped chasing guys, made sure any guy interested in me had to take me on a real date (no hanging out in his apartment as a first date), etc….I found a lot more respectable men through it.

      1. spark_plug says:

        Same for me! It’s kind of like common sense but the initial ‘oh my gosh.. texting a dude for sex won’t get me a boyfriend’ was a revelation! Its sad that some of us are that clueless..

      2. I also loved “He’s Just Not That Into You”. It really helped me see what I should be expecting out of men I was dating – definitely raised the bar way beyond “he’s not dangerous”, so… One of my favorite parts was at the end of, I think, the chapter titled “he’s just not that into you if he doesn’t want to be your boyfriend” It said Wow! We just found this letter from your future boyfriend. “Hey sexy, I’m so glad you stopped seeing that jerk so you’d be free to meet me! I’m out here waiting for you!”

    2. spark_plug says:

      To add to my previous comment, how does someone ‘try to be friends’? What’s the try? I imagine that if someone wanted to be friends, they would say something like ‘hey, it seems like we like the same type of music – do you want to go to this concert on wend night? I’d love to have a friend to go with’.

      I can understand how the LW would rationalize that the guy doesn’t want a relationship b/c he’s confused, afraid of getting rejected, out of a relationship, is shy, whatever other reason girls make up for themselves. But, perhaps short of a psychiatric disorder, no guy is so clueless or fragile that he has to send you hints on a potential friendship that you need to analyze.

      Have you ever heard this conversation:
      Girl A: I met this really cool girl, but I’m not sure if she’s trying to be friends with me
      Girl B: What do you mean?
      Girl A: Well, we never do anything but we did purchase the same brand of eyeliner and she works in a different department but I thought maybe we’d get together and talk about eyeliner.. and the other day she passed me in the hallway and said she liked my make up.. WE HAVE SO MUCH IN COMMON!!!
      Girl B: Why dont you send her an email and go to lunch?
      Girl A: Well, I think she might be trying to be friends based on that comment when I passed her but then before she was talking to someone else and didn’t say anything? So I’m not sure.. do you think she wants me to go talk to her?

      This sounds pretty ridiculous but the fact that the LW is probably having this type of analysis about something as normal and non-threatening as friendship makes me feel like she’s desperate..very desperate.

      1. zombeyonce says:

        LOVE this example. I’m pretty sure you and I have a lot in common and should be friends, spark_plug, but I think you may have been typing to someone else when I was typing this, so I’m not sure if I should talk to you or not.

  20. I really think that this LW needs to take time off from dating and spend time with herself, getting to know herself and what she wants. Develop other friendships and take dating off the table for a while. There’s this idea that it’s a death sentence to be single and it’s not. Work through those self-esteem issues that have been pointed out and become the most awesome person you can be – first. Then sit back and be amazed at the awesome and interesting people who will want to get to know you. And then – only then – you can date some of them. It works.

    1. 6napkinburger says:

      I’m so excited to do this once I move. Not that I’m dating now, but I keep backsliding with my ex and am SO excited to be in a different city and just cut off all contact. My focus once I move is going to taking care of my self (physically dealing with my body-issues (already know which gym I’m joining that is group PT)), situating myself professionally in my new job and industry, and making a good amount of social friends and several good friends. (I want to have plans on weekends AND I want to have good emotional support — I’m not predetermining numbers or anything, but I’m not going to immediately dismiss people because I don’t think we’d be BFFs if they’re fun and we get along).

      I know I am ready to be in a relationship but trying to force it won’t work and right now, my body is not doing me any favors. Once I take care of the things above, the romatic life part will follow! (Though I see no reason to actively refuse to date if I meeet someone; I just am not prioritizing it).

      Sorry for going all offtopic about myself, but I’m just so excited!

  21. To put it bluntly: “he’s just not that into you.”

    Don’t chase a guy, let a guy chase you if he’s into you. But really, in a relationship that is worth any trouble at all, there should be a mutual affection that draws you together quite naturally. It’s fine to play it cool in the beginning, but this is something else.

    You need to focus on yourself and think about what you really want in life and then let the relationship thing happen naturally. If you have to force it, it’s not for you. Make that your new mantra.

  22. Laura Hope says:

    Yes, Nadine, attachment hormones. In fact, sexual activity releases all kinds of hormones. Semen alone has seritonin,oxyconton,endorphins etc. Google it. You’d be surprised.

    1. I think you mean oxytocin, not oxyconton.

    2. Sue Jones says:

      Oxytocin. Oxycontin is a controlled substance prescription narcotic opiate pain reliever that is highly addictive. ( I work in the medical world so these things matter to me….)

  23. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

    This might be my favorite column that Wendy’s written yet. The advice is so succinct and so universally applicable.

  24. stilgar666 says:

    He stood you up for sex?!?! Enough said.

  25. Trying to figure out what the common thread is that runs through this woman’s entire horrific dating history, but I just can’t seem to put my finger on what it might be…

  26. AndreaMarie says:

    Women express their feelings in words and men do so with behavior. Also, we women want to analyze everything. There always is a reason behind a reason. We are spending so much time trying to figure out what his motivations are, or why he waited 3 days to text. Could his phone have gotten stolen, is he sick, does he really really like me but is scared to come off too intense so he calculated waiting 3 days inorder to show interest without seeming over eager. Meanwhile men are much more black and white. They actions tells you exactly how they feel about you and how they see the relationship. If he wanted to make plans with you he would have. Even if his cat died, was super busy at work etc. He would call you to tell you all those things and then set plans for when he frees up. If he wanted to text you he would have. If he was thinking of you, missed you, really liked you and wanted to hear from you/and or keep you attention with him, he would have. That’s all you need to know.

  27. Laura Hope says:

    I apologize for my terrible spelling today. So I looked it up again (Psychology Today). The following hormones are found in seminal fluid: endorphins, oxytocin (pair bonding hormone),serotonin,estrone,prolactin,thyrotrpin-releasing hormones. Half of these words are still underlined in red but I checked the spelling so I don’t get it…..

    1. Sue Jones says:

      Autocorrect or spell checker, Otherwise known as “spellwrecker?” Those programs really mess up the medical terminology! Funny that they recognized the illicit narcotic drug though…

  28. I was thinking that maybe this guy is someone I just got out of a 3-yr relationship with, and then the LW went ahead and called him Jeff. If I knew where she lived, I would be certain this is indeed my ex.

    Yeah, not a good situation. Move on..

  29. Laura Hope says:

    I saw some of the responses and I have to ask… Men are driven by a biological desire to “spread their seed” so even though they do want to be loved and cherished,they have a reason to pursue multiple sex partners. But why would a woman want that? What’s in it for her? To feel desired? Doesn’t it leave you just a little bit vulnerable and empty?

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      Because sex is awesome and fun and you can be attracted to multiple people at the same time, so if you aren’t committed why not have sex with who you want?

  30. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills… yet another letter I feel as though I shouldn’t comment on since I would be incapable of saying anything remotely nice or constructive. So I will merely quote others that I found the most inspiring 🙂

    FireStar had a good one – “randoms texts are what I get from my cell phone carrier. It doesn’t a relationship make. Set your bar higher.”

    and Kudos to iwannatalktosampson – “scrape your dignity off the floor”

  31. Laura Hope says:

    Kerrycontrary, thank you for your response. Interesting.

  32. I’m curious what the problem was with the knife.

    Most of the men in my family habitually have a pocketknife of some kind in a pocket. I don’t carry one as often as I carry a cellphone or my wallet, but not much less often. Heck, my *wife* carries a knife, sort of (it’s part of a multi-tool miniature “leatherman” thing she keeps in her purse).

    If that’s all this guy was doing, what’s with the “getting huffy?” Indeed, how could you even tell he had it?

    Or am I getting entirely the wrong picture, here? Was it a really big slasher-movie knife? A machete slung over one shoulder or something? Was this guy into LARP-ing and walking around carrying a sword? Or was he just a sketchy-spooky-psycho seeming guy who seemed like he might be a few minutes shy of saying “it rubs the lotion on its skin?” Or what?

  33. He wants to be your friend with benefits. OK, scratch that. He just wants to fuck you.

    And maybe get you to mind his dog when he goes on vacation. But that is pretty much it.

  34. Joe Smith says:

    Can you give me her e-mail address? 🙂

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