The Eternal Misunderstanding Between the Genders

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Michael Martin, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    I'm chewing on something, and wanted to see what the sages here at HTF think. You've all proven to have a good range of responses to gender/relationship quandaries, so wanted to pick the collective brain.

    Here's the situation:

    A good friend of mine here at work is a terrific person = smart, attractive, culturally with it, etc. - has asked me what I think she could do differently in handling a guy who wants more than a platonic relationship with her.

    Background: this is a guy she's known for 10 years+. Back in the early 90s, they dated - casually, she says, nothing serious. Because of post-college jobs on different coasts and marriages, they fell out of contact. Last year, this guy moved back to town. Because they were friends before and had many friends in common (they are both now divorced and single), they have spent quite a bit of time together, both with a group and just one-on-one.

    She was very clear with him when he moved back to town that she had zero interest in having a romantic relationship with him, but she valued his friendship and wanted to remain good friends and all that entails. However, since he's moved back, he's admitted to or shown some things that say he is still very much in the "I wanna date/sleep with/marrry/etc. you" mode.

    You want examples? He admitted a big part of the reason he moved back to town was her. When I've spent time with the group and they're both present, he gives her a LOT of verbal compliments ("pretty shirt," "great necklace", etc.). She recently had to spend some time in the hospital, and despite her family asking the gang of friends to give her space and distance, he made repeated visits to the hospital and waited for them at her house when they brought her home. He has twice told her he's no longer trying to pursue her. And, as hazy as this may seem, as a male, I can "just tell" he's still pining for her, and that most of his actions are colored by his desire to win her romantic favor.

    My advice to her was to put some firm, meaningful boundaries to the relationship - no time alone, quell any compliments, and reinforce that she's not going to be his confidante, best friend, etc. I didn't recommend her cutting him out entirely - it's not practical, given the friends they share, nor is it needed - he's not stalker material, just lonely and not accepting the reality of the situation. I actually feel for him - we've all had people that we've had big crushes on or even fallen in love with, and the feeling wasn't returned. But at the same time, my friend asked me what I, as a guy, think about it.

    She has said that she's afraid of hurting his feelings if she steps back from him as I recommend. Frankly, I think many women are FAR too worried about this. Guys tend to be pretty dumb about this stuff; we need clear, consistent signals. I've told my friend that, IMNSHO, telling him she only wants to be good friends and spending regular time alone with him sends him conflicting signals. This frustrates her, because the time for her is strictly "friend time" with no strings or hidden meanings. I think she wants to think the best of this guy, and struggles with knowing that (again, IMNSHO) he's going to essentially take any gestures from her and reinterpret them to fit his dream. My friend also says she feels like that because he has been a good friend to her (and he has helped her out with quite a few things), that it would be wrong to put that distance between them. I understand and sympathize with that idea, but again, I think a guy who's shown himself to be this ga-ga over her isn't in a place to think clearly about it.

    What do you guys think? Am I off base? Is she being too nice? I know HTF is heavily male, but would love to hear from the female portion of the viewing audience as well.

    I'll try to clarify anything I didn't make clear - just ask.
     
  2. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Guys are bad at signals. They need stuff explained to them straight-up. I got decent at interpretations in college. I could tell when my advances were unwanted (which was always) [​IMG] In truth, women are obvious when they are interested. If you aren't sure of the signals...then it's a NO.

    IMHO,
    Chuck
     
  3. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    She shouldn't be afraid to set boundaries for someone who acts like that. He may not be stalker material, but it sure sounds like he could turn into it someday. "Knowing how to take the hint" is an essential trait when you have a crush on a friend. Otherwise, things can get ugly.
     
  4. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    212-660-2245

    If this doesn't help, I don't know what will.

    --
    H
     
  5. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    I agree. My friend has been very blunt with this guy about the romance NOT happening, and he hasn't given up. Thus my asking for opinions here....
     
  6. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    For those who are afraid to call, it's "The Rejection Hotline." Nothing obscene or offensive.

    Except to guys who can't take the hint, that is.[​IMG]
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Wasn't there a show once on NBC, called "Ed", perhaps you've heard of it? [​IMG]

    The girl needs to stop seeing the guy, and have the guy watch "When Harry Met Sally".
     
  8. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    [​IMG] Well, since we've traded posts on the TV forum, you know I have!

    Seriously, this is part of the problem. This guy may very well view himself as the heroic underdog, the "Ed" of the situation. In reality, he's the Herb Tarlek.
     
  9. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    But if she doesn't step back, she'll be hurting him even worse.
     
  10. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    HAHAHAHA, H always takes nice direct approach

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Why was that funny without GOOGLING? [​IMG]
     
  11. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    IMO, she needs to stay away from him as much as possible. She should tell him that she is uncomfortable with his attitude towards her, that she believes his romantic feelings will hinder any possible friendship, and therefore they cannot be friends. Yes, she'd be losing a friendship, but it's been lost already. If they run into each other in social circles, so be it, but she can try to minimize that as much as possible.
     
  12. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I think watching this would only make him think it could work out.

    I don't think your thoughts and advice are off Michael and more than likely it will take something dramatic for things to change (i.e. hurting him in some fashion). Nobody wants that to happen, but experience shows that it is the best way sometimes. Everyone will be better off for it. That said, I don't know if simply dialing things back will work, especially if his feelings are as strong as they seem. It may be a decision between maintaining the status quo (which benefits no one) or parting ways for a little while (which hurts but ultimately benefits both people). She has to be prepared for likelihood of the latter and trust in the healing properties of time and perspective. It may also help her if she examines whether she has any selfish motivations in sparing his feelings. It's clear she cares for him, but sometimes saying "I don't want to hurt him/her." really means "I don't want to be a jerk/bitch and feel bad about myself."

    It is kind of funny how thick guys can be (myself included) and it definitely is difficult to think clearly when you have feelings for someone. Heck, the guy may even be in denial about his true feelings, but as the saying goes "actions speak louder than words."
     
  13. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    You forgot "and besides, I like the attention".[​IMG]

    Oh and I second the fact that guys are dumb. I have told women friends of mine that they have to speak "Grog" as in "Girl no like Grog and girl will never like Grog. No matter how many mammoth skin coats Grog get for girl, no matter how many shells Grog collect for girl, no matter how many other cavemen Grog beat with club, girl still no like Grog".
     
  14. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    There are times that this is true, but not in this case. Both my friend and others in the "gang" of friends have remarked on the odd behavior. Her reasoning for not putting more and firmer distance is a sense of loyalty and duty towards someone who used to be a good friend, and who has given her a lot of support over the last year.

    Yeah, I know - that support most likely was not altruistically motivated. Preaching to the choir, my friends. [​IMG]
     
  15. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I don't doubt your friends sincerity and not to say this is the case with her, but after a certain point this ideal can also have selfish underpinnings. It's not so much that a person wants/likes the attention but he/she doesn't want to suffer a loss. It's very understandable of course, but if the avoidance of loss is the priority, one has entered selfish-ville.
     
  16. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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    That was my thought also.

    Has she tried the "I think of you like a brother so any romantic feelings would just be icky"? [​IMG]

    Whenever they're together, never talk about her problems because he is using the "I'm your friend, I'll always be there for you" angle. [​IMG]

    Perhaps she should try setting him up with other women. And make it obvious that she is interested in other guys.
     
  17. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I thought the point about "WHMS" was that men and women can't be "just" friends.

    Plus, there are some people in relationships that don't leave a relationship unless they are trading up for someone "better" than their current SO. Thus, if the object of your desire ain't leaving their current SO for you, you aren't a "trade-up" in their eyes.
     
  18. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i think your advice is spot-on, but i think she may have to get heavy-handed with him.

    have her, as flat and bluntly as possible, lay out the guidelines again. be firm, but don't be a bitch about it. she needs to make it clear because it really doesn't seem that he's getting the hint.

    she should *not* worry about hurting his feelings. in some sense, even though he's been a good friend to her in the past, he is *now* making her feel uncomfortable. is that something a good friend would do? of course not.

    what about having a "friend intervention"? the group could get together and lay it out for him. she doesn't even need to be there. i know that sounds harsh and embarassing for the guy -- but if that doesn't do it nothing will. the group (or individual) can even say she wants to talk to him after this intervention. that way he knows she's not taking the cheap way out...but is just trying to make her point clear. also, this way he probably won't be so weird when the gang is hanging out.

    things change, people change, circumstances change. this sounds like one of those situations. just because they have history doesn't mean they can "get away" with their behaviors.
     
  19. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Harry's Rule #1 - A man cannot be friends with a woman he finds attractive.

    Harry's rule #2 - A man cannot be friends with a woman he finds unattractive - because he pretty much wants to nail her too.
     
  20. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    The only condition with that is if the woman is married. I doubt I'd be able to just be friends with a single/attractive woman, but I am friends with many married/attractive women.

    It's not to say that I don't want them, it's just that I have too much morality to ever do anything about it, so I am fine with just being friends.
     

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