The previous post about a BF’s ex who “keeps in touch” got me thinking — Even if we think it’s harmless, where is the line between friendly and flirty?
The messages from Elec’s ex always seem inappropriate from my standpoint, but I realize that the way I talk to male friends (including exes-turned-friends) isn’t all that different. Even though these interactions are *completely* innocent from my POV, I can see how a female outsider might not agree.
It’s debated whether men and women can “really” be friends to begin with, but at least one thing is true: A lot of women think of guys as friends. Or, call them friends, anyway.
I’d be interested to hear if other women they keep their distance with guy friends, and if they feel like people are on the same page. From my experience, there’s a lot of stepping on toes — most girls don’t mean any harm, they just aren’t acknowledging the boundaries. Especially for guys in relationships, though, there’s a right and a wrong way to keep it kosher, and certain messages to “taken” men are a bad idea.
For example, when a guy starts dating someone and goes MIA, that doesn’t signal a good time to post, “Misssss youuuuuuu!!! We need to have another crazy beach night soon lol ;) xoxo” on his Facebook wall, or to text him anything similar. There’s no point in going there — Not seriously, not casually, not in any capacity. Not unless you’re married and he’s been your friend since you were both in diapers. Actually, even then. If you’re using innuendo, winking emoticons, or too many exclamation points, it just sounds wrong.
Getting flirty with men in relationships is playing a game, and that game eventually bites us all in the ass. It tends to follow the same story, and one way or another the collective karma comes back around:
Guy and girl start dating. Guy and girl get serious. Guy stops hanging out with other women, even the ones he was “just friends” with (according to research, he was secretly thinking about banging some of them anyway… But that’s another story for another day).
All is well. Briefly.
Mysterious single vixen posts some LOL-inside-joke-sexual-innuendo crap on guys wall.
Girlfriend sees it and gets upset, wonders why vixen feels the need to get up on her kool-aid, says something to guy.
Guy says it’s nothing, they’re just friends. (But…Internally remembers those drunken hook-ups they had in the past.)
Girl’s radar goes off, thinks um yeah this is bullshit, starts the interrogation.
Guy gets defensive, wonders what he did wrong, questions sanity of girl and relationship.
Girl gets upset by guy’s “defensiveness,” does something stupid like look through his phone, inevitably finds something she doesn’t like, e.g. drunken texts arranging rendezvous.
Girl sees it as proof they aren’t “just friends” (even if these texts were from months ago), drops an atom bomb of estrogen, demands guy stop speaking to Vixen.
Guy, now equally furious with invasion of privacy, goes into full-on Fort Knox defense mode and says No, she’s my friend.
Girl sees this as sign he’s chasing vixen tail, starts wanting to know where he is every 15 minutes, blah blah blah, generally starts acting nuts.
Guy breaks up with girl he formally liked but now finds completely cray-cray, starts to regard entire female gender with caution.
Girl thinks guy ended relationship for slutty vixen, seeks emotional validation, posts some LOL-inside-joke-sexual-innuendo crap on a taken male friend’s wall.
And we’re back at square one with someone else’s relationship.
It’s not always this dramatic, but female friends make waves even when they’re not trying to (the ones who do it intentionally have a whole other set of issues). I’ve been on both sides of the situation, and learned as a GF, untoward flirtatiousness is not appreciated. Maybe it seems ridiculous to change how you act just because a guy starts dating someone. But, no matter how friendly we intend our words to be, other women might not see them that way. We’re doing everyone a favor by keeping the exchange as sparkly-clean-and-clear as possible, and that, ladies, usually means no winking.