All friends – No Benefits?

by Maryanne Comaroto

James asks:

We’re well and truly into spring now, and you can definitely feel it, inside and out!  We’re breaking out of our winter cocoons, and the sudden liberation can lead to a lot of opportunities for spring flings!

Before jumping in the deep end, remember these things: one, keep your eyes open and pay attention (it’s a pay now or pay later situation); two, ask yourself if the fun really outweighs the potential consequences by at least 3 to 1; three, wear a condom, no exceptions.  Meanwhile, let’s answer some of your questions:

James asks:

I met this girl at school and ended up falling for her. However, at the time she had a boyfriend who was moving to France. I saw her a couple of times before they officially broke up and then asked her out on a date. She said yes, then flaked on me twice (both times legitimate-ish reasons such as her grandparents’ anniversary do and something else).


We eventually went out a couple of times and texted each other a bit, then suddenly after our second date when I kissed her goodnight on the cheek she didn’t text me for over a week and just ignored my email (I tried to contact her three times). Then she started to talk again and we have seen each other about every two weeks since. I have kissed her on the cheek a couple of times and once on the lips, but that’s it.


When we are out we have such a good time and get along great, and although there is not much physical contact she flirts back. She has since then invited me to go on holiday with her and her family. I’m just not sure where I stand. Are we going out? Her old bf is in a relationship but she isn’t going out with anyone else and never talks about other guys with me. On Valentine’s Day I gave her a card and chocolates, and she gave me the same. She lets me pay for coffees and other things like that. But my question is: Who am I to her, a friend or a boyfriend?-James, UK

James, with all the mixed signals, you need to learn once and for all if you have a chance with this girl, or if she’s just playing with you to take her mind off her ex-boyfriend.  Cards and kisses on the cheek are nice, but if you really want to know what the score is, you’re going to have to have a serious conversation with her.  Women like a man to be straightforward, so just ask her what’s going on and be clear about what you want.  Then you’ll find out where you stand.  Be warned, though – chances are she’s not being shy, she’s just dragging her heels because she’s not that into it.

Nick asks:

Every time I meet someone and we wind up liking each other, it always turns out she just wants me as a friend. Even though they all tell me they would date me. Is there any way I can stop winding up the “best friend”? -Nick, US

This is something I see over and over again.  Whatever it is that you’ve been doing is just not getting the results you want.  You think you’re aiming for girlfriend territory, but instead your shots land more in the “friends without benefits” area.  You’ve got to take a close look at how you usually proceed, and take that extra stop toward getting what you want.  Women are tricky when it comes to relationships, mostly because our concern for our safety has overridden the privilege of being able to come out and say exactly what we want.

The key is finding someone who meets your basic criteria in terms of values, appearance, and so forth, and then being as clear as possible that you are not just looking for another female friend.  The easiest way to do this is to specifically use the word “date.”  If you ask a girl to a movie, she could misconstrue it as just “hanging out,” but if you specifically ask her on a date, then she knows for sure it’s a date, and you can use her reaction as a guideline.  Within the first few dates, hopefully you’ll be getting that real kiss that lets you know she doesn’t just think of you as a friend!  If not, then at least you know where you stand and you can move on without wasting time.

Want to learn more about what to know BEFORE you get into a relationship? Go “In the Ring With Maryanne!” In this upcoming video webinar, Maryanne will be interviewing an eligible bachelor live, on the fly, to teach you what types of questions YOU should be asking before you agree to a date or relationship. Sign up here:

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