In a previous post, I outlined some very good reasons why men should look to make friends with more women than we already do, especially with those we find attractive. Evidently, a few women took issue with the blog—particularly with the title—because they didn’t feel as though you could be genuine friends with someone who held “ulterior motives”. And although I agree entirely with that sentiment, I think that anyone left with such an impression failed to see the bigger picture and failed to thoroughly read every word that I wrote.
In the conclusions of that blog, I specifically mentioned my hope “that men can eventually learn to appreciate the greater value in developing platonic relationships” as I have. But I’m not naïve. Men are often short-sided in terms of how we relate to the opposite sex. Quite simply, we think with our dïcks. And unless we can envision a scenario where our dïcks can express their opinions, we’ll generally avoid engaging women in conversation. Hyperbole, sure. But my bigger point is that men and women can be good friends with nonsexual benefits, and it may require some ulterior motivation for men to even consider those greater benefits.
I understand all that, BenGe. But you failed to list what those greater benefits were.
Of course I didn’t. Why write one really long blog when you can write two really long blogs? I wanted to separate the “simple, shallow and self-gratifying” advantages of befriending women from the more meaningful ones, which I intimated (perhaps ineffectively) towards the end of that blog.
Okay then, fine. Can you now please explain to us these more meaningful advantages?
Most of what I’ll explain is seemingly obvious, so I doubt I’m breaking any ground here. Nevertheless, it need be said that
When you build a friendship with a woman, you actually learn about women.
I know, I know, I know. Captain Obvious, right? But I can’t emphasize enough how many men struggle relating to women because they just don’t understand them. And how could they? Women don’t even understand themselves.
All jokes aside, there is a great distinction between how men and women communicate. What’s important to realize is that communication is equal parts speaking and listening, which means that what you say as a man may not translate into what is heard by a woman, and vice versa. Again, this is not a novel concept. I’m sure you can search the blogosphere for topics on understanding the opposite sex. But the content of any findings will pale in comparison to the first-hand knowledge you’ll acquire from a woman.
The beauty of having homegirls is that they’ll keep things real with you. And naturally so, since women tend to understand each other’s behaviors, they can let you know when your romantic interest is being sincere or disingenuous. A homegirl can tell you when you messed up or misread a signal, and she can help gauge the attraction level of your potential mate. Sure, you may have a Bengemin Grehe in your corner to help break down what she’s thinking, but I’m just a simple man. Everything I’ve learned about women is the result of my experiences with them, and mainly with those whom I proudly call my friends. More so, I still have a great deal to learn, and so does any man for that matter. One of the problems I notice is when guys seek council from other guys who don’t have a clue about women. This leads to diva dudes, misinformed dudes, and lame dudes that just don’t know how to approach women. All that being said,
A woman friend will help you to become a better man.
In the same vein as what I illustrated above, homegirls give good insight into the minds of women. Obviously. But it’s not always what they say about other women, sometimes it’s just what they say about themselves. You’d be hard pressed to maintain a friendship with any woman, much less any man, without listening to her express herself. Pay attention when she talks about what she wants in a man. The qualities she looks for, the conversations she’d like to have, and the types of dates that pique her interest. You can learn all this by hearing where other men failed. Just as any dude with homegirls will tell you, we’ve all heard our fair share of horror stories. We may have heard a fair amount of success stories, too. And even though the outcomes of either set of stories don’t necessarily apply to us, you best believe we’re taking notes. Depending on the woman and level of friendship, she might even take the notes for you.
“Don’t let me find out that you approachin’ girls on that ‘I got a degree, a job, a car, and a calculator…you need to do the math.’ You better have some respect for the ladies and some game about yourself. And if you are fortunate enough to get her number and take her out, you best not take her to some fancy restaurant and then fake like you left your wallet at home. I swear, men are really on that bullshït.”
Of course, this is completely hypothetical because any real friend would hold you accountable for your actions. Meaning that, she’s not gonna stay friends if you continually dog out chicks. Or maybe she will. Like I said, it depends on the type of woman she is. But assuming you’re a man who enjoys the company of good women, you’re likely to be just as selective with your women friends.
I hate to interrupt, BenGe, but if my friend is a woman I find attractive, and she’s also a cool person, wouldn’t it make sense to date her?
I suppose it could, but only if she found you attractive as well. This is key, because many a “friend zone” occur due to dude’s stubborn unwillingness to look past the fact that his “homie” isn’t attracted to him. But assuming a mutual level of attraction exists, it’s very important to remember that good friends don’t always make for good lovers. Which brings me to the next point, that
The more platonic friends you obtain, the more you realize what you’re looking for in a partner.
Just because you find someone attractive, doesn’t mean you’ll find her compatible. Everybody knows this, yet we also seem to miss the point entirely. It’s one of the reasons why the dating game is so thick right now, because we seem to be looking for matches based off of our surface level attractions. I get it. It makes sense. I just don’t think it’s very productive. When you confine a woman to either the sex or relationship role, you’re doing exactly that. Confining them. Which limits you from much of what you stand to gain by simply remaining platonic.
As I become good friends with more and more women, I learn that the qualities they possess that I find attractive, don’t always offer the full perspective. I may like her style. I may like her smile. Her sense of humor. I may love that she’s smart or that she’s charitable. Maybe she can cook. Maybe she’s sexy. Maybe she shares my faith, or my interest in music. Maybe she has some of these traits but not all of them. Or maybe she has all of them but none of them matter when compared to the intangibles necessary to share your life with someone. I suppose you’d never know without giving it a go. But I do know that attractive women who I approach openly without plans to see naked, more often than not fall into the category of friend, which means I made prudent decisions in not hollering. And when I think about all the ways I’ve benefitted from building friendships and all the headaches I’ve avoided by not pursuing every woman I found attractive, I’d say I’m fine with remaining friends and have no desire to be anything but.
Needless to say, I could probably write a book on this subject and even have a lot more to add. I’m also a little rusty given the week off, and I’m sure I forgot to mention some meaningful advantages to having platonic friends. Fellas, can you think of any reasons I may have missed? Ladies, in what ways have your guy friends benefitted you? Are there other positives about your friendship that I failed to mention? Let us know.