Establishing man-woman friendships
Content warning. The story I’ll tell you here isn’t significant to the grand scheme of the universe but, hey, it happens to me, so it matters to me. If you don’t care about my life, maybe you shouldn’t care about this blog post. You got a fair warning :-)
Let’s start with some straight fact: I never had a girlfriend, and I have never been in a relationship of any kind. There are reasons for this – most of them probably aren’t good I’ll admit – but I don’t want to get into this today. Don’t worry though: most of the time this fact doesn’t alarm me in any way.
Having moved to another country, though, means I can’t spend as much time as I want with my Belgian friends, and you would believe it means I should use that reclaimed time to make new friends. As it turns out, I am not a social butterfly, I don’t mind spending time alone – probably quite the contrary: it takes some effort to socialize.
But even when I work on myself to do things and meet people, I am amazed how biased the resulting outcome is skewed towards sustaining relationships with men rather than women. Maybe I am misinterpreting what I am living through, but it seems to me the issue originates from the fact I don’t have a girlfriend.
At start, there is no difference between discussing with a man or a woman in a group. I can have a conversation about a large set of topics, and I have never had any difficulty talking with people. Maybe I would even be a social butterfly if I hadn’t grown into being anthropophobic.
Now, let’s say you discuss with someone and had a good time. When either of you has to leave for other things, comes the moment where you need to indicate you would be interested in getting another opportunity to meet that person to continue the conversation.
Usually I make it a policy to attempt to give my phone number to the other person, to not force him or her to connect. In the vast majority of the cases though, you will quickly receive either the phone number or facebook detail of the other person. Nothing unusual here.
Between men, it seems to me things go fairly naturally from that point. But even if you connect with women through whatever means and schedule they seem comfortable with, as soon as you want to setup another meeting, and it does not matter how you bring that up, you will be hit some strange glass wall, sometime materialized by the famous “I already have a boyfriend btw” line.
My experience is, it doesn’t matter how you respond to that line. Even if you genuinely do not care, and even if a rational analysis would quickly lead anybody involved to the conclusion it wouldn’t make any sense anyway, the likelihood of meeting again dropped to extremely low levels. So many interesting discussions will never happen because being a single male I am assumed to care about women only to land a girlfriend.
I can’t help but wonder if things wouldn’t be tremendously easier if I had a girlfriend and went out with her, as a sign of good faith I am genuinely not interested in another girlfriend… but it saddens me our society has grown into a thing where being a young single pretty much prevents you from meeting women at random and meet again out of mutual non-sexual interest.