0513: "Friends"

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Argive
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Argive » Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:17 am UTC

Mythago speaks truth.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Affableprechaun » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:57 am UTC

This comic is incredibly truthful. It seems I'm always that friend. I hope one day I will find a girl who sees things clearly though. I can be more than just the friend who is always there for you. So much more. Ah well. I don't mind being the friend to cry on for so many girls. But I wish some of them would read this and see what they do to themselves, and then realize the good guys out there are the ones they want to be with.
(Note, I'm sure there are plenty of girls out there who feel like their guy friends only go for the "hot" girl or whatever and then rely on them after the problems in a similar way. I'm not as familiar with that case, but I feel for you as well. I'm sure it sucks just as much.)

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setzer777
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby setzer777 » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:59 am UTC

Hm, read through the thread, noticed two main things in the discussion:

1. It seems like most people are acting on a strange binary of "act totally platonic" and "pursue a relationship". What about flirting? It's true that when you first meet someone you usually don't know if you want a relationship (and asking for one would be awkward), but it's completely normal to flirt with someone as you get to know them if you think you *might* be interested (and then start toning down the flirting when if it looks like you aren't going to want more than friendship).

2. It seems like some people are discounting the role of shallow sexual attraction (or lack thereof) when it comes to not dating a friend you have a ton in common with. Now granted, a woman usually isn't going to come right out and say: "I'm not physically attracted to you", but if you think of how you usually react when someone you like but aren't attracted to asks you out/flirts with you, it gets easier to see when this is the case when you're being the one turned down.
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BigRig
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby BigRig » Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:01 am UTC

It seems every comic makes someone register, and I have to say I was shocked to find a semi-intelligent discussion of love on the Internet. (And wonder why the hell these forums send passwords via email in plaintext...) A few pages ago, someone posted something I thought was really true wisdom, and I feel a need to repeat it.

Jez wrote:Sounds like every teenage crush I ever had... then I found out that only happens when you force it... and if you're not forcing it she actually loves you too... was best mates with my now fiancee for years before we got together, until I read this comic I wholeheartedly regretted not realising she liked me too sooner and it could work, now I kinda realise if she'd been another teenage crush it would have ended like that, or like all the others


Too many people on the Internet believe in a strict delineation between love as a physical, sexual object and "friendship" as some unclear mental, Platonic thing. In hypersexualized America, Platonic love is often shelved as "friendship". Culture imposes a strict yes/no quantifier on relationships: "Have you gone on a date?" "Have you had sex?" etc, that seriously hinders the true relationship as a growth of a friendship.

Like Jez said, the problem is when you force it. The "Nice Guy" in the comic goes out and lies about his intents - and oversteps from shyness into deceit. The problem in the comic's story for the guy is that the girl is already going out with people when he is trying to be "her friend" - and thus like so many people have said before, she trusts him to not complicate her sociopolitical "love life". If there is interest from both sides, I think that first both people should be single - acting in general on anyone already in a relationship is a bad idea - and that any gradual approach that may be shelved as "friends" by most society is best. If you can't hit it off to the point where it would be awkward for one of you to take up the "In a Relationship" title with someone else*, then think of it as a rejection - a hint that you are not right for each other and "break up". It avoids the emotion and elephant-in-the-room of the emotional high-school breakup and sometime you can actually still be "just friends" - not in the creepy sense that the comic guy does, but casual acquaintances, as it were.

Note: To "go after" someone who is already in a relationship is creepy. If you seriously want to try to "steal" someone, yeah, you're going to have to be very forthright about it. It seems the comic guy is courting someone who already has a boyfriend. This is a very stupid idea. In general though, show a little respect for someone's desires and tastes. You may think he/she is a jerk/bitch, but clearly the other girl/guy has some reason for being in a relationship and so by trying to butt in you're already acting contrary to the desires of whoever you want to get with.

To throw the traditional delineatory definition of "friend" out the window, your girlfiend/boyfriend should still be your best and closest (the use of superlative is important here too) friend first, and object of your desires second. Shakespeare also has it fairly nicely in Sonnets 116 and 129.

*Facebook in general only serves to accentuate the stupid black/white distinction in relationships. It used to be society thinking that you were only legitimately "in a relationship"/"in love"/whatever if you made out in public or went on a date, but now we have a lovely little status to set online. I suppose it acknowledges society's pressure and has its uses. One of the many reasons I love 355.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Yev » Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:15 am UTC

Image

I have too much time on my hands and not enough wit for a good punchline. Que sera sera.

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MisterFreeman
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby MisterFreeman » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:38 am UTC

Long time reader, first time poster.

Let's see... I've been that guy.

I've been that guy without knowing I was.

I've been that guy on purpose.

I've been a regular best friend, while the other half wanted more from me.

I've also asked a girl out and ended up in a relationship with her. About 6 months later I realized it wasn't all what I wanted. Maybe it was an Ayn Rand thing, as I realized I'd rather love a person for their virtues than in spite of their faults.

Last but not least, I now have a roomie friend with benefits whom I've known for 5 years or so now, but we both agree that it's just good sex and company but no relationship. Mainly 'cause it's got the respect, but lacks the love aspect.

Now even though I have done it myself, I feel quite a bit of contempt for that so-called nice guy there.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Slagathored » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:45 am UTC

Well, I realize that I'm a little late and that no one will ever read my post but after having this comic marinade for a few days I really do feel obligated to write something; even if it is just to agree with some previous posts that Romeo and Juliet is not true love (and pop culture is stupid). I also apologize for my possibly confusing and definitely long winded sentence structure.

This comic makes me seriously reconsider any and all ideas I have about long term relationships. I have of late been thinking that a soul-mate is defined in part by how long you've known a person and the memories you share. However, I find the idea of the imaginary relationship in this comic to be abhorrent. It might be the sleepiness of finals week that is making my brain run slow but I honestly do not understand how I could hold these conflicting beliefs. I also read about the 'ladder I-forgot-what-it's-called' and have been mulling over the concept of "friend zone" with no apparent progress. If I don't want to date someone because we are friends and I know that person as a friend I think that we are not compatible and I despise them, does that mean that they are in the "friend zone"?

Now I am debating what the word friend means. Do I have to like someone for them to be my friend? Do they have to like me? Do we have to be friends on facebook? If certain of my friends were to theoretically ask me out and I know that I would theoretically go to dinner with them as long as my schedule was free: are we friends? or are they just friends with me and not the reverse? Can one person want sex and not the other and it still be a friendship? If not, why?

I don't see anything wrong with being in love with your friend and not making it known, as long as you don't want a relationship. But maybe I just feel that way because that's how I justified it to myself. Additionally, it's fine as long as you aren't annoying, staring into someone's eyes (hazel or no) can only last so long before they get pissed at you and leave.

This comic also makes me hate 'Made of Honor' all the more, were such a thing possible -though the half-second or so of Patrick Dempsey flying face first in to a solid wooden door was delightful. Don't worry, I was forced to watch it against my will, unless I wanted to walk back from NYC. Alone, at night, in the rain.

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MisterFreeman
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby MisterFreeman » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:59 am UTC

Now don't cry. I've read your post.

Also, friendship is about respect. That's why things like facebook degrade the term.

I believe it's okay to find a friend attractive. A friend of mine is still the most beautiful creature I ever laid eyes upon, but after been brushed off twice on separate occasions, I've come to realize that it's her beauty and beauty alone that attracts me, whereas there would be no basis for a relationship, only for friendship. And I've been honest to her even about that.

And for my last point, friendship can be many things. I've known my best friend for (wow, damn) fifteen years or something now. We watch movies together or play video games or go bowling. But we don't talk about problems. We see each other to forget about them, I believe. I have no idea if he's ever had a girlfriend for instance. Then there's my aforementioned friend with benefits, who is awesome in many ways and whom I trust enough to share my thoughts with her, even about other girls and relationship troubles. I've got friends I can talk philosophy with all day and I've got friends to get on stage with and play Arthur Miller's Crucible (or, with any luck, the Rocky Horror Picture Show). I have friends who provide me with free enchantments in WoW, as I provide them with other free stuff. I consider them all friends and I'd go out of my way to help them if they asked me for a favor that was within reason of our previous dealings.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby scwizard » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:11 pm UTC

@Slagathored: If you don't want that kind of relationship with her it's perfectly alright not to tell her your feelings.

@Everybody: I think one of the ideas of this comic is to scare geeks out of the friends zone. Those who think to themselves "am I being manipulative trying to get a girlfriend like this" will answer "yes I definitely am" and this comic will give them the slap in the face they need. Most will think "is my friendly relationship with this girl manipulative." And the answer will mostly likely be "maybe." Those types of people have kept their emotions bottled up inside of them, and even if it isn't hurting the other girl, like it is in this comic, its definitely hurting them by holding them back:
1. By not asking a girl out you don't get a flat rejection, and without a flat rejection you can't move on in life. Having the eternal hope that your friendship will someday develop into something more keeps you from moving on.
2. It really is the boy's imperative to ask the girl out. You may not necessarily like it that way, but that's probably how your female friend sees it. She may actually like you, but is thinking to herself "if he liked me back he would have asked me out already."

So for the maybe folk, your probably not the guy in this comic, I think Randall is just trying to scare you into making something better of yourself.
~= scwizard =~

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Xentropy » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:36 pm UTC

scwizard wrote:2. It really is the boy's imperative to ask the girl out.


As an extremely shy person that works night shift for a technical company (and thus rarely interacts with females on a daily basis at all, and the two that exist in any part of my world are married) this very much sucks. As in "I'll be 30 next month and have never been on a date" sucks. At least I've never had any female friends, either, so I know I haven't fallen into the trap that this comic portrays. :)

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Dracc » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:54 pm UTC

I hate when my life is featured on XKCD... though judging by all the comments, I suppose we will have to file this one as 'universally appealing'

Berk and Hair
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Berk and Hair » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:58 pm UTC

To the people who posted here saying "I have a female friend who I'm interested in, but I'm not like that because...". Do you think anyone gets in that situation as a conscious strategy? If the comic is about anyone it is about you. And if it's about no one it's a bad comic.

Suppose the xkcd guy had written a comic in which a girl complains about her abusive boyfriends to an attentive sympathetic guy over the course of several panels with the punchline "why do I never meet any nice guys?"* You people would still be agreeing with him even though he would be making the exact opposite point about the same situation.

I'm not saying I agree with either of these viewpoints. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. But just because you like the comic it doesn't mean you have to agree with everything.


*Yeah I know it's shit. It's just an example.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby moto_tx » Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:06 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:I guess my point is I don't get it. I don't get people at all.

You might not "get" people right now, but you can learn, and you will be happier when you do.

H2SO4, I have to say, unfortunately, that you are the dude from the comic. The only difference is that you had the balls to ask her out at the beginning (good man!) but settled for a friendship when she said no. You're still hoping it turns around. I don't believe you are intentionally manipulating her and I do believe that you genuinely enjoy the friendship you share, but you are not content.

You're confused because she is sending you "mixed signals." She is acting exactly like the girl from the comic. She is starting to become more lonely (is she moving next year or something?) and so she is exaggerating her feelings towards you.

H2SO4 wrote:And yet she doesn't feel the same way I do.

Because she's not attracted to you. You're a great friend, she loves your company, but she doesn't want to have sex with you.

H2SO4 wrote:Her pants wasn't where, either (just for those that are going to claim that)

This doesn't help. Don't lie to yourself or to us; you're attracted to this girl and of course you want to have sex with her. It's perfectly natural.

That being said, I think you should give up on this girl. I applaud your confidence in asking her out in the beginning, but you're sticking around a girl that isn't attracted to you and hoping that she will one day "realize" that the two of you would be great together. It doesn't work like that; I'm sorry. Even if you were to end up together, your story will be the same as the girl from the comic -- she will feel like she's settled, and won't be happy. Not as happy as you would want her to be.

I honestly wish you the best of luck, but I encourage you to be proactive about learning more about women. I'm rooting for you dude. Cheers!

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby moto_tx » Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:12 pm UTC

Xentropy wrote:
scwizard wrote:2. It really is the boy's imperative to ask the girl out.


As an extremely shy person that works night shift for a technical company (and thus rarely interacts with females on a daily basis at all, and the two that exist in any part of my world are married) this very much sucks. As in "I'll be 30 next month and have never been on a date" sucks. At least I've never had any female friends, either, so I know I haven't fallen into the trap that this comic portrays. :)


I think you need to quickly decide how much women, companionship and sex matter to you; and if they are important (and I suspect they are) then it might be time to consider taking some serious action... up to, and including, finding a new job or changing careers if it will help you interact with women more. Like, now. Are you hoping it will happen magically some day, when you turn 35? Or what?

I'm not trying to hound you, I just want you to realize that it won't happen on its own, and in your situation it will be very hard to turn it around without major lifestyle changes.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby ZephyrSpark » Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:15 pm UTC

Ah, at first this comic totally describes me... right up until it becomes obvious that he's being her friend just to date her. See, I have always believed that the best friends make the best couples because there is that foundation right from the beginning. That's why one of my best friends is dating someone that was very close to her on a platonic level beforehand and they're the cutest couple I've ever laid eyes on. :D

As for me, I can't get myself to ask someone out until I befriend them first, because that's the only way that I can see if I want to be with that person on another level. Now if I do end up liking her, asking her out, and getting rejected, I'm still her friend 100%. I never befriend someone just to get closer to her romantically, and I'm quite proud of that.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby korbels » Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:54 pm UTC

So I read this Friday and have done ALOT of thinking. It took me a long time to come up with how this has impacted me but I'm ready to give it a shot...

It's like the entire universe around me went into suddenly sharp focus without realizing it was not in focus before and at the same instant was suddenly upside-down.

Without even realizing it I was the Nice GuyTM. I always thought that relationships would grow from friendship and was SO FRUSTRATED that nothing ever developed. I resented the guys who would be forthcoming with their intentions and think of them as jerks when all they were doing was honest. I realized that I am not anti-social or really that shy, but am afraid of rejection and would avoid approaching girls I knew nothing about because I would think of them as a huge time investment to get to know them but than the frustration cycle would just repeat. I also act selflessly but that does not mean I'm selfless. I would always say "yes" and be a terrific person to everyone but resent it the entire time because it never made me happy because they would often not reciprocate to me. What I've learned: Make yourself happy=be happy. So simple, and yet How/Why would I subscribe to that old mentality?

I've read the entire thread and went to some of the links trying to come up with why I have subscribed to this behavior for so long. This search for answers has answered some and raised even more. Most notably is when I read about Maslow's hierarchy of needs and how I seem to place my higher needs before my primitive needs which the more I thought about it made no sense.

So... yea... I have some work to do, and habits to break. My head feels like it's going to explode and I'm a kaleidoscope of emotion, it's going to be a GREAT week lol.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Random832 » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:03 pm UTC

moto_tx wrote:Guys always want to have sex. It is impossible for a man to be friends with a woman because he will always want to have sex with her. Because guys always want to have sex.


Summariz'd.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby moto_tx » Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:18 pm UTC

Random832 wrote:
moto_tx wrote:Guys always want to have sex. It is impossible for a man to be friends with a woman because he will always want to have sex with her. Because guys always want to have sex.


Summariz'd.


I don't think this is accurate. Although it is the belief of Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally (love that movie).

I might should have clarified more... I think H2SO4 should "give up" on the thought of ever* being romantically or sexually involved with his girl. It is totally possible to be friends with girls, regardless of who is attracted to who (if at all), but if attraction isn't mutual, the romantic/sexual relationship is not going to happen.

My other assertion is that H2SO4 wants to have sex with her, not because "guys always want to have sex," but because he has already established that he is attracted to her. Have you ever been attracted to someone and not wanted to have sex with them? It's practically a tautology... the definition of attraction. There is a trend amongst shy men that they repress their sexuality, out of some fear that it will offend or disgust the women of their desires. Jus' sayin.

*not ever ever, but in the foreseeable future

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setzer777
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby setzer777 » Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:23 pm UTC

Another issue some commenters seem to have:

There's nothing wrong with wanting to have sex with a woman. There's nothing wrong or disgusting with wanting to have sex with a woman you barely know. Now it's wrong if you make that desire the only thing that controls your relationship with them, and don't treat them with the respect and genuine friendship that they deserve - but the mere fact of feeling a strong desire to have sex with them (with or without desiring a relationship) doesn't make you some sort of bad person. Plenty of men and plenty of women just want into each other's pants, and that's fine.
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Rinsaikeru
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Rinsaikeru » Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:37 pm UTC

Commenters who miss the point seem to fall into sympathy with the male protagonist of the comic. It's a common thing. Rather than realizing that they aren't being manipulative themselves they equate themselves with the guy in the comic.

If you have a crush on a female friend but aren't trying to manipulate her--you aren't that guy.

The onus isn't on you as a MALE to ask a girl out. The onus is on the person who is attracted though, if you are attracted to a friend such that your attraction is causing problems in the friendship--owning up is your responsibility if you want to remain friends or see if it can go further.

This comic also isn't saying that you can't start relationships from friendship. The protagonist is a sham friend--he's using her like the jerk is only he's even more underhanded about it.

The ladder is stupid. Some guys I am attracted to instantaneously, in other cases it grows from friendship. Ladder is only considered by men who view women as quarry to be hunted.
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virgletati
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby virgletati » Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:53 pm UTC

korbels wrote:It's like the entire universe around me went into suddenly sharp focus without realizing it was not in focus before and at the same instant was suddenly upside-down.
(...)
So... yea... I have some work to do, and habits to break. My head feels like it's going to explode and I'm a kaleidoscope of emotion, it's going to be a GREAT week ¡This cheese is burning me!.

:D How wonderful is it to have a life-altering epiphany?! I'm pulling for you, korbels.

I do get a little worried, though, that I am That Girl from the comic; that although my current boyfriend asked me out immediately, and I *am* sexually and companionship-ly attracted to him + happy with him, he does too much for me, fell too hard too fast, that I maybe pause a little sometimes before I say I Love You back. I guess the question is, if you're enjoying the relationship, how long can you continue in it? Will it become obvious eventually whether we're meant to be, or do I have to make an intellectual effort for the good of us both and break up and find someone I'm totally crazy for who's crazy for me back? FWIW I feel stronger and stronger about him every week (it's been 6 months), but I can't really say I'm *in* love.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Random832 » Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:57 pm UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:Commenters who miss the point seem to fall into sympathy with the male protagonist of the comic. It's a common thing. Rather than realizing that they aren't being manipulative themselves they equate themselves with the guy in the comic.

If you have a crush on a female friend but aren't trying to manipulate her--you aren't that guy.


The problem is, "that guy" doesn't actually exist. And so people reasonably conclude that Randall is either accusing some subset of people who do exist of being morally equivalent to that guy, or that he's told a story that is completely disconnected from reality. And most of his examples of the latter have actual punchlines.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby RoyW » Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:34 pm UTC

mythago wrote:Re: H2SO4's friend who is sending mixed messages

As for your friend, I agree with what's already been said. She is giving you extremely mixed messages, despite your having accepted her being just a friend and never more. Unfortunately, just as there are Nice Guys who are jerks, there are women who will yank you around because they WANT you to be in love with them; if you get too close she'll push you away, if you get too 'just a friend' she flirts. Personally, I'd run away and find a real friend.

From what I read I strongly second this - there are women who seem to seek out a guy to use as a 'platonic' friend but show just enough interest to keep them around - it's like they want to put their sexuality and sense of being valued in two different places. This can be quite damaging to men who are shy around woman. I've been in that situation once, and I found the best thing to do was to quietly start avoiding that woman (just be too busy) and break contact - she was an unhealthy attention sink.

I'm not characterizing all woman like that - I'm sure that in most cases when women send mixed messages it's because it's because they find forming relationships just as hard as many men do.

One thing that hasn't happened to me directly but is worth mentioning: whenever I've heard someone describing one of their friends as 'like a brother' or 'like a sister', it has _always_ ended badly.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Rinsaikeru » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:11 pm UTC

No, the guy in the comic does exist and I've met him. The trouble is that most guys think he's a decent sort of guy--he's not. And if you aren't using underhanded manipulative methods on your female friend--you aren't this guy either so don't feel sorry for him.
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby stardf29 » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:25 pm UTC

moto_tx wrote:Have you ever been attracted to someone and not wanted to have sex with them?


Hmm... I remember several crushes I had when I was in both middle school and high school. I was definitely very attracted to the people in question.

I also had absolutely no desire to have sex with them. In fact, the thought of that absolutely disgusted me.

And really, even now that is my current status of attractions. At least, as far as physical attraction is concerned, my definition of "being attracted to someone" is "I get some sense of happiness just from looking at/watching her". (And no, I'm not looking at just *those* parts of her.) And really, if my thoughts go toward the sexual, then frankly, I get disgusted at those thoughts.

It's not because I'm repressing my sexual desires out of fear that it'll scare away women. It is because I honestly have only one sexual desire: to eventually have sex with the girl that is my wife.

Call me crazy, but that's how I feel. And really, the closest I can say that a girl I'm "romantically attracted to" (as opposed to merely physically attracted to) is someone I want to have sex with is that my definition of being "romantically attracted to" someone is wanting to see if that someone could be my wife. (A crazy definition, I know, but again, that's how I am.) Which, I realize, could be supportive of the "attraction=sex" argument. And I won't deny that in this case, any sexual thoughts won't disgust me as much... but they'll still disgust me if taken too far, and I still would not have any serious desire to do the deed until engagement at the very least (and possibly not until the wedding ceremony is over).

But really, if I'm romantically attracted to someone, it's because there's something about their personality that I think I would really like as a wife. Any sort of physical attraction is just additional to that aspect.

Point being, there are a lot of people who do not equate attraction with sex, or at the very least consider there to be far more salient and important aspects of attraction than just sex. So the blanket statements of "if you're attracted to someone, you want to have sex with them" are inaccurate at best and plain wrong at worst.

(For the record, I have yet to actually have a desire to enter into any sort of a relationship, and thus have not ever been in one. Also, yes, I am one of those conservative Christians who believe sex is only for marriage and who additionally feels that a relationship's primary goal should be to explore the possibility of marriage. I say that, though, just to explain my viewpoint. I have no desire to convince anyone else to adopt my viewpoint. After all, I realize I am absolutely crazy to have this viewpoint. But hey, that's just how I am, and I'm fine with it.)

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby jmello » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:53 pm UTC

I wish that last row wasn't there.. I'd be much happier about that comic.

:\

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby improbability driver » Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:30 pm UTC

mythago wrote:
improbability driver wrote:
Well shit, if this is true I should be so knee-deep in cock that I wouldn't know what to do with myself.


Oh, I know you. You're one of the close friends of the Nice Guy - the ones who often have a crush on him, or at least wouldn't mind being asked out. But in the Nice Guy's his mind you aren't as attractive as the unavailable one he's pining for. (Maybe you're a little overweight, or maybe you simply aren't as into makeup and high heels as he would like, or perhaps you're threatening precisely because you're not unavailable. Or, given that we're talking about a Nice Guy, he wants to be able to show everybody that Revenge of the Nerds comes true in real life, and he needs somebody who the other, average six-pack-Joe types would also want.) You're the one he comes sobbing to about how That Bitch uses him as a friend and strings him along and will never, ever love him although he's so very deserving of her.

I don't mean that in a dismissive or nasty way at all. You're better off without him. But it's amazing how many like you those Nice Guys have standing off in the shadows, perplexed.


Haha oh no, I didn't mean that in the "oh boo hoo how can he want That Bitch when I am clearly better than all girls ever" way, which is a mantra all too common for girls my age; more so commenting on the fact that if all of my male friends who hang around me (and not the other way around, which seems to be key) want to bone me, I think I would have noticed a little bit (unless I have been vastly overestimating my own attractiveness all this time, which I will never admit to even if it's true - OR WORSE, I myself am That Bitch AND a Nice Girl simultaneously, writing angsty LJ posts over a Jerk while totally ignorant of a Nice Guy who in turn is totally ignorant of a Nice Girl who is That Bitch to another Nice Girl who is ignored by another Nice Guy who is a Jerk to another That Bitch and ugh so complicated oh god don't look at it Marion, keep your eyes shut!)

I submit that dating is complicated; dating friends, doubly so.

moto_tx
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby moto_tx » Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:54 pm UTC

stardf29 wrote:After all, I realize I am absolutely crazy to have this viewpoint. But hey, that's just how I am, and I'm fine with it.)

At least you know :)

I used to be a pretty conservative Christian myself, and was friends with a lot of conservative Christians. You're definitely not unique in your views about sex, but there was a wide range of sexuality and its acceptance even within that subculture.

I don't know what to say except I think you are by far the exception, and my rule still stands. This is how generalizations and blanket statements work, by the way... they don't have to be 100% true all the time to be useful. :D

FireZs
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby FireZs » Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:59 pm UTC

dating is complicated


It's not, actually. It's simple and brutal. At the end of the day, everyone puts their own happiness/desires first, and everyone optimizes their situation accordingly. The few exceptions who do not are inconsequential, because they will be off the market very very quickly.

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DorkRawk
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby DorkRawk » Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:00 pm UTC

This discussion of shy vs assertive people got me thinking about the preconceptions of "quiet" and "confident" people. I felt this would be a good place to share this thought...

There is a difference between thinking you're right because you seem confident and seeming confident because you know why you're right. You can tell the difference between the two because the later finds less of a need to reassure himself by loudly asserting his point, but never his reasoning.

FireZs
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby FireZs » Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:07 pm UTC

DorkRawk wrote:There is a difference between thinking you're right because you seem confident and seeming confident because you know why you're right. You can tell the difference between the two because the later finds less of a need to reassure himself by loudly asserting his point, but never his reasoning.


Not in the world of dating. Assertiveness and decisiveness are qualities in and of themselves, even when dating very intelligent people. It's always amazed me just how much more value is placed on the speed at which a man comes to a decision, and the conviction with which he asserts his decision, than the actual quality of the decision itself.

Over the years I've honed my decision-making skills when considering "Shit That Don't Really Matter(tm)" to extreme levels of twitchy-speediness and forceful delivery. Example:

"Should I wear this dress or that dre..""THE ONE ON THE RIGHT!"
"Hair up or do..""DOWN!"
"What should we have for dinn..""DUMPLINGS!"

etc.

They seem to love it.

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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby The_Beige_Volvo » Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:21 pm UTC

FireZs wrote:
dating is complicated


It's not, actually. It's simple and brutal. At the end of the day, everyone puts their own happiness/desires first, and everyone optimizes their situation accordingly. The few exceptions who do not are inconsequential, because they will be off the market very very quickly.

No I'm still on the market right now ;)

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Quixotess
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Quixotess » Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:33 pm UTC

FireZs wrote:Over the years I've honed my decision-making skills when considering "Shit That Don't Really Matter(tm)" to extreme levels of twitchy-speediness and forceful delivery. Example:

"Should I wear this dress or that dre..""THE ONE ON THE RIGHT!"
"Hair up or do..""DOWN!"
"What should we have for dinn..""DUMPLINGS!"

etc.

They seem to love it.

...

Can you explain to me, please, why exactly you go on dates and have girlfriends? Like, what's the goal here? Is it to be able to find a woman you love so you can spend time with her? Is everything just the price you pay for sex? Habit? Cultural norms? Extreme boredom?
Raise up the torch and light the way.

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katethegreat
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby katethegreat » Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:39 pm UTC

First of all, the comic and discussion regarding the comic have made me question what a relationship should be. I always thought that boyfriend should be a friend first, someone who I can talk to and confide in. I'm not interested at all in an empty "let's make out" kind of thing. I'm rather confused now.

I have very very very little experience with relationships. I've only had one boyfriend, and that was a pathetic 3 month long ordeal of never kissing or even having non-awkward conversations. Turns out the summer before high school starts is NOT a good time to start dating.

I have had some experience with the "nice guy" though. I already know he liked me in the first place from a mutual friend, and I didn't like him back. And this was right after I asked my then boyfriend out. :shock:
He tried the "I'm your friend" thing on me, which was especially creepy because I never hung out with him before. He'd IM me all the time. He'd send me links to emo-y "she doesn't love me" songs and the like.
Let these IM quotes explain:

9:28 PM "Nice Guy": i know something i can never have
Love :'(
9:29 PM me: .......
:-/
"Nice Guy": What>
Whata?
9:31 PM oh shoot now i know why ("My Boyfriend") calls me a lonely soul :'(
9:32 PM now im all depressed like
9:33 PM me: "Nice Guy", this is making me feel really uncomfortable. I don't like you in that way, okay? I am DATING your *FRIEND*. I'm going to block you.
"Nice Guy": you dont like me in what way?


I then block him. He talks to me through my boyfriend. He denies it all, and I have to explain to my boyfriend and it's incredibly terrible and awkward.

9:48 PM me: "Boyfriend", "Nice Guy" likes me, and he is always sending me videos like "Something I Can Never Have" and other sappy love shit and it is making me really uncomfortable, not only because it is extremely creepy, but because I like YOU and I'm dating YOU. And he is your *friend*.
sigh
9:49 PM "Boyfriend": lol ok i copt and paste that to him lol
me: O_o
and your okay with this?!
"Boyfriend": yea i always kindda new it but w/e it "nice guy"
9:50 PM me: O.o
"Boyfriend": im not one to get angry at stuff
9:51 PM me: and you're okay with him just obsenely and creepily like *flirting* with me?!
9:52 PM "Boyfriend": Yea thats kindda weird...
me: let me show you...
"Boyfriend": he sends me videos like that 2
me: wtf
"Boyfriend": he says he doesnt like u but hes prolly lieing
9:53 PM me: x-(
(I copied the conv. I showed you earlier with the song lyrics)
9:54 PM I was so uncomfortable, i had to change the subject to zombies
because it was so creepy
"Boyfriend": lol
wow...
9:55 PM that was really not subtle lol
me: i know
tell him he is acting like a creepy obsessed stalker, and that i do not wish to talk to him
9:57 PM "Boyfriend": (he denies it all lol)
me: sigh
9:58 PM just, i dont want to talk to him and i want him to just leave me alone
and if he has any kind of decency, he should respect that
10:00 PM "Boyfriend": grr.. ok fine lol
10:01 PM "grr"
"you are being a jerk about"
"it"
10:02 PM me: are you fucking kiddding me?! the kid is harrassing me, and i have been putting up with him being so annoying and creepy, and he says I am being a JERK because I don't want him slobbering all over me like a dog on bacon?!?!?!

"Nice guy" eventually gave up for that day.

My ex wasn't the greatest guy either, especially now that I look back on these things.

Sorry for the huge post/personal rant. :oops: (Why does the Preview say, "!This cheese is burning me!"?) (Edit: oh, I get it now. :o )
Last edited by katethegreat on Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:58 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

mako
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby mako » Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:58 am UTC

I just had a sudden thought, vaguely inspired by this discussion (since, of course, it's all about stating intentions clearly):

What is the appropriate, socially acceptable, non-jackass way to respond to a pretty clear inquiry like "Do you want to get coffee/dinner sometime?" if you are not interested in the person romantically/etc? I feel like plain old "No, I'm not (interested in you that way)" would be weird (except, of course, if you had just met them). But, like, if you'd seen each other around mutual friends several times before, might see the person again, etc. Or if you would be happy to have the person as a friend, but are not interested in dating? Or a response to, like, "want to see [X] movie with me?" if it's a movie you do want to see - but not if it involves leading the other person on.

(I realize this is knowledge I would probably have if I dated more extensively - the only relationship I've had, while positive and a growth experience in many ways, did not involve rejection, so I didn't get the knowledge. And prior to that, I did not really ask people out. As for being on the rejecting end - I've generally been oblivious and/or awkward, I expect.)

Sulix
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Sulix » Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:05 am UTC

korbels wrote:So I read this Friday and have done ALOT of thinking. It took me a long time to come up with how this has impacted me but I'm ready to give it a shot...

It's like the entire universe around me went into suddenly sharp focus without realizing it was not in focus before and at the same instant was suddenly upside-down.


Me too.

[long story with somewhat dubious grammar ahead]

I'm pretty sure that I'm the guy from the comic or, at the very least, have been -- consciously or no -- trying to be. I have tried (and admittedly failed) to manipulate $girl. I've also waited for her to falter; to reveal a weakness at which I could strike. She's strong though, and I really couldn't manipulate her; despite how much I may want to, at any level of consciousness. The problem stems from a combination of ignorance and fear, AFAICT. Being ignorant of how relationships work, due to having no experience outside of the unrealistic expressions of true love so oft seen in the media. (See -- that wasn't a complete sentence). Ignorance may be bliss, but it certainly cannot last. Fear -- of course -- is where the shyness aspect comes in; it shan't play a part until later in the story.
[Spoiler'd for length, soppiness and linguistic crimes]
Spoiler:
Five years ago...

When $girl entered that which is laughingly called my life; it was without much event. I was young (as was she) and we had reasonably little to do with each other. Then, shortly after we jointly won a science puns competition -- hormones came a-knockin'. Within a few seconds of listening intently to what she said; I knew* what love was.

I was, of course, too shy and afraid to admit my feelings to others, although it didn't take that long for me to admit them to myself. Evidence was mounting that she may have had (and indeed may still have) mutual feelings. I dared not hope so at the time. It seemed logical to initiate friendship. As I did so, the feelings were picked up by others in the classroom. Our attraction was, if you'll excuse the cliché, the talk of the town (and remains so, even five years later).

Years passed and mutual friendship (of varying degrees of intensity) continued. There would still be signs of romantic intrest from one or the other of us, but upon it we were both afraid to act. I tried quiet attempts to manipulate her, but chickened out at the last moment.

Today is the last day I have an excuse to see her. (Although, our parents are friends; which is something to hold on to). In five minutes I will be walking out the door to what may very well be our penultimate meeting.

Maybe the time has come.

*At the very least I think that I knew; my definition of love is "that which I feel towards her", so really, it hasn't changed.


Well; that was long and soppy (and probably more at home in the LSR confessions thread).

I just hope that I can change.

Goodbye, "Nice Guy".
Upon the wings of hope I'll fly.

ZephyrSpark
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby ZephyrSpark » Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:30 am UTC

moto_tx wrote:Guys always want to have sex. It is impossible for a man to be friends with a woman because he will always want to have sex with her. Because guys always want to have sex.


Whoa whoa WHOA, hold the damn phone! That is completely and utterly wrong in every way! While it is true that there are guys out there that only have sex on the mind, the opposite is just as true for others.

Now I know that this sounds very arrogant on my part, but... I am the Nice Guy. I mean the Nice Guy, and I'm damn proud of it. I have more female friends than guy friends, and every one of them I became friends with because I wanted to be friends and ONLY friends with them. True, with a few of them down the line I did develop crushes on them, but when I asked them out and they said no it didn't hurt our friendship at all (which I am eternally greatful for). It's because they all know that I wasn't trying to be friends with them just to get in their pants, and I'm disgusted at the people who do.

Furthermore, the notion that sex is the only thing on a guy's mind is absolutely absurd. When I ask a girl out, it's because I'm emotionally attracted to the girl. Yes, I am also physically attracted to the girl, but that is something that is in the back of my mind. There's a damn good reason why I'm still a virgin... Okay, it's mostly because I've only ever had one girlfriend, and that only lasted a month and a half (main drawback to being the Nice Guy; why date me when you can be emotionally close to me as a friend?), but the fact is that sex is something I am going to save for way down the line (not necessarily marriage, but at least love).

Okay, I'm calm now. *deep breath*

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double entendre
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby double entendre » Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:06 am UTC

Seo wrote:
me: do you have work again in the morning?
her: Nope
her: Tomorrow at 3
me: then why don't i come over, and we can watch a movie or something before you go to sleep
me: Oh me yarm, today's XKCD comic is why!
her: I don't know what that is

The names have been changed to protect. . .me.


Randall, get out of my AIM!
I have to go think now.

Haha, that is too awesome.

My criteria for whether you are a Nice Guy (TM):

1. You are a guy that consider himself "nice" to a girl that you are friends with.
2. You complain or at any point feel that women are attracted to jerks, where jerk != you.

Prospekt
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Prospekt » Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:15 am UTC

wow, this comic was an eye opener for me. It's always good to see another perspective on yourself...
thanks for that randall!

Xentropy
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Re: "Friends" Discussion

Postby Xentropy » Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:16 am UTC

moto_tx wrote:I think you need to quickly decide how much women, companionship and sex matter to you; and if they are important (and I suspect they are) then it might be time to consider taking some serious action... up to, and including, finding a new job or changing careers if it will help you interact with women more. Like, now. Are you hoping it will happen magically some day, when you turn 35? Or what?


Nah, I really don't expect it to ever happen. And I'm not willing to give up a job I enjoy to work a job I loathe (I've been down that road, hating waking up every morning on a work day) in order to have companionship. Life's all about tradeoffs, and I find a distasteful job just too big a price to pay, no matter how amazing companionship might be. This is also far from the right economy to be looking for a new job or considering a career change.

Am I happy? Probably not. But I'm content, and the lonely feelings crop up less and less as I get older. Society attaches a stigma to being single, like the entire purpose of living is to find a mate (and evolutionarily speaking, I suppose it may be, but one benefit of our evolutionary advantages over other animals is the ability to live outside of those same boundaries), but one can live a very fulfilling life without ever experiencing the opposite sex. In fact, given instances like the situation depicted in this comic, it seems from the outside looking in like far more trouble than it could possibly be worth.


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