What “Let’s Just Be Friends” Really Means
Everyone remembers writing “Have a Great Summer” in Virginia
McLoserham’s yearbook. It’s a nice gesture but between the lines
you’re saying, “Thanks for asking me to sign this, but I don’t know
you well enough or can be bothered to say something more creative than
this.” Pleasantries, aren’t they grand?
In high school, “Let’s just be friends” is totally reasonable because
you don’t want things to be awkward when you’re stuck sitting next to
someone in Sex Ed. But as adults, it seems like a cop-out and often
really presumptuous. You’re either saying “I’m not attracted, so would
you kindly fuck off” or that you genuinely want to be the person’s
There’s nothing wrong with being direct and letting someone know you
don’t like them or letting the dial tone of the hung up phone speak
for itself. Why not be efficient and let that person move on so that
they can meet someone who is interested.
If you like the person, “I like you as a friend” doesn’t always leave
them in a friendly place. How do you build a friendship on a
rejection. Why not just give pretty basic and obvious social cues to
let someone know that you don’t like them in that way. Say something
like “Hey…I’m running to the DMV want to join?” or “Want to go to the
Container store?” That is a pretty direct and clear sign that they are
on their way to platonic town.
When you say, “Let’s be friends” often before you’ve really gotten to
know the person you’re saying that you like them but don’t find them
attractive. It traps them in the social pretense of having to be the
bigger person and be friendly to you. But will you make the effort to
be their friend? Ask them to hang out? Invite them to laser tag?
Plus who says that the recently rejected want to be friends with you?
I met someone who gave me the speech before we’d even gotten our meal
at California Pizza Kitchen. I had to put on my ranting hat and give
them a talking to.
“You know now that you like me as a person but
don’t find me sexually attractive. All I know about you is that I find
you sexually attractive but don’t like you as a person.”
Let’s face it if you don’t let someone get to know you before needing to share your
attraction level it can be a turn off. Plus, some people may have
higher standards for friends than for people they would have dinner
with. Or sex for that matter. Sex lasts 3 hours (or 15 minutes),
friendships can last forever.
In the situation where social cues don’t work or someone is just
really aggressive feel free to say, “Hey rapey, I’m not interested.”
After all, it’s not like you want to be friends with a potential
If you think I’m a sanctimonious prick or want to share a funny story,
leave a comment!