I have this friend. In physical appearance she is gorgeous. In conversational engagement she is captivating. In lifestyle she pursues the things she loves with passion.. Any man who meets her is going to be smitten; because in attractiveness she is the total package. As I first started spending time with her I was taken by her. So, I did what any man enamored of a woman should do; I told her. I laid myself out there and told her all the reasons I was enchanted by her. My friend did not return my romantic intoxications.
I have this friend. I am honored to call a friend. All the reasons I find her amazing do not disappear because she is not attracted in a fairy-tale crush on me. Most of the qualities that attracted me romantically are the same qualities that attract me to friendships. I want friends who are easy to lose time in conversation with and embrace their life with fervor. She is both these things.
I have this friend who had a conversation this evening with another guy who found himself infatuated by her many charms. Yet, his response to her rebuffs of his romantic advances was very different than my own. See, like myself, she considered this person a friend as well. They had shared life challenges and she had been there for him when his life situation needed a friend to be there.
I have this friend who was verbally assaulted, unfriended and blocked by a person she called a friend simply because she said to him, “No, I am not romantically interested.”
Men, this has to stop. We have to do better. How can a woman you considered a friend be discarded so easily simply because they do not return your attractions? Are we as a gender so focused on our erotic passion that a woman uninterested in romance is discardable. This is the pinnacle of objectification.
Men, since you are unable to hear it from the women in your life I am going to repeat it here for you. That woman, your friend, is an entire person. She like you is fully able to possess a range of differing emotions. She, like you, is entitled to the attractions that allure her. You are not owed her carnal sensuality simply because you express attraction. If all you can see her for is how she responds to your advances than you were never her friend to begin with.
Men, do you want to be used? Of course the answer to that question is no. So then, why do you feel the women in your life feel any differently? To have a friendship discarded this easily hurts. This kind of capricious response to her honest response proves you were using her for the entirety of the relationship.
Men, I have this friend who I want to trust me. In fact, I have several friends who are women and I want them all to trust me. I want them to trust that our time is safe, our vulnerability is genuine, and our friendship is rooted in the whole of their personhood. However, how can I ask this trust when the bulk of their investments in relationships with men end in this way?
Women, I am sorry. I am sorry our culture did not teach this lesson to men when they were boys. I am sorry that the repeating actions by a string of men have positioned you to feel unsafe as your default. I am sorry that teaching the emotional responsibility of friendship has been so grossly ignored in our culture.
Men, I need us to wise up, grow up, and do better.