More free time and parent-free dorms mean you’ll probably be hanging with the opposite sex more than ever in college. While exciting — especially if you went to an all-girls high school — getting up close and personal with guys can also be daunting. It’s normal to feel self-conscious and nervous when you’re hanging in the common room with a coed crew.
If you do have trouble acting “normal” around men, you probably admire the guys’ girl, that rare breed of female that can almost automatically relate to dudes. From talking sports to tossing back drinks, these women seem completely comfortable in front of their male cohorts. However, I can tell you from experience that being a guys’ girl isn’t all fist pounds and high fives.
Growing up, I always had more male than female friends, mainly because my interests skewed toward baseball rather than Barbie and I preferred getting down and dirty to getting all made up. Since I was always around guys, I became confident and at ease in their presence, perhaps even more so than with girls.
Being “one of the guys” certainly had, and still has, its benefits. Loyal, honest and low-drama, men are fantastic friends. Throughout high school and college, my first-hand knowledge of the male mind certainly benefited me dating-wise — I could call men out on their bullshit and knew when a guy was less in to me and more into getting me in bed.
Nevertheless, cons came with the pros. The guys in my crew almost never saw me as a regular girl. I fell somewhere outside the normal boundaries of female, and was therefore completely undateable. A guy doesn’t want to date his pal, he wants to score a hot mama.
Come college, some of my guy friends did indeed try to pursue me. But even if I liked the boy, I knew I couldn’t date him because it would completely alter the overall group dynamic. Dating one of the guys in my group of male friends would essentially change, and probably ruin, my friendship with every other group member. Despite this, I did date a guy friend or two only to find that what I had anticipated was indeed accurate. Previously uncensored around me, as soon as I was so-and-so’s girlfriend, the guys had to watch what they said and did in my presence.
Over time, I learned that boyfriends and boy friends fell into two separate categories. A guys’ girl can’t pursue a romantic relationship with a man in the same way she would pursue a friendship with a man. While friendship can create a strong foundation for a future romantic relationship, you always run the risk of getting stuck in the friend zone and never graduating to intimacy…. ever. So, if you like a boy as more than friends, or dream of a future romance, make it clear from the get go. Otherwise, you may get very hurt when you express your feelings a year into the friendship and he doesn’t reciprocate because he’s firmly established that you’re a buddy, not a bed buddy.
Maintaining a friendship when one person wants more and the other is satisfied with the way things are is nearly impossible. And as someone who’s been the friend who’s always just a friend, I can tell you that it stings to watch your best friend and dream man talk about, pursue and date other women – My Best Friend’s Wedding may be a slight exaggeration, but it rings all too true for many and most guys’ girls out there.
Bottom Line: Guys’ girls may have the upper hand in meeting men, but we seriously expose ourselves to potential heart crushing. Always be aware of how you’re presenting yourself to potential suitors and be sure to consider whether you’re willing to lose a best friend to maybe gain a boyfriend. As we say in the intro of The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags, if you pay attention and proceed with caution, no one can tell you “I told you so.”
For more relationship and dating advice, pick up your copy of The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags, available now wherever books are sold.
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