Q: Since graduating from college I’ve been hanging out with this big crew. One of the guys in the group and I have been texting a lot for the past couple of months. It wasn’t really progressing so I made a move. He replied saying that he must of sent me the wrong signals and that we’re better off as just friends. I stayed away from him for a couple of weeks but since then we are are sort of friendly again, especially when we see one another at the gym and when we are in group hangouts. He does tend to tease me and I try to tease back but it feels a little bit like high school. A few days ago he proceeds to text me a picture of himself in a costume he had to wear for a music gig, saying something of the sort of “hahaha, thought this was funny.” I haven’t replied. Why does he keep texting and teasing me if he’s not interested? He had the option to date me or be with me and he turned it down. I don’t want to misread him again.
A: The question, “Why does he keep texting me if he doesn’t want to go on a date?” gets asked at brunches across this great nation every weekend. It’s the second course that precedes, “Why’d he call me ‘dude’?” and comes right after, “I have to take a dump.” It’s one of those questions that gets discussed, like, “What’s the meaning of life?” as if there’s no real answer. But just like the meaning of life (bacon), the answer to why he texts without asking you on a date is pretty simple–he’s attracted to you but not enough to be in a relationship. It feels good to get texts from girls who are attractive and until a better option comes along, getting texts (and building trust) with a girl (where an attraction exists) may result in a late night hookup that both sides will see as “not a big deal” because there wasn’t a date. I’ll give girls a second to take a breath and say “holy shit” like they just figured out “The Sixth Sense.” I don’t expect girls to realize the answer I just gave because it’s too emotional. Nobody thinks that they’re “kind of the one,” but it’s the truth for all of us. Nine out of 10 people we date won’t be “the one” and there’s a 50 percent chance that the tenth person will be picking up your kids at McDonald’s for his court-ordered weekend (in my free time I write romance novels). This is the reason the guy in your larger group of friends won’t just “give it a shot.” Going on dates with friends is like masturbating in public–it feels great but there will be consequences.
Nothing about this question is suprising. When you graduate and move to a new city, we all tend to huddle up in these comfortable groups. It’s an amalgamation of high school and college friends with friends of those high school and college friends. These groups go from bar to bar leaning on one another for strength during a very confusing post-college time. The group lasts as long as it can before groping one another happens (this isn’t long). Since you’re spending all this time together at happy hours and birthdays and planned parenthood visits, you start to look around and think, “We should all be getting married.” This is normal and some people will even make that leap. What usually happens, though, is two people in the group hook up and then they become the topic of the larger group. The “will they” or “won’t they” saga gets treated like your very own Ross and Rachel. At first it’s fun and cute, but then they start fighting, he stops texting, he goes for a classic fade out, he gets called out by the friends, and then people take sides. The group is now gone and life moves on with everyone watching football from different bars in the same city.
To me, this is the decision this guy is faced with. He knows he likes you but that it would never be long term. And since you share this group of friends, it would be more headaches than not. If I’m him, I’m thinking my choices are either we get together and we probably lose our friendship as well as our bigger group OR I can go try to hook up with other girls while I still get the emotional attention from her. The choice for me would be easy. One version has the consequences of losing friends and a social life and the other has the consequences of STDs. (But who cares about those?) So this girl needs to stop texting with him. She gives him the drug of attention and she’s not even getting paid with a relationship. I’m not saying to stop being friends. I’m saying to stop doing the extracurricular activity of texting while the larger group isn’t around. He will find someone else and she will have time to concentrate on guys who can one day share awkward small talk at a McDonald’s PlayPlace.
Jared Freid is a comedian and HeTexted “Bro” based in NYC. You can ask him dating questions at HeTexted.com or find him on Twitter (@JTrain56) for weekly columns, podcasts, and videos.