Being Single

How Do You Find Out If It Is or Isn’t a Date Without Sounding Like A Jerk?

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Editor’s note: In case you missed them, catch up on Nikki’s previous Dating Diaries posts here.  

I’ve taken a non-official, no contract oath of non-violence in my life, but the closest I ever come to striking someone across the face is when I mention my best friend, who happens to be a guy, and a person says, “Oh, well he’s clearly in love with you.”

A lot of people have a hard time believing me when I say that my guy friend and I are just that—friends. Neither of us is harboring secret love and we never have sex.

Plus: Beware The Woman With No Female Friends

It’s not that I’ve never thought about having sex with him, and dating has definitely crossed my mind at moments.

But those times are few and they don’t define us. When people accuse me of leading my friend on, or the other way around, it cheapens what is the best relationship I have in my life. Guys and girls can be friends and I’m sick of hearing otherwise. Go find another myth to debunk!

There is a tricky part though, I’ll admit, and it is always at the beginning of a new heterosexual male-female relationship. After all these years of meeting new people and flirting and dating and making friends, I still make missteps when trying to befriend a guy. And sometimes it makes me feel guilty and presumptuous that I have to assume a guy is interested in me sexually so I can make it clear that I’m not and then we can be friends.

Plus: 18 Guys You Should Never Date

I recently agreed to go on a “dive bar crawl” with a male acquaintance of mine. He’s a bartender in a fancy cocktail bar and I agreed to take him to the most far out, diveiest Texas beer joints that I know of. As the night of our bar crawl neared, I realized that it might seem like a date. So I invited another male bartender mutual friend of ours.

My first mistake was that I got too drunk. Like, really drunk. Bartenders drink a lot and these two also love to shoot things in bomb form. I unwisely tried to keep up and by the end of the night, was so completely stupid that I invited them both into my apartment to keep hanging out. In my defense, it’s not like we were going to have an orgy so three people should have still been a safe number.

Eventually one guy fell asleep on my couch while the other kept rubbing my back telling me everything was going to “be okay.” Mind you, I wasn’t crying or upset or anything. I think I might have just said something about being too drunk and this presented itself as a good reason to touch me. At some point, the back-rubber finally took my cues and said he would be leaving. I walked him to the door, wondering how I would get the other dozing guy out of my house, but in the moment was satisfied to at least reduce the number of unwanted guests by half. At the door, he lunged towards my face. I quickly gave him my cheek. He apologized, and then lunged again, this time making lip-to-lip contact.

“Okay!” I said, “Good night!” And shut the door. Looking back, I feel resentful that he couldn’t have just asked me out on a date like a normal person if he was really interested, and instead chose to wait until I was vulnerable to kiss me. Back inside, I asked my sleeping friend whom I actually know a bit better than the other guy if he was actually asleep.

“No, not really.” Fantastic. Assuming that he at least overheard the kiss, I (still drunk) asked him why men and women can’t be platonic friends. “We’re platonic friends, right?”

Plus: Why Friends With Benefits Doesn’t Really Work

He said, “I don’t know what we are.” So I sighed very loudly, told him he could sleep on my couch and that I was going to my bedroom. I took two Advil and woke up the next morning with two fewer friends than I had the day before.

I don’t mean to sound like tons of guys want to sleep with me and it’s all I can do to hold them off. I can give you a very long list of names and they belong to men who would definitely rather not. But what I have learned over the years is that when you meet a guy, sex will always be a question. Once it’s answered, then things can move forward but not until then.

I still have a hard time figuring out how to give my answer without a lot of clumsy disaster like the one above. If a guy invites you to do something, how do you make sure it is or isn’t a date without sounding like an ass? Having a boyfriend or girlfriend is a great way to say you’re not interested without saying it. I’ve noticed that some girls can just talk about guys they’re interested in around other guys and that is another way of saying they’re not interested, but that’s not really my style. My style is to mostly just look like a tease or an idiot.