How To Avoid The “Just Friends” Zone


Most butches and femmes don’t live in the same town. Even in New York, seeing someone in Brooklyn or Staten Island becomes a project. While the internet is great to keep in touch with old friends, it can also kill all the mystery really fast when you have just met someone new. If you start emailing someone instead of spending face-to-face time with them, it’s hard not to disclose the type of information that will move you from the “yummo butch/sexy femme” to the “oh I just made a new friend” category.

Last month, after reading a Bible-length email from a butch I was into, I was left thinking: “well I guess we are just friends.” She is in her 50s, sexy, witty, spunky, and hawt. That we were both seeing other people didn’t stop us from flirting a little bit. Problem was she volunteered the story of her life. If we kept going down that road, there would be nothing left to ask or talk about if we ever went on a date. The other night a friend told me about this woman she likes and how they had been flirting online for a little bit. Things seemed to be going in the right direction but next thing you know they were sharing stories about their nieces and my friend wonders how that happened.

A few things to remember the next time we meet someone we are into:

–      If you don’t want to be “just a friend,” stop acting like one. Listening to her and offering love advice, running errands with/for her, doing her grocery shopping, cooking for her, comforting her, nurturing her… won’t get you laid. It will make her think of you as a friend or surrogate mother. I’m not saying you have to be an asshole – I’m just saying: wait until you are together to love and comfort her, cry and laugh together, listen to her as a friend, lover, partner, etc.

–      Save your drama for your mama. If your ex is a total psycho and stresses you out, you may want to save that information for the first or second date (date etiquette for such situations: mention it briefly on the 1st and 2nd dates, go into it with more detail after the 3rd date). Same goes for femmes who just got out of a straight relationship, especially when they have kids. While some butches may love the competition against a straight guy, most will think you have unfinished business with your ex and will let you deal with your own shit.

–      Don’t send mixed signals. Don’t do your laundry together, invite her over to watch a movie, and then ask if s/he wants to take a nap. Why would you take a butch/femme into your bedroom if you don’t want to have sex? S/he would immediately think you see her as your buddy and assume you are just friends.

–      Don’t feed her any bullshit. It’s not cool to tell a butch/femme that you are not looking for a relationship on Monday and that you are in a relationship with someone else on Tuesday. It’s even less cool to have a butch in your house catering to your every wish all weekend, to tell her that you are not ready for sex or a relationship, and to let that butch find out on Tuesday that you are with someone else. Shit happens – we can’t control who we fall in love with. Just be careful how you word your wishes and desires so that you don’t hurt someone else’s feelings.

–      Avoid giving TMI. Even freaks like me don’t want to hear about your medical history, why you had a hysterectomy, and the cocktail of hormones or meds you must take daily for whatever reason. Of course you can mention you have MS, cancer, anemia or whatever. But, unless asked to, don’t go into specifics that will let her thinking: “Sex. With you. Is not gonna happen. Ever.”

–      Keep the mystery. Avoid long emails telling her the story of your life: exes, parents, college or workplace stories, cars… save something for the first date or for someone who really matters to you.

–      Don’t keep her guessing. I know no one likes rejection, and putting our feelings out there is hard. You don’t have to spell it out but make sure s/he knows you are into her. Flirt with her, flirt some more, and hit her with a 2×4 email if necessary.

–      Be honest. If you are not comfortable seeing that you two are going down the friendship path, say something. It’s perfectly fine to tell a butch/femme that you want to go back to short emails or Facebooking to keep some degree of mystery so that you have something to talk about when s/he asks you out on a date (no pressure!). If s/he’s seeing someone else, don’t be afraid to speak your mind but drop a “when we are both available” somewhere in your email/conversation – make sure s/he knows s/he can’t have her cake and eat it too. The worst thing that can happen is that s/he tells you s/he is not into you – big deal honey. We are in New York. There’s plenty of fish in the butch femme sea.

–      When your cards are on the table, don’t sit by the phone waiting for her to call you. If s/he’s taken, stick to your guns and stay away from her until s/he’s single. If s/he’s single, let her come to you. I repeat: do not sit by the phone waiting for her to call you. Buy a magic wand, date other people, go to the gym, go out with your friends, cultivate some hobby… have your own life. Unless of course you are the butch: then you have to call the femme and ask her out on a proper date.

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12 thoughts on “How To Avoid The “Just Friends” Zone

  1. IRENE says:

    This is a pretty good article, thanks for speaking for the Butch as well as for the Femme community. If you don’t mind me adding a couple of things as well. This mystery thing you speak of goes by the route of dating and getting to know one another. I feel though at certain avenues if you want to have a long-term relationship you have to cultivate a friendship that will bond the two of you together. There is always going to be some kind of mystery between the two bonds because times change and personality changes with it. Look at some of the older couples together; they never stop learning about each other because they try new and novel things with each other but at least they know each other to be comfortable around each other. Oh, and Femmes…sometimes we like to know if you are interested in Butches if you give us a call and let us know you would like a date, heck I know I love to take you out to a novel place if you just let me know…I’ll tell you straight out and I will really take you out to a place we will both enjoy. : P, thanks Maria for you timely dating tips.

    • María Lapachet says:

      Thanks Irene. I believe mystery and getting to know one another should be a part of dating, being in a relationship, and growing together as a couple where each person can have her own interests and teach something new to her partner or surprise her. Before the internet, discovering new things about your butch/femme and falling in love all over again every day was part of the magic. Today the mystery is almost gone with everyone disclosing so much information everywhere (twitter, facebook, etc) and/or telling you the story of their lives 2 seconds after they’ve met you.

      Re letting butches know we like them… I can’t speak for all femmes. I’m pretty good at making an ass of myself when I like a butch. With that said, if s/he doesn’t make a move, I’m not going to humiliate myself further. I know when to move on.

  2. Wyeth Bailey says:

    I think you got close to but left out a critical step: clearly communicate your intent. Simple, direct statements such as “I want you” or “I want to go out with you, just the two of us, on a real date” go a long way to cutting through mixed signals. Just one femme top’s not so humble opinion 😉

  3. BarbaraRyan says:

    I haven’t responded on this post yet?? This post is really well thought out (like always).

    I am a terrible judge of what the other lady is thinking or feeling about me. And I admit to being afraid of rejection. So, it’s hard for me to move past the friends thing. Although I want to, especially with my girl Eponine.

    I assumed she was straight, but now I am not sure. Because she’s starting to show signs of interest, like when she took my hand last week at lunch. It was so touching and so wonderful. She feels wonderful. It was like a drinking at an oasis, and I didn’t even realize I was thirsty.

    So, I want to encourage her feelings without scaring her. Any advice?

    • María Lapachet says:

      Knowing the background info, I think there’s progress. I do not take my friends’ hands. Not even the butch I like unless we are more than friends so yes, there’s hope and progress!

      Re advice, I’m so against taking the first step and making a fool out of oneself… Let me think about it and I’ll email you later on my way to the city.

      • BarbRyan says:

        Yeah, I don’t take someone’s hand, unless I am dating them. It’s a intimate gesture. There were something about when she did it, like she was timid, afraid I may not. So, I do think there is something there. (Or maybe I just want there to be!)

        But I guess we’ll see what she does when I give her the necklace and ask her to the exhibit. I’m not calling it a date or anything, just trying to be cool.

        Did I tell you she invited me to visit her family’s greenhouses? They have a nursery near by. I haven’t been able to go yet though. 😦

      • María Lapachet says:

        When will you give her the necklace? Don’t do it during lunch this Thurs. Wait for another time and see how she behaves this week. I think you may be onto something but I don’t want to be the delusional friend who feeds your delusion, know what I’m saying?

  4. BarbRyan says:

    Sorry I didn’t finish that thought. What I meant to say is: It was like it was she was afraid that I may not be interested or reject her by not taking her hand.

  5. BarbaraRyan says:

    Hey Babe! Good idea. I was going to give it to her then, but let’s see what she says to the museum date. If she says yes, I’ll do it then. If not, maybe I won’t give it too her at all (since it might scream crazy stalker girl).

    Thank you for not feeding my delusion. I can’t take too much more heartache right now.

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