Thinking Outside the Friend Box

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“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Wayne Gretzky

As far as I can tell, there are three different camps of guys that girls love to gossip about:
  • 1. Guys they have the hots for.
  • 2. Guys that suck.
    Note: “Guys they have the hots for” often progress to “guys that suck” over time.
  • 3. Guys they have personality crushes on.
  • Personality Crush

    Wait, what? What’s a personality crush?
    Personality Crush
    ( When you have a crush on someone because of his or her personality and not their looks. This often leads to conflict because you want to be in a relationship with the person, even though you’re not physically attracted to him or her.

    Back in the day, we called those guys platonic friends, and we didn’t want to see their penises. Today, personality crushes are still the guys least likely to get laid, but there is something oddly intense about the feelings being expressed by these women, a kind of longing that didn’t accompany our platonic friendships.

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    Here are the things I hear girls say about their personality crushes:

  • Ah, he is a total delight. I love him!
  • He is precious, he is my most favorite boy ever. No, you can’t have him, he’s my personality crush!
  • I don’t want to hook up with him now, but I’m definitely going to marry him.
  • OMG, I have dibs. I want to have his babies in about ten years.
  • WTF? I don’t get it! If you think he is delightful, a great friend, a wonderful guy in every damned way, why not go for him?

    Here’s their response:

  • Oh, no, I’m not attracted to him.
  • Maybe in a couple of years I would, but not now.
  • No, we’re just friends. He feels exactly the same way.
  • I just want hugs from him.
  • I don’t know, it could happen if I was drunk, but I’m not gonna go there.

    The current crop of 20 and 30-somethings is actually very good at platonic friendships. There are rules (stupid, ridiculous rules like The Man Code), to help provide guidelines about when it is OK to take a friendship to the next level and when it just isn’t cool, regardless of what both parties want.

  • Physical attractiveness

    I think each generation finds its own ways of relating and connecting. I can’t help but feel,though, like there is a lot of potential happiness being sacrificed here. Most of the personality crushes I hear described sound like great relationship material. In fact, the girls are onto something when they talk about those boys as the potential future fathers of their children.

    Why are women keeping a separate friend box full of great guys? What purpose do “personality crushes” really serve?

    1. Many potential relationships are never realized because there’s a looming expiration date.

    Busy young people are always arriving and leaving. College schedules, summer trips, study abroad, new job in a new city, grad school, Teach for America, etc. I hear of many breakups that have a lot more to do with involuntary separation and logistics than with any real loss of feeling. Keeping a great guy at arm’s length is often easier in the long run.

    2. Hooking up makes physical attractiveness and sexual chemistry the top priorities when choosing a partner.

    If you’re not feeling it right from the start, you put the other person in the friend box, and there they stay. In the old dating model, you might accept a date with a guy thinking you weren’t all that attracted, and be very pleasantly surprised by how much you enjoyed yourself. People fell for each other for all sorts of different “personality” reasons. As a rule, for example, the homely class clown always had a pretty girlfriend.

    The Bottom Line

    3. Platonic friendships meet the need for emotional intimacy that hooking up deemphasizes.
    They become more important than sexual relationships in many cases, and you are reluctant to risk them by getting physical. “What if this ruins our friendship?” becomes a very relevant and important question, and the stakes feel high.

    4. Most personality crushes are “nice guys.”
    As such, they suffer as girls continue to reward the jerks, the egomaniacs, and the narcissists.

    5. Personality crushes are often a bit geeky or nerdy.
    Many of the young women I know have fathers who were a little geeky or nerdy when they were young. As they aged, they grew into their looks and established themselves in successful careers. They were catches once women were interested in settling down. Young women today intend to marry someone like their dad. But while they’re young, they’d like to play. And nobody plays better than players.

    I see the logic in all of these arguments. But at the end of the day, after I hear all the praise and appreciation for the personality crush, the conversation turns back to the guys who suck. Women treasure hugs from their guy friends, but they don’t want to see his penis.

    I say it’s time to let your personality crush out of the friend box. Could be that’s the guy who can make you happy. Give him a shot. Better yet, you take the shot.
    She shoots! She scores!

    Do you have a personality crush story with a happy ending?