A woman has a close male friend. This means that he is probably interested in her, which is why he hangs around so much. She sees him strictly as a friend. This always starts out with, you're a great guy, but I don't like you in that way. This is roughly the equivalent for the guy of going to a job interview and the company saying, You have a great resume, you have all the qualifications we are looking for, but we're not going to hire you. We will, however, use your resume as the basis for comparison for all other applicants. But, we're going to hire somebody who is far less qualified and is probably an alcoholic. And if he doesn't work out, we'll hire somebody else, but still not you. In fact, we will never hire you. But we will call you from time to time to complain about the person that we hired.
I think I should clearly define that by the term 'friend' I mean anyone who isn't a potential. A potential is basically someone you'd:
- date romantically (the conversative definition)
- wanna have sex with (what hardcore Darwinists and biology fundamentalists would assert)
But yeh if you get what I mean, you would contend that the definition of a 'friend' by those 2 facets essentially lead to or mean the same thing. For those initiated on the ladder theory principle, I won't bother touching on whether guys have 2 ladders or not. We'll just remain generic here.
I think that when you get to know someone of the opposite gender for the first time, there exists a window period where you can either progress romantically or as a friend. Once that window shuts off and the both of you become solidified as 'just friends', chances are... Well, there ain't such a clear chance anymore. Or at least, it's gonna be quite hard to break out of the 'friends' cage towards being potentials again.
I somehow feel that this is because as long you and that person are not exactly solidified as friends yet, the both of you can still afford to be 'formal' and hence flirty. When you are truly friends with someone, in the sense of being in the same clique or social group, you will begin to treat him or her more as a sibling. I think the key factor here that you have to be in a certain position which is like being strategically distant. Hence, you are not close enough to be obligated to treat the person as a friend in the sense of like the both of you always calling each other once lessons are over cos you need someone to hang out with while you eat or mug.
When that happens, in natural progression, you will end up taking the emotional connection for granted of sorts. I don't mean to say this in a bad way, but it happens and is normal. You will be less 'friendly' in an I-just-got-to-know-you way and you will treat each other in a hey-we're-really-buddies kinda way. You will then find that there's a certain change in behaviour to each other - you expect favours, or you expect money to be returned, for example. The chances of you being awkward in each other's company is reduced as well.
If the both of you are still in the window period where you still haven't progressed towards settling as a friend or potential, you would be more patronising; i.e. you will be more helpful in a formal way, you will talk about very generic stuff, you will tend to crack (what you'd think are) 'cool' jokes rather than acting outright stupid or lame when exercising humour. I think it's really all these little things.
Then when the person settles into being your potential, then of course what happens from here is up to you. I guess what I'm trying to say so far is that when it comes to meeting new people, there's a window period and friends in this window period, who are basically new friends, may seem more potential than friends but are in fact in a transitional period of 'strategic distance'. This strategic distance then allows you to decide what you wanna do which will influence eventually whether the person becomes a friend or potential to you.
This window period doesn't have a fixed length of time as well. Some people end up being relegated to friend status faster than others. Briefly touching on this, for example, if you tend to be quite an ass-prick but you're still a dependable person by nature, then perhaps your non-committal allure would make it harder for you to simply become a friend. Whereas if you're always nice and helpful and easily taken for granted, then you become a friend easily. This is of the niceguysfinishlast variety. But, moving on.
Along those lines, one thing that strikes me as quite true of the ladder theory is that unfortunately for most people, you do not know which ladder you're on, i.e. whether you're a friend or potential. To attempt to romantically hook up someone who treats you as a friend would mean ladder-hopping, and if you're unsuccessful, you will often fall off and end up in the abyss of awkwardness.
I don't really have anything to conclude on something I didn't know what I was touching on for in the first place, other than perhaps saying that I was prompted to write this after reading that quote I found online up there, and also thinking about the transitional window period before the solidification into being a friend or potential and my idea of 'strategic distance', which is one of the more interesting conversational topics I've had with friends. So I guess to end off, whether this is relevant or not, in the triangle of the estranged couple and the inevitable bystander nice guy, I'd just like to give a random salute to the bystander nice guy whom the girl in the sour relationship counts on to pour out her sorrow. He's doomed to being relegated to her friends ladder.
Epperson's law: When a man says it's a silly, childish game, it's probably something his wife can beat him at.
Incubus - Warning