Dear “Good Guy” Friend,
We’ve been over this. Whether or not we’ve had an actual conversation, we’ve been over it. I know it. You know it.
I don’t want to sleep with you.
Don’t get me wrong, I think you’re great–that’s why we’re friends in the first place. We hang out, we watch movies, we get drunk, we go to parties, we make each other laugh, we play video games, we get high… The list of things we do together goes on. My family likes you, you’re in my group of friends, but most importantly you get me. That kind of connection is special and we both know it.
So why do you have to make things weird by hitting on me?
We’re good enough friends at this point that you know what I’m into, what I’m afraid of, what makes me laugh and what makes me REALLY angry. Maybe we hooked up once upon a time but feelings changed. Maybe our relationship has only ever been platonic. The important thing is that we’re friends now, and you know I’m not interested in you sexually. We’ve either discussed this fact out loud, or I’ve made it exceedingly clear in my body language and overall behavior. So why do you keep making it an issue?
I should back up for a second and explain what I mean by “making it an issue.” Sometimes friends misread signals from each other and make wrong assumptions. Sometimes friends who are transitioning out of intimate relationships don’t set clear boundaries and end up making wrong assumptions. These scenarios are okay as long as the misunderstandings are resolved quickly and respectfully. But feigning ignorance is no excuse for harassment, and it’s your responsibility to learn from your mistakes. Therefore, when you subtly imply that our closeness should guarantee you sex, that’s making it an issue. When you take any opportunity to make a sexual joke about me, my body, or our friendship, that’s making it an issue. When you casually proposition me for sex out of the blue, despite me giving you no signals that I’m interested, that’s making it an issue. When you constantly talk about my physical appearance, that’s making it an issue. When we’re drunk or high together and you touch my body without my permission, that’s making it an issue. When you shit talk my other sexual partners for no reason other than you’re jealous, that’s making it an issue. If you have to convince me in any way to be sexual with you, that’s not consent, and that’s an issue.
The worst part is, I know if I brought this up to you in person, it probably wouldn’t go so well. You might get mad and deny all of it. You might even tell me that I’m stuck-up or full of myself for even assuming that you wanted something sexual. Or, just as bad, you might break down and apologize over and over without actually thinking about what you’ve done (hint: you probably wouldn’t be apologizing if I had just agreed to fuck you). Either way, the conversation could potentially make things so awkward or hostile between us that our friendship might not survive. And even though I know we shouldn’t be friends if you don’t understand where I’m coming from with this, that’s still scary. We’ve been through a lot together and I want to believe that you can understand me and change.
Because the truth is, I’m not writing this letter because I hate you. Sexist brainwashing encourages us all to hurt each other, and making mistakes is easy when you haven’t spent time thinking about your actions. I’m writing this letter because I value our friendship and I want better for us.
As a woman, I have spent and will continue to spend much of my time being nervous around men. In the street, at parties, in class, at work, I’ve got to navigate men who want things from me that I don’t want to give. Add the intersections of race, class, sexual orientation, physical discrimination, and personal experiences with trauma, and just existing as a female-presenting person becomes really, really complicated. The prospect of keeping myself safe at all times is terrifying and exhausting and when I’m with you I don’t want to be terrified or exhausted. So when you put me in an uncomfortable position because you want sex, you’re violating the exact reason I’ve chosen to be your friend in the first place. You’re taking the sense of safety our friendship gives me, in a world where I have many reasons not trust men, and you’re disrespecting it.
You’re telling me that your desire to “see what happens” when you proposition me for sex is more important than my right to feel safe. And I don’t fuck with that.
So I don’t care if you’re liberal. I don’t care if you’re conservative. I don’t care if you’re an ally. I don’t care if you’re “friendzoned” and it’s not fair. I don’t even care that you’re a Good Guy. I care about our friendship, but I care about my safety more. If you don’t understand why bringing our platonic friendship to a sexual place makes me uncomfortable, then you’re probably not even a Good Guy in the first place and I’m glad we’re clearing that up now.
If you’re willing to put my safety on the line, I’m not willing to stick around. I want better for us, but I also want better for all women, and maybe me cutting this friendship off will teach you to value your female friendships in the future.
Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope we can stay friends. If not, that’s okay–I’m probably safer without you around anyway.
A Female Friend