“I still haven’t perfected the curve with guys I’m trying to do business with. Most times, once I curve them, the business with them goes away. What is the most effective way to handle the curve here?”
When I heard that reader-submission question on Amanda Seale’s “Small Doses with Amanda Seales” podcast, I almost spit out my Pellegrino. Have you ever struggled to tiptoe the line with a man you wanted to do business with, but he walks the same line with alternate intentions? I have.
Have you ever been in a situation when you don’t quite avoid his advances but you don’t entertain them either?
It’s not a fun position to be in. Not allowing the relationship to bloom is the respectable thing to do, but this also potentially closes the door, professionally speaking. When does rationale ever prevail anyway? As an eternal optimist, I always seem to hope that things will pan out for the best for everyone.
Amanda’s response aligned with my thought process – use the professional curve. “Divert them without knocking them down,” and as she noted, “it takes a certain level of skill.” She advised that perfecting the professional curve is tricky, and navigating the relationship will be full of nuisances. However the heart of the advice is Do not allow yourself to be taken on business dinner dates. Make it coffee, make it an office thing, make it a daytime thing. Make your intentions clear, and everytime it drifts, steer it back.
Her advice made sense. It’s all I’ve ever tried to do. I would argue that my professional curve is successful, seven out of ten times, but recently, I learned I haven’t perfected the curve with guys I genuinely want to be friends with. You know, those guys who may have their sights set on something more but all I want is a friendship?
I had a friend who was absolutely, 150%, the most amazing guy – insanely talented, ridiculously passionate and dedicated to his craft, smart as fuck, and rich as hell. We got along. Really, we laughed all the time. I admired his hustle and the way he seamlessly lived his dream and balanced his umpteen commitments. I valued his work ethic, drive, and sense of humor. Arguably, he had all the qualities people look for in a solid friend.
However… I knew he had feelings for me. He would poke fun with the joking-but-not-really comments, but he never took it too far. I held him in high regards because his feelings did not interfere with our ability to build a friendship. He was capable and mature enough to understand and live his role in full realization. He graciously took every curve I threw his way.
I would kindly share my feelings on relationships and my disinterest in dating. I told him I felt l emotionally damaged from my ex, and I don’t want to ruin our friendship. I spoke my truth, and this wasn’t a bunch of excuses or a diss. It was, however, a straightforward curve, and it was done in a respectful way. He seemed to respect my stance, or so I thought.
Well, a few months back, he decided to invite me to dinner, but not just any dinner, arguably one of the hardest reservations to score in NYC – Eleven Madison Park, on Valentine’s Day. Eleven Madison Park’s upscale, 11-course tasting menus paired with its chic, Art Deco space make this one of the most coveted restaurants in the city, especially on Valentine’s Day.
After my failed relationships and pointless dinner dates with other men, you would think I would have jumped at this opportunity, but no. I couldn’t and wouldn’t give him false hope that our relationship could move in another direction. Similar to the professional curve rules mentioned earlier, I had to reinforce the curve on our friendship regarding this invitation. I mean, it was Valentine’s Day, and he wanted us to go to the hottest restaurant in NYC. There’s no doubt about it, I would’ve given him false hope had I agreed to go.
Well, would you believe me if I told you that after our countless laughs, random lunches, dinners, candid conversations, and chats about personal growth, faith, and business that he has since gone completely MIA? Arguably, I’ve been ghosted!
Maybe I should’ve known better than to think we could carry on a friendship while he suppressed romantic feelings for me, but I really don’t know. I’m a say-what-you-mean-mean-what-you-say kind of girl. I figured he was fine with our friendship-only status. In fact, I had no reason to believe otherwise because of our totally transparent conversations about the topic. Perhaps it wasn’t his intention to drag me along, but he did, and now the age-old question is circling my brain – “Can women actually have male platonic friends?”
My answer to this has always been yes! Duh, I’m a guy’s girl! I love hanging with the guys. The shit-talking, the competitive nature, and the laid-back vibes. I have male friends I can count on, but does that mean they would pass up the opportunity to sleep with me if I opened the door?
It turns out, the answer might actually be no. According to Scientific American, women seem genuine in their belief that opposite-sex friendships are platonic, but men seem unable to turn off their desire for something more. Research suggests that the perceived opportunity for romance is often lurking around the corner, waiting to pounce (no pun intended) at the right time.
I’m not sure we needed actual research to confirm that fact, but the research does make me feel better about my now missing friendship. Our friendship really stood zero to no chance, no matter how well I handled the friendship curve. But Young Queens, trust me when I say that I know quality male friends exist. These friendships have no fear of blurred lines or hidden expectations. Although they’re rare, they exist, and I’ll continue to work on perfecting my curve until I get a real platonic relationship of my own.