Hey Dude Whisperer,
I have these 2 guy friends- let’s call them M and N. We were in college together. We knew another guy ...let's call him D.
M, N and I have talked about this and always agreed that D is a big douche-bag (he is a pig, a sexist, impolite and generally has no sense of propriety, among other things). I hang out with M and N often. Problem is, they insist on inviting D along at least 1 out of every 5 times. I have come close to punching the guy in the face at least 2 times in the past 3 years that I have known him (not literally.... but you get the point).
Anyways, getting to the point....when M and N clearly do not like D why do they insist on hanging out with him? (and consequently indirectly force me to hangout with him as well) This is something that I have seen to various degrees with all dude friends of mine. As a woman, I can say that, if I don’t like another person the most I would do is say a hello when I see him/her on the street but would never actually invite that person out for an evening to hangout with my other friends.
I don’t get it,
PS: It is not such a big problem for me per se (I can hold my own) and when I get really fed up with the guy I just walk away. Also M and N make sure they give me a heads up when D will be joining us. But I am just curious since I do not understand this behavior.
Hi there NZ,
You know, the day you sent this question the DW got an email from a friend we’ll call S who had been out on the town with a third dude we’ll call P. S described P as follows, “He was funny ten years ago, and now he's just an imminent arrest.” Does S hang out with P real often these days? Not so much. But is he going to drop P as a friend? Um, no to that, too.
And over the years the DW has done the same thing. He’s maintained long friendships with dudes who have done the following- attempted to tackle pizza a delivery dude, thrown up on the escalator at ESPN Zone in Baltimore, sh*t their pants on purpose, participated in Guaranteed Yack Night, and serially grossed out every woman the DW knew. Okay, so actually, the DW thought a lot of that stuff was pretty awesome at the time, but you get the idea. It’s really only in the last couple years that the DW has found himself without that embarrassing D in his life of which you speak.
So why do dudes do this? How does it come to pass that one regular dude insists on hanging out with a douchebag? The DW will walk you through the process.
The first thing to know is that dudes don’t talk that much. They Do Things together. So, it’s not too difficult to be friends with a dude on a casual level and simply Do Something like stand around a grill of ribs in someone’s backyard or whatever. You don’t actually cover much detail about your life this way like women do when they get together and chat and chat and chat and presumably share all kinds of intimate thoughts and feelings. (This is what women do, right? At any rate, this is what dudes assume you do.) Anyway, not knowing much about a dude can make it easy to be friends, but also easy to make a bad initial judgement about a friend. Even a douche can seem pretty okay if all you know about him is that his TV is way better for watching the Niners game than yours.
So, step one is that maybe D comes along to a barbeque with a dude friend. Now you’ve Done Something together. Maybe next time D is part of a group that goes to the new Marky Mark action movie. Now you’ve Done Something together a couple times.
Step two is that eventually there will come a time when you Do Something with D and the mutual friend dude that introduced you to D is not around. Now, you’re pretty much dude friends.
And here’s where things can start to snowball. Dudes don’t actually have to Do Something together that often to stay friends. In fact, one of the great things about dude friends is that they require so little maintenance. It’s not like your girlfriend who will expect you to tell her a week beforehand that you’re excited that her birthday is coming up, then celebrate her birthday with her at a bar and help her find dudes to smooch while she’s getting drunk, then give her a present even though she told you specifically not to but would secretly hate you if you didn’t get her something, then a week later tell her on at least three occasions how great her birthday was and how excited about her birthday you were. The DW has no idea what any of his friends’ birthdays are. He has friends that go back twenty years with whom he might go six months without any meaningful contact. Easy, peasy.
What this means, though, is that if you become casual friends with D you can see him, say, once every couple months here and there, and so it might not be til you’ve known him for six months that he seems like a douche. But, since you don’t have to see him every day or talk that much, you can forget about what a douche he is before the next time you see him. Or, at the very least, he doesn’t seem like enough of a douche that it’s worth the effort of confronting him about it or avoiding him. Do this a couple times and the next thing you know, you’ve been friends with D for three years!
And here's the thing about that. Once you've been friends with a dude for three years, you can't just drop him. Dudes have weird loyalty issues. You have some history with D that should mean something. You cut him some slack. You stick up for him. You put up with him being totally embarrassing, even.
The final step is when that loyalty just turns over into stubbornness. Once you’ve been friends with a dude and stuck your neck out for him, well, it would just feel dumb to drop him now. Think GW never being able to admit that
This is M and N's anatomy of a D friend in a nutshell. The DW eventually reached a point in his life where he dropped the D's. Maybe your friends will, too. Until they're ready, though, at least they're giving you the heads up about when the D will be around.
Hope this makes sense. Or, rather, the DW knows it makes no sense, but does it suffice as an explanation?
PS- The DW just realized that the whole thing about dudes Doing Things together is incredibly homoerotic. Seriously, it’s totally worth a re-read thinking Abercrombie and Fitch ad thoughts. Doing things! Doing things with lots of dudes! Oh,my! The DW even worked the termsnowball in there. Good times.