When it comes to other gay men, there are three relationship buckets that we tend to stick people in: 1) completely platonic friends, 2) friends with benefits or “f*ck buddy”, 3) romantic / intimate boyfriend. These buckets exist to help define our relationship to the other person, and provide some context to it. The bucket also gives you guidelines as to behavior that is acceptable and unacceptable. If you are platonic friends, for example, it’s probably not okay to hold your friend’s hand when you walk down the street and steal a kiss from him when you’re cuddled up watching tv. That sort of behavior is reserved for more of a boyfriend-type relationship. And if your platonic friend did such behavior, you would probably be left surprised and confused, wondering just how he felt about you.
Because we are all fellow gay men, and we all tend to hang out together and have the same primordial desires for sex and companionship, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish who falls into what bucket. We blur the lines. And when these lines get blurred, we send out mixed signals that lead to confusion and frustration. Which then leads to us act on the signal we think we’re getting, and end up with hurt feelings…or skipping that and putting up walls to protect ourselves from getting hurt in the first place. Or, even worse, we begin to play the question game with ourselves…constantly wondering how we should act with the other person instead of just enjoying the present moment and the company. And if you are supposedly platonic friends, yet act more like boyfriends, then you put out the energy of unavailability to the Universe. Forget trying to find a real boyfriend…you are already taken! And believe me, others will pick up on that energy and second guess approaching you because you seemingly have a boyfriend.
So if you find yourself in a situation where the lines are blurred, take some time to really clarify the bucket that he should belong to. Do you really want to be just friends? Or maybe you really do want him to be your boyfriend? And if you are getting some ambiguity from the other person, then you are absolutely encouraged to ask him to clarify the bucket that he has placed you in. ”Hey, I need to know how you feel about me.” Once you decide the bucket that your relationship belongs to, stick with it. Don’t allow the lines to become blurred again.