How Do You Get Your Friends To Stop Flirting With Each Other?

This week we have a woman who gets along with men well in a platonic way, but recently introduced a flirty gal pal to the mix. Can she get them to stop flirting with each other? Or does she need to get over it?

Photo: Samuel David Rinehart

Some people have problems that require delicate advice from a qualified professional. Others just need a random guy on the internet to kick 'em in the teeth (with honesty, that is). I'm the latter. Welcome back to Tough Love.

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Note: I'm not a therapist or health professional of any kind. People ask for my advice and I give it to them. End of transaction. If you have a problem with it, feel free to file a formal complaint here. Now that that's out of the way, let's get on with it:

Hey Patrick,

My best friend is a very sweet and introverted person. However, when it comes to boys she tends to build a social ego and attempt to be seen as superior.

I have many male friends; the majority of my companions are boys, in fact. This is not because I have a desire for attention or seek sensual encounters. Merely because I grew up with all male family members. I have established a strong and mature relationship with them and many of them refer to me as "one of the boys".

I recently introduced my best friend to my guy friends, and it seems silly to say, but she Snapchats all of them and it bugs me! I can tell some of them are into her, and I know for a fact she is trying hard to gain their attention.

I don't like watching that happen. I don't want complications or any love life formulating within the relationship of my best friend and my friends. It's hard to explain why her behaviour around them aggravates me, but can't we all be mature and keep our relationships friendly and nothing more?

Now I'm upset that I introduced them. She raves about them and adds comments in conversations like, "Oh, I would so date him." It feels like she's taking my companions and trying to make them her boy toys. It feels like she's stealing them.

I'm not jealous; I don't seek love or attraction from my guy friends, but I'd rather her not be all over them when I just want us all to be able to hang out without feeling awkward as she tries to flirt with EVERY single one of them.

Sincerely,

Friend Wrangler

Hey Friend Wrangler,

First, I think you ARE jealous. Maybe not in a romantic way, but you definitely don't like losing the attention of your guy friends. You like being the cool girl who can hang with the bros. They don't try to get with you and you don't try to get with them. It's chill.

But all of a sudden your friend comes along and changes the status quo by being flirty, and that means they aren't paying attention to the cool girl any more. Now they want to pay attention to the new flirty girl who they could potentially get with. So yeah, you're jealous, just in a different way. Accept that.

Second, you are not the keeper of any of these people. You talk about these guy friends with a sense of ownership - as though these men are yours and yours alone and nobody shall flirt with them on your watch. And you talk about your gal pal like she's some weirdo who's unworthy of showing interest in anyone.

That's so uncool, Friend Wrangler! I know you want to avoid feeling awkward while they sext each other or whatever, but that isn't a good reason to block your friends - people you supposedly care about - from potentially finding comfort in each other.

You say you want everyone to be mature, but there's nothing mature about wanting to control your friends' behaviour. They're adults - they can flirt, or Snapchat, or hook up with whoever they want. Get over it.

But OK, I'll play ball. After all, it isn't Tough Love if it's all tough. Here's the love part: If you're going to say something to your friend, you need to keep it open-ended and play to her sense of friendship. Be honest and tell her that it makes you feel awkward when she flirts with them because you're worried romantic relationships will create a rift in your friend group.

You're not telling her to stop. You're telling her that you're afraid you'll have to choose between her and them someday, and you don't want that to happen. Who knows? Maybe she'll back off. Either that, or she'll think you're jealous of her.

Look, you don't want things to change - I get that - but things are going to change and keep on changing, forever and ever, amen. You can either roll with the punches and find a way to be cool with Miss Flirty Pants and the bros (play the matchmaker and take credit), or you're going to end up being ousted from this social group if and when they do connect.

So, which one do you want to be? The cool girl who's OK with letting her friends make their own choices, or "that one girl that used to hang out with us. Remember her?"


That's it for this week. I probably didn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but sometimes what you need is some tough love. 'Til next time, figure things out for yourself.


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