Dear Whys Guy: "Can a Man and a Woman Really Be Just Friends?"

By Aaron Traister, REDBOOK

DEAR WHYS GUY:

Can a guy truly be "just friends" with a girl? I get along quite well with a guy as friends, but every now and again, I get the feeling that he is testing the waters, so to speak (which would rock my socks). He brings up topics like marriage and asks my opinion, then in the next sentence makes a definite "just not into you that way" statement. Then the next day, he'll compliment me on how I look, smell, etc. Is he checking out my reaction and then back-peddling when he thinks he's gone too far? Or is this just the male mind trying to establish the fact that he is attractive and wanted by a woman that he respects (that would be me), regardless of whether or not he wants to actually date her?

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DEAR REDBOOK READER:

Okay firstly, guys and girls can be friends... after a guy stops going through puberty. But here's the deal, I'm not sure that people are right to assume that guys stop going through puberty when they are teenagers, I know 60-year-old dudes who still act like twitchy, handsy, 13 year olds. Personally, I stopped feeling like a chapter from Changing Bodies Changing Lives when I was about 28. Regardless, this guy sounds like an actual 13-year-old (is he?). Real guy friends don't tell you how good you smell, guys who are looking to get laid tell you how good you smell. Real guy friends tell you when you stink.

Good luck.

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Need help decoding odd male behavior? Redbook columnist Aaron Traister, who lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two kids, is our resident male who is happy to answer any questions you might have about the mind of a man. Either leave your questions in the comments or email him at redbook@hearst.comwith Whys Guy in the subject. Letters, emails, and comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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