“My Pal And I Like The Same Woman”


“My Pal And I Like The Same Woman”

The authors of Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex explain what to do when a friend says, “Back off; I saw her first.”

By Josh Piven and Jennifer Worick

Q: I met a great woman at a party... turns out, a good friend of mine spoke to her that night too. He told me to “Back off” because he likes her and wants to ask her out. Should I respect my friend’s “turf” and steer clear?

Josh’s solution:
I’m sure all our female readers will be gratified to know that some men still consider them real estate to be haggled over. But putting that aside for the moment...

For starters, the situation might be a bit different if your friend had already gone out with her on a date. In that case, you would indeed be butting in, and he’d be justified in asking you to stay off his, ahem, “turf.” But since you’ve both just met her and he has no claim (to continue our metaphor), here’s a thought: Why not let her decide which one of you she’d like to date? I’m not saying you two should approach her and pull the old “We’re both interested in you; which one of us would you like to date?” routine. This puts too much pressure on her, and it presumes she likes one of you to begin with. Plus you’ll be saving yourself some embarrassment if she replies “Neither!” What you and your pal should do is agree (out of her earshot) that one of you will ask her out first and that the other will not pursue her if some chemistry develops. How can you tell? I would say that if she agrees to continue seeing your friend after their first date — that is, she felt at least enough of a spark to go on more dates — then she's off-limits. If not, then she's fair game.

Of course, things get a bit more complicated if your friend won’t agree to this course of action. In that case, you have a decision to make, and I think the decision is pretty easy. If your dating this woman is going to drive a wedge into your friendship, then I’d forget about her and let it go. While my gut tells me that true friends would never let a woman come between them, I’d play it safe and avoid possible bad feelings by moving on to other dating prospects. Oh, and next time you two are out together, make sure to call “dibs” on someone you like much, much earlier.

Jen’s solution:
Why does it follow that the person who calls “shotgun” automatically gets the front seat? Or that the guy who proclaims “hands off, she’s mine” gets first dibs on the hot babe at a party? Well, because it just does—particularly with good friends. So if a pal is inspired to claim a woman for his own (at least for a first approach), you should give him the space to strut his stuff. But you don’t have to back off forever. If he crashes and burns, or he doesn’t make a move within a reasonable time frame, ask him if he’d mind if you took a shot. Say, “Whatever happened with that girl we met at Dan’s party? Did you ever call her? Would you mind if I did? I thought she was really cool.”

Be prepared for him to say, “No problem” but to secretly think it is—that’s OK. By being upfront, you’ve shown him that your friendship is your main priority. Just don’t date the girl behind his back—either he’ll find out, or you’ll be so worried that he’ll find out that it will sour any relationship you might pursue with the foxy lady.

If, however, your friend claims eligible women right and left, I think it’s fine to admit your attraction to a particular woman from the get-go. Ask your friend just how serious he is about her. If he seems breezy about it, ask if he’d mind if you tried approaching her first. If he objects, leave the two of them alone. It’s not worth losing a good friend. And hey, you can always ask the woman if she’s got a sister.

Josh Piven and Jennifer Worick are co-authors of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating & Sex;

* This column is for entertainment purposes only. It does not contain professional advice. The authors are not liable for any use or misuse of the information it contains.

Do you have a question for Josh and Jen? Send it to us—including your name, e-mail address and phone number in case we need more details. We reserve the right to edit your case and feature it in a future issue of Happen.
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