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The Girl Code

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Whoever thought up that saying needs to be punched in the dick. Because you know it was a man.*

All is NOT fair in love and war when you’re jello-wrestling with a question like, “Is it ever okay to date someone who used to date your friend?”.

In the world of dating, I believe in the Girl Code. The Girl Code is the tacit but firm agreement within unmarried female friendships that states the following: Any man your friend is seeing is off limits, including if/when they ever break up. Period.  “Seeing” can mean any of the following: seriously dating, casually dating, sleeping with, about-to-be sleeping with, or any combination of the four.  The Girl Code is the equivalent of “Bros Before H*s” for our prettier gender.  There is no gray area in this previously undiscovered Eleventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not trespass onto the privates of your girlfriends’ man, present or former.”  He should be dead to you, at least romantically. The feelings of your girlfriends come first and always.

So, if your friend started seeing someone you may have been interested in, how could you successfully flip the switch from lusty pursuer to indifferent acquaintance? My method has been that the man was immediately and without hesitation thrown directly into Ugly Friend Zone. What’s that? Here’s an example: When I was once pondering what he looked like shirtless, then I’m now imagining that he’s hairier than Sasquatch and has severe backne. I’ve made him as unappealing as possible in my mind, because there is just no sense in torturing myself. UFZ has worked for me so far.

Until recently. A man who dated a friend of mine previously has expressed interest in me.  Eeek.

It’s been a humbling lesson to learn that things are never as black and white as we wish. Let me throw out some hypotheticals.  For instance, what if your friend dated him a long time ago? Does the passage of years soften the harshness of seeing the same person?  Or, what if she dated him very briefly, very recently, but has moved on?   Do you take the approach, “Well, they were never really serious.” and go forth in pursuit? If so, what is the proverbial line that defines whether they were “serious” or not? Exclusivity? Sex??? Does it make it better or worse if the man is the one doing the pursuing? What if your friend swears to you that it’s fine for you to date him? How do you know she really means it? Does this entire question all depend on individual circumstances and personalities?


I may not personally have answers to the above mindfuck, but I’m certain that there is one very crucial non-negotiable when it comes to the Girl Code: Honesty between friends. Regardless of whether you’ve been close for years or for months, open communication has to happen. Be up front with her and for heaven’s sake, do not lie. Yes, it sucks to be an adult, but you need put on your big girl panties and deal with it before anything really icky happens. Understand that you may be stirring up old hurts or creating new ones and your friend may not react well. But if your friend is a good one she’ll be honest, even if it’s not the answer you want to hear. And if YOU are a good friend you’ll respect her choice either way.

In the end, its not complicated. It all comes down to the fact that your friends matter.  They’ll be the ones that pick up your little heart pieces when the idiot stomps on it. They’ll be the ones that get you without you having to saying a word. They will be the ones that stick by you, no matter the geographical distance.  They will be the ones who will one day walk down the aisle in an ugly dress for you, cry joyful tears with you when your kids are born, and be there for you during every shitty thing life is going to throw at you. Don’t do anything in the moment that could damage a lifetime.

So, is it ever okay to date someone that your friend used to see? The answer depends on three things:

  1. Honesty.
  2. How your friend feels about it.
  3. How you feel about it.

As for me? I’ve completed number 1 and know the answer to number 2. But I still haven’t figured out number 3.  Wish me luck.

*Of course I was right.


8 responses »

  1. I have twice had ex-boyfriends of friends ask me out as the rebound from my friends dumping them. Both guys got the “Oh, hell no!” From me because this mama ain’t no weapon. But if doesn’t sound like your situation is that, so I don’t have experience with this.

    Good luck!

  2. “Backne.” Hahaha! I don’t think I’ve ever been in this situation, but I definitely agree with the 3 things. Good luck!

  3. Oh man, I’m so glad I’ve never been in that situation. I totally agree with your assessment though – and I wish you much luck!!

  4. I totally dig you on the honesty thing. 100%. There always seem to be exceptions to black and white rules, but honesty is the answer when you’re unsure.

    I will confess that when I was young and stupid, I made the mistake of being the other – I slept with a friend of my ex-boyfriend after we stopped dating. I still feel a bit icky about that – and would make a different decision today – although it didn’t seem to bother either of them. I think guys look at those things differently. Which is why a Girl Code is very important.


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