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It’s been said that men and women can’t be “just friends.” While I am not sure it is entirely true, if there is attraction on either side that isn’t mutual it likely is true.

The guys in the manosphere have said that men rarely hang out with women they aren’t interested in. So if he’s spending time with you on a social level, or doing stuff like helping you move or fixing your car or other “boyfriend” type things, chances are he may hope that if he just hangs in there you will fall for him.

While you can’t control what other people feel, you can control your own actions. And the thing is in this case it’s in everyone’s best interests if you minimize contact with male friends you don’t have a romantic interest in.

Why? Such situations rarely end well. More often there are feelings of hurt, rejection, and even anger on his side, as well as feelings of confusion on yours when the friendship implodes when the interested party has finally had enough. Often, things get ugly, rumors get spread, and reputations are tarnished.

In the manosphere such a dynamic is called a “beta orbiter.” And depending on one’s point of view, he puts himself in that position, or she does, or perhaps both. A beta orbiter is a guy waiting in the wings, hoping he will get a chance to win your heart.  Often that desire is not communicated or expressed, so much so that a gal could take it at face value and truly think it’s “just friends” when he really is hoping it will be more.

I have unwittingly been in this situation more than once, and always regret that I did not recognize what was happening sooner, before feelings were hurt or people felt taken advantage of.

Even worse is when women work these dynamics on purpose, knowing that she is manipulating him. Just don’t. Totally not ok. Ever.

It’s not always the case that men and women can’t be friends, but often it is. Do everyone a favor and avoid getting into this sticky situation and unintentionally (or intentionally) hurting others.

Have you ever been a beta orbiter? Have you ever had a beta orbiter? What happened? Please share in the comments.