How Do I Tell My Female Friend That She’s Using Men?

A man asks Eli and Josie how to help his female best friend stop using men and then dumping them.

Originally appeared at She Said He Said

Dear Sexes: I’m male and my female best friend and I have just worked out that the only reason why relationships have not been working out for her is because she’s only interested in the interest guys show for her, but not for the guys per se. It’s sort of like an exercise in ego-inflation for her. Her motivation it seems, in seeking out a budding relationship is so as to inflate her ego further, and as soon as she sees their imperfections, she shuns them away.  She knows it’s selfish, but how do I help her?

She Said: First, it’s excellent that she sees what she’s doing. But not until she gets to the root of her issues and actually solves the problem will she stop doing it.

This is a fear of intimacy issue. For whatever reason, she’s afraid of being truly loved and of getting hurt. It’s not that these guys actually have anything wrong with them (more than anyone else), it’s that she doesn’t truly want to love someone or to be loved for real in return.

She needs to see a therapist and figure this out. As awesome as it is that you want to help her, you’re just not equipped to be the one to suss out where it comes from. What you can do, as her friend, is be there to listen as she grows through this problem. She’s going to need an honest sounding board that has her best interests in mind… You do have her best interests in mind, right? You aren’t trying to be “the one” she actually falls in love with, are you?

Because she’s not ready to fall in love. No matter how amazing you are. She’s got a bit of work to do.

Know, however, that this behavior isn’t going to change overnight. It’s not your job to help her, or to hear her complain over and over again about the same problems if she isn’t doing the work. This will just become a drain to you and prevent you from finding the woman (or man) of your dreams if you’re looking for one. Or, if you’re in a relationship, sometimes these types of friends can suck the energy you have for intimacy away, and your primary relationship is left high and dry.

Another thing to check into is Love Addicts Anonymous. If she can’t afford therapy, she can find meetings of love/sex addicts anonymous and attend for free, if the symptoms strike a chord.

He Said: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I promise… your girl friend’s relationships are failing for a variety of reasons. She’s human, right? Regardless of how amazing your friend may be, she has flaws, and some of those character traits MAY have something to do with her failed relationships. Timing, chance, and chemistry also play role in the dating game. Your friend isn’t in charge of those things is she?

If you want to help your friend out, tell her to start focusing more on herself, and have her worry less about finding the perfect human to date. And if you want to give her some tough love, remind her that selfishness, game-playing, and narcissism aren’t the most endearing qualities. To be blunt, your friend sounds terrified of love. Do you see her pushing others away (we know she seeks out their imperfections) before she can be abandoned, let-down, hurt, etc…? She may be sabotaging her own chances at a successful relationship. If you want to help her out, be honest with her, and urge her to start being honest with herself.

Have a question for Eli and Josie? Ask it here.


Photo of a woman and a dish of tiny man courtesy of Shutterstock

About She Said He Said

Eli and Josie, friends since college, realized how lucky they were to have one another—an honest friend of the opposite sex who tells it like it is. They wanted to share that with the world and so was born.


  1. I’ve been doing this. I hate it. I can’t stop. I was in therapy but didn’t fully explore this as I was exploring other issues. I tried to become celibate and man free but it only lasted 4 months.

  2. I really like how you guys explain to this guy that it’s not his job to fix her, it’s not his job to listen to her complain if she doesn’t do the work, and that she probably needs therapy. It doesn’t sound like she is a girl that is purposely taking advantage of men (we all know a few) and it sounds more like she is just a girl that is confused and doesn’t fully know what she wants. I like the She Said He Said concept and I’ll be checking out your blog more =)

  3. I’d be willing to bet she falls hard for the guys who ignore her — to some extent. And then the cycle repeats…

  4. Joanna Schroeder says:

    I can’t believe none of you have commented on the insane photo I found for the article!!

    • I was trying to let it go but since you asked…..

      1.”Oh-O here she comes!
      Watch out boys, she’ll chew you up!”

      2. I don’t think she will be able to digest the fabric of his suit.

      3. I wonder if he counts as “organic”.

      4. Do you think that look on her face is her wondering if he will go straight to her thighs?

      5. Where are the fava beans and nice chianti?

    • Valter Viglietti says:

      You’re right! Kudos Joanna! 😀

    • wellokaythen says:

      I was thinking she’s wearing a rather tacky shade of lipstick, but that seemed a bit off-topic….

    • I have some silly song “She’s a mannnn eatter” stuck in my head :S

  5. The same thing that I did to my friend. Tell her to stop.

  6. wellokaythen says:

    She should be up front about her experience so those men can’t be used. She should tell the men she goes out with about this pattern as early as possible and then let the men decide for themselves if they want to stick with the relationship. If the men go into the relationship with their eyes wide open, then those men are not being used. I sympathize with those men, but if they have full knowledge of her previous patterns then we can’t consider them victims.

    Easy for me to say. I get the impression she is especially afraid of rejection, even more than the average person.

  7. Copyleft says:

    What’s the incentive for her to change? Sure, she realizes what she’s doing–but is that a good enough reason for her to change her ways? Is the cost of failed relationships actually bothering her enough to make her stop using men? She’s the only one who can answer that.

    • Valter Viglietti says:

      @Copyleft: “What’s the incentive for her to change?”

      Not having a love life? Remaining single and loveless?
      I think that’s motivation enough.

      • Copyleft says:

        Perhaps. But how does it compare to the rewards she’s getting–namely, the ego boost?

        • Valter Viglietti says:

          Dude, the ego is a very shallow part. It leaves your soul starving.
          In the long run, feeding the ego leaves you feeling void and sick.

          The ego boost is a very short-time and shallow gain.
          If she’s a bit wise (and I think she is, since she’s able to question herself and her behaviour), she knows she won’t be happy that way.

          Every smart person wants love in his/her life. She is aware she’s not getting it, and that’s one reason she’s looking for change.

  8. courage the cowardly dog says:

    This is an easy one. Try this, “hey friend, stop using men and then dumping them, it is not nice, it is wrong and if you persist in this kind of behavior we will no longer be friends.”

    I can’t think of anything that could be more effective than that. So lets stop the hand wringing and just do the right thing. In other words, just do it!!!!


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