#Love & Sex

Unfriendly Competition

by The 4-Way Panel

Unfriendly Competition

We’ve all had a friend swoop in and try to steal the person we’ve been talking to all night. But what do you do when it happens all the time? The 4-Way talks friendships, flirting and defending your dating territory.




Dear 4-Way,



About a year ago, I met a great woman. Our relationship quickly developed into a strong friendship and she became someone I socialized with regularly on the weekends. Until recently, she was dating another woman pretty much the entire time we’ve known each other. After their breakup, I noticed that she had a trait I hadn’t experienced while she was dating her ex-partner: she’s extremely competitive when it comes to meeting women. I’m a lesbian too and I’ve noticed that now, when we go out, it’s impossible to talk to any women without her joining the conversation—and pretty much taking over the conversation—and flirting her ass off with them and completely ignoring me. I know I need to talk to her about it, but how? I don’t want to lose her friendship but this new dimension of her is confusing to me. —BB, Seattle, Washington




The gay man’s perspective: Darren Maddox



Oddly enough, I had a similar situation occur not too long ago when meeting a guy at a party. A mutual friend brought him in hopes of introducing him to me (I like to think). As the night progressed, I noticed my friend was making moves on him as well. It was awkward and got to the point of twelve-year-old behavior until, with the help of my friend Mr. Jose Cuervo, I summoned the nerve to call him out on the situation at hand. He was shocked I said something and even more shocked with my timing. Mr. Cuervo has no watch and I made my point in front of others promptly clearing the room and creating an even more awkward situation for each of us.


The awkwardness continued into the next day when we hung out again, but we maturely discussed what had happened and chose to handle it as any adult gay men would do. We came up with code words to avoid this situation from occurring again. We thought long and hard over beverages for the right words to alert each other of our intent to pursue. It had to be words easily worked into a sentence that also stood out at the same time. But what? We chose “pineapple” and “coconuts.”


Here’s how it works: if we each meet a man at the same time and one of us isn’t interested, he works the word “pineapple” into a sentence. However, if one of us uses the word “coconuts,” (which translates to “I will kick you in the coconuts if you get any closer because I saw him first, you vindictive hooker”) the other knows to back off. Try it. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that you’re friends first and this random person you’ve known for approximately two hours may not be worth losing a friendship over.




The straight woman’s perspective: Rebecca Brown



Is your friend in middle school? Maybe she’s someone you met at summer camp a few weeks ago? Because it sounds like she’s getting a little Mean Girls on you and that’s just not cool … unless she’s Lindsay Lohan and then God help you. You’ve got other problems. (Let’s hope your friend wears panties to bars.)


Age has made me impatient with this kind of 7th grade behavior so I think a direct hit is required. “It seems like every time I’m talking to someone interesting you bust in and try to take over. Am I misjudging the situation or is there something we need to talk about?” You’ll either dive into some meaningful conversation and get to some solutions or she’ll deny it.


If she denies it, you may have a special category of friend on your hands: the daytime friend. You still value and cherish the daytime friend’s friendship. You’re just choosing to miss out on the drunk, competitive, shove-her-tits-in-every-woman’s-face behavior you’re subjected to at night. Brunching is ideal with the daytime friend, though avoid places with Bloody Mary bars as that can quickly turn into disaster. If she’s still competitive even in daytime environments, she may have bigger issues. And unless you have “doctor” or “PhD” in your name, your best bet might be an Eggs Florentine hiatus until she figures out that friendship is not a competition.




The gay woman’s perspective: Jody Fischer



Hey BB, there is nothing to be confused about here. Now that she is on the prowl again, that is her number one priority. Unfortunately, she has chosen a bossy, controlling path to walk down to find her next catch. Fortunately, you don’t have to walk down that path with her. If you don’t enjoy her butting in on your dating path, then don’t socialize with her at the bars. Plan other activities with her that don’t involve meeting potential lovers.


Should you talk to her about how you feel about her new behaviors? Of course. Having been involved in way too much dyke drama myself, I have to wonder if one of you is harboring some “I want to date you” feelings for the other. Perhaps she is being a “budinsky” because she doesn’t want to see you with anyone else. Or perhaps you would like her all to yourself? What is it that attracted your attention to her in the first place? Did you help her through her break-up? Does she know that you are searching for Ms. Right too? Is she interested in you finding a good match for yourself? Is she even aware of her own domineering behavior?


Sometimes the lines between friends and more-than-friends gets fuzzy with us lesbians. Check in with yourself and your own desires. What is it that you want in this connection?


It’s time to have a good old-fashioned lesbian process talk. Who knows, maybe you will both find what you are looking for in one another, or perhaps you can help each other find the right one. Come on, you guys are batting on the same team (if you know what I mean) but right now you’re out in left field. Talk with her—and maybe you can both “score.”




The straight man’s perspective: Chris Kennedy



Friends don’t let friends beer goggle. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. And friends don’t let friends horn in on their dating action. This relatively new friend of yours needs to be told, in a friendly and direct way, that her style isn’t working for you.


If she can change her tactics, great. If she won’t, maybe she’s a friend you don’t go pickin’ up chicks with. Friends aren’t perfect. People have different styles when it comes to socializing and meeting prospective dates. (By the way, why do you care if she’s paying attention to you while she’s on the make? You get the attention from her when there isn’t a prospect around. When there is, get used to it.)


You don’t want to crimp her style any more than she crimps yours. You’ll have to find a way to make it work if you’re going to cavort together.


As you probably already know, the dating world is competitive and at times, your biggest competition can be your friend. But that’s okay. You can’t claim dibs on every person you meet and begin talking to, and she can’t jump in on every conversation you have. This may take some trial and error, but it’s worth a shot. Like maintaining any good relationship, friendship takes work. Maybe you can find a way to complement each other. You know, good cop/bad cop. Talkative, loud lesbian/sweet, mild lesbian. She’ll attract those who want a robust personality and you’ll attract those who want a calm one.


I say stick with who you are and let her be who she is, she may turn people off if she’s too flirty and then you can look like the strong, silent, cool type. And if the prospect is into that, your friend has set you up quite well.


That’s what friends are for.