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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.

Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.

The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (, is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in the Man Up private Facebook group ( and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.

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“The Man Up Show” Ep.165 – Why She Says You’re Just Friends

Why She Says You’re Just Friends

  • David Tian Ph.D. reveals that we may be interpreting the situation wrongly.

  • There a difference between “just Friends” and ‘friends”, David Tian Ph.D. provides the explanation.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. tells us what we might have been doing wrong all this time.

David Tian: Boom! Stop. I’m David Tian, PhD. And in this video, I answer the question: Why she says you’re just friends. Welcome to Man Up Episode 165.

Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I’m David Tian, PhD., and this is Man Up!

Hey, it’s David Tian, PhD, and for over the past 10 years, I’ve been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success, happiness, and fulfillment in life and love. Welcome to Man Up Episode 165. Happy New Year. I think this is the first episode I’m filming in 2017, so happy new year whenever you’re watching this. Here I am in Ubud.

The last time I shot in Bali, I held it the wrong way. I think it was Episode 100 around there, 110 or something. So this time, I remembered to do that, plus I have a beautiful lady holding the phone for me. We’re in Komaneka Resorts. I’m just showing you a bit of the greenery behind me. Let’s walk over here so I can sit down. Come on over, be careful and let me show them the bridge thing. That’s pretty cool. Yeah, we’ve got a cool bridge. Okay.

There’s a bi-level pool here, and then there’s some rice paddies over there just behind the pool. I’m going to sit down and start answering this question here from the private Facebook group. This is a question from Eric in the private Facebook group. It’s not that long, so I’m going to read most of it.

Eric says, “Hi David, I want to thank you for all the great stuff you share with us.”

You’re welcome!

“Your legacy is working and your contributions are improving a lot of guys like me.”

Well, thank you. Thank you for appreciating it.

“I’ve been through a lot of PUA materials and none of them developed my personality. It’s all about faking to be an alpha and it makes me feel like an asshole in many situations.”

I know the feeling.

“That’s why I appreciate what Aura University is doing. It’s beyond alpha stuff and I really like your job and your concept of a true nice guy.”

Thank you! Awesome. Okay great. I’m skipping some stuff here and his question is this.

“I got friend zoned by a girl, even making my intentions very clear in the beginning: flirting with her all the time. I also joked with her many times. My move was just to stay out of the friend zone,” and asking her out. “Detail: She always flirted back and accepted my moves. In our final conversation, she refused again going out with me, but for the first time she said that it would only happen as friends. And so, I realized that I screwed up and told her I would spend my time with my goals and other people.”

Okay, so let’s back up. He says “I got friend zoned by a girl, even making my intentions very clear from the beginning.” I think this is what you mean. You say you joked with her many times by saying, “My move was just to stay out of the friend zone.” This is not bad. It’s an intermediate level from just being kiss-ass nice guy, trying to please everybody all the time. And at least this time, you’re joking and calling it out, trying to stay out of the friend zone with you.

So that’s kind of funny, but that seemed to be the way that you were making your intentions clear; that you didn’t want to be in the friend zone by joking about being in the friend zone. And then you said this, “She always flirted back and accepted my moves, but then she refused again going out with me.” So, I’m confused. Did she accept your moves or did she refuse them?

It seems like you never did go out, whatever that means to you. You never went out but she accepted your moves. This is just confusing on all levels, and I think you’re confused. And this is interesting, because there was another question up in the Man Up group that I was tempted to answer, but I felt it was not going to be as relevant to a lot of guys.

And his question was, he’s been dating this girl for quite a while but he’s in the friend zone, but he’s been dating her and they hold hands occasionally and look into each other’s eyes. That’s how he knows that they’re dating.

This might be the case if you’re in some rural village in a third world country that has no connection to the modern world, like pop, media, or any of that, or any globalization. And then there, it might be so conservative that simply holding somebody’s hands says that you guys are together or something. But I think in this case, with Eric too, your idea of flirting and ‘accepting your moves’ is probably pretty innocuous. It might be like teenage stuff.

Remember for most people, when you were in early high school, and you liked a girl, and you held hands, and she giggled at the things you said? There was tension, right? That’s sort of like where Eric is at right now, and I think what he’s saying is, “Oh yeah, my move was just to stay out of the friend zone, and she flirted back and accepted my moves, but then she refused again going out with me.”

So, this sounds like she kept saying no. To me, it doesn’t sound like she flirted back and accepted your moves at all. So, you’re just deluded, man. But you might be super conservative. I don’t think so just judging by your profile. You’re not in some rural village somewhere. Anyway, moving on, I just think your read of the current situation is wrong, and that’s why a lot of guys get thrown off, because they think there’s something going on when there’s nothing going on.

But they’re so innocent and naive that they’re led in their heads to have their own fantasy of a relationship, when there’s no relationship at all. And I actually feel bad for the girl, because in his mind she’s leading him on, but in her mind she’s just being friendly. So, it’s important for guys to understand that, especially the guys who are really naive and don’t live in super conservative places or sheltered places, is really the issue.

“In our final conversation, she refused again going out with me, but for the first time she said that it would only happen as friends.” So, she friend zoned you. Just friends. She gave you the ‘just friends’ designation. “So, I realized that I screwed up and told her I would spend my time with my goals and other people.”

So then you were like, “Oh, fuck you bitch. I’m going to spend my time with myself and my goals.” She’s like, “Where did this come from? We’re just friends.” This is a super naive dude. I just want to say this to some of the guys. What he’s looking for, he’s going to ask for it later on like, “How do I get out of the friend zone? Techniques? Words that I can say?”

A lot of the times, it has nothing to do with techniques or words you say. It has everything to do with your mindset. If you’re not a sexual person, woman won’t let you lead sexually. They’d rather keep you as a friend because you can’t handle the leadership in the sexual arena. You’re not comfortable with your body and sexuality and with putting it out there. To you, it’s still a tension and anxiety rhythm thing, just to even tell a girl she’s hot or something like that, right? Or depending on what kind of vernacular you’re using.

Moving on. “After that, I realized that I did two friend zone mistakes: being too available and creating too much connections.” That might be the case. I don’t think it’s ever a problem creating too many connections. Here’s a really important thing. Maybe we’ll make this the subject of this particular video, which is: it’s perfectly fine to be a friend.

Back in the day, back in all of recorded history before PUA showed up and ruined all this shit for guys, you would marry your friend. You would fuck your friends, you would marry your friends, you would date your friends. That’s the normal thing. You become friends. You’re in your social circles together, and then shit happens and you get romance and all this.

The idea of somebody just walking up to a stranger and picking them up is a relatively recent development. It’s perfectly fine being friends with the girl that you like. The bad part is, if you ever hear from her words that you are ‘just friends’. Those two words: ‘just friends’ versus ‘friends’. Huge difference. That’s like the biggest difference in the world. If she ever says, “Dude, we’re just friends,” that means you’ve failed in trying to take it to the next level. So, she pushed you back.
Imagine your guy friend ever saying to you, “Dude, we’re just friends.” That means something weird just happened there, right? Between the two of you. But you know it’s perfectly fine to be friends with a guy and with a girl.

You should be friends. It’s good to be friends with women. There are guys with a lot of anxiety trying not to be friends, but that just makes them become really weird and creepy. It’s totally cool to just be cool, and then just lead things, and just be a sexual guy. Just be really comfortable with your sexuality, and you speak in a sexual way. You have sexual eye contact, you have sexual tonality, body language, sexual body language.

I covered this in all of our other programs in more detail, but that’s a big part of it. If you don’t have a sexual vibe, women just won’t think of you sexually. You’d have to get an arranged marriage or something.

Moving on here. Maybe your mistake was being too available too early. That’s the issue, not just being too available. Creating too many connections is… There’s no connection between creating connections and being stuck in the ‘just friends’ zone. Connections are great. Three important details: ‘she is extremely shy’.

I’m not so sure about that. That’s your read. “She is from my gym so it’s hard to lose contact. She shared with me in our first talk that she is religious and she has never kissed and stayed with a guy, even being 21 years old. I think that this last detail made me go to easy on her. Maybe manned down a little. Lol.”

Yeah. That’s what happens when you’re naive about what girls say.

Listen less to what they’re saying about your relationship status and look more at their behaviors. Same with women. Women should be listening less to what guys say about their promises, about where they stand and look at his behaviors. How is he treating her? What are his behaviors? Behaviors and actions speak much louder than words in relationships.

You say she’s flirty with you and all this. You didn’t look at her actual behavior, that she wasn’t agreeing to go out with you the whole time. And the same with this: If she’s a really sexual woman or girl, 21 years old, and puts it out there, and then claims that she’s a virgin, you should be skeptical. I’m not saying that it’s impossible, but you should be skeptical.

“My questions are: Will I end up in the friend zone again by doing the mistakes mentioned above, even if I let my intentions be clear from the beginning, or is this a specific case?”

This is a misdiagnosis on your part, Eric. You think you made these two mistakes. I don’t think it came from these two mistakes. The mistakes that you made are naiveté around the mating world of 2017 or 21st century. So, there’s that: naiveté around what women are like when they like a guy.

Secondly, I can see as a subtext from reading your question that you’re not projecting a sexual vibe. There’s a lot of components to a sexual vibe. It doesn’t mean that you have a jacked body or anything. A skinny-ass anorexic rock star who is doing drugs all the time can have a very strong sexual vibe. A guy like Russell Brand who is very feminine in his appearance and in his movements can have a very strong sexual vibe.

Sexual vibe is actually a lot more complex than most dudes think. In order to project that properly, you have to be very comfortable with it. And based on your naiveté, there’s no way you can be comfortable with a sexual vibe and be this naive about male-female relationships in your 20s. That was your biggest problem.

“Do all of this psychology stuff and relationship tips apply to every woman, or can I change depending on religion, culture and age?” Of course it changes. Dude, if you gave me a fucking alien from 3 billion light years away, will it change? Fuck yeah. I don’t even know how their fucking brains work. The further removed from wherever you are, the more it changes.

But the point is this: there are principles that I can apply. And many times I ask, if I get some weird ass question, I ask the guy: How old are you? What city or country are you in? Because if it turns out that he’s from some rural place in India, which has happened plenty of times, or some rural place in Africa, the rules change. I need to know where her context is. But if she is at all plugged into the internet, if she has any access to Snapchat, to YouTube, she’s already pretty much globalized Western.

I don’t even care if it’s in a repressed, traditional religious country. Some of the most traditional, religious countries are the most liberal. You walk into a nightclub in Jakarta or Malaysia, you totally forget you’re in a Muslim country. It can change, but as long she’s plugged into any kind of globalization, it’s pretty much the same.

Of course, if you’re an anthropologist studying tribal villages in Amazon, yeah, it’ll fucking change: mating, rituals and so on. Practices change depending on the culture, but I don’t think you’re in a situation where it’s very different from globalization. I think you’re just naive.

Here’s a tell. Hey guys, listen up. If you ever find yourself or any of your friends saying, “But does this apply in Singapore? Does this apply in my country? X country?” That dude is not getting laid, first of all. Secondly, he has some shame around sexuality. He’ll never admit it though. That’s part of having shame around it. Third, he’s not projecting a sexual vibe. I’d say also, naiveté around the mating habits of 21st century young adults.

So, there you go, Eric. What you should do is go through all of our free courses and go through a lot of Man Up videos to learn what it’s like in the 21st century now for male-female relationships, what the standard is. Because we’re not living in rural villages in Papua New Guinea. If she’s connected to the internet, you’ve got to raise it up.

This is a problem in Singapore. A lot of the guys who are in their 30s, in that period in Singapore where suddenly it got very sexualized very quickly, and there’s a huge generation gap between what your parents were used to in terms of pop culture and sexual amours, and what the 20-somethings in Singapore and 30-somethings were surrounded with when they were going through puberty and older.

I landed in Singapore in 2008 when I moved there and many people were telling me, “Oh it’s really conservative there. Really conservative.” I’m like, “Okay. Conservative.” My first weekend, I walk into Zouk and I’m like “This is conservative?” You see people making out everywhere, falling down flat, barfing on the ground. I’m like “Wow, this is not conservative. This is more liberal than the fucking Ann Arbor, Michigan where I just came from.”

You might think you’re in some conservative place, but the mating practices have been globalized just like McDonald’s, just like fucking Coca-Cola. Wake up, man. It’s 21st century. It’s 2017 now, man. You’ve got to step it up. So, I’m going to enjoy this beautiful background or this environment that I’m in.

Join the private Facebook group. Help Eric out and ask any questions you’ve got. That’s where we interact. There’s an amazing community in there, and I go in live and do live shows in there as well. It’s just a great group of guys who give each other good advice. So I highly recommend, I actually will force you now.

Click the link and I’ll see you inside the private Facebook group.

Until then, Man Up!